Breaking some myths about former Indian prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, how a laid-back girl became the czar of India television and a journalist shares some interesting newsroom stories. Asian Lite Bookshelf this Weekend has interesting mix. Take your pick.
1. Book: Assassination of Rajiv Gandhi: An Inside Job?; Author: Faraz Ahmad; Publisher: Vitasta; Pages: 312;
For 25 years, a myth has been perpetuated that former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated by the LTTE because it feared his return to power in 1991. But if this basic premise is disputed and the alternate scenario is presented that the Congress which returned to power that year fell short of a simple majority, even after Gandhi’s
death, then the entire bottom of this thesis is knocked out and it falls flat on its face.
This book is about conspiracies and intrigue, attempts to explode this myth and seeks to find why Gandhi was killed if he was not likely to return to power in the 1991 mid-term elections?
It also looks at the aspect of who benefited politically from the killing. The proverbial perception was responsible for what the author describes as a major cover-up of the real conspiracy to assassinate Gandhi.
2. Book: Kingdom of the Soap Queen: The Story of Balaji Telefilms; Author: Kovid Gupta; Publisher: Harper Collins; Pages: 197;
This books is the story of how a laid-back 17-year-old became one of the most powerful women in global media, how a project kicked off by a teenager in her father’s garage turned into the biggest entertainment provider across India. And like every fairy tale, this too has its share of magic, curses, spells, potions and pixie dust.
With insights from over a 100 television celebrities, the author chronicles the narrative right from the christening of the company in 1994 to its transformation into the most influential production house of 2013. He not only depicts the initial struggles of the media house, but also explores every aspect of its growth.
3. Book: Off the Recors: Untold Stories from a Reporter’s Diary; Author: Ajith Pillai; Publisher: Hachette;
Beginning with a call from a furious Chota Shakeel, Dawood Ibrahim’s right-hand man, asking him to retract a story on ‘Bhai’ or face the consequences, the author takes the reader on a journey that sees him guide V.S. Naipaul to meet the ‘boys’ from the underworld; follow the sensuous Silk Smitha around Bombay on New Year’s Eve; witness the first shots of Operation Vijay during the Kargil War; track across the country, along with a colleague, a brigadier accused of high treason, among many other stories.
These real stories are a testament to a journalist’s life as well as a comment on the changing nature of the effervescent Indian media.
4. Book: Kanthapura; Author: Raja Rao; Publisher: Penguin; Pages: 214
This is the story of how Mahatma Gandhi’s struggle for Independence came to a casteist south Indian village.
Young Moorthy, back from the city, brimming with new ideas, seeks to cut across ancient barriers and unite the villagers in non-violent action.
The story emerges through the eyes of a delightful old woman who comments on the villagers’ actions with sharp-eyed wisdom, evoking the spirit of traditional folk spices.