Half – Lion: How P.V. Narasimha Rao Transformed India by Vinay Sitapati

Mobile Phones. Computers. Liberalisation. Money under the mattress. All this and more, here.

I still remember 25.07.1991. I was attending some celebration, as the budget broke out. I kind of jumped out with joy. The Indian economy, as we knew it, was no more. There was a wave of changes happening. Socialism, Nehruism, whatever-ism – was being dumped. All for a brighter tomorrow.

But, but, but. Before we get there, the book traces the rise of a farmer’s son from Andhra, who, like the proverbial Phoenix, rose from the ashes, time and again. Whether it was to become CM of Andhra, or to be the PM of our country, PVNR, or Mauni Baba, as he was also known, had a knack of piping everyone to the post, especially when his name wasn’t even on the starters list.

Sitapati captures tale after tale, anecdote after anecdote to show us how PVNR created networks within networks, found synergies where none existed, laid events in motion, effects of which we still feel, and yet died almost a pariah.

Was PVNR a Sanghi within the Congress fold, who let the Ayodha controversy happen? That, the post Indira Gandhi riots and the Bhopal Gas tragedy are some hard hitting questions that we will never know the truth to.

Read the book, its well worth it. Nearly a 9.

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