Walking With LionseBook - 2012
The story goes, apocryphal perhaps, that one day the Ugandan dictator, Idi Amin, told his foreign minister that the country's name must be changed to Idi, and he should inform the UN and all other international bodies. A week passed. President Amin then summoned the minister and asked, 'Did you carry out my orders?' He replied saying that there was a problem. 'What problem?' the president inquired. 'Your Excellency, there is a country called Cyprus. The people are called Cypriots. If Uganda were to be called Idi, we would be called Idiots.' There are few leaders that K. Natwar Singh, in a diplomatic career spanning more than three decades, has not known - and fewer still about whom he has no story to tell. In Walking with Lions: Tales from a Diplomatic Past, Singh puts together fifty episodes that entertain, inform and illuminate. Featured here is Indira Gandhi as a statesman and friend, alongside other renowned figures such as Fidel Castro, Haile Selassie and Zia-ul-Haq. Singh analyses some personalities with disarming candour, among them Morarji Desai and Lord Mountbatten; at other times, his admiration for leaders like C. Rajagopalalchari and Nelson Mandela shines through. In these pages you will also find a rare, fascinating glimpse of Godman Chandraswami and his cohort Mamaji, and their interaction with a surprisingly submissive Iron Lady Margaret Thatcher. Besides, there are short tributes to artists, writers, cricketers and film stars, like M.F. Husain, Nadine Gordimer, Don Bradman and Dev Anand. Recounted with empathy and humour, this collection of stories from contemporary history is a warm, unaffected and reassuring reminder that the great too can be as fallible as the rest of us.
Publisher: [S.I.] : HarperCollins Publishers India, 2012.
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