HYDERABAD: Honestly speaking, I do not read Telugu literature much, except for the occasional news and Sunday magazine stories. So when I was presented with the book ‘Nadusthunna Heenacharithra’ by noted journalist A Krishna Rao, which was based on national and international politics, I thought, ‘sure, I’ll give it a try’.
That evening, I stayed up till 3:30 in the morning, holding in my hands a page-turner that focuses on the crucial issues we see and face all around us. The book is hard-hitting and intensely touching, one where you would agree with the author on a wide range of issues. It is divided into 55 short chapters, each dealing with a specific issue in our society.
The opening lines of the first chapter are bound to shock us all, with the quote ‘Our democracy is dependent on corruption’. Those of you who watched Irrfan Khan-starrer Madaari, wherein the home minister confesses that the government exists to facilitate corruption, would find an eerie similarity, except that the author had sourced the quote much earlier. The articles were first published as a column ‘India Gate’ in the editorial page of Telugu daily ‘Andhra Jyothi’.
The government finds it easy to indulge in politics over Ambedkar to woo Dalits, but are they being empowered by the rampant land acquisition for the sake of big businesses, smart cities, etc?, questions the author.
Are the glitzy malls, towering skyscrapers, expressways being built on the blood of the poor called development, asks the author poignantly. In this aspect, he raps the ‘trickle-down’ theory proposed by the West, asking whether a society in which a cart puller uses a smartphone be termed as ‘progressive’.
He tears into the foreign policy and the double standards of the United States, on the unjust Iraq war that was based on mass deception, killing millions of civilians. The United Nations (UN) is a puppet in US’ hands, he says. On the decades-long rivalry of India and Pakistan, the author argues that an unknown hand, for its benefit, is pulling the strings, to see that the neighbours are always in a state of war with each other.
He delivers a stinging rebuke on the misappropriation of funds meant for Member of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS), and criticises the Centre for kowtowing to corporate interests, such as for the procurement of Dassault Rafale fighters, and in other instances.
It has been 33 years since Bhopal gas tragedy took place, yet then Union Carbide CEO was allowed to go scot-free. The victims are yet to receive the compensation, the author points out.
Almost every aspect is looked into - be it the systemic corruption in judicial and police departments, shady deals between politicians and big business houses, murky politics going on in the ‘gentleman’s game’, the draconian Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act in place in Mizoram, Assam, Nagaland, causing untold hardships to civilians, and more.
With a poetic flourish, Krishna Rao has ensured that he tugs at his readers’ heartstrings on some of the most pressing issues of our times.
The book makes you think long after reading it, and might even compel you to take concrete action. This, in my opinion, would be the author’s lasting legacy.
(Nadusthunna Heenacharithra, Emesco Books, 232 pages, `120)