Indian minister Smriti Irani turns thriller writer with debut book

Novel was inspired by the killings of security forces in Chhattisgarh state

By Web Desk

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Published: Fri 19 Nov 2021, 1:58 PM

Smriti Irani, the Indian minister for Women and Child Development, has come out with her maiden crime thriller, 'Lal Salaam.’ The novel was inspired by the killings of 76 security forces in Dantewada in Chhattisgarh state in 2010.

“The story has been brewing at the back of my mind for a few years now, until there came a time when I simply couldn’t ignore the urge to put it down on paper,” said Irani.

“I am hoping readers will enjoy the pace and the insights I have tried to bring to the narrative, which is set in a less-reported part of India.”

According to the minister, the book is a thriller, which women are not expected to write. “When I sent the manuscript I did it without my name as I wanted an established author to read,” she told Masaba Gupta, the designer and actor, and daughter of Neena Gupta, the Bollywood actress, and legendary West Indies cricketer Viv Richards.

“And the author was exasperated as to who had written it.”

Talking about her love for books, Irani said: “I am an old school book reader. I’m a book-seller’s daughter, my parents ran away, had a love marriage and barely had Rs150 back then. My father used to sell books in Dhaula Kuan in Delhi.”

He would read the Wilbur Smiths of the world and she never grew up with Mills and Boons novels, she said. On her official Instagram page, the minister also posted the 31-minute video interview that Masaba had with her on the book. “A new chapter begins…unveiling Lal Salaam,” she wrote on her page.

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