Vir Sanghvi is a childhood name for me. I remember some of his articles vividly even today. So, when I discovered "Mandate: Will of the People", I picked it up just for the author. Being someone with absolutely zero interest in politics, sketchy ideas about various events, if someone could make me read a book on Indian politics, it has to be Vir Sanghvi.
The book starts from the days of our first Prime Minister, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. It moves through the eras, with a detached perspective, narrating facts. The account is quite brave, as it puts forward different thought processes, conspiracies, blunders and also lauds achievements of every succeeding era. The author offers his own point of view too- unafraid to call an eminent personality quite incapable at handling crisis situations.
What the book made me realize was how little I knew about Indian Politics. Mrs Indira Gandhi was assassinated few years after I was born - which means I've been around some time and have borne witness to many a turmoil in the political scenario. Yet, there is much I did not know. For example, who was I. K. Gujral? Or P. V. Narsimha Rao, V. P. Singh and Charan Singh? How did BJP manage to overthrow the mighty Congress, who were ruling for long? What led to the demolition of Babri Masjid (I remember the curfew that was imposed at that time.)? I had heard much about the Emergency, but neither did I know why it was imposed and what changed the scenario later - Vir Sanghvi opened my eyes in many such aspects.
India is all set to become a global super power today, having evolved from a country with slow economic growth. This book is a must read for anyone who wishes to know about the true series of events that shaped the present-day India.