Friday, January 24, 2014

#BookReview : On a Clear Day, You Can See India - The Little World of the District Official in India's North East by C. Balagopal

On the jacket:


A glimpse into the intricacies and challenges of governing remote and overlooked areas in the North East   'Balagopal, this is Kerala. This is not Manipur!   This was a refrain that I often heard and was something that I only gradually came to understand. It was clearly based on the unstated premise that Manipur belonged to a region that was quite different from the rest of India, where presumably even the laws were different (not true) and where the administration approached issues from a very different perspective (quite true).   Using notes and diaries from his days as an IAS officer, C. Balagopal presents a collection of anecdotes from his brief sojourn in Manipur nearly three decades ago. A clear-eyed look at the nitty-gritty of governance in the remote north east of India, On a Clear Day, You Can See India is embellished with Balagopal s memories which were remarkably fresh despite the passage of time. With a narrative that tries to steer clear of commenting on the contentious issues and tensions that arose in the area after Balagopal's departure, we see how the administration working in distant district and sub-divisional headquarters contends with issues at the ground level, far from the legislatures and High Courts and get a glimpse into the inner processes of a typical small government office.

Review:

This was a very interesting read. We know how biased we all are as a country, specially towards the north eastern states of India. While we still know a bit about Assam, we only have misconceptions and/or no concrete information about the states further eat.

In this book, the author has thrown light on Manipur - the state, the people, the culture, based on his short stint in the state, as an IAS officer. Being in the position he was, the author throws light and gives us a sneak peak on the state's small government and how it functions. 

Extensive, yet safe (the author has steered away from controversies of the land), this is a very good read, educative to see the least. Written in a very engaging style, the author has written a good book, specially, the content being something which opens a whole new world for us, who are somewhat ignorant.

Rating: ****/5

[This was a PR request review. The opinions are strictly my own and not been written under any obligation.]

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