Book review: Think With Me by Subrata Roy Sahara

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For someone who has fallen foul of the law, it is ironic that Subrata Roy chose to deal with the topic of nation building. But, this book shows that he does know exactly what has gone wrong with India since Independence. We may or may not agree with his solutions–to each his own.

In the preface, Roy admits that he isn’t a subject matter expert. He is simply presenting his ideas and opinions. However, he does include notes in the book clarifying that if he is approached for detailed consultations, he would be happy to oblige.

The book is divided into five sections, covering the Electoral System and Leadership, Population, the Education System, the Media, and Religion. In the opening chapter, Roy posits five categories of human emotional spheres, namely I, We, We all, and Us (where I and We concern only oneself and one’s family and We all and Us include one’s country and the entire humanity.) He says that “people with confined emotional spheres”, when given leadership positions, cause harm to society.

While he does touch upon some pertinent issues (e.g. curbing election expenses, need for stringent laws for population control, interpreting epics in the modern-day context, discouraging negative news reporting) and provides some doable action points, he sounds pompous for the most part.

In the section on Population, Roy suggests providing a whole host of benefits to the “ideal family,” (a family with no more than two children). He devotes nearly 6 pages and 28 points to describe the privileges to be given to the ideal family. The idea is good; it is the execution that seems challenging.

In the same section, Roy narrates an incident where the doctor asks him whether he wants “a family-planning operation” to be conducted on his wife, and he “immediately gives his consent.” Nowhere does he mention taking the consent of his wife! It may well be a case of poor choice of words, but it appears regressive.

In the section on Religion, Roy talks about the formulation of a “national religion” that is based on the Hindu system of living. To quote the book, “…even for the Muslim brethren, as there is a preponderance of the Hindu system in India, there may be a way of getting long-lasting peace, happiness and satisfaction in abundance within the system.” This idea may not go down well with everybody.

Think With Me would have read better with tighter editing to refine the colloquial style of writing. A book that deals with nation building will always have its detractors. However, a book that presents its subject matter in a grandiloquent manner (that also throws in self-praise of Sahara occasionally) may not be widely enjoyed.

(Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from WritersMelon in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.)

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