Sunday, 31 March 2013

Book Review: Indira Gandhi The Final Chapter

Book: Indira Gandhi: The Final Chapter

Author: Suraj "Eskay" Sriram

Publisher: Niyogi Books

ISBN: 9788189738891 

Pages: 175

Indira Gandhi is one of the most colourful political leaders of the country and one of the few whose recognition factor has not declined with time. Therefore, even a news bit or a book about her or even remotely connected to her is bound to generate interest. This is exactly what "Indira Gandhi: The Final Chapter" by cartoonist Suraj "Eskay" Sriram aims to achieve. In the book, the author attempts to present a snapshot of the Indian political and social scene of the 1970s and 1980s through a series of well planned witty cartoons and illustrations.

The role of cartoonists cannot be undermined in a democracy which is why the foreword by Pritish Nandy states that cartoonists also work like historians through cartoons that reflect the changing times. Therefore, in Eskay's book, the cartoons and succinct text capture the paradox that Indira was and remains to this day. It captures contradictions and conflicts within the person who was a symbol of national unity and for others, an institution destroyer. Through such parameters, the book provides a modern-day insight into why Indira Gandhi behaved the way she did. 

Suraj "Eskay" Sriram's cartoons are sensitive, laced with a sardonic sense of dry humour. It graphically presents the tale of people who were affected by her directly or indirectly. The cartoons are right on the intended places and the illustrations remind us about some dark facts which we thought we had left behind with old newspapers and make us question whether if we have matured at all. Therefore, the books says that Indira Gandhi cannot be forgotten. This is a must-read: not just for the history lover, political science student or a person with an interest in Post-Independent India, but equally for every Indian who wishes to know why we have reached the stage we have and why so many things that Indira began have only hurt the idea of India we know of today. 

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