HydRAW 2022 MarchReads

Write-ups and book reads of our members in March, 2022

This month’s reading list includes a comprehensive review of Nandan Nilekani’s Imagining India.

Muralidharan Parthasarathy (on Imagining India) : In the first chapter ‘Ideas that have arrived’, Nilekani emphasizes that Indian public felt there was improvement living conditions and new experiences were pleasant contrary to the reservations most people carried about liberalisation. From the 80s when computer and IT were seen as not much promising and accessible the Indian population as a whole have come a long way. In the next ‘India by its people’ he tells the expectations and happiness of people is felt in the air. In the next chapter he elaborates how Malthus theory of population was proved wrong by Asian countries. India and China both got growth from the 80's to the millennium and their population growth came down but the working population amongst those who skilled were in sizable percentage became their major HR strength. The growth in IT Sector is due to the skilled and educated youth’s increase in number. In comparison with China in India the family planning was not done brutally and compulsorily, so the acute fall in birth rate was avoided and a healthy rate remains. Now both Indian and world economists alike find human capital our strength. In the next part of the book “From rejection to open arms’ he highlights how aspiring entrepreneurs and investors are now encouraged by Government. This is followed by ‘The phoenix Tongue’ obviously referring to the rethink on the part of everyone who had thought English was a symbol of British supremacy and wasn’t needed in a country where the majority spoke Hindi. This change of mind is due to the opportunities English throws open to students, entrepreneurs and for those who want to work on projects abroad. Liberalization and globalization have brought back the importance English enjoyed as a global language for communication and the know how on Science and Technology. In India, the southern states’ people find connecting through English with their northern brethren easier and simpler for them than learning Hindi. The title of the next part ‘From man eaters to enablers’ makes us raise our eyebrows’. The west had many misconceptions about India and one of those was there is a dangerous group of man eaters in many parts of India. Now all that is changing and the growth of the IT industry has supported the leap forward in many sectors. Industry, Finance and service sectors. “Home and the world” Nandan Nilekani throws light on the fact that our growth and potential to generate a substantial volume of goods in the manufacturing sector and service sector equally brings our focus to the outer world where we must find opportunities. India, if she bears this in mind, could turn out to be the luckiest country of 21st century. He chooses to analyse threadbare the initiation and process of establishing democracy in India. In developed countries mostly development preceded democracy, but in India it was development faster first and democratic system still to be fully developed. He gives the reader the whole account of the efforts to establish democracy right from British days when only the affluent and upper caste voted to the present day political scenario.

As the book moves forward from chapter to chapter, we get a wholesome account of India’s challenges in the path of growth, liberalisation and globalization from late 90's till now. He emphasises the need for road blocks in the area of higher education, and in the rural India failure of local bodies to take over education as their priority area and into their jurisdiction. Infrastructure, education and health care are not the same when handled by Central Government and a state Government. He often mentions about BIMARU viz., Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh which are economically backward and in literacy as well in comparison with other states of India. He bats for social security enactments on par with Europe and USA to make elderly retire earlier and live peacefully which will give opportunities for the youth. He is for innovations in power sector for non conventional but environment-friendly sources of energy. He is worried about the unplanned urbanisation and joblessness due to the growth of unskilled labor and lack of state of art reforms in agri-sector. He cautions about our environmental issues. He wonders why we are not having single citizenship ID and integrated data bases to speed up corruption free service for the public. He has keenly observed Indian contemporary political developments and also has researched a lot about Indian History. At the end of the book he gives chronologically the major events in Indian history for 100 years backwards from 2015. His emphasis is on ideas for growth, public well being and urbanisation and transparent Governance. He has devoted so much of his time for analysing each sector and give his view for betterment and reforms. His contributions for the betterment of India is a classic example of what is patriotism, that is , a dream for the inclusive betterment of all Indians. He repeatedly, sadly records the set backs we suffer due to caste and religious divides. This book is a promising approach to the challenges we have addressed and we are sleeping on.

Arun Kumar (on The Happiest Man on Earth) : This is about Holocaust survivor, his life and philosophy. He lived past 100. Passed away in 2021.

Dhruva Nalla (on The Murder of Roger Ackroyd) : It’s a classic Agatha Christie novel, it’s about detective Hercule Poirot trying to solve the murder of his friend Roger Ackroyd. It has a thrilling plot and the writing style is very smooth and easy to follow. The ending will surprise you.

(on Mrs. Dalloway) : The story happens during a single day, it’s about Mrs. Dalloway making preparations or the party. In the meantime various characters are introduced, their thoughts are revealed and the story also contains flashbacks. Virginia Woolf uses stream of consciousness technique and manages to discuss various topics like homosexuality and mental health in a subtle way.

