19 September, 2020

Their Good Offices

With press and politicians demanding the dramatic, subtlety in diplomacy has no space

Their Good Offices
Launched by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, lauded by foreign minister K. Natwar Singh, ‘Mani’ Dixit’s last book comes with the highest accolades. A colleague’s review is almost an exercise in supererogation, but a welcome opportunity to add to the tributes to a sharply questing mind. Like all his work, it’s lively, flowing, full of personal comments and apercus, stimulating or provocative, depending on whether you agree with him or not. Above all, it raises issues of great significance for the future management of our world concerns.

Against the great tragedy of his premature passing, the fact that Mani couldn’t edit his finale hardly matters, but he would surely have corrected various errors, typographical and substantive. Considering it is almost the first book since Gopal’s life of Nehru for which the government has relaxed its mindless rigidity about (not) opening its archives, greater disclosure of who took what view about what would have been an added attraction, but there are few quotes and no footnotes. There is any amount of detail, but given time Mani...



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