If you’ve spent any time at all online, you’ve probably come across an email forward that credits the origins of just about everything of value in the modern world to India. Depending on how long you’ve been online (and therefore, how many times you’ve got that mail before), you either forward that email to all the 2,372 ‘friends’ in your network, or trash it immediately.
Sidin Vadukut, journalist, humourist, author, and a bit of an online star, decided to do more. He investigated seven of these ‘achievements’ (plus a set of quotations about India frequently bandied about) and put his findings into this book. Written with generous doses of self-deprecating humour, the book wears what must have been a huge amount of research lightly. Each claim is placed in context, and, with some delightful digressions, analysed and given a score, with some recommended homework for the reader.
If one has criticism, it is that occasionally one wishes Vadukut had better editors: The odd rough-hewn sentence and the slightly preachy concluding chapters could have done with some pruning. But, overall, it’s a book we need: History, examined with affection, but without an agenda, and presented without pedantry.
Name: The Sceptical Patriot
Author: Sidin Vadukut
Price: Rs 250
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(This story appears in the 11 July, 2014 issue of Forbes India. To visit our Archives, click here.)