Friday, February 6, 2015

Book Review: The End of India by Khushwant Singh

This was written by Khushwant Singh to express his anger on the backdrop of riots in Gujarat during 2002 and landslide victory of Narendra Modi in Gujarat state elections. Now that Modi rules whole of India, Khushwant Singh, if alive, would have written a sequel to this book with more vigor.

This book has four chapters apart from Introduction. The first chapter ‘The case of Gujarat’ looks into the details and mindsets of common people and the role of Govt. in managing it. Second chapter ‘The Sangh and Its Demons’ looks deep into Hindu organizations such as RSS, VHP, Bhajarang Dal and Shiv Sena and the roles they play. In the third chapter ‘Communalism – An Old Problem’, he goes back to the birth of Communism and how it got changed with the changing times and scenarios. In the last chapter ‘Is there a solution?’ he thinks the solution lies in promoting India as a socialist country and adopting work ethic as new religion of India.

While the author vents out his anger in a rational tone, one can agree with him that India belongs to and is made by people of all religions who have found a home in India. At the same time the solutions he gives are Utopian and it takes many generations to put the religions to the backdrop.

One can read this book to get different perspectives about India. But need not agree with the author that communists are always a threat to integrity of India. I personally believe India cannot end. It has stood the test of the time for thousands of years. History has shown that when a religion or a society is suppressed for long time, it pops out with full energy when its time comes. India is a democracy. In democracy everyone gets a chance, but one at a time. Probably this is the time for Hindus, and they have a found a leader in Modi. What is wrong if Sanskrit, Vedas or Upanishads see some revival?

But the likes of Khushwant Singh bring a balance to the society. They prevent (or try to prevent) any part of the society becoming extremists by warning about the dangers such a change can bring.