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If it were limited to what he wrote as short pieces that are collected in this and in various other books, it would be a questionably good read, most of the part anyway - he does have some sort of germ in his head so to speak in language familiar to him, in that he is not happy giving intelligent commentary and rare beautiful descriptions of people and places; he absolutely must disgust the reader in general, possibly delighting a few, by copious and explicit references either to nether parts of his own or other people; or worse, explicit description leaving the reader in no uncertainty how he viewed the other half of humanity only as a package to contain those parts. In this he is far from content to merely insult all people with higher sensibilities or all women, including his own family. In a forward to one such collection by one of the many the young protegies of his who met him some time when she was young and he far from that, she mentions how he spoke explicitly humiliating a Nobel prize winning much revered poet of his nation and how he delighted in insulting and provoking a whole people, and one can only surmise from his copious references to various other poets from parts that separated from the motherland depriving him of home he had to forever hanker after, that this was his revenge on the motherland that gave him refuge, revenge for having been deprived of his home by those that threw out all other communities that they could not live with and demanded a separate nation via breaking up the motherland with threats of massacre executed before and during the partition. His own parents lived in the capital, and his bringing up was in many places including the capital, but he was in tears when visiting his childhood village where he spent his early years with his grandmother, and where he is very aware of the community that surrounded them was always keeping away from them, no matter how friendly he or his community or even those in majority in the nation as a whole were, then or since. And his response is to be friendly with them, visit them, regret how they are not responding generally, and insult those that gave him not merely home but positions and honour despite not quite proven merit. The pieces themselves are readable, no more and no less, in most part. If one misses them it is no big deal. And this can be said about all such collections of pieces by this author, perhaps even by all that he wrote................................................................................................. That is even more true about this book, judging by the very first piece that provides the title for the book. Emergency was a traumatic period of history in India post independence, and that is saying something about a nation that was beset by various problems and is only now emerging a little out but not by far. There had been famines before that, riots provoked by those that thrived politically only due to lack of harmony in communal scenario and depended on vote bank politics, and wars due to attacks by nations across the borders. Emergency was traumatic, and that was not merely for the western educated upper and middle class and political elite, or intelligentsia alone - if that were so it would hardly provide a wavelet in a nation that survived a millennium of various marauders and invaders and colonial rules. Emergency was traumatic to the nation as a whole, because democracy was and is seriously ingrained in the very fabric of the nation where even faith is a matter of personal choice and family, community fabric, not enforced with threats of hell. This, apart from diversity of every other sort - languages, dress, food, cuisine, not to mention the geographical and climatic diversity, is essential to the nations very soul. Emergency was imposed when a high court ruled that the election of the then prime minister was illegal due to a person in administrative office being used in political work - not that this is unusual, it was only that it was carelessly done in that it could be proved in court. Various political persona and intelligentsia suspected of freedom of thought and likelihood of not complying and obeying the ruling party diktats were summarily thrown in jail, and some suffered great deal due to health and age. This author was not one of them, and was free to support it for stupid reasons as many then did. One wishes his reasons were some profound secrets now exposed, so one could sympathise at the very least. But no, the reasons were simple - a matter of law and order, which he says is more paramount than question of security and liberty of individuals that was suspended during the time, which the nation was uncertain for how long, or whether it was going to be forever, with democracy forever gone. There were many others who spoke in accord with this sentiment about preferring law and order, and this is very reminiscent of those that praised Germany during pre WWII era, for trains running on time. This author went part of the way to support it for those reasons and describes how his publication was suspended for a few weeks, until it was pointed out that the ruling dictatorship could not care less, when he began publication. Perhaps that is to win back approval. Yes, it is important to maintain law and order, to have trains run on time and streets clean. But at the expense of life and liberty of populace as a whole, no it is not. When people had their homes bulldozed summarily and young people lost chance to have a family without their consent to the process, people simmered with disapproval, and India was fortunate enough in being able to exercise her democratic rights and show the world and the stunned prime minister and her party that the people did care, and used their rights to protect, for democracy. This author on the other hand had during those years gone on to praise not only the dictator and her action but did - and in various pieces included in various collections - praise the younger son who was, it is believed across India for credible reasons, responsible for the emergency and various actions that wreaked havoc during the time. He however did not limit himself to that, and went ridiculously further. Now one finds why - his own background is responsible for some part of that. He came from roots that were built on much wealth and much much more bestowed on people due to favours from rulers, rather than achievements of ones own in academic and other fields, and this favoured status brought forth not merely wealth and title and upper class life with all the other privileges that one can see naturally going with it - social connections with other upper class and political persona and hoi polloi generally, including various foreign diplomats and others - but also grants and positions that more deserving candidates ought to have had, and would have done more justice to. So naturally he saw nothing amiss with praising in national publications young people who had power to back them up in whatever they wished to do and very little qualifications - and if he had praised them in a judicious manner being familiar with them personally, that would be excusable, but no, he had to cross limits of ridiculous where it became apparent it was a court jester perhaps doing a clown act for fear of life and liberty and more, of his wealth and titles and future. One would see that as the reason and excuse him as India does anyone helpless with fear for family welfare, but here he goes and includes the first piece that mentions law and order as the reason for disapproval of freedom of individuals and democracy in general, and even more, goes on to say he disapproved of a person whose life and work followed that of the so called father of the nation, in opposing a dictatorial rule in peaceful ways of civil disobedience. Of course, his own privileged and bestowed status being due to bestowal by the colonial rulers who were questionably worse, and his love for the people who broke up the nation and his forever hankering after that broken off piece and the people who were with those that massacred innocents, at cost of insulting and humiliating people of high culture and more, is all in accord with the justification of emergency and praise for the young in power who had done little in way of achievement. But none of that can be called fair or just or anything remotely of that sort. Then again, he gave up his career in law, had never done well academically, and frankly states that he took up writing about his community as a means to make a career by specialising in something. In that too, he began by translating prayers of his faith, and then went on to denounce all religions and spirituality in general and those that he was not afraid to attack in particular. Attacking Bengal is not as expensive as attacking those across the Northwest border post partition, and their culture or faith. He refrained from indulging in this. It all comes to childhood taboos in his case, and caste as practised everywhere other than India. ................................................................................................

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