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Sunday Special » People

Posted at: Dec 3, 2017, 12:36 AM; last updated: Dec 3, 2017, 12:36 AM (IST)AS I PLEASE

When Ivanka stole the limelight

By K. Natwar Singh
Had Miss Ivanka come instead of the daughter of US Prez, she would have all but been ignored
When Ivanka stole the limelight
Why all the fuss about Ivanka Trump? From the head of the government to print media to most TV anchors and lesser mortals were fawning over her in a unseemly and embarrassing manner.

The other eminent guests were ignored. Our famous hospitality became selective. Had Miss Ivanka come instead of the daughter of the US President, she would have all but been ignored. Manushi Chillar did, to some extent, make amends and provide distraction, but she arrived too late. Cherie Blair, wife of the former British Prime Minister, arrived early and was lost among the cheerleaders. Ivanka Trump was generous enough to tell our Prime Minister what a splendid job he was doing! And much more, she even took off her fancy shoes on her visit to the Golconda Fort.


I am reading Haroon Khalid’s Walking with Nanak. My wife bought the book recently. The author is a young man, who lives in Islamabad. He was born and brought up in Lahore.

For me to write about the contents of the book for the readers would be more than presumptuous. I, however, recommend this well-written volume to my friends in Punjab, who may not have spotted it at book shops of Chandigarh, Patiala, Amritsar and other cities in the state. A non-Sikh has written such a book is a good portent.


I am an agnostic. I was at one time very superstitious. For example, I didn’t cross a road if a black cat was crossing my path. Tuesday, I believed, was not a good day to launch an undertaking. If someone sneezed before I was going for a walk, I would wait for an hour or so before stepping out. 

My era of superstition began to wither several decades ago. The number of people who succumb to this irrational belief in supernatural manifestations runs into hundreds of millions. Hitler is supposed to be superstitious. The Italian dictator, Mussolini, certainly was. Winston Churchill was on the sidelines.


I seldom dream. Two nights ago, I did. A meeting was held at Hyderabad House between former President Barack Obama and Dr Manmohan Singh. I was sitting on the former prime minister’s right. Shri Pranab Mukherjee was on his left. As the high-powered deliberations were about to close, the former PM asked me if I would like to say a few words. I said I would.

I began, “Mr President, at meetings between heads of state and heads of government, foreign ministers are to be seen, not heard. As I have the distinction of being the oldest foreign minister in the world, I generally get away such impertinences.” Old age carries its assets.  The “President” smiled. I continued. “Sir, a statement will be issued at the end of this meeting. This, as you and the PM know, no one is likely to read. May I suggest that you and the PM sit down together, without aides and draft an inspirational a half-a-page declaration.” To my dismay the proposal was rejected. Just at the moment, I awoke. I was in my bedroom in our house in Jor Bagh. Conclusion: If wishes were horses, beggars would ride. If tulips were watches, I would hang. 


Dr Farooq Abdullah should now strengthen his security. A weirdo from Haryana has threatened to “slap” him at Lal Chowk in Srinagar.

So far, no responsible or well-informed person has provided evidence on the existence of Padmavati. Late Prof Satish Chandra, a historian and a scholar of medieval India, in one of his books categorically mentioned that there’s no historical evidence that she existed.

The other day a Parliament panel took up the Padmavati episode. One member went overboard till LK Advani reminded the panel that this forum was not the place to take up such an issue.


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