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The blurb reads – a collection of essays by an ordinary Indian doctor , written during the most extraordinary times which the country saw……..

The author Prof. Shah alam Khan a ortho-oncologist , multifaceted a prolific writer , dauntless .

His second book asks a few straight simple questions , each essay nudging the neurons in the brain to create new pathways of thought , to wakeup and take stock of life around us ! Are we as a collective willing to step out of the definitions and bias be it religion caste creed gender class etc

I , a normal average reader did open the book with a little trepidition , – a non fiction and that too politics what else is possible ‘ ! But as I open the book voilá a surprise is in store – it is a collection of the politics that life is ! Shah alam ‘s essays written over the last couple of years – a Must Must read for every indian worth his salt ! As he so rightly says, ” Books can be dangerous and they should be dangerous . They carry between their covers ideas which can change this world ”

Each complete and whole , a in depth inquiry in itself penned with the authors incisive ,insightful political adroitness and presence with each situation , a conundrum of the existence of evil and suffering in india created by the present ruling government

The book divided into six sections , covers every aspect of life and living be it politics , communalism , media and international affairs , society , healthcare and ethics.

In his essay – The jharkhand government should know , banning a book makes it immortal … he writes ” You may burn a book , but the smoke of words penetrates deep into the consciousness of people . Like ideas they (books ) keep growing , just like the winter jasmine which flowers in the severest of winters …. banning a book makes it immortal ”

Whether it is – Sorry minister saheb , I will continue to treat poor patients from bihar or anywhere else or The chowkidars I know or the heartrending – Sorry Bantu : this happens only in India , Shah alam ‘s empathy towards his patients and those suffering , his angst his indefatigable spirit is overwhelming.

A veratile and eloquent wordsmith , each piece tells its own story whether it be Kashmir or Gorakhpur , Babu Bajrangi or the open letter to Kailash Satyarthi Manto or Padmawati used as a euphemism for Padmavati … specially the “therefore “, each states with subtlety and elegance the deplorable state of affairs of a country of a billion sinking into a dark black hole infected with the immutable carcinogenic strains of hatred , voilence and racism. He writes – ” the need of the hour is to gel . Gel with indians who think and breathe alike to fortify institutions of hope . It is not a time to sulk as muslims but a time to mourn as Indians !

The finale – the summer I want to live ! Bereft of words .. whether to indulge in the play of poetic abundance of words or the portrayal of the authors deep thought behind the words .. ” Will the swallows fly home this summer ? Will the nightingale sing the ballad of hope ever again ? And the tiny canary , caged into oblivion , will it fly back to where it belongs ? Will this summer be like summer ……..”

The book a incomplete but new BEGINING ?

I wonder !

To many more such ……

Shalini Gupta is an artist


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