Till date our Indian politicians dwell on sheer politics in their memoirs and autobiographies. And with that, the family is kept in the background, but Mohsina Kidwai seems to have broken this trend. A book review by Humra Quraishi
Just read and re-read this book by the veteran political figure, Mohsina Kidwai. An account of her life and times. This recently launched book is not just off beat and refreshingly different but relays that there is more to a political personality than politics. The spouse and children and the extended family is also of immense significance as they do play a role, directly or indirectly.
Till date our Indian politicians dwell on sheer politics in their memoirs and autobiographies. And with that, the family is kept in the background, but Mohsina Kidwai seems to have broken this trend.
Of course, she has dwelt on her political journey, starting off way back in 1960, but webbed and in-webbed are the details to her family, especially her three daughters and their children and spouses.
Also, what comes across is not just Mohsina Kidwai’s loyalty to the Congress party but also to the Gandhi family. As she details her interactions with the late Indira Gandhi, she also focuses on those several instances where Indira Gandhi was there for her. Space constraints hold me back from writing details to several such occasions.
Let me put in details to one such instance, “ My election as a MP meant I had to make frequent trips to Delhi. On one such trip I had to attend a public meeting for a municipal by- election, accompanied by party leaders, Balram Jakhar and Buta Singh. I had just begun speaking when someone hurled a stone on my forehead, splitting the skin open. I was rushed to the Wellington Hospital by my colleagues and party workers. Five stitches were needed to sew up the wound.
Indira Gandhi left work to visit me in the hospital. She told me this was the beginning and that there would be more challenges ahead as Congress proceeded on its comeback trail. Indiraji dialled my Lucknow number and spoke to my eldest daughter Seema, explaining patiently to her what had happened…She also specifically told Seema not to panic seeing my blood smeared picture in the next morning’s newspapers…”
There’s also this passage, where Mohsina describes her last meeting with Indira Gandhi. “On 25 October 1984, I met Indiraji for the last time before her assassination. I had gone to discuss some political issues with her about Meerut ( my parliamentary constituency in 1980 ) and remember something that occurred to me just as I was about to leave the room. ‘Indiraji, I am not sure if I should tell you this,’ I told her, ‘but on your recent visit to Lucknow. I noticed you have a lot of new faces in your security. Please becareful, Indiraji.’
Indiraji had smiled, ‘ Mohsina I have immense faith in my country and in its people and I am absolutely sure from the bottom of my heart that they will never let me down,’ she said.”
Title of the book– ‘My Life In Indian Politics- Mohsina Kidwai
as told to Rasheed Kidwai’
Authors – Mohsina Kidwai and Rasheed Kidwai
Publishers – HarperCollins Publishers India
Pages – 261
Price – Rs 699