Saturday, February 24, 2018
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This is the latest in offering by veteran Indian journalist, syndicated columnist, human right activist and author, Kuldip Nayar.  As a young law graduate in Sialkot (now in Pakistan), Kuldip Nayar witnessed at first hand the collapse of trust between Hindus and Muslims who were living together for generations, and like multitude of population he was forced to migrate to Delhi across the blood stained plains of Punjab.  From his terrifying journey to a new country and to his first job as a young journalist in an Urdu daily, Nayars account is also the story of India.  From his days as a young journalist in Anjam to heading Indias foremost news agency, UNI and from mainstream journalism to starting his now immensely popular syndicated column, Between the Lines, Nayar has always stood for the freedom of press and journalism of courage.

BOOK SUMMARY:  Widely respected for his columns, his autobiography opens on the day Pakistan Resolution was passed in Lahore in 1940 and takes us on a journey through India's story of a nation working on its foreign policy, development plans, relations with neighbouring countries, and dealing with coalition politics among others.  From events of historical and political relevance like Tashkent Declaration and the 1971 war and the liberation of Bangladesh to interviewing Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Mujibur Rahman and from meeting Pakistans father of nuclear bomb, Dr A.Q. Khan, to his close association with Lal Bahadur Shastri and Jayaprakash Narayan, Nayar's narrative is a detailed inside view of our nations past and present.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  A veteran journalist and former member of Parliament, Kuldip Nayar is Indias most well known and widely syndicated journalist.  He was born in Sialkot in 1923 and educated at Lahore University before migrating to Delhi with his family at the time of Partition.  He began his career in the Urdu newspaper Anjam and after a spell in the USA worked as information officer of Lal Bahadur Shastri and Govind Ballabh Pant.  He eventually became Resident Editor of the Statesman and managing editor of the Indian news agency UNI.  He corresponded for the Times for 25 years and later served as Indian high commissioner to the UK during the V.P. Singh government.  His stand for press freedom during the Emergency, when he was detained; his commitment to better relations between India and Pakistan, and his role as a human rights activist have won him respect and affection in both countries.  Author of more than a dozen books, his weekly columns are read across South Asia.

MY TAKE:  This is the most lively accounts of major political events which took place in post independent India.  Since the book does not lean on references and allusions, it reads more like a racy reading as if we are reading a thriller.  I will not consider this as weakness because I personally know, there is a dire need of books which do not sound like textbooks and yet help the younger generation in comprehending the events which shaped the country's future in last six or seven decades.  I am also very happy that Kuldip Nayar, despite his family's sufferings during partition, upholds the values like secularism aloft and in a very effortless manner, successfully establishes that adhering only to pluralistic values, can we save our subcontinent.  On minus side, the book is poorly edited and perhaps has been brought out in a hurry as the errors typographical and factual are aplenty especially for a book from an accomplished writer and a reputed publisher.  All these errors were avoidable.  The writing style is somewhat old-fashioned still the book is immensely readable and a must read for the younger generation be it the students, young professionals and of course the young journalists.



BOOK:  Beyond the Lines: An Autobiography.

AUTHOR:  Kuldip Nayar.

PUBLISHER:  Roli Books.


LANGUAGE:  English.

Price:  Rs. 595.

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