Book Review: What Young India Wants

Part of South Asian Challenge 2012

Title: What Young India Wants
Author: Chetan Bhagat
Publisher: Rupa Publications
ISBN: 978-81-291-2021-2
Pages: 181
Genre: Non-Fiction
Rating: 3.5 of 5

Ok, before anyone jumps on me let me confess I am a fan of Chetan Bhagat’s columns, if not of his books (though I loved 2 states; it is his best fiction work till date) and this book, his first non-fiction, is an anthology of his selected essays, speeches and columns. Guess that justifies the rating. Phew!

Now on to the book – Bhagat speaks about issues facing contemporary India: social issues, political issues and youth issues. He addresses social values, attitude, terrorism, governmental outlook, real estate, moral values, education system and a horde of issues in typical CB-ish eStyle – all filled with personal tales, interesting observations and a dash of humor. He does not tell us anything that we may not know or have not read/ heard about but the simplicity in the narration does points out the obvious to us. He has this unflinching optimism about his country that nearly borders on impracticality in the conventional sense and brilliance in ‘thinking out of the box’ sense and the good thing is that the positivity rubs off on the reader by the time you are through with the book. And that is the best service the author did to his country, god knows we need the optimism. In a country where at every stage, step, phase, whatever, there are a few stereotypical answers for every political, social, economical mishap: nothing can go right in this country, this is how it happens here always, what can WE do – these columns are oxygen to a country heading towards a ventilator.

This is also the first book where you see flashes of the intelligence that are a part of Bhagat’s social interactions, though his books are apt at hiding it well (pun intended). There are some very simple and brilliant ideas in there that can truly put the country in a much better economic position than what we find ourselves in, right now. Partly nerdy, partly rant (especially with chapters like Save us from the ‘Lerds’ and Can engineers be ‘touchy feely’) the book is a good read to tap the issues of India and what may be done about them. Inspite of a book dealing with problems of a country, it is a feel good book especially with the author ending it with something like The Great Indian Dream à la The Great American Dream.

Being the perfect nerd Bhagat addresses the issues with a solution at hand. Young India needs to read this book, it made me believe less in the hopelessness of my country’s future, it made me feel INDIAN – needed and hopeful.

Go on tell me what do you think. Happy reading.

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