Muddle India

Rage, Reconciliation, and Security: Managing India's Diversities by B G Verghese, is from Penguin.

Sixty years after Independence, the Idea of India has become part of the very fabric of our democracy and nation-state. Yet much remains to be done to manage the upsurge of diversities that this democracy has nourished, and to confront the challenges and opportunities this presents. In this book, Verghese takes a broad-brush view of some of the country’s pressing concerns today: insurgency and Naxalism in Bihar, Middle India and Andhra; issues of language and culture, Dalits and caste, revivalism and fundamentalism, tribals and minorities; conflicts over land, forests, urbanization, industrialization and globalization; and global warming that demands lifestyle changes.

Tracing the roots of these long-standing and recent troubles and the State’s varying responses to them--often insensitive and repressive--the author shows us how colonial history, self-perceptions, social differentiation, divergent world views, paucity of human rights and dignity, as well as socio-economic imperatives have shaped these present problems. Many layers of such emerging insecurities, Verghese says, have to be negotiated with patience and understanding to achieve a sense of common good. Accepting the volatile ground realities—whether in Manipur, Andhra, Chattisgarh, in SEZs or Singur, Nandigram and Kalinganagar--he pleads strongly for eschewing populist and polarized positions, rooted in nostalgia and dead habit, and for seeking solutions that could lead to ordered change and stability, while fostering diversity.

Candid, critical and thought-provoking,
Rage, Reconciliation and Security is important for its vision of building unity from diversity through fraternity and a sense of common citizenship. For it is only through common security that we can ensure the future of India and her people, of other nations and the world.

In hardcover, 266 pages, Rs 495. ISBN: 9780670081721.