‘Highly recommended if you love to keep a tab on Indian politics. ‘Read our review of the most engaging book on Indian Politics – Mandate by Vir Sanghvi.
We all love to share our opinions and perspective. Most importantly when it comes around politics, it takes a huge courage to keep mum from old to young. There are two reasons to it, firstly because it involves our country and secondly there is so much that happens around the table that it’s tough for the impatient lot not to react to it. Politics in India is another source of entertainment and thus we all have our opinions about it. With the advent of social media, it has become all the more easy to share our angst, opinion, view almost instantly without even giving a damn to know the nitty-gritty of the whole affair. Thus, the question arises- ‘Are we really prepared enough? Have we done our observations well? Do we know the past incidents to relate it to the present actions?’
Mr. Vir Sanghvi’s book ‘ Mandate: Will of the People’ has a foreword written by Amish and he answers it well for all of us- ‘To understand the real impact of changes in the national state of mind, one has to wait for at least a few decades.’
The book that started its life as a television series is here to educate us on the various key incidents and the key players in the history of Indian politics. Not only does the book fills us with the right amount of knowledge needed to form perspectives about the world’s largest democracy, it also awakens us by slowly making a way into our sub-conscious. Every word of this easy-to-read book weave an interesting story.
Right from the seeds of dynasty and the revelations about the 1971 elections, Mr. Sanghvi takes us through a thrilling journey of Indian political scenario till 2014. And gradually we learn about the several mandates that Indian people have handed over to the politicians. From economic, social, religious to humiliating circumstances, Indian governance has been through all. There were a time when freedom fighters generation was seen as failures and none could stop Mrs. Indira Gandhi rise to power in 1972. Indian governance was calling for a new generation.
However, soon came the worst year, 1974. The global economy and inflation played spoilers and her own words ‘ garibi hatao’ went wrong because Indians became poor. The consequences of emergency were equally terrifying. Sanjay Gandhi’s emergence as most important man of the country is also an interesting love-hate story told in the pages of this gripping book.
Soon one after the other, Sanjay and Indira Gandhi were gone on the fateful days. Yes, Mrs. Gandhi was aware that she might be assassinated any day. Later, that happened in 1984 was shameful and shocking as Delhi burnt. The country was swept by sympathy waves and Mr. Rajiv Gandhi became India’s youngest Prime Minister although his wife Sonia Gandhi was absolutely against the decision. The in-between stories on I.K. Gujral, R K Dhawan, Zail Singh, Amitabh Bachchan keeps the readers hooked to absorb every inch of detail on the turn of things.
The book honestly tells us that we have never been short on problems because country has gone broke from time to time. One issue would end and another would follow step. While the communal tensions were inflamed by Mr. Advani over Babri Masjid, the US attacked Iraq over the invasion of Kuwait. In 1988-90 Rajiv Gandhi toured India tirelessly and this did not go well with the conspiracy creators. On 21st May 1991, a woman called Dhanu exploded an RDX that killed him at a young age of forty six. Mrs. Sonia Gandhi refused to take over the leadership. Seeking advises from important people of the party, P. V. Narashimha Rao was made Prime Minister of India because Shankar Dayal Sharma who was approached first turned down the job. It was then Dr. Manmohan Singh became the Finance Minister. So we see learn through the book that everything had a cause, journey and impact. One must read the book to identify with certain patterns of our political system.
The Vajpayee thirteen day govt. marked the beginning for BJP and Vajpayee era. One gets to read about Gujarat riots and the other parties and their people too in here. The book touches away very important aspects and delivers really well. As a reader I felt enriched because now I will not hesitate from making my opinions. Believe me, while reading the book there were many times when I felt, Really, is this the true picture? I just didn’t know this.
Mandate makes a very engaging read as it brings us closer to our democracy, our political parties and our prominent players who love making news in and out. What really saddened me was that India had very few people who wanted to do much for the country, others were mostly those who have had their own personal interests. Without a shame they behaved differently in different scenarios without thinking about the progress of the country. Hope the new generation brings in some much awaited change.
Highly recommended if you love to keep a tab on Indian politics. The crisp and lucid language is a USP of the book.
Reviewed by Manjulika who blogs at Pendown
Vir Sanghvi is an Indian journalist and author. He was born in London in 1956. He graduated from Brasenose College, Oxford. He was working for India Today, and when the magazine wanted to start India’s first city-focused magazine, Bombay, it chose Vir Sanghvi to run it. At the young age of 22, Sanghvi became the editor of the new magazine and made it a success in no time. He has also anchored shows on Doordarshan and NDTV. He is currently the Editorial Director of the Hindustan Times.
Connect with the author on Twitter and his blog.
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Mandate: Will of the People by Vir Sanghvi is our book in focus this month.