WRITING STYLE: 4/5
Nonfiction has always been a genre that I look forward to and luckily, if the book that I am reading concerns society and politics, then I am in for a treat.
It will be safe to say that in between all those mushy romances, tragic dramas, scintillating thrillers and spine-chilling horrors, I do read a decent dose of socio-political books.
Between You and Me: Flight to Societal Moksha, however, is a book that is a first of its kind for me. I have never read such an intensely focused solution-oriented nonfiction before.
Read on to know more about my thoughts on the book.
What to expect?
Expect a book that it is a tough read even for those who enjoy and read nonfiction regularly.
Expect a book that talks about the many things that are wrong with today’s India – society, politics, economy, constitution, institutions, mindsets, bureaucracy etc.
Also, expect a book that focuses more on solutions and the path ahead than reflections on the past and criticisms of the current.
Who can read?
The book can be picked up by readers who enjoy socio-political and economy-related nonfiction.
It is not the kind of read you would want to pick up if you are just getting into the basics. It is much more detailed and layered for a beginner level reader.
Also, a basic understanding of the electoral processes, public institutions, judicial structures of our country etc is necessary to fully grasp its content.
Who should read?
Every Indian who can devote the time and effort to read should read Between You and Me. I say so because it is a book that doesn’t aim to create a particular kind of (political) opinion. Instead, all it intends by the way of the discussions and the solutions proposed is to make India a great nation and a great society.
What is the book all about?
The book is divided into eight detailed sections – Ancient India: Eklavya and Karna, Modern India and the Personality-Driven Subcontinent, Structures We Need: A Constitution for Today and the Citizen’s Petitions, Governance Models, Our New Economic Story, Taking Charge, Who Are We: India’s Song, and The Virtue of it All.
As can be understood, in a broader sense, the book is about India, its economy, its society, its people, its politics, its structures and its legal constitution.
Biased or Unbiased?
A lot of authors tend to be biased while narrating their views or their idea of a certain topic. But in the book, Between You and Me, Atul Khanna is quite unbiased in his opinions.
In fact, there are many instances where while giving a relevant example he has often refrained from mentioning names or political affiliations. He gives us his personal opinion of all the prime ministers that India has seen so far and what were their greatest contributions and biggest blunders respectively.
But apart from that, he tends to be as unbiased as one can be.
What makes it different from other socio-political nonfiction?
The emphasis of this book is not on criticizing the politicians and the bureaucrats. Instead, the book is written with the aim to create awareness about the outdated laws, customs, structures, institutions, rules and other technically laid out things that do not belong to this era.
These, as the author says, need to be analyzed with respect to the demands of 21st century India.
Atul often stresses the fact that people are corrupt and lazy not because they can’t do better but because the system is such that it encourages corruption and inactivity.
Let’s talk about the author’s writing style
The book is well structured and neatly planned. The language which the author makes use of is rich and leaning on the academic side.
Atul’s writing follows a very clear-cut process – talk about the current situation, highlight the problems, compare with other countries or examples, and finally focus on the way ahead and the solutions.
Many of the changes proposed, though no doubt difficult to implement, will surely bring out the desired outcomes and pave the path for India as a global leader.
Atul’s writing is not about rhetoric and tarnishing a particular ideology but about a hopeful future.
Is the book interesting to read?
Though the book is quite intense and thought-provoking, it does tend to get slow in places. There are some parts that seem repetitive and some that seem too detailed.
While some of it is very informative and innovative, I can’t shake off the feeling that the book could have been made a little more interesting.
What could have been better?
As stated above, the book tends to be a bit tedious if you try and read too many pages at a stretch.
I believe it could have been made better by using a simpler language while retaining the core essence of the content. That would enable the book to cater to a wider number of readers.
Pick it up
- If you enjoy reading about Indian politics, society, institutions, bureaucracy, and economy.
- If you enjoy books that answer more than they question and criticize.
- If you like books that make you think and ponder and maybe challenge your understanding of things.
- If you don’t enjoy nonfiction.
- If Indian politics, society and economy are topics that don’t interest you.
- If you are looking for a beginner level or a ‘getting into basics’ kind of read.
Can’t wait to read it? Buy your copy of Between You and Me: Flight to Societal Moksha using the link below.