The author who, we the youth, hail as the best author of the country, and the author who claims to write for the youth, is back with yet another book; though this time not to just relate with his contemporaneous stories, but to arouse the dormant patriot within us.
Personally speaking, I did not pick up Chetan Bhagat’s new book, because I am his fan. In fact, his earlier fiction works did not impact me much. I picked it up with the sole intent of reviewing it and adding publication credits to my resume. Given Bhagat’s breezy style, I knew I’ll read it in no time. I was right. I read it in one go. Written in his usual style – it is fluid, colloquial, rather ‘youthful’ prose at its best. But, I was wrong too. Unlike his earlier works, this piece of non-fiction did leave an impact.
As the title suggests, Making India Awesome is a crisp guideline, presented in the form of bullet points, rather bulleted chapters, as an address to the youth.
“Chalta hai…”-it is this attitude of Indians which the author attacks. In the foreward, he promises to not just list down problems but also provide plausible solutions. The common middle-class Indian, the middle-class youth, is well-aware of these problems; but, they somehow lie only in the subconscious. The strenuous daily grind does not allow these problems to traverse to the conscious. By providing this guideline, he hopes to sow the seed of change, that the situation will always not be the same, that the paradoxes which are intricately layered in our system stand a strong potential to be rooted out soon. The problem too, is paradoxical; it needs an objective approach but is subjective to the diversity of the nation.
Written with an analytical and satirical approach, there are subtle hints of evangelization and naivety as well. Though the problems discussed are deep-rooted, the solutions provided are far-fetched. The common Indian man also can come up with similar solutions; s/he is not elusive to the solutions provided. This is where the book lacks. The title is suggestive of a conversation, but the book should deliver beyond a general conversation; the conversation currently resembles one among the educated, well-placed youth on a Saturday night at a pub. Moreover, what disturbed me most was the exclusion of even a line about the transgender community. It is the minority, which perhaps suffers the most. Hitherto barred from every opportunity of education, employment, of a normal life; many private educational institutes and companies have opened doors for them too. They have even come up with a musical band now. Despite this development, they are still looked on with prying eyes by most. Hence, I believe that the ‘hijra’ community deserved a chapter in this book and without them walking equally with us, India can definitely not be made awesome.
Though not perfect, but this book is an important read for all those who wish to take the journey from the sub-conscious to the conscious and make a difference. Having said that, I also cannot promise that you will close the book saying ‘awesome’. But, I can promise that some words will definitely linger on.