Book Review: What Young India Wants (Chetan Bhagat))
Book: What Young India Wants
Author: Chetan Bhagat
Publisher: Rupa Publications
No. of Pages: 208
Some people call him Rockstar Author, while some say India’s most Loved Author, some other call him “One of Most Influential Person” (Ranked 21 by TIME magazine in 2010m in Artiste category), and he is often considered as a Youth Icon. But does everyone truly love this person? Not really, critics hate his writing style; his articles in various newspapers are considered as ‘Blabber of a Lesser Known’, and his novels are often tagged as ‘Bubblegum Literature’ and even once he was called 'Rakhi Sawant of literature'. However, he shuts them all by his polite smile and a simple sentence “It’s a lazy criticism”.
So who is this famous chap?
He is Chetan Bhagat, one of the most successful author of 21st century, in terms of fan following, in terms of sales and in terms of haters, and I am telling you just in case if you still haven’t read the Title of this review!
So here I am with a little insight of Mr. Bhagat’s new book, ‘What Young India Wants”. With this book Mr. Bhagat is stepping out from his comfort zone and trying to take up a responsibility of being true to a Youth Icon Image.
In his latest book, What Young India Wants, Chetan Bhagat asks hard questions, demands answers and presents solutions for a better, more prosperous India.
• Why do our students regularly commit suicide?
• Why is there so much corruption in India?
• Can’t our political parties ever work together?
• Does our vote make any difference at all?
• We love our India, but shouldn’t some things be different?
All of us have asked these questions at some time or the other. So does Chetan Bhagat, India’s most loved writer, in What Young India Wants, his first book of non-fiction. What Young India Wants is based on Chetan Bhagat’s vast experience as a very successful writer and motivational speaker. In clear, simple prose, and with great insight, he analyses some of the complex issues facing modern India, offers solutions and invites discussion on them. And, at the end, he asks this important question: Unless we are all in agreement on what it is going to take to make our country better, how will things ever change? If you want to understand contemporary India, the problems that face it, and want to be a part of the solution, What Young India Wants is the book for you.
Now you might have predicted what this book is all about. What Young India Wants is a collection of Mr. Bhagat’s articles and essays on many relevant issues, published in various newspapers, precisely one three aspects of India i.e. Society, Politics and Youth. A catchy title and flashy cover do half of the job (read grabbing the attention) while rest is done by Mr. Bhagat’s name itself. I am not much fan of his fiction writing, but I quite admire his articles on Times of India and Dainik Bhaskar, in fact, I’ve read almost every article he ever wrote. However, that doesn't mean I am his Blind follower because I too use my brain when it comes to thinking about social and political issues, but his articles are indeed worked as a Brain Tonic, mostly.
First ten pages are dedicated to his life and his journey as an Engineer to Investment banker to Policy Maker to,finally, become an Author and the reason why he decided to write this book, which is good to read. Some will call it bragging for his achievements while some other will call self-delusion, but it’s always good to know about author’s intentions, especially when reading a Non-fiction.
First section of the book is ‘Our Society’ where he compared American Society with Indian Society in a firm but money centric manner, which I personally didn't like. However, the society aspect of our country is really money oriented and, for many, having money is the biggest problem than being Rich. Mr. Bhagat’s articles failed to address this issue to the grassroots level. However, it covered many aspects such as religion, casteism, terrorism and corruption, but one issue overshadows it all that is “Bhagat-ism”. Mr. Bhagat’s solutions to many problem sounds promising and revolutionary and I too believe people who never have left their A/C room and never switched their TVs to any News channel will find them as ‘The Ultimate Solution’, but are hard to digest by people who know the reality.
Second Section is my favorite, ‘Politics’. In India, we love discussing politics, specially blaming them and abusing them for little mistakes (little mistakes such as 2G Scam,CWG Scam,Fuel Prices to infinity). So here Mr. Bhagat tried to tell us what politicians are NOT doing and how to make them do it. Being a neutral about political parties, he covered both aspects of politics, ruling party and opposition. However, due to hyper activeness of nation’s great leaders many of the issues he raised, now sounds quite outdated, but not Dead. He tried to convince why we should make peace with our neighboring country and questioned the judiciary system for a handful of Powerful person (read politicians) along with one of his most popular article in support of Anna Hazare’s movement. This section is really good food for thought but when I look at the current political structure of India, it seems highly impractical. Nevertheless, it indeed confers a strong message to bring the change, and if we really want to bring a change, it must start from individuals. Good for discussion, hard to implement, but Not impossible.
Third and the best section of the book is ‘Our Youth’ where finally, Young India is addressed. If you ask me a single point of recommendation, I will blindly say “Youth Section” and it’s really the only point!
All articles in youth section are fun to read and are well thought. Targeted to 70% of the country’s population, they address issues such as educational pressures, importance of good English (Oh You CB hater! Stop that smirk spreading across your face!), flaws and needs of current education system, brain-drain, communication gap between student from different backgrounds and his famous orientation speech of Symbiosis, Pune. And a surprise element is two fictional short stories at the end of this section. Stories are good, and gives your brain a little relax after reading so many articles on a wide variety of issues.
Now Review Time. I must admit that almost 75% of the book was like a Re-Read for me, as I am quite obsessed with editorial columns hence it bored me a bit, and I even skipped a few articles. Mr. Bhagat lived up to his great image of Grammar Killer; however, at some places it felt appropriate but missing words worsen it on many places. ‘What Young India Wants’ failed to inspire me, but I know soon many B-Schools will use these articles in their weekly debates and even placement interviews. Many of his solutions are logical but far from reality and volatility of country’s political situation also made them Not Applicable. A little more depth of thought would have brought some impact and instead of taking articles as-it-is, a little rewrite would have made it a Must Read.
Happy Reading :)