Monday, September 19, 2011

Damnable beauties!

Book Review: The Beautiful and the Damned
Author: Siddhartha Deb
Format: Hardback/non-fiction
Pages: 253, Price: RS.499, Publishers: Penguin Viking/2011
Till now, Siddhartha Deb was mostly known for journalistic writings and his two remarkable novels, including debut work, The point of Return and Surface; so writing straight a problem centric book was a big shift from his side. This book reached to me with a banded notice on its jacket that was referring the scrapping of the first chapter following the Court order in north east. As I was aware about the unfortunate row between the IIPM {was covered as dream seller among the millions of desperate Indians} and CARAVAN Magazine, where the first chapter of this book was earlier published, so it amused me more than shock over such overt display of undeserving assertion!

Anyway, reading twenty-six pages long autobiographically enabled introduction gives an exact outline where author has eyes to reach out. Disappeared pages between 26-72 reminds us the consistent downgradation of an excellent Constitutional right known as “Freedom of Expression”, anyway this is way of life which needs reckoning and ofcourse no counter logic against the India’s Judicial temples!

Rest, the four remained chapters sensibly deals with the pros and cons of economic liberalisation in India…what strikes most, Siddhartha’s firsthand experience of these odd changes as a narrator. Simultaneously, he oriented to draw the shades of feeling behind the inflated success story of Indian economy? This book diversely acknowledges the desperateness among the most of working classes in India, whether serving in the fairy world of IT/ITES, in glamorous hotels or badly suffering with the existential crisis as temporary human recourses in abject inhuman industries. The best research inside this book {chapter-III}- Red Sorghum: Farmers in the Free Market, is on the rural distress caused by the single minded framing of policies which necessitates every human to be resource and every occupation to be globally competitive! Ofcourse, there are consistent support of McKinsey services but not adequate foods/water/shelter and most essentially freedom!

It’s hard to express the truth before the partying, yet many are daring, so giving hopes. Here, this effort could be listed in that category where truth prevails with all positive imprints for its sanguine takers…and amazingly without any subversive traits. In Indian English writing {both in fiction and non-fiction}, a new trend is being developed which is less flashy but surprisingly closer to the real life experiences. Simply, it’s marking the spread of literature in all around the lives along with big solace of dwindling hippocratic plays of words. So, if the range of literature moving ahead from nonsense 5Star cocktail parties to the plight of waiters and from board room’s slumbering Power Point’s world to the casual crowd of industries, that refers the maturity of this trendy writing and also the growing nausea of mass peoples towards India’s inefficient and unsustainable model of economic planning.

Readers will find the entire book equally persuasive as the basic motives and the form of narration {in reporting style} is almost uniform, only sectoral changes are at place. Inevitably, the scrapped first chapter is a big miss but again it refers towards the new Indian affluents which grew in the wake of India’s neo-resilience and practically without tolerance for anything against their vested interests. Business is not bad itself, neither the reform but the Indian reform is running short of clauses that could tempted to see humanity as driver of civilization…alas, here might is perfectly right and roses are in existence but without any prospect of blossoming?
Atul Kumar Thakur
September 19, Monday, New Delhi
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1 comment:

  1. Dear Atul,
    I read your review and greatly enjoyed it. I'm especially glad you liked the Red Sorghum chapter; it was one that was particularly difficult (but interesting) to report..

    Siddhartha Deb
    Associate Professor
    Department of Literary Studies
    Eugene Lang College