Book launch of ‘Courage and Commitment’ by Margaret Alva

Jaipur Book Lovers attended the book launch of Margaret Alva’s autobiography ‘Courage and Commitment’

Following is the account of the event.


“Courage is when you have commitment without a guarantee of success” is how Apra Kuchhal, at the book launch of Margaret Alva’s autobiography Courage and Commitment, elaborated about the Lady behind this powerful memoir.

The evening was decorated with a Rajasthani folk song ‘Padharo Mahre Desh’ sung by Shivani. After which began the much awaited dialogue between Nupur Basu, the veteran journalist, and Margaret Alva, a long time politician and now also a writer.

The first question, regarding the so called controversy about Alva backstabbing the party, was a notion that filled the atmosphere but Alva clearly conveyed that this has nothing to do with the party. The book is a very personal account and it took me about 5 years to write it and the entire 1000 page account is completely hand written. Upon being asked to tell about a major betrayal and an outshining achievement, she said that it was an achievement for me to become a member of Rajyasabha at 31 and the biggest betrayal happened when I took an action that I believed was right, i.e. supporting Devraja Urs in Karnataka and the subsequent expulsion from the party.

When asked about her constant patch-ups and fall-outs with the Gandhis, she replied that it is not just about you, it is about the circumstances that you are in, and the events that you land into. But, when it came to Mrs. Indra Gandhi, we always had a special relationship. I condemned the emergency and criticized it in the book. I have mentioned that the night the incident in Punjab happened, that night is a shame to our nation and we should have the humility to accept that something went horribly wrong. We are the responsible elected personal and if we accept the praises and the kudos when something goes right, then why should we not also own up to our failures.

Margaret Alva has been a lawyer and has been consulted by a lot of welfare foundations and has also invested a lot of time and energy to uplift the social stature of the common woman of India. She was the one who initiated the movement to reserve 33℅ seats for women in Panchayat Samiti in 1989 and by 1993 it became a law. She claimed that she got the energy to fight for women, as she herself had been a victim of misogyny, a deplorable yet ubiquitous  mindset that prevails right from the street to the lanes of the Parliament.

The book also has an account of Alva’s travel throughout the globe and is filled with interesting incidents that happened to her in Russia and Europe. From sharing a room out of fear in a foreign land with a delegate who was accompanying her to dancing with the President of Portugal, her travel instances mentioned in the book can give the reader quite a jolt.

At the end of the session Alva said “I am done with politics and that is why I have left, there is nothing that I want to hide. As far as fighting is concerned, who will I fight with? My leaders, my mentors and my family? The book is not a fight it is not an attack. It is how I have lived and cherished my life.”

Writing credits: Abhishek

Edited by: Divyajot joshi

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