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“Through the Broken Glass: An Autobiography” authored by T.N. Seshan

‘Through The Broken Glass: An Autobiography” authored by T.N. Seshan, the former Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) of India, who made a significant difference to Indian elections. It was published by Rupa Publications India. This autobiography also covers his term as the CEC from 1990 to 1995 with a page count of 368. It has been published 4 years after he passed away in 2019.

In the early part of his career he described his first posting as a sub-collector in Dindigul and then a collector in Madurai of Tamil Nadu. T.N. Seshan is also the author of An Undocumented Wonder: The Making of the Great Indian Election.

About the Book

This autobiography covers his tenure as the CEC. He almost fits into the stereotype of the self-righteous south Indian Brahmin, more specifically the Tamil Brahmin, who is dour and upright. Instead of offering revealing insights into people and processes when he served as a bureaucrat for more than three decades before he became the CEC in 1990, he has given a logbook of his time in the government, starting as a sub-collector in Dindigul and collector in Madurai, where he confronted his administrative superiors with a taunt that they should send in writing what they wanted done.

The famous one in the early part of his career is his run-in with Sheikh Abdullah, who was under arrest and moved to Kodaikanal, which was in Madurai district, and he as collector had to deal with him. He would read all the letters that Abdullah wrote as part of his duty. Once, Abdullah insisted that he wants to send a letter to President S. Radhakrishnan, and demanded that Seshan pass it on without reading it. Seshan refused and Abdullah went on a fast unto death. Then Abdullah let him read the letter which was an innocuous and formal, and broke his fast.

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