The much-talked about memoir and political autobiography of former Deputy Prime Minister Shri L.K. Advani was released by the former President of India Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam at a grand function in New Delhi. The 1040-page book has been published by Rupa and Co. Shri Advani has categorised the book into broad five phases.
The prominent personalities who shared the dais included the former Vice President of India Shri Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, RSS Sarkaryavah Shri Mohan Bhagwat, senior BJP leader Shri Jaswant Singh and Editor of Tughlak Shri Cho Ramaswamy.
Former President Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam speaking at the function said that the book My Country My Life acquires great significance because Shri Advaniji'slife has been intertwined with several historic events of the country. ?He combines an incisive analytical ability with a panoramic view of India. The book is mandatory reading for the young as it reveals not only the personality of the writer but also the tumultuous ambience of the times that he witnessed?, Dr Kalam added. He complimented Shri Advani as a dynamic leader ?who has all the good qualities of a leader?. Dr Kalam, describing the good quality of a creative leader, said that one can be a good leader when he has a vision, when he gives success to the team, works with integrity and succeeds with integrity. He also recalled his association with Shri Advani as the Home Minister during the NDA government and as the Leader of Opposition afterwards, saying he is a person who remains patient and never loses his cool.
Former Vice President Shri B.S. Shekhawat said that it is very easy to discuss any subject verbally, but it is a tedious task to write it in a presentable form and Shri Advani has done it with courage by giving sufficient facts. Shri Shekhawat expressed his hope that the book would be very much helpful for the society and the coming generation.
RSS Sarkaryavah Shri Mohan Bhagwat, said that Shri Advaniji has written the book like a swayamsevak. He described the good qualities of a swayamsevak as a patriotic, who should be a role model in every field he works. ?It is very difficult to maintain the life of a swayamsevak in public life, but one has to do it?, he emphasised. He narrated a beautiful story in his brief speech, in which he explained how one honest person can save and purify the whole corrupt system. He hoped that the book would definitely inspire the new generation to follow the path of honesty. He said: ?Advaniji is a generation older than me, and there are many things that we can learn from his life. He taught us that one could be firm in his beliefs, and yet could do a whole lot of things for the society.?
A galaxy of high-profile audience from various walks of life including the senior RSS leaders Shri Suresh Soni and Shri Madan Das, VHP leader Shri Ashok Singhal, BJP president Shri Rajnath Singh with his full team, all the BJP Chief Ministers, NCP leaders and Union Ministers Shri Sharad Pawar and Shri Prafull Patel, BJD chief and Orissa Chief Minister Shri Navin Patnaik, Punjab Chief Minister Shri Prakash Singh Badal, industrialists Shri Anil Ambani, Shri Sunil Mittal and Shri C.K Birla, singers Shri Sonu Nigam and Shri Abhijit, film stars Shri Sanjay Dutt, Smt Hema Malini, Shri Shatrughan Sinha and many other eminent personalities were present at the function.
Although the former Prime Minister Shri Atal Behari Vajpayee could not make it to attend the function, his valuable foreword in the book is outstanding. Atalji in his foreword says: ?During the course of his long and inarguably eventful political life, Advaniji has, at times, been misunderstood and as a result has become a victim of the dichotomy between image and reality. But those who have worked or interacted with him closely know him as a man who has never compromised on his core belief in nationalism, and yet has displayed flexibility in political responses whenever it was demanded by the situation.? He adds, ?Advaniji has been my friend and comrade-in-arms ever since he started working for the Jana Sangh over fifty years ago.? In his compliment, Shri Vajpayee says: ?As an erudite journalist with Organiser; as one who assisted Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya and later, me, in building the party in a most difficult period in its history.? Candidly admitting the difference of opinion between them Atalji says: ?Yes, we have had our differences on issues and approaches during the course of our long association as it is not possible for two individuals to always have an identical response while working together for over a half century within an organisation. However, it is not the differences, but the unity of purpose and action, that marked our relationship.?
Senior BJP leader Shri Jaswant Singh said: ?I believe Advaniji is one of the most misread and misrepresented leaders in today'sIndia'spolitics. He is far removed from being a breaker of mosques or any such thing.? He described the book as a ?path-breaker? and a ?valuable addition? to India'spolitical and social history over the past several decades.
Significantly, Shri Advani speaking on the occasion stated that he would not add anything more to what he has already said in the book and said he would let the book speak for itself. He made it a point to mention that he missed Atalji on the august occasion. He recalled that he joined the RSS at the age of 14 years where he received his grounding. The RSS has imparted a meaning to his life, while his personnel family contributed to his happiness, he added. Expressing his happiness he said: ?God has gifted me with both meaning and happiness in life in abundant measure. I feel I have said through the book what I could not have said otherwise.?
The editor of Tughlak, Shri Cho Ramaswamy, showering praise on Shri Advani'shonesty, transparency and probity in public life, said that Advaniji is very objective in his assessment and his strength lies in the fact that he takes all crisis as an opportunity, and he sees every opportunity as a responsibility, which he discharges diligently. He added: ?This country has been his life and his life has been this country.? He suggested that another chapter be added to this great book, when he would become the Prime Minister.
Shri Advani has mentioned in his book about his days in Organiser, where he joined in 1960 as an assistant editor on the recommendation of Shri Deendayal Upadhyaya. He said: ?I was on the journal'sstaff, Malkaniji gave me full creative freedom to express myself on a wide variety of issues. Soon, I started writing three columns under different pen names! This was particularly due to my own enthusiasm and also because there were very few writers in those days. My salary was quite modest?Rs 350 per month (p. 110).?