Monday, November 15, 2004

The Churchill fan from Rajasthan

Born in a nondescript village near Pokhran, Inder Dan Ratnu never went to an English medium school. But he grew up to be possibly one of the most loyal fans that Winston Churchill could ever have. A member of the Charan community, known for its literary aptitude, he realised that Churchill’s speeches had a “certain rhythm” similar to the poems recited by Charans. He promptly breaks into a speech, reciting the premier’s famed "Blood, Toil, Tears and Sweat" speech delivered at the House of Commons in 1940.

“The nature of his delivery is the same. It is poetic in nature, though it is prose,” says Ratnu, who was introduced to Churchill in 1974 by a book he spotted on a peanut vendor’s cart. “He inspired people on a global scale for defending freedom through literary mastery that my community members have been doing for generations,” he adds. A retired bank officer, Ratnu now lectures at schools regularly on Churchill and freedom.

His first book, Alternative to Churchill: The Eternal Bondage (1995), is a what-if account based on Adolf Hitler’s victory in World War Two. “It would have been total autocracy,” he says. The self-published book mentions, interestingly, that the Nazis choose to drop an atom bomb on New York at the World Trade Center site. Layman’s Questions About Churchill, his second book, also self-published, followed in 1998.

His later books, published by Terraplane and available on, shift focus to the US. The Ultimate Defense, albeit fictional, documents how Bill Clinton, then the American President, avoids being impeached over the Monica Lewinsky scandal by giving a stirring speech in the US Congress. The book was ready in November 1998, a few months before his impeachment procedure began.

Ratnu’s last book, published in May 2004, again concerns the Clintons. This time it is Beverly Hilton (Hillary Clinton in real life) who is pitted against an African American – Ratnu hints at Colin Powell – in the US presidential elections. “No lady has occupied the US presidential post so far. So, the book is again based on concept of freedom that Churchill defended,” he said.

Ratnu returned from his first visit abroad to New York on Monday where he campaigned for George Bush, whom he termed as a “defender of freedom” and more beneficial to India than John Kerry because of the way the US has changed Pakistan’s policy towards terrorism. He gave interviews to the Indian media there and lobbied with local Indians. “Like Churchill, Bush has also interwoven national interest with a global cause. He deserves a second term to finish what he started,” Ratnu said.

One of my reports for Hindustan Times


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