Accidental India, I had got an invitation for its launch in Delhi but couldn’t attend it due to prior commitments. Ever since then I had this thing in my mind that I would definitely read this book some day. Blogadda came up with 10 copies of Accidental India as a part of their book review program and as soon as I got to know about it, I applied for it and got lucky. 😀
I had kept this book as my weekend read but when I read its preface where Shankkar tells about India’s gold being transferred from Reserve Bank of India to Bank of England, thats when I thought, No! I am not putting this book down.
In Accidental India’s Shankkar Aiyar has shared a regular trend that he has noticed over the years. All the major social & economic reforms that changed India happened accidentally. He has shortlisted 7 accidental reforms that took place in India. He has again and again emphasised on a well known fact that India acts when there is a crisis breaking out and has supported his observations with proper examples and anecdotes.
Let’s have a brief look about what all things the author has covered in his book.
1. The Bonfire Of The Vanities – Here Shankkar tells us about the times when the economy of India was liberalised in 1991. Back then India’s leaders thought that they can manage the economy through their political ideas and when things went out of control, then thought about the Liberalisation Of The Economy.
2. The Hunger Games : As we all know India suffered from famines when Britishers were ruling us. These famines were so bad that even after Independence, people were dying of hunger and couldn’t recover from its effects. India never tried to think on the lines of becoming agriculturally self sufficient and again, when things went out of control and we had to import food from outside, thats’ when The Green Revolution took place in 1964.
3. Das Kapital : Nationalisation of Banks, when Indira Gandhi realised the fact that there could be a smooth flow of the capital from the political circuit by democratising it, thats when in 1969, this accident took place and is going strong over all these years.
4. The Milky Way : Amul, and with this you can figure out what had happened in 1970. Operation Flood definitely played an important role in improving incomes of rural India and have been doing it since then. Going stronger and better with each passing day.
5. Soup Kitchen For The Kitchen : The mid-day meal scheme targeted some of the basic problems of the Indian society, malnutrition and education. This scheme triggered the enrolment of underprivileged children in schools but as we all know, the improper application of this scheme keeps becoming the headlines every other day.
6. The Black Swan : Again, something which could have done ages ago came in late in India, Computers. Reason? Well again a crisis, foreign exchange was badly needed and unemployment. This is my favourite part of the book, The Software Revolution, that took place in 1990.
7. The Da Vinci Code : RTI, call it whatever but ever since this right has come into play, things have become a bit translucent as earlier they were opaque. Thanks to immense efforts of pressure groups and activists. The Right To Information Act which was introduced in 2005 again happened when things were going beyond control.
I must say here, that the research that Shankkar Aiyar has put into the book is definitely praise worthy. The way he has analysed every situation and with the way it was dealt during those times proves that how dedicatedly he had been thinking about putting this all up together which has come out in the form of this book, Accidental India. I highly recommend it, if you wish to know under what circumstances these accidents (that we now boast about) took place.
Book Source : Blogadda
Publisher : Aleph Book Company
Genre : Non Fiction
ISBN : 978-81-923280-8-9