The world of Indian politics as seen through the eyes of insiders.
A tale of enduring friendship in the dirty, dog-eat-dog world of Indian politics would be an apt way to describe Krishan Partap Singh's Young Turks (previously published as The Road to Raisina). Set in what one could call a parallel political universe (with clear inspiration and references to the current scene) the story charts the course of three friends — businessman-turned-politician Azim Khan, war hero-turned-politician Karan Nehru and journalist Raj Mehra. While the story basically revolves around the two politicians, the journalist keeps popping in from time to time sometimes essentially and otherwise just to remind the reader of his existence. While the socio-cultural backgrounds of the friends are successfully shown to be contrasting, they are more or less from the same economic background of the upper middle class/upper class which does at times show the importance of financial backing in Indian politics. The differing personalities of Khan and Nehru are highlighted throughout and the resulting clashes form an integral part of the story.
While the author's enthusiasm isn't doubted, this tends to be a bit too much food on the plate. Credit must be given for the good job he has done of sketching the political landscape of Uttar Pradesh and the more literal landscape of Lutyens' Delhi.
The build-up towards the final showdown is apparent midway through the story — a toss-up between the man trying to uphold the Nehru legacy and the man trying to finally stamp down the secularity of India by becoming the first Muslim Prime Minister (thereby questioning the existence of Pakistan).
The anti-Pakistan vibes are far from subtle and the author hasn't resisted the urge to take a dig at our noisy neighbours. The outcome is a bit predictable but the ending isn't all sunshine and rainbows and that the future may well be murky. While it doesn't end on a cliff-hanger there are subtle hints of further motives and conflict. This is the first in a series of three. The second titled Delhi Durbar is also out and promises to delve further into the corridors of Indian politics.
Title: Young turks
Author: krishan Partap Singh
Publisher: Hachette India
Price: Rs. 195