Sub title: Memoir of a Home Divided
"In this unflinchingly candid memoir, Zareer Masani draws on the letters and diaries of his parents, charismatic politician Minoo Masani and his gifted wife Shakuntala, to paint an intimate portrait of two remarkable individuals and their prominent but very different families—the Masanis, Bombay Parsis, and the Srivastavas, UP Kayasths—united by marriage but divided by temperament, lifestyle and political affiliation. Minoo’s father Sir Rustom Masani was an ascetic scholar who scorned wealth and all the comforts it could buy. Shakuntala’s father, Sir J.P. Srivastava, arch-loyalist of the British Raj and viceregal councillor, made a fortune as a mill owner and brought up his daughter in the lap of hedonistic luxury. When the two fell in love and eloped, Minoo was a twice-divorced, left-wing Congress activist. Later, he became a founder of the pro-free-market Swatantra Party—a figure whom Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has described as his ideological inspiration—leader of the Opposition in Parliament and a tireless campaigner against global Communism. The author writes of his turbulent upbringing as an only child torn between the rival influences and attractions of his parents and grandparents; of the struggle to express his own sexuality in 1960s India; and of the stormy and agonizing breakdown of his parents’ marriage, which was closely interwoven with the political drama of Indira Gandhi’s rise to power and the Emergency she imposed. "
Penguin Books India
31 Jan 2012
248pp with 16pp b/w illustrations