28 February, 2021

Man Who Goes It Alone

Does not disappoint—a racy, readable biography of a difficult, reticent subject.

Man Who Goes It Alone
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

Rereading the latest political biography of the Bihar chief minister in the middle of a contentious general ele­c­tion prompts some serious reflection on the nature of leadership. It is said that the one who leads the orchestra must turn his back to the crowd. But politics is unlike conducting an orchestra and a political leader, more often than not, swims with the tide. Nitish Kumar comes across as a leader who ignores the crowd, rising above it and often swimming against the tide. Does that make him a good or a bad leader, the reader is left wondering.

One of the last gentlemen in Indian politics, Nitish was seduced by Lohia’s socialism, got sucked into the JP agitation in the mid-seventies and gave up an engineering career. He refused to get married till the paltry dowry his father had accepted was returned. He lost the first two elections he contested because of his stubborn refusal to back people belonging to his own caste who were held guilty for a massacre. He neglected his wife for what he believed was a higher calling, public service. He stubbornly...

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