The Sceptical Patriot: Sidin Vadukut

 

The Sceptical Patriot

Be the change you wish to see…..Except you see Gandhi may have never said that.
A new book shows how the quote may have been a case of speedy and somewhat unskilful paraphrasing of what Bapu actually said.

Sidin Vadukut‘s ‘The Sceptical Patriot’ answers to that email forward which we’ve all received or maybe forwarded at some point or another. You know the one which said – ‘Indians never attacked any other country EVER.’

Or that we ‘invented’ this that and the other. Claims that boom with nationalistic pride and are passed around which are worth investigating for this author-journalist. For instance, he puts the magnifying glass on the Cholan Empire and finds that the Cholan navy had actually attacked parts of South East Asia and shows how there is enough historical evidence to prove it.

While this kind of myth shedding book of popular history is welcome and this seems decently researched, but it is a really shoddily edited book. It reads like a long unedited email itself. Sidin’s trademark slightly slap sticky humour is buried under reams of research and rears its unique head on the last page of every chapter. Thank goodness it does at all.

But if you want to approach questions of Zero beyond the Manoj Kumarian ‘ Zero Diya mere bharat ne’ then you will find to each such claim/query/myth, he lays out all the historical evidence before you and presents a report cardish entry at the end of the chapter. Which goes 3/10. 7/10 respectively. 3 means claim is too weak. 7 obviously means the opposite. So pick it up if these questions bother you. As a friend of mine said, it can be ‘a quick airplane read’. I read it on a long train journey and personally wanted more and wanted the existing material to be better laid out.

But a myth breaking well researched historical romp that I can recommend to you much more than The Sceptical Patriot is THE BOOK OF LOVE. James McConnachie’s book is lively and tracks how the Kamasutra is lost and found again and again. Both in how it travels across time and how societies grasp its surface and essential meanings. Or don’t.

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Tisha Srivastav

Tisha Srivastav's core passion is one on one gupshup, loafing and writing. Career wise, this turned into experiments in effective communication across media. From reporting for India's first environmental video magazine on national television to documentary length reports on NDTV to content curation for Yahoo India. Creative response to specific audiences and connecting the mainstream with the lesser known are abiding professional interests. She considers reading to be as deep a human privilege as real dialogue. She has a soft spot for poetry and the Himalaya.

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