(Paperback | ISBN 9789387693630 | 408 pp | June 2018)
The Scope of Happiness is the autobiography of an outstanding world figure who was the sister, confidante, and lifelong political associate of India’s first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru and the aunt of Indira Gandhi. Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit participated in the Indian national struggle for freedom from its inception and was imprisoned three times. In this very personal view of the struggle for independence, she gives an evocative picture of the cultured and protected world in which she grew up in Anand Bhavan in Allahabad, conveying even the textures, aromas and sounds of her childhood home. She offers an unprecedented picture of life in India under British rule, with its rigorous restrictions and racial bigotry.
A compelling strength of this book is the intimate picture the author draws of many great figures: the searching and affectionate view of her brother, the insight into her niece Indira, a personal record of Mahatma Gandhi that no one else could give—and penetrating and entertaining anecdotes of world figures such as Krishna Menon, Earl Mountbatten of Burma, Chester Bowles, Dag Hammarskjold, Eleanor Roosevelt, President Tito and Prince Charles. No other living individual could draw the sweeping historical picture that Mrs Pandit has given us in her memoir, making it a book of rare significance that will speak lastingly for generations to come.