Shekhar Gupta’s book is a handy compendium that illustrates a tumultuous timeline, writes Pradyot Lal
Armed with an unpretentious style and powered by the sheer pull which political anecdote and gossip has for the great Indian middle class, Shekhar Gupta has effectively sustained his column week after week. He writes on subjects as varied as the last relics of the quota raj to the decline in the fortunes of the Indian National Congress, and has sought to position himself as an involved bystander in the world around him.
Like most journalistic accounts, this one has an immediate context as a point of reference, and many among its potential readers would perhaps recall having read the pieces when they originally appeared. That is both an advantage and a disadvantage, because for every one reader who would like to recall what was written and what really transpired, there would be many others who would perhaps move on to the next piece that they may have left unread. There is a problem, though. In the sheer breathlessness of writing for the moment, the larger perspective becomes a casualty. Later revelations of what was actually happening in the cloisters of government, politics and business often surprises the most informed of commentators, innocent of secret interventions that may have been made at that given point in time.