WRITING STYLE: 3.5/5
ENTERTAINMENT QUOTIENT: 3.5/5
“Privileged classes and the new aspirational India need to learn to coexist with each other. The old elite need to understand the new reality where privilege no longer gives you instant entitlement or a monopoly over public opinion. Aspirational India has to learn to articulate and conduct itself well, and remain open-minded to others. In the Great Indian Opinion Wars, may the best opinion for India win, whichever side it comes from.”
~ Chetan Bhagat, India Positive: New Essays and Selected Columns
Though I have read a lot of books by Chetan Bhagat in my early (Five Point Someone, Two States, One Night at the Call Center) as well as recent years (One Indian Girl, The Girl in Room 105), I have never read a nonfiction book by him.
India Positive: New Essays and Selected Columns is a book that I chanced upon recently while browsing through my Kindle Unlimited section. And since I have a keen interest in politics and current affairs, I thought it was an ideal read for me.
In this review, I talk to you about the book in a nutshell and share my experience of reading it.
What to expect?
Expect a book that is written in a simple language; one that is especially tailor-made for readers who are looking to get a basic idea of the current state of India (mostly the last 10 years 2009 to 2019) – political, social and economic wise.
It talks about the issues that are currently troubling us and the issues that could be troubling us in the near future.
However, it doesn’t only delve on the negative. Just like its name, it shows us a positive side amidst all that is chaotic and in doing so, instils a kind of confidence that every Indian should proudly exhibit.
It gives hope for a better India with the knowledge that we are on the right path.
Who can read?
Chetan Bhagat’s India Positive is written in a simple and easy to understand language and can be picked up by just any type of reader – beginner, intermediate and voracious.
While it is a good book to initiate one’s foray into the world of political and social reading, a good catalyst would be to at least have a working knowledge of the Indian political and social space.
Who should read?
In my opinion, India Positive by Chetan Bhagat should be picked up by youngsters who are or soon would be in their 20s.
In short, if you are eligible to vote and still have no idea about the country’s current state of affairs, you should be the one picking this book up right now.
Also, if you wish to read about Indian politics (BJP, Congress and all their likes) from a neutral and unbiased perspective, this would be an ideal read.
What I did not like?
Sometime back I read Amish’s Immortal India which is a book somewhat similar to the book in question.
What I liked about Immortal India is the way Amish has categorized his essays, speeches and debates into various sections.
Every chapter carries a date which makes it easy for the reader to understand the author’s perspective at any given point of time. I found this lacking in India Positive.
It would have made everyone’s life easy if the columns and essays in this book also carried the date on which they were written.
What it lacks?
While the book looks at some of the burning issues of current India, it does so only for a very short period of 10 years starting from 2009 to 2019.
Though he touches a number of issues, the list of issues discussed is not an exhaustive one.
Let’s talk about the author’s writing style
That the author has tried to be very rational, unbiased and logical about the major issues that plague our nation currently, is quite commendable.
I love how Chetan criticizes both Congress and BJP in the areas in which they are found lacking.
He has some very valid suggestions for every Congress and BJP supporter with a clear message that nation comes first before any party affiliation.
At the beginning of the book, the author gives a very succinct and crisp analysis of all the aspects whereas a nation (1) we did great (2) we did okay and finally (3) we messed up.
This brief analysis kind of paves the way for what the reader can look forward to in detail in the rest of the book.
The final verdict
As is true for most of his other works – both fictional and nonfictional, Chetan Bhagat has a way with words and the ability to connect with the masses.
His books might not appeal to the creamy intellect but his words resonate with the masses for whom he writes.
India Positive: New Essays and Selected Columns is one such book that speaks to the youth (well, mostly) of the country and urges them to take note of what is happening around them.
He has tried to be rational and unbiased in his opinions and as far as I can say, he has been successful in it.
The book is easy and interesting and, in my opinion, it should especially be read by those who wish to be more participative as citizens of a rising India.
Pick it up
- If you are looking for a book that will give you an idea of the new India – its socio-political affairs and its economy.
- If you are looking for a short read on the subject that is also quite easy to understand.
- If you are a young Indian who wants to start reading books about politics, society and economy. This would be a good first step.
- If you are looking for a seemingly unbiased political, societal and economic commentary on India of the last 10 years (2009-2019).
- If nonfiction doesn’t interest you.
- If you don’t like books that have a lot of politics in them.
- If you are looking for only for a particular (left or right leaning) narrative.
Can’t wait to read it? Buy your copy of Chetan Bhagat’s India Positive: New Essays and Selected Columns using the link below.