Rina Sen Goel
Rina Sen Goel
INDIA THROUGH PEOPLE: 25 GAME CHANGERS by Devika Cariapa Tulika Books, 2019, 160 pp., 650
November 2019, volume 43, No 11

For many of us who were teenagers in the 50s, 60s or 70s, patriotism was a normal social and familial reality, no cousin to the fervid nationalism that exists today. It was normal to revere the leaders who won us our freedom from colonialism, gave us the Constitution, our national anthem, or our right to speak and vote and educate ourselves freely. It was normal to read about our rich spiritual history, and be proud of it, not directed by mere jingoism, as is the wont today. The social reality in 2019 is vastly different, however much we want to wish it away. The nation is an entirely new animal today.

In this environment, Devika Cariapa’s 25 Game Changers, is an exciting departure from the norm. Using a clear-headed and impartial metric, Devika chooses 25 of the nation’s top visionaries in the last 100 years (or more) who have shaped the country—its social norms,culture, art, sports, science and politics—and challenged its people to ceaselessly reason, question and improve, paving the path for individual and collective growth.

The list of the visionaries encompasses men and women from across the country, chosen not only for their passion and commitment to a purpose, a belief or a craft, but also for their love for their country, its people and rich heritage. Despite the neutral, practical tone of the passages describing these famous personalities, listing their profound ideals and their struggle to overcome insurmountable odds, author Devika Cariapa infuses a candid warmth that underpins each sentence. There is care in her prose, thought in every sentence and above all, an unerring clarity about evoking the interest of her core audience—young readers who enjoy condensed powerful imagery.

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