The book has an interesting collection of stories involving politicians, diplomats, leaders and some celebrities from the art and entertainment industry. These articles were published in Mail Today between 2011 and 2012.
Walking With Lions: Tales From A Diplomatic Past spans the globe in its coverage of intriguing personalities. The title itself is drawn from a very interesting episode involving an Indian diplomat in Ethiopia. Back then, the Ethiopian etiquette demanded that ambassadors who presented their credentials to the emperor should be accompanied by two lions. This naturally made most ambassadors uneasy.
When the Indian Ambassador R. G. Rajwade presented his credentials, he walked straight ahead showing no discomfiture. When asked by the Chief of Protocol whether he was aware of the lions behind him, Rajwade replied that his eyes had been fixed on the Imperial Emperor and he had noticed nothing else. The episode earned the respect of the Ethiopians for the Indian diplomat.
There is a hilarious anecdote about Ugandan Dictator Idi Amin and his purported desire to rename his country after himself. One of his ministers informed him that it would cause embarrassment. The people of the country of Cyprus were called Cypriots. If Uganda were called Idi, then, the country's citizens would be called Idiots.
The book is peppered with anecdotes about many leaders like Indira Gandhi, Morarji Desai, Fidel Castro, Zia-ul-Haq, Richard Nixon and Yasser Arafat. Also included is a story about an interesting encounter between Godman Chandraswami and Margaret Thatcher, before she became the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.
The author also recollects with respect and admiration, his encounters with leaders like C. Rajagopalachari, Nelson Mandela, and some personalities from the non-political arena like Don Bradman, M. F. Hussain and Dev Anand.
Walking With Lions: Tales From A Diplomatic Past is a very interesting read, and details incidents from the life of a high profile diplomat and politician, who has had a long and successful career.
About K. Natwar Singh
K. Natwar Singh is an Indian diplomat and politician.
He is also the author of The Legacy of Nehru, Maharaja Suraj Mal, Tales from Modern India, The Magnificent Maharaja Bhupinder Singh of Patiala, and Curtain Raisers.
K. Natwar Singh began his career in the Indian Foreign Service in 1953. He served in the diplomatic corps in various capacities in many places across the world. In 1984, he was elected to the Lok Sabha as a Congress party candidate from the Rajasthan constituency of Bharatpur. In 2005, his alleged involvement in a scam forced him to resign from his post as Minister in charge of External Affairs. In 2008, he resigned from the membership of the Congress party. K. Natwar Singh, nevertheless, has had a distinguished political and diplomatic career, and he was awarded the Padma Bhushan for his services in 1984.