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The Rediff Chat: Ambassador Navtej Sarna

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Ambassador Navtej Sarna, India's longest-serving spokesman for the Ministry of External Affairs and a seasoned diplomat who has served in Moscow, Warsaw, Thimphu, Geneva, Teheran and Washington, DC, will release his third book -- The Exile -- on Tuesday.

Written from Maharaja Duleep Singh's standpoint, The Exile is a look at the life of an Indian royal who was brutally shortchanged by the Raj and by British imperialism.

When the very able and eminent Maharaja Ranjit Singh of Punjab died in 1839 he left behind an empire in disarray. Predictably the British were standing by to scoop up Singh’s kingdom. Duleep Singh, Ranjjt Singh’s heir, was the young 11-year-old prince who signed away his kingdom and one of the world's most famous diamonds -- the enormous Kohinoor -- to the British and was dispatched to Queen Victoria's court in London to become her pet courtier. He eventually died in Paris, still an exile.

Duleep's life is one of the most tragic tales of Indian history and Sarna tells it poignantly.

The Exile is Sarna's third book after The Book of Nanak and We Weren't Lovers Like That . He has also written book reviews and short stories for the BBC World Service, Biblio and the Times Literary Supplement among other publications.

The Jalandhar-born Sarna, a 1980-batch Indian Foreign Service officer, takes charge as the Indian Ambassador to Israel in Jerusalem next month, after having finished his term as joint secretary for external publicity at the ministry of external affairs (he took up the post in October 2002).

Here's your chance to interact with one of India's hotshot diplomats and historians to boot. Discuss The Exile, British imperialism, Sikh history, diplomacy, Indo-US relations, and more with Sarna, only on Rediff Chat.

Catch Ambassador Navtej Sarna on the Rediff Chat, on Tuesday, October 14, at 3.30 pm IST.

(Due to circumstances beyond our control, date and time of chat may change).

Buy Navtej Sarna's books on Rediff Shopping



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