FB   
 
Powered bysps
        Society for Policy Studies
 
 

 
In poll time, books aim to form informed political opinions
Posted:Mar 27, 2014
 
Print
Share
  
increase Font size decrease Font size
 
Shilpa Raina
 
As the world's largest democracy gears up for the general election, political parties are literally promising the moon. Amid this extensive wooing, a few books have done honest postmortems of Indian governance, highlighted grievances of people in a perceived corrupt polity and urged citizens to ask questions to form "informed opinions" before going to vote.
 
Even though most of the publishing houses are following their normal schedule in a year when 815 million citizens are eligible to vote during a month-long mammoth election journey that will begin April 7 and conclude May 12, some of these "election-centric-issue-based" books have hit bookshelves. They are centred around the theme of politics, corruption, game changer middle class and urban issues.
 
There are more than a dozen books that have come out before the elections, and a few will be launched around election time. Most have one message: Forming "informed choices" before casting the invaluable ballot.
 
Hindol Sengupta, author of "100 Things to Know and Debate Before You Vote"(HarperCollins), highlights 100 issues that our country is battling with and people of the country ought to know them before they cast their ballot.
 
"I personally feel this is an issue-devoid election where political parties are busy taking pot shots at each other and digging each others' past. No one is actually focussing on the issues that are marring the country and economy," Sengupta told IANS.
 
"There are issues like air pollution, health, law and order, women safety, sanitation among many other things that should have been the priority of these leaders while campaigning. Their manifestos are jokes written for no one to read," he added.
 
Doing a postmortem of Indian governance is Madhav Godbole in "Good Governance: Never on India's Radar"(Rupa)- a brutally honest take on problems plaguing Indian politics since Independence.
 
"India's poor performance in governance is largely due to the democratic system of governance as practised in India," Godbole has written in the book.
 
Godbole, who has previously written "India's Parliamentary Democracy on Trial"(Rupa) and "The Judiciary and Governance in India"(Rupa), has step-by-step talked of issues like crony capitalism, corruption, communal and ethnic violence, institutional integrity and freedom of expression, and how changes in policies can make a marked difference to governance in our country.
 
Books like Sandip Sen's "Neta, Babu and Subsidy: Roundup 2000 to 2014"(Vitasta) , Sumantra Bose's "Transforming India"(Picador India), Simon Denver's "Rogue Elephant: Harnessing the Power of India's Unruly Democracy"(Bloomsbury), and Isher Judge Ahluwalia's "Transforming Our Cities: Postcards of Change"(Harper Collins) have already hit the market in the past two months.
 
Another book John Elliots "Implosion"(Harper Collins) explores the impact of liberalisation, traces the build-up of social unrest over corruption, and exploitation of land and the poor. It also explains how democracy provides a smokescreen for much that is wrong with India.
 
The journalist-turned-author Elliot said the need to highlight these issues in the book was to show how over many decades, India has been incapable of using resources and manpower in its favour.
 
"India has such enormous potential with clever brainy people who are capable of all kinds of technological and entrepreneurial excellence. There are also abundant natural resources and once-respected political, legal and other systems. So India should be far more successful that it is," Elliot, told IANS.
 
New Delhi-based Elliot has been covering India for over two decades for many newspapers, and has keenly observed the Indian political system and its shortcomings, that, at times, have left him frustrated.
 
As he talks about "jugaad" and "inevitable chalta hai" attitude of Indians in his book, he strongly feels if people want to change the ways of the country, they should vote for the party.
 
"If they (people) hope that the candidate will help them locally, then vote for the candidate most likely to deliver - this is the argument that Nandan Nilekani is using as a Congress candidate in Bangalore to encourage people to vote for him when Congress is bound to lose nationally," he said.
 
"But if they want to change the way the country is run, then vote for the party," he added.
 
And in this myriad heavy-dose political analysis, comes Shaili Chopra's "The Big Connect" (Random House) that traces the advent of social media in India and how politics and lobbying has now shifted to the virtual floor, pushing many politicians to chat with people of the country, and advertise their vision and policies freely on many social-networking sites.
 
(Shilpa Raina can be contacted at shilpa.r@ians.in)
 
Indo-Asian News Service
 
 
 
 
 
Print
Share
  
increase Font size decrease Font size
 

Disclaimer: South Asia Monitor does not accept responsibility for the views or ideology expressed in any article, signed or unsigned, which appears on its site. What it does accept is responsibility for giving it a chance to appear and enter the public discourse.
Comments (Total Comments 0) Post Comments Post Comment
Review
 
 
 
 
spotlight image I am honored to be here today for the first U.S. government exchange alumni conference for India and Bhutan.
 
read-more
The European Union and India should work closely to bring peace, stability and development in Afghanistan, Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades has said.
 
read-more
On a self-imposed trial of three months, the Mehbooba Mufti government in Jammu and Kashmir has gone for what it believes to be a slam dunk.
 
read-more
spotlight image Mahmoud Ahmadinejad sprang a surprise when he registered himself as a candidate in Iran’s presidential election scheduled for May 19. After leaving the office of President in 2013 at the end of two controversial terms, the firebrand populist has been largely inactive in politics. 
 
read-more
That China strictly implements the UN Security Council resolutions that sanction North Korea is seen by all. If Pyongyang continues with its nuclear and missile tests, China is bound to support more harsh resolutions on this country.
 
read-more
India should be extremely wary of any Trump involvement on the Kashmir issue because he would do anything to bring India to the table, writes Dr. Susmit Kumar for South Asia Monitor.
 
read-more
A pre-dawn  suicide terror attack (fidayeen)  on an army camp in the Kupwara district of Jammu and Kashmir on Thursday (April 27)   resulted in the death of three army personnel including an officer,  while two terrorists were neutralized. Combing operations are in progress to ascertain if any of the attackers have
 
read-more
The core parts of the controversial Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-missile system have been moved to the site of what had been a golf course in southern South Korea.
 
read-more
Health of the citizens and the economy of the nation they inhabit go hand in hand and every buck spent on former guarantees a manifold increase in the latter,  said noted public health expert K Srikant Reddy. The lecture 'Health and Development: India Must Bridge the Disconnect' was ...
 
read-more
Column-image

Title: Bollywood Boom; Author: Roopa Swaminathan; Publisher: Penguin; Price: Rs 399; Pages: 221

 
Column-image

Title: Defeat is an Orphan: How Pakistan Lost the Great South Asian War; Author: Myra Macdonald; Publisher: Penguin Random House India; Pages: 328; Price: Rs 599

 
Column-image

  The story of Afghanistan -- of the war against the Soviets and of terrorism that has gripped the landlocked country ever since -- is in many ways also the story of diplomat Masood Khalili, who motivated his people and led them...

 
Column-image

Title: The Golden Legend; Author: Nadeem Aslam; Publisher: Penguin Random House; Pages: 376; Price: Rs 599

 
Column-image

Over the Years, a collection of 106 short articles, offers us interesting sidelights on the currents and cross- currents in the public life of India during two distinctive periods: (I) 1987 to 1991 and (II ) 2010 to the present.

 
Subscribe to our newsletter
Archive