13 April, 2021

Not Befitting The Patriarch

A new biography of A.B. Vajpayee doesn’t miss a beat, but relies heavily on secondary material

Not Befitting The Patriarch

This book under review, authored by Ullekh N.P., is a selective narration of the Indian poli­tical scene spanning over the last seven decades and revolving around the persona of one of the most charismatic politicians in the sub-continent, Atal Behari Vajpayee, often described by his political adversaries as the right person in the wrong party.

Ullekh, whom I don’t remember having met during my six-year stint in the Vajpayee PMO, has worked really hard to marshal, to the extent possible, details of Vajpayee’s life as a bright student, a poet,a journalist, an orator par excellence, a versatile parliamentarian, an honest and open-minded politician, an able administrator and an accomplished statesman. He has also tried to reflect on the developments in different political parties, including the Congress, as well as politico-social outfits like the RSS, especially in the context of the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi.

Ullekh’s research is largely based on a detailed study of media reports over the years concerning the BJP...

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