My Years with Rajiv by Wajahat Habibullah

My years with Rajiv book cover

My Years with Rajiv by Wajahat Habibullah sheds new light on Rajiv Gandhi’s years as Prime Minster and offers an insider’s take on India’s transformation in the last three decades of the twentieth century. The book published by Westland hit the shelves in October 2020.

You can read more about the book here:

On 21 May 1991, Wajahat Habibullah, then the commissioner of Kashmir (constituting the valley and two districts of Ladakh), had returned home after inspecting a mysterious fire at Dalgate, Srinagar. Much to his dismay, there had been another fire, one that left him devastated: an RDX explosion in the south Indian town of Sriperumbudur had taken the life of India’s sixth prime minister, Rajiv Gandhi.

My Years with Rajiv is an endearing account of a friendship that turned into an administrative partnership, one that gave him an acute insight into Rajiv Gandhi’s political life. But equally, in this lucid memoir, recounting his years in the Indian Administrative Services, particularly at the Prime Minister’s Office, Habibullah walks us through the last three decades of the twentieth century — in many ways, the most formative years of Indian history.

Habibullah also seeks to demystify the workings of the Indian government and bureaucracy: the modernization of the Nehruvian nation, the turbulence of the Khalistan years in Punjab, the introduction of grassroots policies aimed at poverty alleviation in rural India, the beginning of telecommunications services, the Shah Bano case, the opening of the locks at Babri Masjid / Ram Janmabhoomi, Indian interventions in Sri Lanka, and much else. In this, Habibullah, a natural raconteur, is more than successful, telling the tale in his inimitably candid and self-effacing manner.

About the Author

Wajahat Habibullah (born 30 September 1945) is a former chairperson of the National Commission for Minorities. Prior to this, he was the first Chief Information Commissioner of India. He was an officer of the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) of the J&K cadre from 1968 until his retirement in September 2005, having served in India and the US.

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