Author – Sriram Karri
“I was born in a mentally retarded nation.” –
Thus begins this provocative, stylish, and racy literary rant against India by a twenty-four-year-old awaiting capital punishment.
When Dr M Vidyasagar (‘Sagar’), retired chief of CBI, gets an unusual request from his old friend and the President of India to privately investigate if Vikrant Vaidya—sentenced to death for motivelessly killing his teenage neighbour Iqbal—is innocent or not, little does he know how convoluted a conspiracy he is setting foot in.
With a narrative that springs forth from and weaves its way through the Emergency, anti-Sikh riots post Indira Gandhi’s assassination, Ram Janmabhoomi Rath Yatra, anti-Mandal Commission protests, economic liberalisation, Babri Masjid demolition, and Godhra riots, readers will find themselves in the grips of a chimerical tale, asking and answering the question: Is India truly a mad nation?
My thoughts –
First of all I would like to thank the publishers, Fingerprint Publishing, for sending me a copy of this book. Also, I would like to apologize for the massive delay in posting my thoughts on it, even though I had finished reading it quite some time back.
I had agreed to accept a copy of this book because the blurb looked quite interesting to me. It promised to cover a lot of topics which are quite controversial/ sensational for the people of our country. The book started on an interesting note for me. The promise of a murder mystery & thriller made me quite excited for the ride ahead of me and to a great extent, I was satisfied too.
Many of the issues highlighted by the author in this book, echoes many of the sentiments of the citizens of the country in the present scenario. The plot has an interesting narration with its fair share of twists & turns and elements of surprise. The author successfully takes the readers on an intelligent roller coaster ride, much to their delight. At many points he makes us think and form our own opinions too. However, the ‘solution’ that he showed to tackle the many shortcomings of our vast & diverse nation was not quite convincing for me.
The highlight of the book for me was the fact that though the author has encompassed a huge number of topics to build in his plot, nowhere did he sound preachy about his thoughts and opinions. What he did was provide an insight into the things that has happened over the past few decades and make us think…
The author’s own words sums up quite nicely all about the book – “I am expressing my anger through my writing. It is not without context. However, I am not using a novel to talk about my personal grievances, I have used history and political views as my canvas; used the context of Emergency, to Godhra. I have used that part of history which I am comfortable with. So, the thought of writing a novel is a result of more than one trigger. It is definitely not a political drama. It is about a group of friends. It isn’t about evil Vs good, but is rather between two viewpoints. Drama also constitutes a part of my novel”. (Source)
Final words –
A book that I did not quite love or hate, but definitely could not ignore. Definitely worth a read! 🙂
- The book was sent to me by Fingerprint Publishing & the opinions expressed here are my own and unbiased.
- Image is self-clicked & blurb has been taken from Goodreads
- This review is linked to my Indian Quills Challenge, 2015 target& Goodreads Reading Challenge, 2015.