Beyond the Lines: An Autobiography

Osama Siddiqui

I personally have a strong inclination towards those people who have acted as ambassadors of peace or have been against the oppression of minorities. My heroes have either one quality or they have both the qualities, and Kuldip Nayar is one of such personalities who have both the above qualities.

Kuldip Nayar had started writing his book ‘Beyond the Lines: An Autobiography’ with the experiences of Sialkot, Punjab, where he was born on August 23, 1947. He had very fondly penned down his childhood memories and the secular environment of Sialkot at that time. The misery that he had felt about the violence at the time of partition has also been written in the book in a very impressive and thoughtful manner.

He was a lawyer by profession and had graduated from the Forman Christian College, Lahore, whereas he also had done his masters in journalism from the USA but he clearly had said that it was not too much useful as it was far different from the journalism of India.

His memories with all the leaders were based on his personal experiences. He had enough courage to put down all the controversial facts. He simply was not a worshipper of the leaders; but, Jawaharlal Nehru was his inspiration. Nehru Ji was one of the leaders who had worked for the rights of minorities and had always opposed the religious fanaticism in all kinds.

Kuldip Nayar had also written about his experience of relations with many political leaders, including Govindbhai Patel, Lal Bahadur Shastri, Indira Gandhi, V.P. Singh and Rajiv Gandhi etc. He had openly criticized the Indira Gandhi’s policies, while he blatantly had said that the operation blue star was not the right thing to do which was further regretted by Sonia Gandhi as well.

He had shared a lot of memories about his stay in England as High Commissioner; however, some of the moments were quite intense, whereas the most memorable event was when the Muslims of Leicester welcomed him to inaugurate a newly-built mosque.

His stint as a parliamentarian is a must read where he had criticized the Bharatiya Janata Party for its wish to polarize the country and convert it into a Hindu state from a secular one. His views about the Manmohan Singh’s government were clear that it could have performed far better. Although a coalition government has to make compromises which might make Manmohan Singh right but that costed India very much.

Kuldip Nayar had been an advocate of the better relations of India and Pakistan. Here, it is to mention that Benazir Bhutto had appreciated his efforts in improving the relationship between the two countries. She also said, “You people may be successful one day. We the governments will not get anywhere.”

The book on his autobiography is a recommendation to all those who want to see good neighborly relations between India and Pakistan. It is a must read for all the aspiring journalists, columnists and writers that how one can remain neutral and impartial to provide unbiased writing scripts to the avid readers.

We, the people of Pakistan and India should always remember such personalities. I remember that during the Faiz International Festival in 2018, a panel comprised of Syeda Saiyidain Hameed, Aitzaz Ahsan and Khurshid Kasuri had a session on Kuldip Nayar and all of them had recalled him very devotedly which was liked by audience very much. I personally support the promotion of art and literature by paying tribute to our heroes and suggest the youth to must read them to get inspiration and guidance for your goals and objectives.

The writer is a graduate of the Institute of Management Sciences (IMSciences), Peshawar in business administration and has keen interest in modern South Asian history, cricket, films and history of the Subcontinent. He can be contacted at:

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