Book Review Price of the Modi Years

Price of The Modi years

Data is not information, Information is not knowledge, Knowledge is not understanding, Understanding is not wisdom.

Clifford Stoll

The suppression and misuse of data by most government around the world is at peak. Adding to that is the fake news industry which is also in its prime, reaping moolah manufacturing and spreading fake news and propaganda. As a common citizen we have limited access to reliable data on economic and social indicator of our country. There is so much (mis)information floating around that it is hard to make sense of it. Many independent and credible sources of government data are either not accessible to us or they are suppressed by the government. And whatever genuine data and facts we have from government departments is scattered all over, and it is difficult to tie it together and comprehend it. Author Aakar Patel collated data and facts from different sources and put it all in his book, “Price of The Modi Years”.  

The author compares various data points and global indices and busts the development myth created by the government and media. He says the much hyped and publicised “Gujrat Model” in nothing but a hype. No significant change happened when Modi was chief minister of Gujrat. In fact, the author gives many examples in the book, that Gujrat was way behind in many socio-economic indicators.

The Author very meticulously presents the data of various global indices during Modi years and compares it with the period before him. As opposed to the popular narrative, in almost all the global indices India is worse in comparison to the period before Modi years. Someone rightly said, “the devil is in the details”, ss you flip through the pages, you will understand the meaning of the phrase.

As I read the book, I felt a sense of anger and helplessness at the same time. We as citizens are cheated so brazenly and we can’t do much even after knowing the truth. For every data and fact there are hundreds of fake news and fake WhatsApp posts in circulation creating confusion and chaos. The difference between fact and fiction in blurred. The author points out that our mainstream media has toed the government line and became its mouthpiece dishing out propaganda to the ever-ready citizens.

There is a constant suppression of data; people are fed with wrong data and a strong image of government is portrayed. In the chapter, “A Policy of No Name” the author says that the government has no actual Pakistan policy and no real Pakistan strategy. “Magnanimity, pettiness, confusion, disinterest, passion, bipolarity. That is the sum substance of it. It is hot mess”, say the author. Policies like, “Neighbourhood First”, are complete failure with all our neighbours maintaining a distance from us and moving towards China.

“The Modi years will leave behind an India that is reduced in its neighbourhood, defensive in posture globally and tattered in image.”

There are thirteen chapters in the book covering a wide variety of subjects; each presented with data and facts. The author has put lot of efforts in researching, collating, and putting it all together in a book. This book can very well be a portal for everyone to look beyond the obvious; a book to see things clearly amidst the fog of misinformation and fake news spread by mainstream and social media. The book makes it clear that things are not as rosy as claimed by the government and presented by the media.

A must-read book to understand the truth behind the lies, data fudging and outright data suppression by the government with a tacit support from the media.

About The Author

Aakar Patel, is a syndicated columnist who has edited English and Gujarati newspapers. His translation of Saadat Hasan Manto’s Urdu non-fiction, Why I Write, was published by Tranquebar in 2014. His study of majoritarianism in India, Our Hindu Rashtra: What It Is. How We Got Here, was published by Westland in 2020. He is Chair of Amnesty International India.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *