- Hardcover: 454 pages
- Publisher: Penguin India (9 October 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0670081450
- ISBN-13: 978-0670081455
- Package Dimensions: 21.2 x 14.2 x 1.2 cm
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,40,118 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Elephant, the Tiger and the Cellphone: Reflections on India in the Twenty-first Century Hardcover – 9 Oct 2007
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Century Power, Shashi Tharoor - We Indians are often so starved for some
metric -- any metric, really -- of validation that we blindly embrace
Indians of all stripes residing outside India. What else could explain
our head-long rush to claim Bobby Jindal as one of our own while
demonstrating obvious restraint for Mr. Shashi Tharoor? (For those
readers who may not know Mr. Jindal, he is the Indian-American
governor of the US state of Louisiana.) Unarguably, and just as
unfortunately, present the names of Mr. Jindal and Mr. Tharoor to any
Indian in the US and the chances are better than even that they have
pride in Mr. Jindal while drawing blanks when Mr. Tharoor's name is
mentioned. This is an egregious sin, for Mr. Tharoor revels in being an
Indian as much as Mr. Jindal repudiates it. This revelry in all things
Indian is evident in Mr. Tharoor's latest book.
He staunchly believes and defends the Indian notion of secularism, which
he maintains is not the absence of any religion, but the proliferation
of many religions, all equally protected under the constitution (a point
he makes in other books as well, most notably in India: from midnight
to the millennium). Going further, he makes the point that where
else can you find a political landscape so diverse that in the 2004
Indian elections, a Sikh (Manmohan Singh), representing a Congress party
headed by a Catholic (Sonia Gandhi), was sworn in as prime minister by
a Muslim president (A.P.J. Abdul Kalam)! It is certainly hard to argue
against that now, isn't it?
The book is great reading. Besides the weighty issues of politics,
religion, constitution, and culture, Mr. Tharoor also makes detours to
cover the light-hearted issues of ever-changing city names in India
(Bombay becomes Mumbai, etc.), and the desire to add extra consonants
and vowels in soap operas because the producers believe that this extra
letter will certainly and undoubtedly lend an air of success to the
endeavor! Oh, did I mention the fascination that Indians have with
Any student of modern India -- be it in the political arena or cultural
one -- can ill afford to eschew the ruminations of Mr. Tharoor. My
advice: if you are Indian and really want to be proud of it, read Mr.
Tharoor and leave Mr. Jindal to his devices.
The book starts with little bit of Indian history talking about "People who made my India" that includes noted Indians from all sects including politics, cricket & bollywood. The author also provides a glimpse of India's culture (spirituality, traditional family values) & tourism (experiences at Ajanta & Ellora caves, Ayurvedic resort in Kerala) followed by India's progress in this 21st century (call centers, cellphone surge). Since Mr. Tharoor has been associated with the United Nations, the facts about India's growth, outlined in the book, truly suggest that India is the 21st century's emerging power.
I really enjoyed the chapter on India's cricket legend, Sunil Gavaskar, who was my hero too when growing up. It is nostalgic the way Mr. Tharoor has written about the "little master".
This is a must read for all Indians living outside their own home country.