Mani Shankar Aiyar has been a diplomat, a parliamentarian, a union minister and, above all, an interesting writer and speaker. Aiyar’s latest offering, Achhe Din? Ha! Ha! is a collection of his recent articles and online columns. As is apparent from the title, it is a pun on Narendra Modi’s pre-Lok Sabha poll promise of ‘achhe din’. It’s quite typical of the author—it provides a good deal of humour as well as interesting facts, apart from being hard-hitting on right-wing parties in general and PM Modi in particular.
Aiyar says in the foreword that he believes Modi is an event manager, not a prime minister. Although this may be a bit too harsh on the strongman from Gujarat, there is substance in the claim that Modi has a tendency to play to the gallery as probably no previous premier. Aiyar, however, does go overboard in his criticism of NaMo and tends to make his views too subjective for the unbiased reader. For example, he takes poor Shashi Tharoor to task for some genuine praise of the PM, and describes Obama as a ‘lame duck’ president when he visited India just because Modi received him.