Book Review: India from Midnight to the Millennium and Beyond by Shashi Tharoor

RATING : 2.5/5

India from Midnight to the Millennium and Beyond by Shashi Tharoor was, in many ways, disappointing. It is not  the overall readability of the book, or of the topics covered or of the beauty of the language used ; but it is the lack of  expected depth of the book which gives that impression. And especially when its title makes one assume that it must cover the whole of Independent India’s history.

No one can deny that Mr. Tharoor remains a narrator without much parallel among the modern political observers of India. However, one could see only a few instances elaborated as the only ones which defined the period under consideration. Plainly speaking, too much of information and anecdotes have been provided on a handful of topics. This gives the book a handsome superficial width, but a depth as thin as a sheet (although not quite the alternate pronunciation).

At one instance he narrates an anecdote to hint at the success of affirmative action for removal of caste disparities in Kerala. The narrative gets almost an entire chapter on caste. Apparently, it happened to be one of national prominence as the all important author was personally involved. A lot of similar issues abound the book.

A good book, if you are fond of one-liners. But for them, I would rather read The Great Indian Novel by the same author.

Recommended: for people with less interest in the depth of political affairs, as they will at least find something in the political discourse which is interesting. It still remains a book, which might invoke some interest in the disinterested.

Not Recommended: There is hardly anything new for people who have been reading books of this genre for a long time. Not an advisable read for those in search of information.

Good one-liners and remarks make the book light and enjoyable. That provides the extra 0.5 in my ratings.