It is the first responsibility of every citizen to question authority.
Banquet on the Dead is fantastically thought and written thriller which will keep you engrossed in the story all the time. It was certainly a joy to read the book. Hamid Pasha, the lead detective, in the novel will give you the rusty feeling. The one that I had experienced earlier. I kept thinking about this experience that I had previously and was having while reading the novel when my mind left for the past days. If you know there was one detective series from Doordarshan days – Byomkesh Bakshi – the famous Bengali character created by Sharadindu Bandyopadhyaya. Those were the days! Coming back to Banquet on the Dead now, this rusty feeling made the story more enjoyable. The characters were carefully sketched which though “bear no resemblance to any person living or dead” but still you will be able to relate to all of them. The characters actually exist in the real world.
Plot is fantastic and shows the confidence shown by Sharath Komarraju in his writing. Here I would like to mention that this is his second novel (I have not read the first one though). Till the end you keep guessing who can be the killer and until and unless Hamid Pasha discloses it at the end, there is no way that you can guess the correct answer (Yes! I know you can by skimming through the pages from the back. But isn’t it cheating?).
There were places where I felt that the book could have been better proof-read but like Ashwin Sanghi’s The Krishna Key, these can be ignored.
I have just one last thing to say: “Grab the book and keep guessing.”
My rating: 4/5.
P.S.: I received this book from the author/publisher in return of a review.
Part III of The Constitution of India guarantees Fundamental Rights to citizens of India which includes right to freedom of speech and expression. However, with series of recent incidents that have taken place, it seems that it is available only to few people who have reach and means to show their clout – physical or monetary. And the recent incident of the arrest of 2 girls for posting their point of view (totally harmless from any perception) only aggravates this view and issue. Have we totally lost it?
The FB comment posted by Shaheen Dhada, one of the girl arrested for “hurting religious sentiments” just mentions that there was no need for the bandh because one leader of a political party has died. And just asked why can’t anyone remember the great martyrs like Bhagat Singh, Azad, Sukhdev or any of the likes because of whom we are living in a free India. But are we really living in a free India? Or we are living on the whims and mercy of the political mafias and gundas?
And the police seems to lost it totally. There is a saying in Hindi,
पढ़े पर गुड़ें नहीं
Read but neither understood nor imbibed. (rough translation)
The policemen (barring few) are just doing jobs because they couldn’t clear any other exam. Or it was the last resort for them. How do you expect such people without passion for their job do the rightful thing?
And what Shiv Sainiks are talking about. They can say anything they wish and want. They can go on blabbering hatred comments and no one will take action against them. But a common Indian doesn’t even have the right to say something on something as trivial as Facebook.
What a Shame?
- Why I can’t pay tribute to Thackeray (justicekatju.blogspot.com)
- Outrage Erupts After Two Women Arrested In India Over Facebook Post (huffingtonpost.com)
- ‘Mumbai shuts down due to fear, not respect’ (thehindu.com)
- Mumbai girls held for Facebook post against Thackeray (thehimalayantimes.com)
- Two girls held for FB post over Thackeray funeral (thehindu.com)
- Arrest for Facebook ‘Like’: Friends accused of breaking speech laws (examiner.com)
- Right to speech under threat? Mumbai girls’ Facebook post on Bal Thackeray landed them in jail for ‘hurting religious sentiments’ (dailymail.co.uk)
- Outrage at India Facebook arrests (oddonion.com)
- Drop Charges Against Indian Women Arrested for Facebook Status (forcechange.com)
- Indian Woman Arrested over Facebook ‘Like’ (newsfeed.time.com)
- Shaheen Dhada, Renu Srinivasan, Indian Women arrested for hitting ‘like’ on Facebook (americanlivewire.com)
- Outrage at India Facebook arrests (bbc.co.uk)
#I wrote this on PG on 13th Oct 2010. And posted on FB Notes on 30th Jan 2011.
We have been for long talking about changing the role of the government from being the regulator to that of a facilitator. It is impossible for the government and its administrators to handle the role of a regulator successfully. Therefore, Indian bureaucracy, which have people selected through one of the toughest exams and who boast of great knowledge and ability, are overburdened. This burden can be reduced if we make them the facilitators and not the regulators. Thus, they will be able to use their knowledge and ability in the right direction.
