Malevolent Republic: A Short History of the New India

Malevolent Republic: A Short History of the New India

“Newspapers joined in the act, assailing the readers in earnest tones with fables about Modi’s childhood. One story in Times of India revealed how, as a boy, Modi swam in waters infested with crocodiles and even brought home a baby crocodile. Another published without a hint of scepticism or irony, Modi’s claim that he could ‘digest any kind of poison.’”

Why I picked the book?

I was interested in knowing more about the political history of post independent India. This book was looking promising as it captures the history of independent India in brief and what all went wrong since independence as a result of which we are in the present situation. It promises to provide the critique of successive leaders irrespective of their ideologies.

The Book

Malevolent Republic: A short History of the New India, is a scathing critique of the rulers from Nehru to Narendra Modi. The author is direct and forthright in his critique and minces no words in calling a spade a spade. Starting with independence to the year 2019, the author bring the history of India and what all went wrong during these years.

The books starts with a personal anecdote which sets up the narrative. The author talks about the policy failures of Nehru, the arrogance of Indira Ghandhi, the emergency days, Sanjay Ghandhi and his sterilization programme, the killing of Indira Ghandhi, Rajeev Ghandhi and his tenure marred with corruption and consolidation of Hindutva forces due to his politics of appeasement. PV Narsimha Rao and economic liberalisation, Manmohan Singh and the continuation of the economic policies of PV.

Then it talks about the present regime and Prime Minister Modi under whose leadership the author says, hatred and religious bigotry are on the rise. It takes you through the journey of Modi from being a RSS pracharak to the CM of Gujrat. The subsequent Hindu-Muslims riots in the wake of Godhara carnage and how the state government watched and facilitated the state sponsored killing of Muslims. The rise of Modi at the national level and the subsequent winning of Loksabha election in 2014.

There is anguish and frustration about how things are shaping up and it clearly shows in the writing. The author captures in details about how as a nation we are drifting away from what we have envisaged when we got independence. How the social and moral fabric of the country in being torn apart for political gains, and how this is causing deep fissures among the people of the country.

Some of us may find the book dark and depressing, but if you give it a thought you may find the author is right. He is telling us what all is wrong and where are we heading to, now it is up to us to pause and introspect. The author does not provide a solution but it makes the reader to ask questions, the right ones.

Writing Style and Readability

The book is polemical and at times one might find it depressing. It gives you a short history of modern and is engrossing highly readable if one is interested in politics and history. 

About the Author

K.S. (KAPIL SATISH) KOMIREDDI was born in India, and educated there and in England. His commentary, criticism and journalism—from South Asia, Eastern Europe and the Middle East—have appeared, among other publications, in the Economist, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, the Guardian, the New Statesman,the Spectator, TIME, Foreign Policy and the Jewish Chronicle. This is his first book.

Our Recommendation

A must read if you are into history and politics. A readable critique of India as a nation and what all went wrong, and is going wrong with her at political, societal and religious level.

You can give it a skip if don’t like politics and social commentary.

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