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Jaipur Literature Festival 2015: Javier Moro talks about 'The Red Sari'; recounts the hilarious incident of how he first introduced himself to Sonia Gandhi

Prajakta Hebbar | http://imsopraj

First published: January 23, 2015, 6:27 PM IST | Updated: January 23, 2015
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Jaipur Literature Festival 2015: Javier Moro talks about 'The Red Sari'; recounts the hilarious incident of how he first introduced himself to Sonia Gandhi
A biography that Moro describes is more on the lines of a love story, is a biographical account of Indian National Congress president Sonia Gandhi.

Jaipur: Javier Moro, speaking in a lilting Spanish accent, looked unruffled by the reaction to his famously-banned, recently released book 'The Red Sari'. A biography that Moro describes is more on the lines of a love story, is a biographical account of Indian National Congress president Sonia Gandhi.

In a discussion with Florence Noiville and Madhu Trehan, Moro talked about the struggles he faced while writing the book, as well as the amount of research he put into it, at the ongoing Jaipur Literature Festival.

'The Red Sari', the English translation of the 2008 Spanish-language 'El sari rojo', hit bookstands in India last week, seven months after the Congress party was ousted after a decade in power.

Congress Party leaders had opposed the publication of the book in 2010 and threatened to take legal action. Moro said he stayed away from India after his effigies were burned.

Moro said he was surprised there were no books available on the media-shy politician, who rose from obscurity after her marriage into India's Gandhi dynasty and was thrust into the limelight as the widow of an assassinated former premier.

Speaking about how he was obsessed with the research, interviews and work relating to Sonia Gandhi, Moro shared how he first introduced himself to her.

"I was attending an event at the Rashtrapati Bhawan, with my uncle Dominique Lapierre. When I saw Sonia, I made up my mind to meet her. But I wanted her to remember me. So I introduced myself with, 'I have been sleeping with you for the last four years'," said Moro.

"She gave me a surprised look and I hastened to add that I had been researching and studying her and her family for that period, and the thought of all that work had given me sleepless nights," Moro added chuckling.

The Italian-born Sonia Gandhi, 68, has played a reduced public role since Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party snatched power from the Congress in May.

Gandhi took over the reins of a floundering Congress Party in 1998 and was the architect of its unexpected triumph in national elections six years later. In what was seen as a masterstroke in the wake of protests over her Italian birth, she declined to become prime minister, preferring to wield power from behind the scenes.

Moro wrote his book on Gandhi without her consent, calling it the 'dramatised' biography of a public figure considered one of the world's most powerful women. Any writer would be lucky to get his hands on material such as Sonia's life, he said.

(With inputs from agencies)

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