Durbar is a bit of a guilty pleasure. It relies on drawing room gossip a tad too much as its source of “intelligence”. In keeping with the casual, conversational tone, as if the author were doing an interview on TV, she also “forgets” details a lot, like names of people. But you’re doing a book for crying out loud! How difficult can it be in this day and age? Can’t you google down the forgotten bits or something? Fill in the gaps for a sense of completeness maybe?
So, anyway … a little simplistic, if not naive in its conclusions and analysis perhaps, nevertheless sweeping in scope and skillfully lucid in summarizing how the political scenario on the subcontinent got to now.
A good read then if, like me, you were still growing up (or weren’t even born) during the years these events came to pass, and would like the low down to play catch up. At the end of the day, it is only one journalist’s perspective. But then again, it is always open season in so far as memoirs are concerned and you can be sure someone else already has or will come along soon enough with their side of the story.
It is no secret otherwise that journalists, politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen need one another for their survival, if not always hand in glove. The truth, or motives, as always, be damned, and forever anyone’s guess – you’re never gonna learn who has what axe to grind. Read it for the entertainment then – and come to whatever conclusion of your own that works for you.