Author: P C Alexander
ISBN/UPC (if available): 817223550X
A provocative, no-holds-barred, insider’s account of the epoch-making events of independent India.
Dr P C Alexander, who stands out as one of the most distinguished and respected administrators in the post-independence era, has held several top positions in public life both at the national and international levels over a period of more than five decades.
In this candid and hard-hitting autobiography, Dr Alexander begins with an account of how his candidature for the post of president of India in 2002 was scuttled by the subtle manipulations of some congress leaders, although he once had close connections with that party’s top bras.
As principal secretary to Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and later to her son and successor, Rajiv Gandhi, Dr Alexander played a crucial role in the momentous developments of that period. He takes the reader on stage, through the critical yeas, as he unravels, for the first time, the Punjab drama, scene by scene. He also recounts why Indira Gandhi was compelled to call in the Army to carry out Operation Blue star and how the top generals arbitrarily changed their plans midway through the operation, leading to tragic consequences. He questions the validity of the rationale behind the generals sudden rethink on strategy and tactics.
As principal secretary to Indira Gandhi, he was a witness to the fast paced, behind-the-scenes happenings that led to the dismissal of Dr Farooq Abdullah’s Government in Jammu and Kashmir, which proved a tuning point in that state’s history.
Writing in graphic detail, Dr Alexander breaks his silence on his bitter interactions with prime Minister Morarji Desai. He also unveils the sordid machinations of some Ministry of External Affairs officials (when he was India’s high commissioner in the UK), who did everything in their power to stymie his moves when they felt that his actions impinged upon their turf. During this assignment, Dr Alexander, apart from his regular duties, had also to counter the propaganda unleashed by the UK-based Sikh insurgents.
Dr Alexander rounds off the book with an account of his tenures as governor, first of Tamil Nadu and then of Maharashtra, marked by the turbulence of the Sri Lankan ethnic crisis and its impact on India, as also the horrific Mumbai riots and the serial bomb blasts that rocked the metropolis.
In one of her conversations during the last week of May 1982, She (Indira Gandhi) told me in all seriousness that she would like to resign from the post of prime minister and offer herself as a candidate for election as president, She told me with a felling of intense frustration that she had never been so unhappy in her position as prime minister as she was then. She sincerely felt, at that time, that it would be good for her and the country if a new prime minister were to take over from her and if she retired from active politics and made a bid for the Rashtrapati Bhavan.
From Raj Bhavan to Rajya Sabha
The Early Years
The Unforgettable College Years
Academic Research and Beyond
IAS and Beyond
In Central Government Service
With Indira Gandhi: 1
With Indira Gandhi: 2
The Akali Agitation
With Rajiv Gandhi
In the UK
In Tamil Nadu
Back in the Thick of Politics
In Maharashtra: 1
In Maharashtra: 2