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The Bankster – A review

Ravi Subramanian

My Copy of the book

Being a twitter-junkie, the name “The Bankster” had been on my mind for a long time even before the release of the book. Many people on my Timeline had been expressing their desire to read the book. So, when Blogadda put up this book for it’s review programme, i gladly requested for an opportunity to review the book.

Although i have no knowledge of investment banking or finances (the closest i have come to this term are the ads of HP), Ravi Subramanian makes it flawlessly easy for a layman like me to get a glimpse of the world his story is set in. Spanning continents, this novel zooms across cities like Bombay, Cochin and Vienna. While the introductory chapters give you a snapshot of what’s going to come next, the plot develops only after one-fourth of the book is over. Proceeding with a breathtaking pace, the story does not leave a scope for you to put down the book (for a person like me who barely gets half-an-hour a day to read, this amazing novel kept me hooked completely over the weekend and at work).

In some tabloid (or was it the cover of the book?) Mr Subramanian has been referred to as the John Grisham of investment banking. Although i am no fan of Grisham, i found his work worth a praise in “The Bankster”. You keep guessing the climax as you turn the pages, solve the who-dun-it mystery Agatha Christie style, and at the end curse yourself for trying to be a Poirot or a Murple.

One cannot take note of the few small incidents described in this book, which have a resonance in modern India and the world at large. The protests at the anti-nuclear plant, for instance. Recent “expose” by an anti-corruption crusader turned politician on how corporate India runs the government could have come at no better juncture than when i was engrossed in this mesmerising tale of hunger for power, deceit, gruesome politics and suspense.

Despite being an engrossing read, The Bankster fails to be different. It is yet another product of the “formula” thrillers that are churned out in numbers. Even “The Taj Conspiracy” or “The Krishna Key” in recent past have been equally enjoyable for a book-lover in me, without being out-of-the-box or extraordinary. But then, even Shyam Benegal’s films have song-and-dance routines these days, and no one’s complaining!

Overall, The Bankster deserves a thumbs up and a rating of 3.5 stars out of 5.

Looking forward to Ravi’s next book.

This review is a part of the Book Reviews Program at . Participate now to get free books!

Freedom of Speech, Terms and Conditions Applied

This could well be called a sequel to my previous article “Death of the Idea of India“. Aggrieved as much we are by the steady decline of secular discourse in the country, a new situation stares us in the face. The last time i know of something of this kind happened in India, was in the 1970s. State has no business meddling in individual affairs. However, the Government of India wishes to do exactly that. Kapil Sibal, honourable Minister in charge of Telecom, announced plans to regulate contents that are posted by users on the web space.

Minister of Telecom

Courtesy Liveindia dot Com

This indeed is a dangerous proposition. The State overrides the individual’s authority to free thought and expression only in communist or autocratic nations. India is neither. The latest example of curbs on social media use among global communities was seen in China, Egypt and Syria. None of these nations are a democracy. But naturally, this decision met with a lot of outrage online (some outpourings on Twitter kind of justified the need for pre-screening, though).

Offence is relative. One man’s poison is another man’s honey! State censorship does not go down well with the foundations that the idea of India is laid on. Regulation can (and should) be left to the better judgment of an individual. Abusive, inappropriate or offensive contents can be blocked or reported about in any social network. Why does the State want to step into the fray?

Having criticised the state for faltering in its policy, it is opportune that  i turn my attention to the people who cried their hearts out to defend their freedom of expression. How easily we mistake rights to be absolute and stay almost confounded about Fundamental Duties. Quite clearly, freedom of expression and speech comes with a rider. Restrictions on “freedom” can be imposed for the sake of public order, security of State, decency or morality. (But that is for the social websites to do and government must not meddle in that).

Narendra Modi

Holier than Thou NaMo - courtesy Bharatwaves dot com

What amuses me the most is, some proponents and endorsers of bans in the past, stuck their necks out yesterday to contest this decision by GoI. Some known for their rabid support to those who hounded an artist out of this country, some known for their own history of “censorship” actions as administrative heads of state. The hypocrisy was spilling over the cup and was not only distasteful but obnoxiously unpalatable. Freedom is a matter of convenience for us. We choose to support freedom of opinion when someone agrees with me. Or else, you are doomed to be silenced.

So, dear readers, if you find this article too offensive for your neurons in the Amygdala to digest, feel free to register your freedom of expression of dissent in the comments section. I shall reserve my freedom to screen the contents that can appear in my domain 😉

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