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‘Making India Awesome: New Essays and Columns’ by renowned Indian author Chetan Bhagat is a book that showers light on India’s most obstinate snags—unemployment, violence, poverty, discrimination against women, religious fundamentalism, illiteracy and communal violence.
This is the first time Chetan Bhagat, renowned for writing non-fiction books based on the lives of Indian youth, has tried his hand at writing non-fictional contents with ‘Making India Awesome’ being a collection of essays that discusses some of the most prevalent problems prevailing in India.
Starting with a note on his journey, the book is strategically divided into four parts i.e., Our Society, Politics, Our Youth and Two stories. Written using simple language and concept, the book aims to make the readers understand the most complex problems that the nation is facing today.
Giving practical suggestion on how to solve the problem, Bhagat also give suggestions on how the youth of India can give their bit in solving these problems.
Sixth book in a row, it is all about Chetan Bhagat’s take on Indian Society, culture and, most importantly, on politics.
About the Author:
Chetan Bhagat is an Indian author, columnist and screenwriter, who is popularly known for his English-language novels, mostly based on the lives of young urban middle class Indians. Bhagat’s novels have sold over seven million copies and in 2008, The New York Times quoted Bhagat as “the biggest selling English language novelist in India’s history.
From the Publisher
In Conversation with Chetan Bhagat
AWESOME GOVERNANCE: POLITICS AND ECONOMY
The cornerstone of any country, the control room containing the levers that manipulate the economy and society, is the government. In a democracy, the government is born out of politics. The kind of politics we have, the way voters think and the kind of people we elect to sit in the control room have a huge impact on the destiny of our nation.
Handling the levers of our country is what we call governance. It involves formulating and implementing policies, laws, rules and regulations to run our country. Unless we make this governance world class, there is no way our country can become awesome.
Hence, a lot of my writing revolves around politics and policies. Wherever possible, I try not to blame only the politicians. Politicians are replaceable. What is more important is what we, as voters, need to change about ourselves, in our everyday behaviour and thinking, to ensure that the people who enter the control room.
In this section, ‘Games Politicians Play’ talks about how
the prejudiced Indian voter can easily be manipulated. ‘We the Shameless’ and ‘Revenge of the Oppressed’ address how corruption doesn’t occur just because of politicians, but because of how different classes of society think and place a different importance on the issue. In ‘The Kings in Our Minds’, the Indian mentality of being over-subservient to our political leaders and its resultant abuse by them is discussed.
Essays such as ‘Rahul’s New Clothes, and the Naked Truth’, ‘Swachh Congress Abhiyan’, ‘Seventeen Commandments for Narendra Modi’ and ‘Analysing the Modi Effect’ talk more directly of the dynamics of the main political parties in our nation.
Apart from politics, it is equally important to understand policies. My writings on ‘The Telangana Effect’ (on the division of Andhra Pradesh), ‘Rescue the Nation’ (on the role of the bureaucracy), ‘Pro-poor or Pro-poverty?’ (on the Food Security Bill), ‘Can India’s Backward Polity Provide a Pro-growth Economic Environment?’ (on the state of the Indian economy), ‘The Tiny-bang Theory for Setting Off Big-bang Reforms’ (on the new government’s cautious economic reforms) and ‘To Make “Make in India” Happen, Delete Control’ (on attracting foreign investments) talk about specific government policies, weighing in on the pros and cons of each.
POLITICS Seventeen Commandments for Narendra Modi Let me forewarn you, dear reader—this is not going to be pretty. But, over a year after the Modi government came to power, it is important to take stock of what needs to be done. Here is a list of seventeen action points if the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) wants to remain the dominant political party in India. After a long time, we have had a stable mandate at the top. If the BJP blows this opportunity, it will set India back by a decade. So, here goes. · The prime minister, with all due respect, is floating too high. Come back to earth. Don’t try to present an image of a global statesman. You won an anti-incumbency election when the Congress was weak, by increasing the BJP’s vote share by a few percentage points. You have not transformed India yet. Don’t be happy with just the applause from non-resident Indians (NRIs). If they love you so much, ask them to pay. If one lakh NRIs commit to paying the BJP $1,000 a year, that is a $100 million of clean money annually. Use that to clean up party funding. When are you going to do that anyway? · Learn some valuable lessons from your trouncing in the Delhi elections in 2014. The results removed the halo around Modi, or ended the ‘Modi wave’. They showed that the top leadership was clueless about the feelings of people on the street, or even their own party workers. They also cast doubt on Modi’s ability to deliver on promises. · Get the Lokpal Bill passed. Empower the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and Central Vigilance Commission (CVC). Clean up corruption systemically. Don’t say that if Modi is there, nobody can be corrupt. What if Modi isn’t there tomorrow?
· Don’t bully the media or juniors in the party. Inspire respect, not fear. Don’t be smug. Don’t kill talent in the party because it could be a threat to you one day. It’s not in the BJP’s DNA to be a one-man party.· Shut up regressive Hindutva fanatics. We’ve heard them talk poisonous nonsense. You ignore them. They are your supporters. You have to tell them loud and clear this is not okay. The young generation doesn’t find it cool to support a leader who doesn’t believe in a free and equal society. Send some of your old-fashioned partymen abroad to learn about gender issues and minority rights. They will make you sink otherwise.· Don’t be overconfident in your speeches. Keep a circle of critics around you, not just those who keep singing ‘Modiji is awesome’. Everything you utter in public must be pre-checked. A prime minister cannot be a rabble rouser. · Dress down. Charisma comes from integrity, competence and compassion. Not from expensive clothes. · Stay connected to, and do something visible, for the youth. They screamed for you in the Lok Sabha elections and filled their Twitter feeds and Facebook walls with your praises. What have you done for them? You went to Shri Ram College of Commerce to give a speech before the elections. Have you visited any college after that? Why not? Are foreign visits more important?
· The party president may be really clever. But sometimes it isn’t about who is the most clever but about who genuinely cares. Chess moves don’t win elections all the time. A connect with people does. The party president, given his perceived persona (which may be at variance with who he really is), doesn’t inspire confidence. You standing next to him is like Amitabh Bachchan standing next to Amar Singh. Did it help Mr Bachchan?
· Don’t talk down to people. Talk to people. Don’t address people if you never want to take questions. Don’t give monologues on the radio. It reminds one of Indira Gandhi and North Korea. It’s not cool. Do you really think a kid in Delhi University will tell his friends, ‘Hey, can’t miss that “Mann Ki Baat” on radio?’· Open more colleges. Open up tourism. Reduce taxes on high-employment sectors. Give tax breaks for companies that move headquarters to smaller cities. Do anything to take skills and jobs to the interiors. Fix the primary schools. They have to teach well. Half our schoolkids can’t read properly.
· The cities need extensions with very low-cost housing solutions, with good water, electricity and transport infrastructure. That is the only way the urban poor can live a life of dignity. Give them dignity. They didn’t vote for you in Delhi, remember? Win them back. · Be real. Have a work–life balance. Why can’t the prime minister catch a movie sometimes? Or eat chaat in Delhi somewhere? A humanized prime minister works better than a glorified one.
· No statues, please. School or statue? Hospital or statue? No need to explain further. · No personal attacks on opponents, no matter how punchy the joke or the temptation to say it. Again, run it past those critical advisers first.· No hanging out with rich industrialists. Of course, you may need to officially. But it doesn’t have to be a media event.