Title: The Billionaire Raj
Author: James Crabtree
Publisher: Harper Collins
Price: Rs. 358/-
Pages: XXV + 358
The study was large and panelled in dark wood, to match the table at which Mallya sat, checking messages on both phones as we talked. A glass of water stood next to him at first. A little letter he pressed a white button next to his Cafe Creme cigarillo tin to summon the butler and order whisky; the rear wall contained a drinks cabinet concealed behind a white and gold facade.”
The above paragraph on Vijay Mallya gives a glimpse of not only the writing skills of the author but also of his observation powers. This only leads one to think why in a
22-page chapter, excluding the one page with picture of Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Barack Obama, titled ‘The Tragedies of Modi’, there is no mention of Demonetisation? Though otherwise, the word does appear in the book at several places.
The word, ‘Demonetisation’ appears in the chapter ‘The Seasons of Scams’. The 23-page chapter excluding the one with pictures of communists (which author calls demonstrators, but the flag in the background gives away the secret) in Kerala protesting against demonetisation, talks of 2 G Scam but not of Radia Tapes. Radia Tapes appear in the 21-page chapter on Arnab Goswami. Yes, there is a full chapter on Arnab Goswami, preceding the chapter on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in which the author has drawn a similarity between the two.
The chapter on Arnab Goswami also talks of Barkha Dutt, but not in the context of Radia Tape, but to say that “Anchors such as Rajdeep Sardesai and Barkha Dutt were amongst their most prominent targets.” Here the author is talking about journalist being called ‘Presstitutes’.
The author talks about the Aston Martin accident in the chapter on Mukesh Ambani and also covers Andhrapreneurs as well as IPL in details. The way the book has ignored Congress and Gandhi’s, makes one conclude that it has to be by design. Book has 12 chapters apart from introduction and conclusion. Chapters cover the events that are perceived as important by the author James Crabtree during his five years stay in India as Mumbai Bureau Chief for the Financial Times.
The author quotes extensively from the controversial publication Caravan. And on a lighter note, if one is looking for a list of Urban Naxals, the acknowledgement of the book can be a good starting point (only on a lighter note).
Yes, there is no mention of a single terror attack (except 2008 Taj Hotel attack) in the book, it signifies what has changed in India, a point only Indians will be able to understand and appreciate. Author has brilliantly linked his arrival and departure in India to the new airport of Mumbai and it makes an interesting correlation.
It is an extremely well-written book and one of the finest anti-Narendra Modi books that one will come across. Books have power to impact subconscious mind subtly and this book has the potential to do that.