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The Insider 

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   Author(s): PV Narasimha Rao  
Publisher: Penguin, Year: 2000           

The Insider is an account of India's political scenario during the tenure of former Premier P.V. Narasimha Rao, who is the book's author. The novel is based on a fictitious state called Afrozabad that is modelled on Hyderabad's actual state.

The author speaks in the story about the surprising yet real political developments in the country he 'd experienced during his tenure. The plot is centered around a character called Anand, a young man who is giving up a lucrative career hoping to bring about political reform. He 's beginning his political career by contesting the corrupt ruling party. Next, he reaches a spot where he has to choose between his rival and the current chief minister. His opponent soon wins CM 's post, and is forced to serve under him. Anand then moves to Delhi, at a time when Indira Gandhi claims power reigns. The tables are turning under her rule, for Anand now succeeds his rival Chaudhary and becomes Afrozabad's chief minister. He must then be running the political show under her rule.

The book discusses the state of events and the political scenario in India under Indira Gandhi 's leadership, delving into areas such as her ascension to power, second coming, assassination, followed by her son Rajiv Gandhi's entry into the political world. The Insider exposes the state of affairs in a political scenario to the reader, told by a man who has seen it all firsthand.

The book's 2nd revised edition was published in 2000 by Penguin India, and is available on paperback.. Download Free Books

Book Reviews:

Having forsaken education for the struggle for freedom, Anand faces a dilemma for the future, but he decides to remain in public life on the advice of his revolutionary complice Sudershan, serving his state party that now merges with the All India Party.

Anand's first political surprise comes at the 1952 election to the assembly when, despite his grassroots influence and despite having the unmatched benefit of Jawaharlal Nehru's party-backed charisma, the adversary wins the day with him offering voters "five acres of land and a milk cow for every vote cast." Anand's friends and relatives start chastising him for 'straightfoot.'

Anand, alongside Shekhar and a motley crowd of criminals, caste leaders and landed gentry, is a surprise choice for Chaudhury's new cabinet.

They try a smear campaign in the press alleging liaison between Aruna and him, failing which Shekhar convinces the CM that Anand should be moved to the dicey portfolio of land reforms that Nehru had been exhorting throughout the country.

Anand observes with fear that even in a relatively harmless case such as the fighting party of the Legislative Council elections prevails and "kidnapping, coercion, property, liquor, carnal gratification, cajoling and every other sort of inducement has been used." (p.419) The war with Pakistan in 1965 completes Anand's ministry's obfuscation as the nation wobbles from confusion to crisis.

Set against the backdrop of an infirm Indira Gandhi and a limping party, the 1967 elections ("the time that the rot really set in the electoral process" p.495) provide perfect grist for Shekhar & Co's new attempt at 'Anandocide.'

Anand scraps barely and retains his ministry under Chaudhury, but this time around land reforms gain compulsive importance in the party's agenda as Naxalbari emerges with vengeance in many states including Anand's.

Anand begins to take sides to argue as to which candidate would support the land reform, hoping all the time that his guesses about the intentions of the leaders will come true.

Anand interprets the controversial dismissals of the ensuing chief ministers as the style of Mrs. Gandhi to eradicate reactionary barriers to state-level reform.

Chairmen of Zilla Parishad throughout the state join the agitation showing complete disregard for rules governing local self-governing institutions, alarming the high command that Anand destroys all elected bodies in one swoop.

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