London: A biography of Sonia Gandhi, the Congress president and chairperson of the UPA, was launched in the UK, giving an intimate and insightful portrait of an extraordinary woman who never sought a political life, declined the office of Prime Minister, yet has been named to the top echelons of the world`s most influential people.
The book, `Sonia Gandhi: An Extraordinary Life, an Indian Destiny, by Rani Singh, a London-based NRI journalist, was launched here last night at the DSC South Asian Literature Festival.
The launch of the book at Rich Mix theatre coincided with a panel discussion, including Virendra Sharma, Labour Party MP and Chair of Indo-British All Party Parliamentary Group.
In his foreword to the book, Mikhail Gorbachev, the former president of the Soviet Union, said "Sonia Gandhi has served India in many ways - as Rajiv`s wife, as the mother of two remarkable children, as an example of dignity and strength, and as a political leader of high caliber. India must be proud of her."
In the 268-page book, Singh, who has worked with BBC television and radio for over 15 years, has given an intimate and insightful portrait of an extraordinary woman.
According to Henry Kissinger, "India`s rise to global prominence owes much to Sonia`s astute recognition of the hopes of the Indian people and to her superb leadership skills that have helped top achieve them. It is a compelling and important story of tragedy, family and a nation on an upward trajectory."
James Brewer, senior editor and business journalist, said the biography is "a moving tribute to the leader who has tasted the bitterness of bereavement after assassins struck down her husband and her mother-in-law, and who has risen above the power plays directed against her by some of the old-style politicians."
Tim Marshall, Foreign Affairs Editor, Sky News said: "Rani Singh weaves a compelling love story into the complexities of Indian politics with skill and sensitivity."
The publisher Palgrave Macmillan noted that "Sonia Gandhi`s story represents the greatest transformational journey made by any world leader in the last four decades."
Circumstance and tragedy, rather than ambition, paved her path to power.
Through exclusive interviews with senior members of government - past and present- Sonia`s party colleagues, political opponents, and close family friends, Singh "casts a new light on Sonia," the publisher said.