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What to know before we vote (Book Review)

Posted on Apr 02 2014 | IANS

By M.R. Narayan Swamy : Title: 100 Things to Know and Debate Before You Vote; Author: Hindol Sengupta; Publisher: HarperCollins; Pages: 242; Price: Rs.199

Think before you vote. This is the book's message, an appeal that comes just before India elects a new parliament.

Journalist-writer Hindol Sengupta points out, right in the beginning, all that is wrong with India: we have some of the worst roads, polluted water, poisoned air, we lag behind in every parameter of development, there is widespread poverty... Do these issues get discussed in depth during elections, barring what you find in election manifestos that few read? "What we get for national debate is name calling, abuse and derision," says Sengupta. And so it is necessary for people to know what is ailing the country and the possible road ahead before they vote. And so this book, and the 100 issues it raises for voters' decision making.

In simple, easy to read chapters of two or four pages each, Sengupta covers virtually every issue under the sky: political corruption, hygiene, civic conduct, education, Kashmir, terrorism, national debt, backlog in judiciary, communal and other riots, farmer suicides, hunger, status of women, polluted cities et al. The book is packed with statistics. Indians, Sengupta says, need to ask themselves who is better suited to resolve the many issues confronting India - and then vote.

A useful book for those who want to think and vote; unfortunately, such Indians do not constitute the majority.

(M.R. Narayan Swamy can be reached on

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