Essays, a field of literary works, need patience and concentration besides a knowledge of the background of topics to comprehend, enjoy and get educated. It could be the reason why we do not come across anthologies of essays on a regular basis. The one and only such works which I have read in the last three or four decades are We, The People and We, The Nation, a collection of essays, speeches and articles by legendary lawyer Nani Palkhivala. His observations, assessments and comments about the period in which he lived have been explained vividly by Palkhivala. “The tricolour that flutters all over the country is not of saffron, white and green but of red, black and scarlet; red tape, black money and scarlet corruption,” Palkhivala wrote (We, The People).
His words remain engraved in mind because there was no one else in the era in which he lived who had his intellectual stature. The word “intellectual” itself has been described by the great lawyer as a person who knows which side of the bread is buttered! Do you need more proof why Palkhivala remains as an evergreen hero in the conscience of India even after two decades after his demise? No literary figures could come up with essays, speeches and articles that could match the intellectual prowess of Palkhivala.
The power packed words and comments made by this great luminary were poached by even bureaucrats and educationists. I still remember a Tamil Nadu cadre IAS officer, in his address in a public function, reciting the articles penned by Palkhivala as his own words and getting a standing ovation. That was the day when I learnt that essays too could be plagiarised like novels, short stories and poetry. It is to explain the potential offered by well written articles that I referred to Palkhivala.
Resurgent Bharat And Other Issues, an anthology of essays authored by Jay Bhattacharjee and brought to the readers by Garuda Prakashan, is a welcome relief to readers who were waiting to read essays and articles of the Palkhivala genre. The latter made use of the vast canvas of corruption, licence permit raj, socialist shackles, favouritism and nepotism to launch his fusillades at the powers that be who were the perpetrators of the big fraud committed on the country. Jay Bhattacharjee, who has a Masters in Economics and Sociology from Cambridge University, made use of his vast experience in the corporate world to study and understand the ailments that have afflicted the nation. JB, as he is addressed by his friends and associates, diagnoses the malignancies that have conquered the national psyche and strikes at the root cause of the disorder in an immaculate manner. There is no way for the perpetrators or forces who are out to subvert the soul of India to outsmart JB. His diagnosis never goes wrong as he unfolds and unveils each sign of the hidden agenda of those who are out to sabotage the concept of Bharat. Here is a Western-educated Indian who is proud of his moorings in more than 10,000-years-old Indian culture and tradition.
Resurgent Bharat features 11 topics. Indic Civilisation and Culture, Politics: Twists and Turns, The Eastern Caliphate, A Resurgent India?, International Politics, Military and Strategic Issues, The Republic Under Siege, Lutyens Zone’s Toxic Lobby, Corporate Affairs, The Judiciary and Justice Delivery, Humour and Satire are the spheres that come under the observation of JB. The points he raises are the same ones an average Indian had always wanted to raise but could not do because of his limitations. The crowd in Lutyens Zone have created an aura around themselves that they are the masters and signoras of everything under the sun. I remember an old lady, a permanent fixture in channel discussions on any topic under the sun expressing her uncomfortable feelings when Kanchan Gupta, a journalist of repute, told her that he is a product of St Xavier’s College Kolkata.
There is no way for the perpetrators or forces who are out to subvert the soul of India to outsmart JB. His diagnosis never goes wrong as he unfolds and unveils each sign of the hidden agenda of those who are out to sabotage the concept of Bharat. Here is a Western-educated Indian who is proud of his moorings in more than 10,000-years-old Indian culture and tradition
Bhattacharjee exposes the hatred these pseudo-intellectuals hold against anything that is Indian. As Palhivala said in his collection of essays, these intellectuals know which side of the bread is buttered. Though he has not mentioned about it, the 2015 Indian Science Congress held at Mumbai exposed their double standards and prejudice. When Captain Anand Bodas, a widely respected pilot, said in his keynote address that ancient India had expertise in aeronautics and aircraft engineering, Lutyens Zone went berserk and questioned the obscurantism of the planners and decision makers of the country. The attacks on Captain Bodas turned personal which forced the veteran aviator to shun the media. He proved with facts that Sage Brihaspathi had authored a treatise on Vaimanika Shastra (aeronautical engineering). The channels and anchorpersons reminded one of bulls in a china shop as they abused the captain as if he had committed perjury!
Surya Prakash, former chairman, Prasar Bharati, has mentioned in the preface that politicians and journalists, who get low scores on JB’s moral metre are sitting ducks when JB offloads his ammunition. JB’s collection of essays is his observation and assessment ranging from 1999 to 2019 are articles he had authored for publications, The Pioneer, Niti Central, Swarajya, etc. One need not burn midnight oil to study what has been authored by JB because the words are hard hitting and packed with punch and power. If the reader feels that the punches are as dangerous as electrocution, it is because of the discontentment prevailing in the society. All should get equal and powerful rights in this open society by name India.
If the intellectual class ignore this anthology, it is out of green jealousy and their fear that they would not be able to respond to the sharp blows of JB. They will not dare to come in the vicinity of JB. The collection of essays offers a panoramic view of contemporary India being pulled and pushed by the azadi gang as well as Gandhians with AK-47 in their hands. If you do not read this anthology, the loser is you because you stand to miss the details of the country’s enemies.