26 February, 2021

And The PM Said Aye

This Modi book is good on the campaign hardware and adds to the halo but avoids the discomforting bits

And The PM Said Aye

Consider this mix: several hours with Narendra Modi, pumped-up ego and new swa­gger after victory; another sev­eral hours with handpicked associates; detailed access to movers and shakers of the Modi campaign and (as reported) a couple of volunteers from the campaign hired as researchers for the book. Because of these munitions, the book is a predictable, racy account, but only up to a point. But first, one question: should all narratives, despite being breezy, with an engaging style, be considered book material, or should it remain long-form journalism?

The author confesses at the outset that during his conversations with him, Modi, with his self-exaggeration, gave ample opportunities for an ‘oh, come off it’ response. But beyond rare instances, this assessment does not find articulation. This leads us to the conclusion that eventually the subject charmed the author. Lance Price quo­tes former New York governor Mario Cuomo as saying, “You campaign in poetry, govern in prose”. But campaign poetry sets the metre of writing; the prose...

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