Suave, secular and known for his unwavering honesty, Madhavrao Scindia was no conventional politician. Born to the last king of Gwalior and conscious of his heritage, he espoused liberal and democratic values throughout his life. A nine-term member of the Lok Sabha and hugely successful minister, he remained a family man at heart.
Scindia was a beguiling figure because of the way he chose to live: His was a path that proved neither predictable nor easy. Perhaps that's why his life reads like the plot of a grand novel, dotted with intriguing courtiers and wily politicians-in a bitter falling out with his mother, a powerful force of the Jana Sangh, in battles with at least two Congress governments, in his own tragic death. His captivating story emerges as the portrait of a fascinating life as much as a chronicle of contemporary Indian politics.