President to release new book on Indira Years

New Delhi: President Pranab Mukherjee is set to release a book in December this year, his first after taking office in 2012.

According to a press statement released by Rupa, the publisher of the the book which is the first in a three book series, titled The Dramatic Decade:  The Indira Years, “chronicles the history of India from the perspective of a parliamentarian and statesman par excellence.”

According to the publisher, this book focuses on the 1970s era in Indian politics.

“This was when India found itself engaging with the true meaning of democracy. The nation displayed its commitment to liberty by extending  full support to East Pakistan’s struggle for independence. Later, between 1975 and 1977, during the Emergency, India was grappling with the limits of personal expression. Finally, in 1977, the country saw the emergence of the politics of coalition, with the Janata Party- an amalgam of Indian parties opposed to the Emergency, comprising the Congress (O), the Bharatiya Lok Dal, the Jana Sangh and the Socialists-coming to power.This was a turning point in the history of the Indian legislature,” the statement said. 

Mukherjee made his debut in politics as a Rajya Sabha MP of the Congress and by 1973 was inducted in Indira Gandhi’s cabinet where he later rose to become Indira Gandhi’s key lieutenant. During his tenure, Mukherjee saw the most turbulent time in Indian politics.

The publisher says the book draws from “personal diary extracts, conversations with key players of the 1970s, and vital secondary literature” to present “an exceptional portrait of a complex nation.”

In the book, the President writes about the clamour for Gandhi’s mid-term resignation in the Emergency years, “Which democracy in the world would permit a change of a popularly and freely elected government through means other than a popular election? Can parties beaten at the hustings replace a popularly elected government by sheer agitation? Was it not prudent for those who were determined to change the government to wait till the elections which were but round the corner? Does the rule of law mean that the remedies available to the common man are to be denied to someone holding an elected office? How could anybody replace her when the overwhelming majority of Congress MPs – with a two-thirds majority in the Lok Sabha – resolved that Indira Gandhi should continue as the party’s leader in Parliament and thereby as the Prime Minister of India?”
 

Mukherjee took over as President of India on July 25, 2012. He managed top portfolios like Foreign, Defence and Finance during Congress regimes and for many years was also his party’s chief troubleshooter especially in handling the compulsions of coalition politics.  

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