30 July, 2021

Eminence Grise

Though pegged to personal interactions, has a delightful undercurrent of history and international politics.

Prashant Panjiar
Eminence Grise
This latest literary offering by friend and colleague Natwar Singh is different from his other books. It is a collection of articles which Natwar wrote between 1985 and 2002, the period in which he left the Foreign Office and took on a political incarnation. Becoming a politician abruptly terminates mental life in more ways than one but Natwar has commendably kept alive his literary, intellectual and non-political interests. A committed bibliophile, he is not only a thorough reader but also keeps notes on the books he reads, extracting relevant quotes to embellish his own writing.

Heart to Heart is a literary montage of his many interactions with distinguished Indians and foreigners, from Don Bradman to R.K. Narayan, from Octavio Paz to Zia-ul-Haq, from Jawaharlal Nehru to E.M. Forster and Ne Win of Myanmar. He has laced his writing with ruminations on their personality, political views and writings. Han Suyin and Forster have figured before in Natwar’s writings as they were both old friends. But I enjoyed reading the chapters on R.K. Narayan and C....

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