Portrait of our times

Tharoor, Roy and PM Modi at the center in new book on patriotism

Where exactly are we as a nation in the here and now? Have we lost the confidence to move forward in what is going to become the most daunting decade for our great country? Has the pandemic broken our resilience? How and why did we, we the people of India, allow our beloved motherland to bleed so incessantly that tears seem to fail our eyes?

Is this the India of our dreams? If not, why not?

In The Psychology of a Patriot, endorsed by India’s foremost litterateurs, career journalist Saket Suman draws a telling portrait of our times, narrating the consolidation, evolution and contestation of patriotism from the first war of independence to the pandemic.

The Psychology of a Patriot features extended interviews spanned over several years with Booker Prize-winning novelist Arundhati Roy and former UN diplomat and politician Shashi Tharoor to make a sense of the state of the nation under prime minister Narendra Modi’s leadership.

Episodes from India’s quest for freedom, the making of its constitution, the suppression of everyday Indians during the emergency and India’s fall from grace in the events leading up to the pandemic and beyond that come alive through exclusive conversations that have been painstakingly recorded over the past decade.

Readers and enthusiasts of Indian history and polity will encounter the sublime meeting of controversial historian Romila Thapar with Mahatma Gandhi; former prime minister Manmohan Singh’s daughter and revered historian Upinder Singh’s research on political violence in ancient India; the Constituent Assembly debates on the protection of the cow; veteran journalist late Kuldip Nayar’s angst against the curbing of civil liberties under late prime minister Indira Gandhi’s regime, among several other first-hand anecdotal references that make this book the most significant offering since the pandemic.

Author Saket Suman

“It is quite the trend these days to blindly hold Narendra Modi’s leadership responsible for the catastrophic state of affairs in India. In this vitiated atmosphere, the ability to look deeper into the reasons that shape these outcomes is lost. As a journalist who has reported extensively on the heartaches and hurrahs of everyday Indians and has been at the forefront of almost every major event in India’s recent history, I comment confidently on the perils that have shackled our great country and bring to you a millennial’s perspective on these changing times. Whether you disagree or agree with the arguments put forth in my book is a decision you should make after reading The Psychology of a Patriot,” says author Saket Suman.

Veteran editor and former MP Pritish Nandy has endorsed the book along with Sanjoy Roy, producer of the Jaipur Literature Festival.

Shashi Tharoor says: “In The Psychology of a Patriot, Saket Suman traces the meaning of patriotism through a readable, often anecdotal account of India’s recent history, charting its double-edged power: a force that inspired the Independence struggle, and yet has been misused to foment intolerance and disunity. As a journalist who has written the ‘first draft’ of the recent history, Suman artfully uses the lives of some Indians, from Romila Thapar to Arundhati Roy and even myself, to delineate his vision of patriotism. Timely and important.”

ABOUT THE BOOK

With his trademark wit and unique narrative style, journalist Saket Suman delivers an illuminating account of modern India, tracing the consolidation, evolution and contestation of patriotism from the first war of independence to the pandemic.

This is a reporter’s chronicle spanning three generations, backed by first-hand accounts of luminaries, peppered with numerous anecdotes and a passionate examination of his own beliefs. It is as scathing in its takedown of bigotry as it is lucid in charting a blow-by-blow account of our recent past. It is a tribute to the making of India and its founders as well as the affirmation of the will of the Indians to place the power in the hands of the people.

The Psychology of a Patriot is a rare book, meant to be read with delicate attention. At its heart, it is a gripping story—the story of how we become us and why our bond must be cherished.

 

(The book is available on Amazon, Flipkart and leading bookstores across India) 

(Cover: The book cover of ‘The Psychology of a Patriot’)

 

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