“India After Gandhi” by Ramachandra Guha

Although this book was published in 2007 by ECCO, an imprint of Harper Collins Publishers, I must confess rather sheepishly that I just read, “India After Gandhi” by Ramachandra Guha-in October 2016. The by line is an apt description of the book, “The History Of The World’s Largest Democracy.”

The hard bound edition ( which my friend Divakar Kaza said would improve my biceps before I was done with this tome) runs into 759 pages, followed by nearly 100 pages of well-researched notes.  The cover flap says, “massively researched and elegantly written, India After Gandhi is at once a magisterial account of India’s rebirth and the work of a scholar at the height of his powers.” I would agree. It certainly is extensively researched and most elegantly written though I would have said, “height of his prowess” speaking of the author’s talents rather than his “powers.”  Continue reading ““India After Gandhi” by Ramachandra Guha”

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“Durbar” by Tavleen Singh

I have always liked books by Tavleen Singh and this one was no exception.  The aptly named, “Durbar” is a breezy read about Lutyens Delhi as it now is popularly called, where the high and mighty of India meet in exclusive social circles of which at one time she was a prominent member. The book is about the period from 1975 when she first became a journalist to around 1991 when Rajiv Gandhi, the then Prime Minister of India was assassinated.

In those days, far more than now, the school you went to, the university you attended and the way you spoke English mattered more and often determined whether you could become part of exclusive social circles. Tavleen happened to be one of those who was a part of, what we would now term a social network, which included prominent politicians like Naveen Patnaik ( who later became, and indeed still is, the Chief Minister of Orissa), and Dr Farooq Abdullah, (later Chief Minister of Jammu & Kashmir). They were amongst her close friends. She thus came to be part of a social circle which included the then Prime Minster Indira Gandhi’s son Rajiv, and his Italian wife, Sonia. This book, in some measure, is a story of the Gandhis of Delhi. Continue reading ““Durbar” by Tavleen Singh”

“The Red Sari” by Javier Moro.

I was astonished to hear that “The Red Sari” (originally titled, “El Sari Rojo”)  by Javier Moro was for sometime banned by the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) when it was the ruling Government in India. If anything I thought their opponents, the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) who are the current ruling dispensation may ban the book for being altogether too flattering about the central figure of the book, Congress President Mrs Sonia Gandhi nee Maino.!! The book was released in English in India in 2015 when it was eagerly awaited as a book known to have been banned makes people want to read it all the more. Whispers about its contents when it was not available in India made the book more mysterious and enticing than it eventually turned out to be. What kind of scandals were in the book that it had to be banned, one wondered? Frankly, there turned out to be none.  Continue reading ““The Red Sari” by Javier Moro.”