Fiscal deficit? We need to know. Defense acquisitions? We have to learn about the weapon system. The unrest in the North East?

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Jun 16, Arun Divakar rated it it was ok One of those unsolved mysteries of India to me has always been how democracy has survived so long in this country. Mine is a relatively small state in the map, an area of 15, square miles with 14 major districts included in it. There is only one spoken language called Malayalam but it is spoken in countless different tones and slangs that an outsider would be perplexed to put it mildly!

Now apply this to the One of those unsolved mysteries of India to me has always been how democracy has survived so long in this country. Now apply this to the larger states like Bihar or Madhya Pradesh and you will understand the enormity of this nation and the complexity that will face any government or central agency. It is this vastness and diverse nature that also protects democracy in this nation for no two states or no two sets of people think alike.

The problems are as different as chalk and cheese. The Maoist insurgency in the northern areas does not spread to the others, the secessionist forces at play in Kashmir cannot spread its effect elsewhere, communism in Kerala and Bengal does not find a foothold in any other states are but minor examples of how India makes life difficult for ideologies and political forces.

There is however one dynasty that everyone knows in India : the Nehru — Gandhi family. The seeds of dynasty politics began with them and the rest is part of the history of post-independence India. To begin, I can say that the content of this book is what can be termed as immensely readable. Economically the country was grumbling and moaning on its path along, foreign direct investment was frowned upon, external affairs policy was about being a satellite of the Soviet Union and there was strife from within.

The state of emergency remains a very dark and disturbing chapter in the history of this nation and at the center stage of this tragedy was Sanjay Gandhi. In the state of Punjab, Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale began the demand for the separate state of Khalistan and violence was unleashed in the aftermath. At the same time, the seeds of armed insurgency were sown in Kashmir. The stage was then set for the political entry of the prodigal son : Rajiv Gandhi.

India again went through a period of turbulence which included charges of corruption, the rise of religious fundamentalism and a terrifying end to the most charismatic PM to ever lead India.

Take a look at this broad spectrum of topics and you could write volumes on them. This is not to say that these leaders are beyond criticism but the entire course of the book is set on saying Indira Gandhi did not do this or Can you imagine Sanjay Gandhi did this?

It makes tiresome reading and is heavily biased in content. A lot of potential is wasted here as the author was an audience for most of these historic occurrences but fails to capture the soul of them. I found her to be wasting words and usages on criticizing Rajiv and Sonia Rajiv did not talk to me after that or Sonia ignored me pointedly are not very heinous crimes! Well written but the content is not up to the mark for a veteran journalist.

If you are a newbie to the field of Indian politics, try it out. If however,you have kept a track of how this country became what it is today then this might not be a good one for you.


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