A lot of intellectual snobs refer to Chetan Bhagat’s genre of writing as the male version of ‘chick lit’. He has been called worse and at one point, not only was it cool to disparage his style of writing, it was also almost ‘uncool’ to be seen reading his book.
My taste in books is similar to my penchant for Hindi movies – I will watch almost all of them with a few exceptions(Murder, Jism and their ilk of sequels being the exceptions :).
I had first picked up 5 point someone because it was based on IIT Delhi and I think cost Rs 95 or something in that range. It was an ok read and I have been reading all his books since then. Apart from One night at the call center, they have all been pretty decent.
Which is why i picked up “What Young India Wants” – a selection of his essays and columns.
The book does a good job of highlighting all the problems prevalent in India today along with explanations of why things are in such a sorry state. After reading the book, I wasn’t sure whether to feel euphoric or drown in despair. And considering the last 16 months as an entrepreneur trying to setup a business in India and its associated challenges, I am currently leaning towards the latter.
Another interesting bit about this book is the large section on Politics. Like him, I too believe in the power of politics and its potential as a really powerful medium to bring about a change in India.
Things have definitely improved but they still need to change big time, and I think the title of the book should have been “What Young India needs to do” to usher in the change.
Here are some things that I think, we need the youth to do, before they start doing anything:
1.) How do we get more people to start thinking about various issues instead of concentrating on getting a visa out of India ?
2.) How do we get people to stop settling for mediocrity and the sorry state of affairs around us ? (E.g. if a road is broken, how do we galvanise people to call up the municipal corporation to report it and demand action instead of just driving around it)
3.) How do we get people to rise above their caste and its associated shortcomings ? (As he rightly points in the book, how many Hindus would be willing to marry a muslim or vice versa ? )
4.) How do we develop civic sense ? (Think about it – The insides of our homes are spotless while outside its a mess )
5.) How do we get more people interested in politics for the right reasons ?
These are but just some of the questions which come to mind. And unfortunately, there are no easy answers yet.
The Indian Youth Congress under the direction of Rahul Gandhi is trying to bring about some changes – Inter party democracy, elections for officials instead of nominations, merit based selection, etc are just a few of the new cogs in the wheel of politics. A lot of fresh faces from non political backgrounds are also joining the movement. While this journey started a few years ago, the road ahead is a long and uphill one. And I think we need more inclusive participation in politics before the system changes to a state we desire.
As they say, “Hope Floats” and I am keeping my fingers crossed. Go read the book. It will be worth the Rs 140 you spend on it 🙂