Senior journalist Vir Sanghvi launched his new book on modern politics, Mandate: Will of the People, in Mumbai, on Monday.
The event was organised by Literature Live!, an organisation that works to promote literature. The event also featured a conversation between the author and noted columnist Anil Dharker, who is also director of the Literature Live! festival held in the city every year.
Mandate was originally a TV series that aired on NewsX, which Sanghvi later crafted into book form.
The book traces the arc of politics in India, starting with the 1971 election, which Sanghvi — who is also editorial advisor to the Hindustan Times — calls the ‘first modern election’.
“It was the start point to how elections are now — driven by single personalities, who are selling a dream,” Sanghvi said.
When Dharker asked Sanghvi why he decided to tackle major national subjects — including the Emergency, Operation Blue Star and the demolition of Babri Masjid — and write mainly for the youth, he responded, “When speaking to young people, I was appalled at how little they knew about this period. Often, they look at Indira Gandhi as this great woman who won wars against Pakistan, but don’t know anything about the Emergency.”
One of the most interesting sections of the book, Dharker pointed out, is Sanghvi’s insight into the ‘Vajpayee Era’, when India had successive prime ministers — Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Deve Gowda and IK Gujral — who didn’t complete their terms.
“The book manages to go through all the major events from 1971 all the way up till 2014,” Dharker said. “I would especially recommend it to the younger generation that hasn’t lived through all of these events.”