Publisher:Aleph Book Company
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Said to have been inspired by the overwhelming victory of the Bharatiya Janata Party, comes Shashi Tharoor’s latest – India Shastra – Reflections on the Nation in our time .
I am new to Shashi Tharoor’s writing except for a few occasional articles in the newspapers. This book comes as the third installation in his trilogy of essays on the Indian Society, Politics and Economy, after Midnight to the Millennium and The Elephant, The Tiger and The Cellphone. India Shastra is a collection of 99 essays on a wide range of topics from Foreign Policy to Secularism to Corruption. The whole book comprises of eight sections that defines the area of discussion. Its interesting to read his ideas, mainly on Foreign Policy which remains the zone of expertise for the ex-minister of external affairs. Frequently disparaged for his unbiased views on policies, Mr. Tharoor has put in a lot of ideas that could be great food for thought.
The suave and extremely charismatic politician proves that he is an accomplished writer too with his articulated and coherent writing. The volume of essays can be a little daunting for the readers and is a slow read if you want to grasp his thoughts clearly. Though he is impressed with BJP’s victory, he nevertheless does closely look at their new policies and criticizes several of their strategies, though not all his criticisms seem commendable. His pointing out of several flaws in the Modi government seems a little like hypocrisy. Especially his critique of Modi’s continuation policy, I felt, was not appropriate. I don’t think there is anything wrong with continuing with a good policy from the previous government, if it leads to social betterment. While a few of the deficiencies have been aptly pointed out and given that Modi’s been in power for less than a year, I felt it a little too soon to get into this level of fault-finding.
Nevertheless, this book makes for an interesting read for all those who would like to see another angle of contemporary issues!