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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Book Review : ‘Autobiography of a Mad Nation ' by Sriram Karri

A little nervous, I was when I started to write this review. 'Autobiography of a Mad Nation', is a novel, which reminds the reader which country s/he is born, this book or rather this saga contains a nation with its up and down history, and its gigantic reasons, and stupendous explanations and probably the worst ever nightmares known to man.

It begins with how Dr M Vidyasagar, a retired CBI chief becomes involved in an investigation, which has been commissioned by the President of India, privately. Sagar gets to work and we are involved in the writing, which takes us across not just the young man, Vikrant Vaidya who has been sentenced to death for killing a neighbour. Involuntarily,  Vidyasagar is wrapped up in an intriguing plot, which rides through the history of India, starting with the Emergency and going till the Godhra riots.

We are put into the various situations of what happened, and the emotions felt by not just the people of this truly 'mad' nation, as we try and figure out what exact happenings are, in this tale, which spans across the Emergency, to the anti-Sikh riots leading to the Ram Janmabhoomi Rath Yatra, the Mandal Commission protests, right through the economic liberalisation, the Babri Masjid demolition and finally, the riots at Godhra.

With talk of cricket, Rushdie, Hyderabad, Dalits, controversies, books, the
Sriram Karri  - Photo by Ashwin Kireet
godmen,  et al with a good dose of religions and of course, the effervescent politics and its handlers. I refused to be confused with the ideals of all the ideologies, while I kept reading on. We go back and forth through the pages of this book and through this nation's history.

The brilliance rests in the fact that this author, Sriram Karri has managed to weave India into its own, rather largish web. It is naturally, not a story of emotions or even day to day activities. It was not a book that I loved, but definitely not a book, I could ignore. 

But, there is still only one emotion, which one holds on to. Exasperation, at the mad nation that India is, because nothing in this book was ever, too small to not be noticed.

How it finishes is probably the end, but this particular story could never really end...

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