Kolkata, Jan 24:
Clarifying that her book on her father and former prime minister Manmohan Singh was not a response to the memoir penned by his media advisor Sanjaya Baru, author Daman Singh Saturday said she doesn’t consider Baru as an expert on Manmohan Singh and it “wasn’t worth” her while to read his book.
“The Accidental Prime Minister: The Making and Unmaking of Manmohan Singh” was a 2014 memoir by Indian policy analyst Sanjaya Baru, who was Manmohan Singh’s media advisor from May 2004 till August 2008.
“I did not write my book as a response to Sanjaya’s book at all. I have not read Sanjaya’s book. Personally, I prefer to read a book written by an expert, an insider and honestly, I never considered Sanjaya to be an expert on my father.
“I mean, after all, he was just a media advisor. He essentially advised the media not the prime minister,” Daman Singh said here during a discussion at the Tata Steel Kolkata Literary Meet.
Daman Singh is the author of “Strictly Personal: Manmohan and Gursharan” which traces the journey of the former prime minister and his wife from the 1930s to 2004.
She said she would have read the book if the writer was an insider and was privy to what goes in inside the Prime Minister’s Office.
“So Sanjaya was not at all involved in any policy making, any decision making… so I honestly don’t see how he could have got to know my father as an individual as a prime minister particularly well.
“So it wasn’t really worth my while reading the book. If somebody who actually knew him had written the book, somebody who actually knew how the government works, how the Prime Minister’s Office works… somebody like that had written the book, I would have loved to read it,” she said.
Daman Singh also revealed Manmohan Singh doesn’t disclose anything pertaining to office.
“My father doesn’t tell us anything what goes in office so we are dying to know… we are always questioning him, poking him and prodding him to get something out of him… he never tells us anything.
“So if there was a book that actually explained, I would have loved to read it but I am afraid this is not that book,” she said.
She also stressed it was her “deliberate intention” to launch her book after the Lok Sabha elections to distance herself from her father’s position.
“I started writing my book in 2009, before my father became the prime minister for the second term. I assume Sanjaya started around then. I worked on my book for five years. I don’t know how long he worked on it.
“He brought out his book just before the elections. It was my deliberate intention to bring out my book after the elections because I didn’t want to use my father’s position to promote my book.
“If he was prime minister and my book came out, then it is sort of labelled as a PM’s daughter’s book and I thought that would be sort of unethical thing to do. I wanted to release my book without that label,” she added.