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Book Review: Between You and Me by Atul Khanna

Between You and Me by Atul Khanna is a brilliantly penned down non-fiction, which at large dissects the most delicate, insane, and important aspects of our Indian society. The wealth of a nation does not lie in the banks, but in the minds of people, and it subsequently affects the society in which they live and try to be progressive.

When we say society, it’s just not the physical addresses or dwelling places where people roam around and live. Society is a big word – it is inclusive of history, past deeds, political and historical figures, financial ecosphere, bureaucracy, institutions, and much more. Aptly, the book starts with mythology era that existed even beyond the Indian subcontinents’ history. We see Eklavya and Karna. They might be remembered for their talent and sacrifice, but the ugly underlying fact is that they were victim of a fake societal system. How? The author expounds that they were extremely capable and talented but their lineage had no proper track. They were from no concrete system. So, the rudimentary layer of our society which was laid way back in the mythology era was corrupt. It was not based on merit. And we are roped in the same since then. That’s one classic instance from the book.

As you move ahead, you will find that the book is segmented into three logical parts. Be it any part, the author has kept his major focus on societal issues, and at the same, he tried giving many feasible options to solve them. For instance, he finds flaws in the India’s electoral process. According to him, the people should get more than one option of candidates from the same party, this will make way for the deserving candidates. In the first part, there is a dazzling chapter on India’s democratic leadership. Indian democracy is metaphored as a car, and leaders as drivers. It is given that every time, we hopefully, elect a different party and expect a lot to be done in return. However, that is not possible because of the structural obstacles. Every time the driver is being changed, not the car. Did you get the point of election in the Indian democracy?

Likewise, the author’s another major concern is with the storage of power and the role of bureaucracy in keeping normal people bereaved of their basic constitutional rights. A lot has been discussed and suggested to improve the execution of power and bureaucratic tenacity. The book is full of jaw-dropping topics that are often not covered anywhere, actually people do not discuss them, the media do not take responsibility of it. Atul Khanna must have done a lot of research and study to put up all in a book. Other than the persisting problems, the beautiful part is his imaginative solutions. They may or may not sound feasible, but some or other way make sense. Taking the advantage of the current time, India as a whole going through a transformation. Probably this is the right time to make amends and changes that can bring true fruits to 600 million youth of India.

Topics based on Redefine Adult Franchise and state division (given with examples) are way ahead than the ordinary mentality. It’s to be noted that Indian government act according to the population as a metric, rather than geography. As put in by the author, people living in plains cannot decide the fate of Sikkim or any small coastal town which is capable of pulling immense tourism crowd. 

Well-thought out and perfectly placed. It is the need of the hour. Atul Khanna rocked with this book – undoubtedly and deserved a standing applause. This book is majorly for Indians like us and you – maybe not for the left or right politics. In one word – takes a Powerful Stance on the Issues of Indian Society!


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