Manifesto of the Communist Party by Karl Marx
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I got interested in this book because Dalai Lama’s own favorable experiences with communism as per his autobiography. I am glad that I read it.
Its not easy to read as the sentence constructs and contexts are not familiar. Still, it builds a very good picture of class struggle. One could look at some of the struggles today; say that of Naxals, and find a lot of similarities. No wonder that even today a lot of people turn to this and other books of communism. One can also see its ideas resonating for a large number of people and why it could form a bedrock for revolutions.
While it does bring a strong case for the proletariat and their problems, the picture remains simplistic. One important part that it ignores is the role of technology in economic evolution. Its prescriptions for a solution are not detailed and not examined against practical realities. Its no wonder that many of the countries following this model have had to rethink.
Overall, I love this book for its description of class struggles. Also, it remains a benchmark of political argument that stirs souls. A must read for anyone interested in people, societies and change. Avoidable if you are looking for deep economic analysis or assessment.
I finally picked up Krishan Partap Singh’s Delhi Durbar. Its the second book on my South Asian authors challenge. Once picked, it was difficult to put it down and I devoured the book late into a night in spite of a hectic schedule the next day. KPS (Krishan Partap Singh is such an mouthful of a name) again spins a very well paced yarn. The story again seems very authentic and again draws upon real life persona. However, unlike the last book Young Turks, there seem to be some small holes. Or maybe, I’m getting used to KPS’ craft and starting to see beyond what he wants a reader to see.
Read the book for a a very credible story of a behind the scene “fixer” who does the high value deals for India’s PM. The fixer is good and has the good fortune of inheriting from his father who was the best of the fixers. However, he is faced with situations and people that even he can’t stomach. Also, he has personal problems to deal with. This is his story of navigating the maze of India’s political sleaze and managing to win against the odds.
The protagonists from Young Turks also make an appearance here and there seems to be an implicit promise of everyone getting together in the last book of series.
Just read Krishan Partap Singh’s Young Turks as a part of the South Asian Author Challenge. Back cover says “pure Jeffrey Archer” and its not off the mark. The story itself has elements of Kane and Abel and the its a political thriller like many of Archer’s books. The story just flows with hardly anything superfluous or underdone. The transitions between the incidents sometimes reminded me Isaac Asimov’s Foundation Series also. The language is very simple and yet the story assumes an intelligent reader. So in terms of story telling, this is a very well written book at par with the very best.
The story itself is very Indian. The characters are very real and I love the way they grow with the story. Each of the main characters adds layers in their personality as the story unrolls. One can easily identify with young men in school to a Indian Muslim’s dilemma to several kinds of politicians in the story. In fact, the background of the PM and his choice of words brought up the face of someone I know almost every time. There is a lot of research by the author in real incidents, real people and real trends that comes together in the story. Thus, when he builds the story on top, the mix of fact and fiction reads very genuine. The pace is fast and a lot happens within the span of a few years but it all reads very credible thanks to Singh’s style of writing.
In all a great read and highly recommended. Krishan Partap Singh is a revelation and I’ll be looking out for any books that he writes. In fact my next book is his Delhi Durbar.