ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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The Blotted Copybook

The Blotted Copybook S Guhan My Presidential Years by R Venkataraman; Harper Collins Publishers India, New
R VENKATARAMAN's 654 page account of his five years (1987-92) as India's eighth president makes heavy demands on the reader's time, patience and stamina. Its length alone is not a major deterrent for the discriminating reader can quickly traverse large parts of the book devoted to the author's numerous foreign and internal tours; his nonsubstantive discussions with foreign and domestic dignitaries; the grandeur of Rashtrapathi Bhawan's halls, gardens and artefacts; investitures, banquets and functions; and the outpourings of official wisdom on occasions such as the opening of parliament sessions, governors' conferences, R-days and I-days. RV himself has the consideration to say, in the prologue, that excerpts from his speeches on various occasions "may make tiresome reading and may be skipped without much loss". This helpful advice applies to much else in the book.

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