Pupil’s President Dr. Kalam

Image Courtesy: Bee Books

Image Courtesy: Bee Books

There are people who always seem like distant stars, too big and far to touch and feel. But then you get star-crossed once in a while, right? And the monstrosity of that event dawns upon you much later. I have always known Dr APJ Abdul Kalam as our president and a great scientist. He’s been as far from my life as anyone could be; the way we read about presidents in our lives.

Cut to 2005, exactly ten years ago. I was in the last semester of my Master’s degree. There’s been a buzz before the Durga Puja holidays that the president Dr Kalam would be visiting the Calcutta University main campus for a lecture and tête-à-tête with selected students from all the departments and campuses. I don’t know how but I had been selected by the professors for this event, and I was shell-shocked to know that I had to attend it. Shocked, and not pleasantly surprised, because I was (and still am) a very shy person. I couldn’t imagine myself in the huge auditorium with a big audience and the president himself!

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Book Review : Mandate – Will of the People

Blurb View:

Image Courtesy: Flipkart

Image Courtesy: Flipkart

This is the first easy-to-read book about recent Indian political history. Pegged on the general elections that shaped today’s India, Mandate: Will of the People tells the story of Indian politics in a gripping, page-turning style.

Vir Sanghvi, the well-known journalist and TV anchor, draws on his personal experiences and memories as well as scores of interviews to piece together an incisive and candid account of what went on behind the scenes. Peppered with little-known details and insider information, this book tells the stories behind the story and brings alive the men and women behind the headlines.

Mandate: Will of the People contains the real story of the declaration of the Emergency, the rise and fall of Sanjay Gandhi, the Punjab insurgencies, the assassination of Indira Gandhi and the bloody riots that followed her death. It tracks the emergence of Rajiv Gandhi and explains the Bofors scandal that contributed to his defeat.

Many of the questions that linger over Indian politics are answered here: how did Narasimha Rao become Prime Minister? Why did he liberalise the economy? What was the Ram Mandir agitation really about? Why didn’t Sonia Gandhi agree to be PM? And how did Manmohan Singh’s weakness clear the way for Narendra Modi.

Review:

Mandate: Will of the People tells an important story : how the world’s largest democracy came of age and how it has affected our lives.

Indian politics is perhaps the most interesting phenomenon in the world. With such a vast expanse of ideologies and scope for work, it provides a great topic for research. 67 years post independence, the Indian people are still unsure about their politicians and their motives. Each election has paved the way for something new in the country and changed the course of its people. Mandate captures bits and glimpses of these elections and their aftermath for our generation and the ones to come.

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