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Indira Gandhi made two serious mistakes - Emergency, Operation Blue Star: Natwar Singh

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

made two "serious mistakes -- declaring in 1975 and allowing Operation to happen", but regardless of these she was a great and powerful and a considerate humanist, feels veteran K

Singh worked in her office from 1966 to 1971 as a before joining the in the 80s and becoming a in the Rajiv Cabinet.

"Ever so often, is depicted as solemn, severe, prickly and ruthless. Seldom is it mentioned that this beautiful, caring, charming, graceful and sparkling human being was a considerate humanist and a voracious reader, that she was endowed with charm, elegance, style, good taste and, above all, gravitas," he says about the former

Singh says Gandhi "made two serious mistakes - declaring in 1975 and allowing Operation to happen", but hastens to add, "And yet, regardless of these, she was a great and powerful "

Singh expresses these views in his new book, 'Treasured Epistles', a collection of letters. Those who regularly wrote to him included friends, contemporaries and colleagues, from the days of his foreign service to ambassadorship, to recent days as the

Some of whose letters feature in the book include Indira Gandhi, E M Forster, C Rajagopalachari, Lord Mountbatten, Jawaharlal Nehru's two sisters and Krishna Hutheesing, R K Narayan, Nirad C Chaudhuri, Mulk and Han Suyin.

He says each of these luminaries influenced him in a different way and consequently his "Weltanschauung" or world view was vastly extended and enriched.

The topics of Indira Gandhi's letters to Singh ranged from congratulating him for becoming a father to politics, books, birthday wishes and get-well-soon messages.

After sweeping the Lok Sabha elections in 1980, Gandhi wrote to Singh, who was then the of to Islamabad: "The real difficulties now begin. The people's expectations are high but the situation - both political or economic, is an extremely complex one."

"I cannot help being an optimist and I have no doubt that if only our legislators and the people as a whole have the patience and forbearance to climb the steep and stony path for the next few months, we can get over the hump and arrive at a place from which progress is possible once again."

Among the several other nuggets in the book, published by Rupa, is Rajagopalachari once telling Singh that he had "sold" the idea of Partition to Lord Mountbatten as "Partition was the only answer".

When Singh persisted by saying that Mahatma Gandhi was against the Partition, Rajagopalachari said, "Gandhi was a very great man but he saw what was going on. He was a very disillusioned man. When he realised that we were all for Partition, he said, 'If you all agree, I will go along with you,' and left the next day.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sun, September 16 2018. 13:50 IST