This slim volume of short human stories, first published in The Indian Express in the 1980s, is a treasure of perceptive observations and delightful anecdotes. Jaswant Singh was still in the Opposition, as an ordinary member of Parliament, when he wrote these pieces. We hope that when he goes back into oblivion (perhaps later than sooner) and returns to his roots, he continues to write.
He has captured the essence of Bharat that is so different from India. Perhaps he should have called this a village diary instead of a district diary. Alas, today the district is even further away from the village than it is from Delhi. The gap in perceptions and expectations is enormous and growing wider by the day. The districts are like mini-Delhis all over the countryno permanence, no loyalties, a confused identity and little real power. They have more irritant value and are even more distant from the reality of poverty, corruption and injustice. In these stories, the author has lived through and shared with a cross-section of rural society the anxieties, the tension and the social ceremonies that keep the village as it is today. The widening and indeed tragic gulf between urban and rural India emerges with striking clarity.