When people who serve in high offices write their autobiographies, do they really write tell-all tales? Not in the case of Yashwant Sinha and Karan Singh, who JD(U) MP Pawan Varma referred to as “statesmen politicians”, as the three luminaries of Indian politics came together for a frank discussion on ‘The difficult art of writing political autobiographies’ on the second and final day of Times Litfest Delhi 2019. Sinha, a former Union minister and BJP veteran, concurred. “It is very easy to cross the line and make an autobiography sensational. But some things are held back in national interest. Still, one has tried to be as completely honest as possible,” he said, adding his book offered a view of political events and personalities from the vantage point he had. Varma argued that readers were being denied the “complete truth” in the name of national interest and got them talking on two issues — Kashmir and the economy — that are dominating the national conversation and of which each is a domain expert. Sinha, who has served as minister for finance and external affairs, referred to the economy as being in a state of crisis, which could take a few years to recover. “We are in a very deep crisis as far as the economy is concerned. I have witnessed 1991 and 1998 and 2008 and I can tell you that the brave talk of the next quarter being better is not going to happen. This crisis takes 3 to 5 years to recover (from). Just as we are in for a long haul in Kashmir, so is the case with the economy now,” he said. Sinha added, “Why I left BJP also says a lot about the present situation. Apart from the economy, even public life in India is passing through a crisis. Could you imagine 10 years ago someone in Parliament calling (Nathuram) Godse a patriot? Those are signs of the times we are in. There is a line which should not be crossed. I ask people to realise the dangers we face as a nation.”
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