Top positive review
Indeed a magnum opus by Shashi Tharoor.
Reviewed in India on 19 November 2020
Completing this book took me around 1 week, usually reading does not take me too long, this thoroughly researched book, what Tharoor called his "magnum opus", stand firmly on his claim. I had to revisit all the theories of nationalism, primarily, three broad approaches- primordial, perennial, and modernist before reading its first section. To my utter surprise, Tharoor has, indeed, entertained all the theoretical debate which I could imagine and even he has gone beyond it. He has conceptually separated all the forms of nationalism and argued that patriotism needs to be rescued from the shackles of ethnocultural nationalism.
Tharoor in his Magnum opus presented his case strongly, forcefully, and emphatically for civic nationalism twinned with patriotism, which would indeed, give every Indian their rightful honoured place in the twenty-first century and beyond. He also sought to balance the common good with individual rights and group rights so that individual freedom is not undermined in the name of cultural autonomy. He has also countered the Daniel A. Bell's work "The China Model" where Bell argued that authoritarian regime of China can be viable model of governance, or say, the alternative to Indian and Western liberal democracy.
This book is well updated, deals with current empirical reality, and furnishes normative critique of existing regime in India while completely exposing them from their roots - their ideologues and ideologies, social media bigotry, soft bigotry subtly perpetuated by leaders at the centre, and most importantly why does the masses are associating themselves with them, not only within territorial boundary of nation but beyond it - Diaspora nationalism.
Book has many things to offer and provides further works citation which is essential and updated. He speaks for the "New India" where no one gets lynched for the food you eat, marginalised for the faith you hold dear, criminalized for the person you love, or imprisoned for making use of fundamental rights guaranteed by our own Constitution. He called this book a paean to an India, not an elegy, and certainly not a dirge!