Book Review

Tarun Gogoi – the inside story of a blunt politician

Tarun Gogoi – the inside story of a blunt politician
Author: Wasbir Hussain
Publisher: Wordweaves India, Guwahati
Published: December 27 2010

Pages: 291
Price: Rs. 499
Language: English
ISBN: 978-81-909903-2-5

The book, Tarun Gogoi – the inside story of a blunt politician is more than a biography of Assam’s poll- winning Chief Minister and veteran Congress leader. The author has skilfully weaved in the landmark events of the time to make the book a commentary or signpost of Assam’s contemporary political and social history. In the book, the author has touched certain aspects of political history of Assam through the eyes of Tarun Gogoi. The biography chronicles the life of Tarun Gogoi, from politics to intimate personal details, laced with quotes from friends, relatives, and those who knew the straightforward Chief Minister from close.

The book talks about how Tarun was a surprise nomination when nominated first for fighting MP elections from Jorhat. He won that election. After that he was also appointed as Joint Secretary of All India Congress Committee (AICC) in a crucial time of India, i.e., post emergency. He was appointed Assam Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC)’s President when Congress lost majority of its seats after the Assam Agitation. He became the Chief Minister of Assam when Assam was in terrible shape. In short, he was in key positions in terrible situations. Reading those parts of the book while he was in those delicate times have been very interesting.

The book, of course, throws rare insights into the man himself. How did Congress leaders in Assam respond to Mahatma Gandhi’s salt satyagraha? It talks about how Nehru had cast a magic spell on Tarun while he was a student of class III, and how he managed to steer clear from being with any of the lobbies in the faction-ridden Congress party in his native Jorhat just as he had plunged into active politics in 1962. The book talks about Indira Gandhi spotting and picking up Tarun, his rise in the Congress party and Mrs Gandhi putting him to work with Rajiv Gandhi.

The book details issues like insurgency that Tarun has dealt with during his tenure as Assam’s Chief Minister. The book discloses who had been Tarun’s favourite Chief Minister and also some of his predecessors whom he did not quite like. The book is a must read for people interested in Assam and a good read for others.