Book Review: Non-fiction/PORIBORTON by Ruchir Joshi, Harper Collins/2011, 162 pp; Rs199 (Paperback)
Those who read Telegraph know Ruchir as a column writer. But for others, his election diary/ PORIBORTON let a chance to read his casually written details of recently held Bengal assemble election.Ironically, this book captures more the subtle aspects of election days, rather producing anything practical about the political change recently happened in West Bengal that ended the historic dominance of the left front government from the state. Substantial chunk of the book has spent on notifying its readers how the permanent faces of TV talk show displayed their elitist background and illusionary command over Queen’s language. Why the empirical studies were not considered as base of this book is surprising…even in field trip, non-issues have prioritized over the vital public opinion. At first instance, this is disappointing and seems like a chance lost of reading something remarkable on West Bengal politics.
North Bengal is full with scenic beauties though also hold toughness inside it when it comes to politics. The winds blow there with unsatisfied gesture towards the politics from Calcutta where many chronic demands have piled up over the years. Among the many blunders, left front government did, was its inaction over the north Bengal proved fateful in its gradual receding of supports from this region. Second half of the book is little bit interesting but hardly insightful. Normally, what we could expect from a travelogue should not necessarily be part of a political reporting like this. But here, again political issues are in backyard and description of British made bungalows and defunct local leadership found premier attention. A scribe too has right to be naturalist but when working on an assignment of political nature, it’s desirable to have better say on original subjects.
Election reporting is quite established in India but its formalisation is still in nascent phase. Effort of Harper Collins is commendable; also relevant was the occasion but lack of sound field studies and failure to eternalise the actual scenario proves a major bottleneck. Though this innovative initiative has promising future indeed…in the days ahead, expert pshephologist as well as the journalist too will be enthusiastic in carrying out and prolonging of their election experiences into physical shape of book. As the most successful democracy, Indians genuinely enjoys the exercises of politics and it’s always full with responses, especially when someone writes over the related stories in authentic capacity.
Diary writing used to be an act of historiography, case of Anne Frank on German holocaust, Franz Kafka’s literary/political doubts or Nehru’s elegant political narration are some of the most living examples. These all peoples were remarkable in their own way and their elucidation of universal events added the much needed insights for knowing the contemporary time. Compilations of diary details or jottings have enough potential and collaboration with electoral experiences may be helpful in shaping it as a new discipline of writing.
As new arrival on this fresh theme, PORIBORTON will sure generate good readership for it and will also usher a culture of publishing the political reporting more active. This lead must be come from a democracy like ours…reckoning political processes will be always a boon!
Atul Kumar Thakur
December 06, 2011, Tuesday, New Delhi