Sunday, December 14, 2008

Being An Indian - Pavan K Varma

Just finished reading the book, for once the content is refereshingly local, anecdotes are personal and the targetted audience is likely a mix of domestic/global. The book packs rare insight into some of the common traits that are found across this breathtaking (literally) country of ours. Pavan K Varma (an interesting essay here, a former diplomat eases through our apparent dichotomies very deftly, while still harping on the macro perspective: are we are reaching escape velocity or a precipice?

Varma's overarching themes in his book are power and stability. Power being the single most coveted possession of most Indians and the necessity of stability for establishment and maintenance of power heirarchies. Mind blowing stuff. We cannot but go revolutionary except in small pockets because we dislike disorder. Classify everything available so there is order in life while pursuing social mobility.

Karma helps us tide over the past and present with the eternal idea of hope. Our own mileau is more important than what is good collectively so as a soceity we will remain apathetic.

The idea of the books is to provide ideas that are common to India and it succeeds brilliantly in it. Possibly a lot of research has gone into some of the analysis, but I would like to have a bit of statistics (would have made it a tome but maybe online source to all reference material would have been helpful :D ).

Anyway, a heavy book I read it in bits and pieces in over 2 months. Yes, a bit loaded as of now.

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