‘So unassuming, that his greatness may have been missed by the undiscerning’

 ‘King of Hearts – A tribute from a daughter, to her father’ is Abhilasha Kumari’s tribute to her father, the late Virbhadra Singh. And as one reads through this book, what hits is that there’s little mention of Singh’s political graph, considering he was towering political figure of Himachal Pradesh. A book review by Humra Quraishi

As the very title relays this book is Abhilasha Kumari’s tribute to her father, the late Virbhadra Singh. And as one reads through this book, what hits is that there’s little mention of Virbhadra Singh’s political graph. Not to be overlooked the fact he was the reigning political figure of Himachal Pradesh.

To  this there’s Abhilasha Kumari’s rather candid explanation tucked in the preface:“This  book is  not  meant to be a  record of  my  father’s  political  achievements. It is neither a biography, nor a memoir or a history book. It is simply an attempt to throw light  upon the  man who was my  father, through the eyes  of the daughter. It comes straight from my heart.”

With that take off, Abhilasha dwells on the family backgrounders.  Building up from the early years of Virbhadra Singh till passed away in the summer of 2021.

Perhaps, the forte are the whole range of photographs, focussing on Virbhadra  Singh  and his spouse and  children and relatives. Of course, webbed and inter-webbed are details to what made Virbhadra Singh stand out, as a caring-loving-doting father.  As Abhilasha describes her father, “He was a simple man, so unassuming, that his greatness of  character may  have  been  missed by the  undiscerning. However, all those who knew him, had worked with him, or had any sort of connection with him, could never forget him…He was true to his heart and spoke his mind.”

One instance after another, where Abhilasha details how her father would not just spend time with her and her siblings but also get them involved with work. “Another memory of those days is that of my father composing and typing his own letters, on a portable typewriter. He was extremely meticulous and very particular about neatness and spellings. The  nuns in school were  very  particular about them too, which stood  me in good stead, as my  father sometimes  asked  me  to  take  down dictation in long  hand. As I grew older, this became a  regular feature. I would prepare a rough draft and read it loud, as he typed it with two fingers. He would never sign a document containing manual corrections. The page had to be retyped until it was perfect.”

This slim book carries various anecdotes and incidents, focusing on Virbhadra Singh’s  personality and also those subtle relays. Perhaps, the most significant one is this:  To quote Abhilasha, “One of the earliest practical  lessons I  imbibed from my  father is that, whatever is  worth doing, is worth doing well.”

Title of the book – King of Hearts- A tribute from a  daughter, to  her  father

Author –  Abhilasha Kumari

Pages -106

Price –  Rs 495

Publishers – AuthorsPress