Former Indian diplomat B.S. Das's memoirs weaves anecdotes and personal anxieties to tell a fascinating story
The diplomatic world is a closed one but retired diplomats consistently give us a glimpse into this world through their memoirs which come out ever so often. Former Indian diplomat B.S. Das ushers the readers once more into this world with his book “Memoirs of an Indian Diplomat” (Tata McGraw Hill).
Das, joined IPS in 1948, the first batch of free India and then in 1960, he was posted on a foreign assignment by the Ministry of External Affairs. “I started from Moscow and went on to serve in Vietnam, UK, and Bhutan. This journey gave me an insight into some of the most important events in India's history which helped me gain a unique experience, there was greater intellectual maturation and greater self-realisation,” says Das.
“Like, from an almost certain nuclear conflict between Soviet Union and Unites States in 1962 where we were clueless of what life has to offer the very next minute to later playing an instrumental role in Sikkim's merger. There were so many events,” states the author elaborating on the exercise.
So, one asks is it this rich experience that he records in his offering. “Well, there is more to it. The book is divided into two parts, the first that is ‘Wanderings' is a factual narration of events and varied experiences giving a peep inside the diplomatic manoeuvres and dealings. The second that is ‘Perceptions' is a subjective view of the emerging issues of India like ‘Indo-Pak relations', ‘Vision of India 2050' etc.” A bit surprised, one asks the Padma Shri awardee's relationship with wanderings and achievements, the list of which is never ending. “Oh! A wanderer. That's what I am. I have been searching for an answer to existence – its real meaning. I am a dreamer lost in the world of improbability. And I still remain a wanderer in this sea of dreams. In fact, to be frank I had suggested the title of this book as ‘In the lap of wanderings'.
But, sensing the market the publishers recommended the title ‘Memoirs of an Indian Diplomat' which I agreed to,” says the author with candour who now shows his business skills by heading Fairwood Consultants Pvt Ltd, a group of nine companies in India and abroad.
The book also gives an insight into India's evolving foreign policy and various factors influencing it. The author spices up the content with a number of anecdotes. “But, honestly I believe my perceptions are a consequence of a long journey so there is no one particular thing which helps in forming an opinion. One thing I did all this while was to keep on learning. . I also realised the significance of human relations. So, where every protocol of diplomacy failed, human relations worked. This is why I have tried to present history in this book with a slice of human touch.”