Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The picture is complete

Meet Hamish McDonald, the man behind Ambani & Sons

When it comes to understanding the lives of big people, we approve or disapprove of, between covers we generally get sensitised hagiographies. So when Hamish McDonald, a seasoned journalist with a reputation of rubbing the big and mighty the wrong way came up with Polyester Prince, an unauthorised biography of Dhirubhai Ambani, we were surprised. But the reaction of the powers that decide what we should read was on predictable lines. The book was banned in India. Now many summers later, when the scenario is a bit different, Hamish has put together another book that tries to uncover the inside story of Reliance. Called Ambani & Sons, the Roli publication goes on to dissect the fracas that followed in the family two years after Dhirubhai's demise.

“The general pattern here is such that business biographers generally go the hagiographic or friendly way at best. It happened with J.R.D. Tata,” says Hamish who has served in Jakarta, Hong Kong, Beijing and New Delhi. He says when the subject requires a hard study, the author comes up with an affectionate work. “There is a question of access as well,” says Hamish whose book on Suharto was banned in Indonesia.

Full report here Hindu

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