Saturday 26 November 2016

Book Review: Hello Bastar

It's thousands of years old
their anger
thousands of years old
is their bitterness
I am only returning their scattered words
with rhyme and rhythm
and you fear that
I am spreading fire.
- Gorakh Pandey

Hello, Bastar by Rahul Pandita is the story of Maoist movement in India. The book starts with a very gripping story. In fact, throughout the book, the author seamlessly weaves one story into another. The book sheds  light on the origin of the movement. It further explains that how the struggle continued in different parts of the country with special focus on Bihar and Andhra Pradesh. The book is  well researched and backed with chilling statistics.

The book gives us insights into the hardship that people face. It tells us how the simple agitation against landlords in West Bengal turn into a nationwide movement. The author also throws light on how this issue has been politicized and made into what it is not. The role of media in furthering this agenda has also been discussed. 

The party's ideology, structure and funding is explained in a  simple manner. I especially love the part where the author's experience of staying in camp is described. It reminded me of Arundhati Roy's Walking with Comrades. The section on Anuradha Ghandy's life is very informative. The book culminates with the issues faced by slum dwellers and how they can be unionized to further the Maoist agenda.

The book covers the subject adequately. The narrative style makes it an interesting read. The only thing  I don't like is that I feel the narrative is one-dimensional. 

In a nutshell, this book is perfect for a beginner who wants to understand the issue.

Sunday 6 November 2016

Book Review: Courting Injustice



Courting Injustice by Rajesh Talwar is a book which entails the horrific gang rape case of Nirbhaya which took place in Delhi on the fateful night of 16 December. The book is divided into 10 chapters with each chapter dealing with a 
certain topic. 

Anger. Shame. Disgust. Helplessness. This is what I was feeling as I was reading the book.

It starts with the description of what happened on that night. The author also delves into the life of the victim and her family. From then on, he talks about the New-Anti Rape Laws which came into force as a result of this unfortunate event. This section of the book is comprehensive as it clearly delineated the difference between the old and the new laws. He not only talks about the crimes against women but also against men, children, and transgender. 

The section on Verma Committee recommendations is  thorough and well-articulated. From highlighting the good points to highlighting where it failed to offer the solutions, the author has done a very good job. He explains the lacunae in the system and how new laws filled those gaps.

The author not only goes rambling about the problem but also provides solutions. He first explains the problems which plague our judicial system backed with shocking statistics. Then he offers the possible solutions. The author also touches some crucial topics like marital rape, capital punishment and the inclusion of stalking and voyeurism as  crimes.

The author has referenced many other cases which show that the book is backed with a good amount of research. The details are not too elaborate, just enough to summarize what happened without leaving any important details.  The analytical approach towards the subject has helped the author to cover all the aspects in a balanced manner. The book has definitely helped me understand the subject a little better.

The only parts I didn't like reading were the description of laws in legal language. Though the explanation was simplified by the author, I found them distracting. Other than that the book has done its job quite well.

My rating: