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Showing posts from January, 2016

Review: Nehru and Bose

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Nehru and Bose by Rudrangshu Mukherjee
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I need a few days of cud-chewing before I can say anything. But, as it stands now, let me categorically state that those people who claim to fight on behalf of Nehru and Bose, are ill-guided. There may not have been a deep friendship between Nehru and Bose, but there never was so much enmity that fighting after this many years can be justified. It is not just stupid to think that Nehru and Bose were enemies, it is also very dangerous. Both men realized at the time that they played a very big role in much bigger game. True, Bose sometimes thought that Nehru was working against him. But the issue is so much more nuanced than Nehru and Bose were enemies.


P.S. I don't understand the low ratings. This is a brilliantly written book that delivers on the promise. Man, people can be really miserly when acknowledging scholarship.

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Review: Animal Farm

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Animal Farm by George Orwell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Mild spoilers ahead.


"Four legs good, two legs bad".

So goes the condensed maxim of the Seven Commandments of Animalism. And for some reason, this is the most loved feature of the book, for me. We have a certain passion and lust for evocative, ornamental prose. People have won wars, captured governments, and become billionaires, all on account of their ability to somehow stir the metaphorical loins of the reader, through their writings. And it is very easy, for us as readers, to get lost in the beauty of the prose, that we'll fail in our most important duty of all - making sure to taste some salt every few pages. We forget to question the correctness, we become children at a candy machine. Nothing exists except the candy and our tongues that can savour them. Too often we get carried and become unflinching devotees of our favorite authors, that we never question them, just because their words can appeal to a d…

Review: Nineteen Eighty-Four

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Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Updated on 10th of January, 2016.

Minor spoilers, but nothing that will compromise the enjoyment of reading the novel in the author's words.

This is perhaps the first novel I have read entirely at the Anna Centenary Library. ACL is one of Asia's largest libraries, and famously received a 2,794 page long invoice from Cambridge university press, for books worth 1.3 million GBP. And it's in walking distance from my hostel.

1984 is not a novel about 1984. It is a novel about every year that follows it, and every passing year has one mission: Vindicate George Orwell and his predictions. And you'll be pleased to know humanity is tirelessly doing just that.

Let's come to the book. I have tried to get through this novel at the formative years of my reading. I have always stopped it in the first 30 or so pages. I am actually kind of happy that I did so.
Why? Because, until you achieve a certain maturity…

Review: Nineteen Eighty-Four

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Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is perhaps the first novel I have read entirely at the Anna Centenary Library. ACL is one of Asia's largest libraries, and famously received a 2,794 page long invoice from Cambridge university press, for books worth 1.3 million GBP. And it's in walking distance from my hostel.

Let's come to the book. I have tried to get through this novel at the formative years of my reading. I have always stopped it in the first 30 or so pages. I am actually kind of happy that I did so. Now, I can read with much more patience, can understand much more that when I started out, and more importantly, I know much more about state sponsored mass surveillance, which is the crux of this novel.

I am a computer engineering UG student. And there is no doubt that today, computers aid the most massive surveillance, in all of humanity's really long history. And we seldom know about it, much less care, for the surveillanc…

Review: When You Catch an Adjective, Kill It: The Parts of Speech, for Better And/Or Worse

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Review: The Stars, Like Dust

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The Stars, Like Dust by Isaac Asimov
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is a part of trying to read the entire Foundation Universe, starting from the early ones.

It is always humbling to see someone grow up, struggling through the growing pains and teething problems. It is doubly so when the person involved is a genius like Asimov.

I started reading "The Stars, Like Dust" one depressing evening. The story takes place in a far away future, when the Earth itself has been abandoned, and forgotten in many places of the Galaxy. Asimov's writing always cheers me up, but alas, this was not the case with TSLD. The author of the book was not someone I knew, not someone who always knew just how much science to throw in to maintain the book unputdownable. This was an amateur, struggling to build memorable characters, with very less subtlety when going to science, often straight out jumping to defining things, with not so much as a thought to blend them in to the plot.

Yet, someh…

Review: India After Gandhi: The History Of The World's Largest Democracy

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India After Gandhi: The History Of The World's Largest Democracy by Ramachandra Guha
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

As I set to type this review, I also seriously consider not doing so, on account of my naivete. In all fairness, I am new to this genre and this book had been lying around for more than a year in my shelf, till I started reading it after I had finished some 100 odd pages in a friend's copy.

I have not read any other book that was so dense as this and yet so well-paced. The amount of information in each page is staggering. The only book I know that has more footnotes than this is, perhaps, the Infinite Jest.

I started off by watching a TEDx video my Mr.Guha. He was so articulate in his views that I was compelled to read the book immediately. And in his book, he is more articulate, more evocative than I had imagined a writer of history can be.
India, is in it's own right, an exception in the world, as a nation. It had not satisfied any condition that major historians…