Lived Stories are the carefully selected memories of an early woman diplomat of the Indian Foreign Service (IFS). On the surface, this is a collection of episodes experienced in various parts of the world during the author’s years as a diplomat. At a deeper level, they are carefully chosen stories that highlight social and political events that touch upon pressing issues of our time: majoritarianism; religious and ethnic prejudices; and the crisis of democracy.
Also included is the story of the first successful case of extradition in this country, that of Abu Salem, and the issue of gender discrimination, which led to an upheaval in the IFS in 1979 and remains relevant today. Through events she witnessed during her postings, the author discusses how notions of ‘nationalism’ and ‘patriotism’ were tested when the Soviet Union broke into fourteen new nations and Yugoslavia into six, all in the name of nationalism. The stories from her days in Vietnam, immediately after the country’s victory against America in 1975 despite having no air force or navy, leads to the question: How relevant are technologically sophisticated weapons for India, which is the world’s largest importer of weapons?
The author also discusses how, after her retirement, she became an activist of the RTI movement and a founder-member of the Aam Aadmi Party. These stories will be of interest to civil service aspirants and students of history and international relations. Discerning readers trying to make sense of the times will also find Lived Stories enlightening.
Madhu Bhaduri retired from the IFS as Ambassador to Lisbon (Portugal) in 2003. After retirement, she joined the RTI campaign as an activist, and in 2012, became a founding member of the Aam Aadmi Party, which she was the first to leave within a year. Bhaduri has nurtured a lifelong appreciation of literature, philosophy, music, cuisine, and been a keen observer of paradoxes inherent in different cultures. She has published four novels in Hindi, one of which has been translated and published in Russian.
Foreword by Aruna Roy
1. Vienna, 1970
2. New Delhi, 1973
3. Vietnam, 1975
4. New Delhi, 1979
5. National Defence College, Delhi, 1980
6. Mexico City, 1983
7. Back to Vienna, 1986
8. Hamburg, 1992
9. Minsk and Lithuania, 1996
10. Lisbon, 2000
11. The Right to Information, Delhi, 2004
12. Aam Aadmi Party, Delhi, 2012
13. Left Behind
A Significant Judgment
A Few Photographs