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Javier Moro

A month after his book on Sonia Gandhi raised a storm, the author reflects on The Red Sari

Javier Moro
Javier Moro

Did you have any idea your book would cause so much controversy in India?

I expected some controversy after the book came out, not before anyone has even read it.

Your book is a hagiography. So why the stiff opposition from the Congress?

Some Congressmen are opposed to a book about their supreme leader without their control while others applaud the idea.

Was finding a publisher in India difficult?

Penguin wanted to publish the book but their legal department advised against it.

How did you finally find a publisher here?

Pramod Kapoor of Roli Books read the book and wanted to publish it and hopefully he will. 

Is Roli still going ahead with the book?

My agent is in charge of the negotiations. 

How did the West respond to your book?

It’s met with wide success because it reveals who Sonia Gandhi really is and what it means to be a woman who, every morning, has to take decisions that affect one-sixth of humanity.
Would you write the book differently now?

I still think Sonia is a great woman but I would have added her father’s activities at the end of WW II. That could explain the Maino family’s reluctance to talk to the media.
Is it right to write a fiction/non-fiction about a living person without a disclaimer?

Everywhere in the free world, the “public figure” doctrine insulates writers and publishers from legal problems so long as the book is not malicious. And The Red Sari is not.
Has this episode ended your romance with the Gandhi family?

I have no romance with them. But I still think they have a fabulous story.
What exactly is your book—fiction, non-fiction, biography, or a romance?

It’s a fictionalised life of Sonia and the Nehru family. Have you ever seen a movie with the line “based on a true story” below the title?

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