New Delhi, June 2022: Penguin Random House India is proud to announce the publication of The Life and Times of George Fernandes, which is going to be the first comprehensive biography of George Fernandes. Written by Rahul Ramagundam, the book is going to release on 25 July under the Allen Lane imprint. The book is currently available for pre-order on all major e-commerce websites.
The Life and Times of George Fernandes is the story of the firebrand trade union leader, socialist politician and incredible orator, told like never before. Comprehensive and unputdownable, this title will take readers through the life and works of George: from the streets of Bombay to the corridors of power in Delhi. Rahul Ramagundam opens a window to the story of the man, who was popularly known for leading the All India Railwaymen’s Federation (AIRF) in May 1974 and calling upon its approximately 1.7 million employees to strike, which brought India to a halt for twenty days. This and many such stories from George’s life and the causes he so passionately believed in will come to light in this book.
Commenting on his experience writing this book, Rahul Ramagundam says, ‘For twelve long years, I have lived in George’s mind, explored his soul, and interrogated his choices, journeyed with him through his highs and lows. Just as he did in pursuit of his politics, I have staked many things, family and friendships, job and joys, in writing this biography. I have spent weeks sifting through papers in padlocked archives, brushing off mounds of dust left by families of termites. I have peered at microfilms of newspapers on dim-lit screens of time-worn machines. His private collection of more than a hundred thousand papers prodded a kind of historian’s greed in me. The delirious tedium of making a story out of those disparate papers strangely never tired me out. Thanks to the nurturing staff at Penguin, the book is finally out in the world.’
In this fascinating biography, Rahul Ramagundam traces the course of the Socialist Party in India: from its inception in the 1930s to its dissolution into the Janata Party in the late 1970s. It is a must-have for not only those who are interested to know more about Fernandes but also those who are curious about history and read different accounts of the situations that changed the course of this nation.
Premanka Goswami, Associate Publisher, Penguin Random House India, said, ‘George Fernandes’s life and politics fascinated people across the spectrum. His commitment to fight for the rights of the working-class people; his role during the Emergency; and his “obsession” to defeat the all-powerful Congress party from its dominant position in India’s politics finds a characteristic expression in this book. We’re excited to publish it from Penguin India.’
Meru Gokhale, Publisher, Penguin Press, Penguin Random House India, said, ‘George Fernandes was one of the most enigmatic politicians of contemporary India. With almost five decades as a Member of Parliament, his journey as a politician and rebel is fascinating. From being a trade union leader in the 1970s to India’s Defence Minister in the NDA Government, George Fernandes gave a new dimension to the socialist political movement in India. Rahul Ramagundam’s biography of him is as much an important political document as it is a riveting read. We are delighted to be its publishers.’
About the author
Rahul Ramagundam was born into a family of freedom fighters in Bihar. His first influences were his grandparents from both sides. He was educated in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and then undivided Andhra Pradesh, and received his doctoral degree in Modern Indian History at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU). While at JNU, he was simultaneously associated with a grassroots movement in the united Madhya Pradesh for many years. Presently, he teaches at a Delhi-based university and wages a fierce everyday struggle to read, research and write.
Rahul’s many books include Gandhi’s Khadi (2008) and Including the Socially Excluded (2017).