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BW Businessworld

Personal And The Political

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Parsi politician Minocheher Rustom Masani was one of the fiercest supporters of free market in India. One of the founder-leaders of the pro-Western, liberal Swatantra Party — India's first serious Parliamentary opposition — Minoo was a member of the Constituent Assembly. In And All Is Said, Masani's historian son Zareer weaves a fascinating nostalgic piece of work that eloquently brings to life the dying days of the British Raj, the early years of a one-party state and the rise and fall of Indira Gandhi, with the internecine warfare between his political parents forming the main narrative. Torn by infidelities, much-publicised political differences and constant squabbling over the upbringing of their only child, Minoo Masani and his Hindu wife Shakuntala were an unlikely pair. Yet, their tumultuous marriage subsisted for nearly two decades after the first seeds of distrust and division were sown in 1960. With an engaging narrative, the book unravels the picture of an India  not many of the present generation would have heard of. Zareer draws on the letters and diaries of his parents to put together an intimate portrait of two remarkable individuals from two contrasting backgrounds.

So, in the end, were both Minoo and Shakuntala at peace with themselves? Zareer says, "He lived long enough to see his free-market, pro-Western political values triumph, not only in Eastern Europe but in India too… Mother died without any such vindication."

(This story was published in Businessworld Issue Dated 12-03-2012)