A Few Books, No Weddings And Funerals

By Sunil Kumar

This one’s about a few more books; I’ll list them out. Natwar Singh‘s “One Life Is Not Enough”; another Singh(Tavleen) with Durbar; Satyajit Ray‘s Reflections on Cinema and Arun Shourie‘s Falling Over Backwards.

Having achieved instant notoriety due to the subject matter; Natwar’s volume is a long-winded, semi-historical memoir about his years with the Nehru-Gandhi “parivar”(Pax Indica’s democratic kings).

As in all his previous books; Mr. Singh has a tendency to tell us some of the same anecdotes all over again; for those of us who have read something previously. I had noticed the same thing with another Singh; the late Khushwant; but then this must be a common fallacy. All of them knew the same set of people; recycled here and there; but the collective life of a billion and the zany narratives of a few. Ha Ha, Maybe!

For years; India has been at the mercy of these democratic potentates; who indirectly thwarted our progress with the socialist baggage inherited by an Anglicized self-absorbed political class.

The sycophancy and servility of the civil services and the general establishment are revealed in great detail by Tavleen Singh‘s “Durbar”. Part of the ingratiating coterie that surrounds those in power; Singh seems to have had a fallout with the “parivaar” that led her later to pen her memoir; apart from some self-righteous indignation at the plight of the Sikhs.

The ruling party’s brazen use of power and former PM Rajiv’s rather wooly-headed approach was responsible for insurgencies and a host of other issues that have always been nagging at India’s doorstep.

To be fair; today’s an optimistic day in national history; with Modi’s rousing speech; and the ISRO Mission to Mars(a first by any Asian country). But; most of this site has been dedicated to book talk; so I’ll finish what I started.

Satyajit Ray’s “Reflections” start with a foreword by Shyam Benegal; another noted auteur. Present-day Bengal is not very similar to the dreamscapes of Ray; but we have some inkling of why the state was previously synonymous with India’s cultural prowess. To be fair; every part of the nation is unique in some way; pearls that form part of the gold box that is “India”.

Arun Shourie’s book “Falling Over Backwards” frankly; is a long academic expose of the reservation system in India. Boring due to the rather drab detail; it nevertheless gives us insight into the collective idiocy that this caste-based disease has introduced in the country. Most of the world does not give a damn or remember some of the upper-caste martyrs who lost their lives in 1989; when the idiotic Raja of Manda; V.P Singh played another dangerous game with the educational future of millions of Indians.

Sample our collective fake sympathy that plays out on television channels today; and you can see relentlessly shouting news anchors giving us a glimpse into a national mess. 72% reservation in Maharashtra; the future’s already kind of skewed; with more of this half-baked stupid formula; there are bound to be more surprises.

In the end it all boils down to me; the individual; and a vast majority have reaped no benefit from this hare-brained attempt at social engineering.

There were no weddings in any of these books; and a few funerals. One of the authors; in the immortal words of Channel V is “So Long Gone”. But; this author felt the presence of their minds; and the world of thought gets another addition in a partial ode to the written word.




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