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Monday, Dec 06, 2021
Outlook.com
Review

Hear That Chug-Chug?

Sometimes it takes the objectivity of a foreigner to see the potential within us. Lak holds up the light.

Hear That Chug-Chug?
AP
Hear That Chug-Chug?
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

I say this because Lak has spent nearly two decades in India as a journalist for the BBC. During this period he had the opportunity to travel extensively through the length and breadth of the subcontinent, and to meet a wide range of people from very diverse backgrounds. He has brought to his natural instincts as a journalist the kind of actual exposure that is indispensable to board the India Express.

Lak’s essential thesis is that India’s democratic credentials and the concomitant growth of liberal institutions, accompanied by a political pragmatism that has facilitated the needed devolution of central authority, will make it, along with America, the globe’s next liberal superpower. It is a flattering analysis. Obviously, the author enjoyed his stay in India and has an empathy for Indians. In fact, he quotes this from Gregory Roberts, the author of Shantaram, at the very beginning of his book: "The simple and astonishing truth about India and Indian people is that when you go there, and deal with them, your heart always guides you more wisely than your head." Has Lak, then, been more guided by his heart than by his head? My feeling is that his heart has indeed played a role, but the mind has been at work too; and it is the combination of the two that makes the book such a worthwhile read.

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