Honesty is the best policy. But this age old adage doesn’t seem to really fit in, particularly in the realm of politics. Politics is never a fair game and ‘Honesty’ is perhaps the hardest virtue to find in any politician who is chasing power.
Sikandar Bansi , member of parliament and son of the People’s Party president Mahesh Bansi goes missing and is in possession of some really controversial tapes. These tapes were recorded by him within the premises of parliament. He is absconding and is sending the tapes periodically to one of the leading newspapers in Delhi run by veteran journalist Bidur Munshi. There works a ‘know journalist’ Meera Mouli and she is the trusted target for Sikandar and is being addressed directly in the clues that comes with the tapes. No body knows why. Why Saikat Bakshi chose Meera , do they have any prior connection? So what exactly his intentions are as he continues to send tapes maligning almost every key person in the parliament.
This is the main plot and the suspense that gets build throughout the book and makes it un putdownable at over 300 pages.The narration is pacy with an excellent integration of flashbacks from Meera’s life.
The story proceeds with every tape that is sent and released in public and along the way increases Meera’s anxiety to find out the truth. Her colleague Salat supports her at every step and tries to come close but the complex mind of Meera is way too difficult to understand for anybody !
The character sketches are done really well in the book. Meera the ‘know journalist’ is a concept that instantly hit me as a reader. Imagine a journalist who knows every motive of a person, can read through the body language and mannerisms as if like a hypnotist ! So Meera not just reports news she also ‘knows’ what the real news is. She has the rare ability to find out every motive just by analyzing the situations and people making that news. Author describes it as a rare gift, something that Meera possesses right from her birth.
Author Kota Neelima is a renowned journalist, her last book – Shoes of the dead is about farmer suicides a noteworthy compilation of some hard hitting reality that has been ignored for a very long time.
In this book, the author has literally re lived Indian politics. As a reader, I just felt – Wish all this was true, wish we really have these insider information more often. The real voters are befooled every other day with curated and censored version of news. What happens inside the parliament hardly ever reaches us, particularly the ones at the power corridors, where real deals are made, the country is sold off, countless lives are traded with utmost selfishness and pride
Long live our democracy. Wish the ‘Honest season’ was actually around the corner !
About the Author: Kota Neelima, a Political Author in India, has been a journalist for 20 years and holds a Master’s Degree in International Relations from the Jawaharlal Nehru University. She is former Political Editor, The Sunday Guardian and writes on politics, democratic reforms and issues concerning rural poor in India. She is Senior Research Fellow, South Asia Studies at The Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), Johns Hopkins University, Washington DC.
Neelima has written three books of fiction based on her exploration of Indian politics, her experience as a journalist as well as a researcher.Her last book ‘Shoes of the Dead,’ was immensely popular and acclaimed. She’s an impressionist-abstract painter as well, with solo exhibitions to her forte.