The book under review, Bharat Ki Ghadi: Badalte Bharat Ka Lekha Jokha is a collection of articles written by renowned journalist Priyadarshan. Apart from one lucid introduction, the book consists of forty-two articles, written by the author at different points in time in the last few years (though the author has not mentioned the exact time period covered through these articles).
Aks by Akhilesh is a welcome addition to the vivid tradition of memoirs in Hindi literature, which boasts of works like Ghalib Chuti Sharab by Ravindra Kalia, Yaad Ho Ki Na Yaad Ho by Kashinath Singh, and Smriti-lekha by Agyeya. It is presented to the readers as an account of time, society, and literati. The memoir spreads over eleven chapters, and while remembrance is the thread that binds them together, it is the author’s take on the function and nature of memory in the chapters that truly reverberates throughout the book. He situates his memories against the contemporary paradigms of fast-paced urban lives, social media, and power politics, which, according to him, obstruct networks of memory creation by encouraging narcissism and self-focus.
e autobiographies produced in the Indian literary tradition are of different kinds and do not follow the strict definition provided by the West. Mahatma Gandhi’s The Story of My Experiments with Truth or Rassundari Devi’s Amar Jiban are not only written in different styles but also experimented with different aspects of a person’s life. Similarly, Ushakiran Khan’s life journey does not technically fall into the clear category of autobiography.
Yadav’s Keedajadi takes you for a casual stroll in the Abode of Gods (Devbhoomi) meanwhile befriending the people inhabiting the land and creates a gripping narrative around the Himalayan aphrodisiac ‘keedajadi’.
Anuradha Beniwal describes her trip to Latvia, a place that is remarkably under-explored, in the first chapter of the book. This is probably a unique choice for a travel writer. She is able to see and record aspects of daily life that are off-limits to tourists by living with a local family.