Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Photo - Barren Tree

It's a long, hot, scorching summer.
The monsoons are supposed to be here.
It is supposed to be raining.
It's supposed to be cool.

© 2014, Abhinav Agarwal (अभिनव अग्रवाल). All rights reserved.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Accidental India, by Shankkar Aiyar

My review of Shankkar Aiyar's book, "Accidental India", was published in the DNA on May 22nd, 2014. Except for the review's title and sub-title - "Should I Be Stupid Just Because the Government Is?"
Funnily enough, in India that was a fact of life and not an absurdity for several decades. - the review was published in its entirety.

This, below, is the review as it appeared in the DNA:

The opportunities that India has squandered, either through indolence or apathy, either individually or collectively, are far too many to be counted. Then there are the quirks of fate that have convinced Indians that perhaps the gods had it in for India – like Lal Bahadur Shastri’s untimely demise just when it seemed India would break free of the socialist straitjacket that had been imposed on the nation, or Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel being asked to make way for Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru as India’s first prime minister despite being the more qualified and better person on every count, or the most unexpected loss of the NDA in the 2004 general elections just when the nation had found a new, confident, and resurgent voice. The list goes on. Perhaps the most public of all humiliations would have been the shipping of Indian gold reserves to England as surety for a paltry loan of $400 million from the Bank of England. But as in every dark cloud, there proved to the silver lining. An accidental silver lining of sorts.
Shankkar Aiyar’s book, Accidental India, has even more relevance in today’s environment, given the trend towards consumption of real-time information in an abbreviated manner (read social media, especially Twitter) which encourages an almost junk-food style of an information diet – quantity without much value. This book looks at seven “accidents” that shaped India’s post-independent socio-economic landscape, for the better, and substantially so.