That’s right folks. If you’ve ever dreamed of traveling for months and months at a time but don’t think you can because of money or obligations at home, THINK AGAIN!
I read this book in the spring and let me tell you…it really opens your eyes to the possibility of long-term traveling. This was one of the first books in awhile that I really enjoyed. It had a good mix of literature from other travel writings as well as tips. But more than anything, it’s a philosophy on travel.
To be able to travel for long periods of time would require the right mindset, and this book is a fantastic starting point. It’s really not that expensive and it’s a quick read, but really is inspiring. Go pick it up at your local Border’s…since it’s closing =(.
I really think anyone interested in traveling, and not merely being a tourist, will thoroughly enjoy this book.
The size of “India After Gandhi” made the task of reading it seem rather daunting. However, after spending some quality time with this book, holing up in the corners of coffee shops, I came to realize it was a fantastic read and a great eye-opener.
I think one of the things I really gained from the reading was just how diverse India is. The population of India is approximately 1,189,172,906 currently, according to the CIA World Factbook. Despite such an immense population, India has maintained the democracy that was put into place after they gained their independence in 1947. I think this passage was particularly interesting:
“A recent statistical analysis of the relationship between democracy and development in 135 countries found that ‘the odds against democracy in India were extremely high.’ Given its low levels of income and literacy, and its high levels of social conflict, India was ‘predicted as [a] dictatorship during the entire period’ of the study. Since, in fact, it was a democracy for that entire period (barring two years) there was only one way to characterize India: as ‘a major outlier.’”
And I truly believe India is an outlier, and a fascinating one at that. Despite the many variations in religion, language and beliefs, it is sometimes difficult to believe that India has maintained a sense of unity, especially when we compare their country to our own-I know I have my days when it feels like America doesn’t seem united.
Something I gained from the reading however is that Indians remain united in their own unique ways. One example was India’s efforts to become an independent nation.
“Certainly, it was the movement against British rule that first united men and women from different parts of the subcontinent in a shared endeavour.”
Another thing I have come to notice is that Indians absolutely love their cinema. And cricket. These two forms of entertainment have a way of bonding fellow Indians. I remember reading this quote in the book from poet Khadar Mohiuddin: “Cricket matches weigh and measure my patriotism.”
Then there’s the influence of Indian cinema.
“For ‘an Indian world full of strife, tension and misery,’ writes one critic, popular film provides ‘just the right escapism the country needed.’”
It’s these little aspects that hold the country together that I’d like to experience and learn more about, because despite the many conflicts and riots that have plagued India, and despite the wide variations amongst the population, the people have remained united and have worked their way up in the world, with a now booming economy.
Maybe that’s why one of the last passages of the book resonates with me, when it describes the thoughts of poet Mirza Asadullah Khan Ghalib:
“Conflict and privation were all around him, but doomsday had not yet come. ‘Why does not the Last Trumpet sound?’”
I believe it’s because India shines brighter than other nations, because it has the audacity to prove to the world that there can be unity within chaos.