The Edge of Power by Tuhin A Sinha was a pleasant surprise that I received from Hachette India. I would like to thank Sohini Bhattacharya of Hachette India who sent me this book for review. It is the sequel to “The Edge of Desire”. The protagonist of both the books is Shruti Ranjan.
The heinous gang-rape of Nirbhaya has jolted the Indian nation out of its apathy but rape and violence against women are only symptomatic of a deeper malaise that ails the nation – the total collapse of governance under the weak and vacillating prime minister, Devender Singh and his Indian Democratic Party. Ironically, aiding the ruling party to cling to power is a casual and largely indifferent Opposition led by the venal Ravi Nehra. So when activist Daivik Verma and Bollywood’s leading lady Catherine Khan decide to challenge the existing system by floating a new political party, it is seen as a ray of hope. But lack of funds and cadre-support thwarts their efforts; their only recourse now is to approach the enigmatic and reclusive Shruti Ranjan, who had sworn off politics three years earlier.
Will Nirbhaya’s gruesome rape and her subsequent death bring a disillusioned Shruti Ranjan back into the political fray? Will the land of great leaders like Chandragupta Maurya, Ashoka and Akbar, finally get a dynamic Prime Minister she so badly needs?
The main characters:
Devender Singh, India’s aging Prime Minister, belongs to Indian Democratic Party (IDP).
Mukta Prajapati is IDP’s Chairperson. She is married to Rajveer Thakur, who is supposedly in real estate development.
Ravi Nehra, leader of the Opposition Jan-Hit party, has unbearable chauvinism, is a typical market driven politician and has as many vices as virtues. He has some noble intentions as well, and the positives in him often manage to camouflage the evil. He started off as a young MP from Rohtak after higher education from London, uses foul language and smokes biris. He is good looking and can go to any extent to impress a woman. He is married to Rhea Malviya and they have a three year old son, Anway, whom he dotes on. OSD Pathak is his most trusted Officer.
Rhea Malviya, Ravi Nehra’s estranged wife and the daughter of Sharad Malviya, a firm, decisive and dynamic national leader, referred to by the media as ‘the best Prime Minister that India never had’. She writes a biography on her father and launches a political party, Nationalist League (Sharad) with Shruti Ranjan. She wants to divorce her husband.
Shruti Ranjan, wife of the Deputy Commissioner of Kishanganj, Bihar, who was brutally gang raped fifteen years ago. She did not get the trust of her husband, met Sharad Malviya and her life took a new turn. She became a politician and quit both politics and public life three years ago after a humiliating incident. She is located at an ashram in Madhya Pradesh by Daivik and Catherine, who want her to come back. She is fond of Rhea and dislikes Ravi Nehra. Everyone wants her to comeback after the Nirbhaya incident.
Daivik Verma, a journalist turned activist, represents the common man with his Azad Bharat Party. He comes from a politically aware family, his grandfather is Gandhaian. He has grown all over the country, finished his schooling in Ranchi and after studying history in St Stephen’s College, Delhi and MA in Political Science from JNU. He wanted to become a documentary film maker but became a freelance journalist with a film magazine and also a political cartoonist.
Catherine Khan, has an Indian father, is a Bollywood actress, lives in Mumbai, is fighting for a divorce following a failed marriage to Armaan Kapoor and a three year old daughter, Nia. She was a British TV and Stage performer before being discovered by an Indian filmmaker. She shares a special bond with Daivik. She is the ABP spokesperson. She feels a strong connection with Subhash Chandra Bose.
The book starts with a prologue recounting the 16th December 2012 incident at Delhi and a similar incident fifteen years ago in a remote village in the Kishanganj district of Bihar. The story then moves along, keeping in mind the timeline of incidents that rocked India after 16th December 2013, till the next assembly elections.
The book has been written in a style which is fast paced making it easy to read and the flow is good. He has taken the current issues making it all the more relevant. He has given an insiders view into the world of politics, politicians and the country’s political scenario. A lot many times, while reading the book, I would try to match the book’s characters with real life politicians.
Overall, a very well researched and well written book.
Book source: Review copy from Hachette India
Publisher: Hachette India
Date of publication: December 2013
No of pages: 312