Friday, June 6, 2014

Battleground UP : some thoughts on the affecting book

Battleground U.P. : Politics in the land of RamBattleground U.P. : Politics in the land of Ram by Manish Tiwari
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I am a sucker for well researched, nuanced books on politics, but even if I hadn't been, this book would still rank as one of my favourites. For this is such an utterly fascinating book, so rooted in reality, so authentic. It deals with the dirty, murky world of ground-level politics in UP and dissects it in all its grimy and gory details. Never turning into a high handed social commentary, without any use of heavy academic jargons, it shows the disgusting and the noble, the ridiculous and the mundane, all facets of how politics is conducted in our largest state. And it does that with a lot of compassion, raw feelings, all tongue in cheek. Though it is a bit out of time to read this, since this book was written after UP assembly elections in 2013 and a lot of water has flown through the Ganga since, but still the socio-poltical realities is still almost same, and so it is a must read for anyone remotely interested in understanding how the dance of democracy is conducted in our hinterlands, and what it means for the masses inhabiting this hugely significant state, politically. Everything is dealt in detail here, whether the intertwined streams of communalism and criminaluzation or the rise of caste based politics, heralding the mainstreaming of the erstwhile backward communities into politics, whether the rise of nexus between neo-industrialists, politicians and mafia or the sustenance of socialism, alongside. With a heady mix of personalities, ideoligies, everything from the awe-inspiring to gut-wrenching. A wonderful read.

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