A new Amazon e-book has become a talking point among many for its unique take on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the ways he helped India's employment growth. The presumably self-published book comprised 56 blank pages with a pixelated image of the PM on the front cover. "MASTERSTROKE: 420 secrets that helped PM in India’s employment growth!" the title screamed. And while it is no longer available on the e-commerce platform, netizens are loath to forget it.
Now, uploading a blank e-book onto Amazon may be a literary travesty, or alternatively if one goes by Twitter, a "masterstroke", but the author did not stop there. While the book was free for kindle unlimited users, it was otherwise priced at a modest sum of Rs 56 and was written pseudonymously by 'Berozgar Bhakt'. The reading age is given as "baby to 18".
"Nation wants to know what Modi ji did to increase employment opportunities for India! How a great leader helped a struggling nation to emerge glorious in the war against COVID-19 and walk down the path of prosperity. This book has all the things Indian Prime Minister Modi did to increase employment among the Indian citizens," reads the book description.
As per the archived version available on the Wayback Machine website, the book has a 4.8 rating out of 5 stars from 149 global ratings. While it remains unclear whether the book was taken down by Amazon or delete by the publisher, both the author's profile and the book purchase page have now been removed.
For those living under a rock, the number is a nod to the many allusions to the Prime Minister's 56-inch chest that have been made over the last decade or so. While Modi stated in 2014 that it took a 56-inch-chest to "turn UP into Gujarat", more recent iterations include Home Minister Amit Shah and countless Opposition leaders and critics. And while the book does not confirm it one way or another, the allusion to '420 secrets' is also making many on Twitter cackle in delight for its links to marijuana consumption.
Needless to say, the situation has evoked a mixed bag of feelings online, with critics gleefully pouncing on the topic even as others heap criticism on all who favour it. Somewhat problematically, the book (although this might be a generous description considering its blank pages) remains uploaded on Smashwords.