Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Great Indian Novel, Shashi Tharoor

They tell me India is an underdeveloped country. They attend seminars, appear on television, even com to see me, creasing their eight-hundred-rupee suits and clutching their moulded plastic briefcases, to announce in tones of infinite understanding that India has to yet to develop. Stuff and nonsense, of course. These are the kind of fellows who couldn't tell their kundalini from a decomposing earthworm, and I don't hesitate to tell them so. 

I don't know if this really is the great Indian novel, but it was a good one. I think the title is a bit presumptuous, though. I liked the story-line of this sometimes humorous novel, but it was also a work of satire, and Tharoor directed his satire as  much against Indian foibles, failings, and quirks, as against the bumblings of British colonist rulers. Tharoor recast the epic the Mahabharata with fictionalized- but very recognizable- events and characters from 20th century Indian politics. For example, Gandhi is recast as similar character named Gangaji. Even though I don't know that much about Indian history (only the basics) I still enjoyed reading this book. It is narrated by Ved Vyas, who supposedly spent time with "Gangaji" and is dictating his memoir. I really liked the format of the book. Ved Vyas is dictating his memoir to someone named Ganapathi, and thus it is humorous, because he sometimes argues with Ganapathi, and it is included in the memoir. If that makes any sense.

Read The Great Indian Novel:

  • if you are interested in Indian history
  • if you like satire
418 pages.

Very Good! I would recommend this book!

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