Monday, September 26, 2011

Review: 24 Akbar Road

Another interesting book that I recently read was on India’s oldest political party, the Indian National Congress. Written by Rasheed Kidwai this book takes you through the fall and rise of the grand old party. A short history of the people behind it. Very well written,full of anecdotes, some stories heard, some unheard.

The author manages to keep the book engaging enough for people to keep reading and to understand what makes the party tick, despite numerous challenges; the party has always managed to come back stronger than ever. Its ability to keep re-inventing itself, mould itself as per the wishes of the people is has managed to keep its tenuous hold at the Centre. The book provides an observer’s glance at affairs within the Congress.

The party has been considered elitist by many. There is a certain aloofness about it which many a times is misread by the people. More in these times than ever.

The book takes you through Indira Gandhi’s times and how she managed to wipe out the parent Congress and made Congress(I) the true national party, looks at her relationship with her two sons and their wives. The part I liked best was how events and circumstances drove the Gandhi and Bachchan family apart.

What followed after Rajiv Gandhi’s death makes for an interesting read, how the party went through tumultuous times, the era of Narasimha Rao, Sitaram Kesri, the exit of Sharad Pawar, the re-entry of Gandhis, Rahul Gandhi’s vision for Youth Congress. It touches on all aspects of the party. The good, the bad and the ugly it has it all.

I would consider this book a must read, you can of course ignore some sugar coating that the writer has done at some places. But over all a good, insightful read.

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