There is a scheme suggested by Finance Ministry of the alternative solution to PDS system. I would like to implement that. It is based on practical thought and behavioral economics. If you want details then read Chapter 2 of Economic Survey 2009-2010.
In India, we discuss about the bad situation of sports other than Cricket. I would like to implement the strategy used by administrators of cricket to bring it to the fore for other sports as well. A private club consortium structure for all the sports body will be the first step towards that goal and the government will provide tax benefits to the body. The government will act as a facilitator by running stadiums and giving them to these bodies on annual rent.
The foremost reform that I would like to see would be in the working of political parties. I would like to bring in the regulation/law for the internal functioning of the political parties. Members of a political party will follow career service, i.e., they will join at the lowest rung and will have to make their way to the top by working effectively. Pre-independence democratic structure of Indian National Congress will be the basis of any such regulation or law.
- The Politics of Reforms!!! (anandkumarrs.wordpress.com)
- Does the Indian economy need a reboot? (ibnlive.in.com)
- How India’s politicians have been the main force behind economic reforms? (mostlyeconomics.wordpress.com)
- CAG for more independence to regulators (news.in.msn.com)
- Make the right diagnosis (thehindu.com)
- India’s Congress Party Commits to Reforms (blogs.the-american-interest.com)
- Economic situation is difficult, need more reforms: FM (news.in.msn.com)
- India’s Governing Party Sells Its Reforms to the Masses (rendezvous.blogs.nytimes.com)
This was one review that has long remained pending.
This is a fantastic book. The portable form of Yes Minister sitcom that rocked BBC in 1980s. In India, we have had a hindi TV-series by the name of “JI Mantriji” and many countries have had TV series based on this book.
I love humorous books and stories and am a pucca Wodehousean and a great fan of Jeeves, Wooster and Psmith. The characters created by Wodehouse are immortal. Similarly, the characters of Yes Minister are straight from the world near you. You can see the same politics happening around you in your own country.
It is really a nice book. Recommended for all.
Recently, I got an opportunity to read a Hindi book IshqFareb authored by Chandan Pandey. The book consists of three short stories all telling the story about Love and Hatred, Love and Betrayal and stories are all weaved with how love is cheated with treachery.
Chandan Pandey is a winner of Indian Jnanpeeth Navlekhan Award 2007 and truly, his stories and way of writing deserve this prize. It is encouraging to see that people are still writing in Hindi when our entire generation is focusing on the English Literature by Indian Authors.
Writing of Chandan Pandey is lucid and very contemporary. I felt a kind of relief in reading the stories and felt that the future of Hindi Literature will be bright only if writers and authors in Hindi of the likes of Chandan Pandey are encouraged. I thank Penguin India to take up the cause of Hindi Literature and welcome their step to publish novels and story books in Hindi language.
Now coming back to the book. The book has three stories: ‘City Public School, Varanasi’, “Shehar Ki Khudai Mein Kya Kuchh Milega”, and “Revolver”. The First one is set in a co-ed school and brings you the memory of school days. The story is about three teenagers and a kind of love triangle narrated beautifully.
The second one is set in college and though my college life is not anywhere near the act, it really is touching to see the two lover separated due to miscommunication and suspicion. Another brilliantly told story.
The third one Revolver is about betrayal, hatred and crime and this one certainly steals the show. The kind of thought gone behind this story is amazing and how much I enjoyed reading is hard to express in words.
There were certain negatives like lack of enough proof reading and certain grammatical mistakes. These I think can be easily ignored. I also did not like the paper on which the book is printed. I know it can be resolved if we get more Hindi readers to buy, love and buy again the Hindi books, as it will then only be economical to publish these books in the choice of papers that they actually deserve to be printed.
Rating: With hope for the best for the Hindi Literature, I would rate the book 4/5.
Final Verdict: Must read for Hindi enthusiasts and lovers.
P.S.:- I received this book as a gift from the publishers, Penguin India in exchange of a review of this book on my blog.
- ‘Think rationally about learning Hindi and it will make sense’ (thehindu.com)
- Differences Between Hindi and Hindustani (differencebetween.net)
- Hindi Divas: Namaskaar! (prathambooks.org)