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BOOKSHELF: Indira Gandhi: The Story of a leader

The has book has biography of one of India?s most prominent leaders which is expressed through Priya, a 13-year-old girl.

india Updated: May 20, 2006 14:33 IST

Indira Gandhi: The Story of a leader
Shahana Dasgupta
Price — Rs 150
Publication — Rupa Publications

The basic thing with biographies is its detailed descriptions. Chronicling the person’s life ends up in a volume that is heavy for a lot of readers. Result, the reader is lost and so is the basic idea of telling the person’s story of life as well.

The other times, it is written with the simplest words, hence diminishing the importance. There is another way: Tell the story through someone’s eyes and his/her mind then takes the reader through the different stages. Shahana Dasgupta dons the mantle of a raconteur for her book Indira Gandhi: The Story of a leader.

The biography of one of India’s most prominent leaders is expressed through Priya, a 13-year-old girl. The schoolgirl has been asked to do a project on a famous Indian woman she admires. Priya, after giving a lot of thought, recollects reading Glimpses of World History by Jawaharlal Nehru.

The exchange of letters between Nehru and his daughter Indira fascinated Priya. She has found the woman for her project. Dasgupta sets the premise for Priya’s research in a chapter as a prelude.

This ensures that the element is given enough warmth by the time the chronicling starts. When Priya starts her research, the reader is all set to know about Indira Gandhi. This biography works like a screenplay. It seems initially that ‘Priya’ will be lost and a historical review will begin.

But that’s not the case as Priya’s day-to-day life gets affected by her project. This is the key point of the book, the reader starts believing he is Priya and his curiosity is heightened.

The diverse and vast collection of photographs keep the pace rolling. This is not just a biography. It is a tale of a young girl and her quest for knowledge. Of Indira, the young freedom fighter, the mature prime minister and the woman that she was.