Manuscript help, book reviews and author interviews
“Long years ago we made a tryst with destiny, and now the time comes when we shall redeem our pledge, not wholly or in full measure, but very substantially. At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom. A moment comes, which comes but rarely in history, when we step out from the old to the new, when an age ends, and when the soul of a nation, long suppressed, finds utterance…………. We are citizens of a great country, on the verge of bold advance, and we have to live up to that high standard. All of us, to whatever religion we may belong, are equally the children of India with equal rights, privileges and obligations…………..And to India, our much-loved motherland, the ancient, the eternal and the ever-new, we pay our reverent homage and we bind ourselves afresh to her service. Jai Hind.” by Jawaharlal Nehru, at the eve of India’s independence.
Decades later, the tryst lies broken, mangled by selfish politics and complacent bureaucracy; irrespective of the party in power. After Durbar(2012), comes yet another firebrand book India’s Broken Tryst from India’s well known political journalist, Talveen Singh. Known for her downright outrageous, yet sometimes painfully true comments, Talveen Singh’s narrative is a mix of little-known political game-play with her own personal reporting experiences. From Nehru’s socialism and Soviet-styled economic policies and his disastrous decision to take the Kashmir issue to the United Nation, to the inefficiency of the governments that ousted the Congress in the name of change, the book offers a complete “masala” lesson in the post-partition politics of India. While she enunciates the disconnect between policy makers and the people for whom they make their policies, she also adds spice by conspiracy theories and society gossip from the drawing rooms of Lutyens’ Delhi.
For a country with more than one billion people from diverse cultures, secularism and nationalistic pride has mostly been a binding force. Everyone goes on with their day to day living, but come elections, the whole nation joins in and politics becomes the most talked about topic. Again and again, votes are cast in a hope for some magical solution to problems.
Anything that Tavleen Singh writes is a page turner and I expected nothing else from her new book. India’s Broken Tryst, serves as a shocking reminder of how tumultous India’s journey has been.
The book is a must read, and for me, a staunch Congress supporter, it serves as a bitter reminder of what dynastic politics and corruption can do to a party. Tavleen does highlight the failures of the Janata Dal and NDA governments, but her anti-Congress sentiments shade the narrative. The questions she raises are valid and even though personally I feel that she takes it too far sometimes, it is good to know that there are voices that question- after all, that’s the right of the people in a democracy. And a democracy we are!!!!