Pral Rao (on Letters from a Stoic) : It is a philosopher’s retreat. Has a lot of examples related to stoicism and how it can help in overcoming problems or living ideal life!. It is also inspiring how Seneca lived despite what all happened to him and stuck to his principles. It is also inspiring in a way.

Poonam Vaze (on The Murder of Roger Ackroyd): A detective fiction by Agatha Christie, the story starts with a local widow committing suicide and then the turn of events happen in a small town called King Abbot, where the town gossip plays an important role to unravel the mystery. The character Dr. Sheppard is the narrator and the local doctor. Poirot plays the witty detective who masters in understanding human nature and not to forget Caroline who is Dr. Shepard’s sister; she fancies herself as a detective and keenly observes every character of the village and jumps to instant conclusion. A good read and a shocking ending.

(on The fall of the House of Usher) : An excellent read with Poe’s amazing ability of creating a Gothic mood, this short story is about a decaying castle and its weird inhabitants. The tone of the story is entirety eerie and gloomy and the ending is just super.

Sudheendra Fadnis (on Strangers to Ourselves) : It is a book recommended by my guru Nassim Taleb. He claims to have read it multiple times. And his emphasis on action more than mere intellectual reflection is indicative of influence from this book. Contrary to the popular opinion that self reflection is the cure for almost all our personal problems is challenged This book posits that we don’t have access to our true innermost thoughts owing to the cognitive biases. It is rather substituted by an illusion of self knowledge as a means of psychological immune system. The remedy for this is to watch our actions and take objective feedback from others so as they are reliable indicates of our inner psyche to bring in positive, permanent change


Muralidharan Parthasarathy

  • Imagining India by Nandan Nilekani

Arun Kumar

  • How Blue is Our Planet? by Katie Bagli
  • Grand Chapati Contest by Asha Nehemiah
  • All Creatures Great and Small by Ruskin Bond
  • Imaan by Manoranjan Byapari
  • Looking for Laddoo by Aparna Karthikeyan
  • The Secret World of Mehlli Gobhai: The Man Who Found Art Everywhere by Jerry Pinto
  • The Boy who Dared by Susan Campbell Bartoletti
  • The Oldest Student by Rita Lorraine
  • Woof! Adventures by the Sea by Aparna Karthikeyan
  • Paati’s Rasam by Janaki Sabesh
  • The Red Tree by Saun Tan
  • Are Your Emotions Like Mine? by Chitwan Mittal
  • Atomic Habits by James Clear
  • Tales from the Vedas and Upanishads Retold by Daaji Kamlesh Patel
  • Memories of My Melancholy Whores by Gabriel García Márquez
  • The Chowpatty Cooking Club by Lubaina Bandukwala
  • Born to Bat by Arthy Muthanna Singh
  • The Armenian Champa Tree by Mahasweta Devi
  • Amrutham Kurisina Raatri by Devarakonda Balagangadhara Tilak
  • Acrobat by Nabaneeta Dev Sen
  • The Happiest Man on Earth by Eddie Jaku
  • Become a Junior Entrepreneur by Vrunda Bansode
  • Fantastically Great Women Artists and Their Stories by Kate Pankhurst
  • Coral Woman by Lubaina Bandukwala
  • Crenshaw by Katherine Applegate
  • The Gutsy Girls of Science by Ilina Singh

Salini Vineeth

  • Anger of Saintly Men by Anubha Yadav
  • Manjaveyil Maranangal by Benyamin (Malayalam)
  • Stars From Borderless Sky by Shalini Mullick

Aishwarya Lakkakula

  • Brides Are Not For Burning (a play) by Dina Mehta

Dhruva Nalla

  • The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie
  • Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf

Abhishek Munigial

  • Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus by John Gray

Sudheendra Fadnis

  • Stop Reading the News by Rolf Dobelli
  • Strangers to Ourselves by Timothy Wilson
  • Design Your Work Life by Bill Burnett
  • The Courage to Be by Paul Tillich

Nalini Dharanipragada

  • Blues by Dhruva Nalla

Pral Rao

  • Letters from a Stoic by Seneca
  • Rock Paper Scissors by Alice Feeney
  • The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie
  • The Dutch House by Ann Patchett
  • Malice by Keigo Higashino

Poonam Vaze

  • The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie
  • The Fall of the House of Usher by Edgar Allan Poe

Lavanya Nukavarapu

  • The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie

Mahboob Hussain

  • 1984 by George Orwell
  • Deception Point by Dan Brown
  • Postmodernism: A Very Short Introduction by Christopher Butler



Hyderabad Readers And Writers

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