January 22, 2021

KITAAB

Connecting Asian writers with global readers

Review: From a Minister’s Journal by Fakir Syed Aijazuddin

1 min read

A former Pakistani minister surveys the quirks of his office and country with wit and self-deprecation, but doesn’t flinch from skewering those who’ve earned his ire: Mani Shankar Aiyer in The Outlook

South Asian politicians do not keep diaries. Most Western politicians do. And a great deal of history is written on the basis of the immediacy that is offered by the word written in the white heat of the moment. Which is why Neville Cham­berlain’s letters to his sister are a more authentic record of the appeasement of Hitler than the bland official record. Or the gossipy diaries of Chips Channon of the Churchillian milieu more than the grandiose (and self-serving) grandstanding of Churchill’s own magisterial works. And the master of all diarists is surely Alan Clarke, whose delightfully indiscreet observations and naked but innocent ambition mark his Diaries as the authentic voice of the Thatcher years.

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