Book Review: Think With Me by Subrata Roy Sahara

Genre: Non-fiction

Publisher: Rupa Publications

Publication date: December 18, 2016

Pages: 150

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Book blurb:

“When we see the problems related to political leadership, population growth, education, the media and religion going from bad to worse, a natural question comes up in our minds. Where, after all, did we go wrong? What happened during our democratic journey of independent India that we are faced with nasty problems on all these fronts? Why couldn’t we teach people occupying places of responsibility that rights are given to perform your genuine duties, not to serve your personal whims, false ego and greed?”

It is the author’s firm belief that if the problems related to the above five fundamental issues continue to be as they are, the nation will be hit by a crisis of unimaginable proportions, our national edifice would crumble and everything that our leaders had valued and held sacred for the love of the country before independence, would be lost forever. So, the author, through a deep-seated and thought provoking commentary on these issues invites you to think along with him and ponder over them honestly and sincerely. While going through the book, you may come across points where you differ with the author but in the end, you will be convinced that to make our country ideal, the need is for a wider awakening on the issues as discussed in the book.”

My review:

Rating: 3/5

Subrata Roy knows exactly what has gone wrong with India since Independence. We may or may not agree with his solutions–to each his own.

In the preface, Roy admits that he isn’t a subject matter expert. He is simply presenting his ideas and opinions. However, he does include notes in the book clarifying that if he is approached for detailed consultations, he would be happy to oblige.

The book is divided into five sections, covering the Electoral System and Leadership, Population, the Education System, the Media, and Religion. In the opening chapter, Roy posits five categories of human emotional spheres, namely I, We, We all, and Us (where I and We concern only oneself and one’s family and We all and Us include one’s country and the entire humanity.) He says that “people with confined emotional spheres”, when given leadership positions, cause harm to society.

He touches upon some pertinent issues (e.g. curbing election expenses, need for stringent laws for population control, interpreting epics in the modern-day context, discouraging negative news reporting) and provides some doable action points.

In the section on Population, Roy suggests providing a whole host of benefits to the “ideal family,” (a family with no more than two children). He devotes nearly 6 pages and 28 points to describe the privileges to be given to the ideal family. The idea is good; it is the execution that seems challenging.

In the section on Religion, Roy talks about the formulation of a “national religion” that is based on the Hindu system of living. To quote the book, “…even for the Muslim brethren, as there is a preponderance of the Hindu system in India, there may be a way of getting long-lasting peace, happiness and satisfaction in abundance within the system.” This idea may not go down well with everybody.

Think With Me would have read better with tighter editing to refine the colloquial style of writing. A book that deals with nation building will always have its detractors. However, a book that presents its subject matter in a grandiloquent manner (that also throws in self-praise of Sahara occasionally) may not be widely enjoyed.

(I received a copy of this book from WritersMelon in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. This post contains Amazon affiliate links.)