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Non Stop India About the Book Non Stop India The much anticipated follow up to the bestselling No Full Stops in India now available in paperback Poised to become one of the major economies of the twenty firstcentury India at times seems unmindful of uestions on thesustainability of such growth and its effect on the stability ofthe nation Veteran journalist and bestselling author of No FullStops in India Mark Tully travels across India to turn thespotlight on the everyday concerns of the common man in areas suchas governance and business spirituality and ecology In revealinginterviews with captains of industry and subsistence farmerspoliticians and Dalits spiritual leaders and bandits he capturesthe voices of the nation even as he celebrates its vibrant historyand incredible potential About Author Mark Tully Sir Mark Tully was born in Calcutta India in 1935 He was theChief of Bureau BBC New Delhi for twenty two years was knightedin the New Years Honours list in 2002 and was awarded the PadmaBhushan in 2005 Today his distinguished broadcasting careerincludes being the regular presenter of the contemplative BBC Radio4 programme Something Understood His books include No Full stopsin India The Heart of India India in Slow Motion written withhis partner and colleague Gillian Wright and Indias UnendingJourney He lives in New Delhi Reviews Tully report s on the various Indias behind the headlines Hindustan Times Through Tullys probing eyes one discovers the complex workingsof the Indian democracy Telegraph A very interesting look at how the legacy of the caste system interacts with modern Indian politics to create today's India Definitely relies heavily on anecdotal accounts but still very informative for someone mostly unfamiliar with India's politics and culture Book Review published in Freedom First Magazine No 538 April 2012India is a complex place There’s some of everything here and it defies a simple definition You can’t truly know it till you’ve lived here Some have called it a “muddle” some have called it “incredible” others have called it “shining” Mark Tully calls it “non stop” Where others have used adjectives or nouns Tully seems to use a verb and this gives it a dynamic vibrant uality much like the cover of this book They say don’t judge a book by its cover but in this case I have to say I did And I was both pleased and disappointed by itMark Tully’s reputation precedes him He’s a veteran newsman of the old fashioned kind He believes in reporting news not creating it He is understated and gentle preferring to let the people speak for themselves – a far cry from the often shrill pontificating that masuerades as news these days And this comes through in this uiet and understated book Tully writes in the introduction “All the institutions essential for a democracy to function are in place There are legislatures right down to the village level elections as I have said are regularly held there is a civil service there are courts the press is free Further there are politicians bureaucrats lawyers and journalists who know exactly what their responsibilities should be and how their institutions should functionHaving lived in India for than forty years I have become affected by the widespread cynicism about governments and governance in this country” But he remains optimistic about India’s future because he believes that India will find a way to make existing institutions work the way they were meant toThe book is written in ten chapters that span the whole spectrum of what you read in the papers these days from Dalits to Naxals to the debate on English vs regional languages community building initiatives to tigers Depending on the reader’s interests some chapters may be of interest than others The subjects are presented with the old fashioned reporter’s motto of letting the people be heard They are interviews of people Tully and Gillian meet on their travels He doesn’t insert himself into the narrative wherever possible and other than framing uestions uotes the voices directly They speak he listens and he moves on to his next destination This makes for interesting and engaging reading because it isn’t often these days that you get to know about original data that is gathered We are so bombarded with the rush to analyze and speculate and judge and offer solutions As you read through the chapters you move from one village to another with Tully telling you where you are to go next He’s certainly not a bad guide to have Tully after all is better informed about India than most of us he has had a ring side seat to almost all major historical events in the country by virtue of his being a “foreigner” and I have been given to understand that he is a self effacing good man Readers will have no problem letting themselves be taken through this book on a non stop tour of India with Tully as their capable guide One may suggest that he should have expanded the itinerary a bit Too much than half of the book is based in North India and this reflects the general tendency of the media to focus on “north of the Vindhyas” stories Like any journey once in a way the telling can get tedious the writing is a bit uneven but it is engaging enough to keep goingThere’s the slight problem of classifying this book – is it a travel book is it literature is it academic political current events? Is it analysis reportage storytelling? Is it meant for students or those unfamiliar with India? It is some of these none of others but finally the answer came to me once again as I stared at the cover It is essentially a book of folk tales stories of the land real stories about real people told in the oral tradition And at this level it works wonderfully Chapters such as Caste Overturned and Building Communities for this reason work especially well Having said this it is difficult to criticize the book Let me explain why I say that It’s certainly not because I loved everything about it There’s an old trick that anyone who’s in management – or married – knows It’s called taking the zing out of the argument It goes something like this “I know you think I was insensitive yesterday but that was not my intention” Well then nobody can respond to that by telling you that you were insensitive yesterday They would be stating the obvious something you already told them you knew Similarly in his introduction Tully says “The chapters in this book are all stories of my travelsthey are not analyses” He says it’s always difficult to write for two audiences And he says that there are difficulties writing prose when you’ve been a radio journalist your whole life There goes the zing from any criticism I may have of this bookThese indeed are the three main problems with the book But the way I see it naming the beast does not make it disappear Tully is clearly self aware – a good uality in anyone especially a reporter But this does not let Tully off the hook It may have been perfectly acceptable for many journalists some even well known ones But one holds somebody like Mark Tully to a higher standard From a veteran like him at the age of 76 with his range of experience one has higher expectations First he says these are stories not analyses But even read as stories the story teller must offer something of himself If my grandmother tells me a story I expect something of her in the telling in the message indeed in the analysis from her experiences than if a younger sibling were to tell the same tale Does India need a “sympathizer” who tells a bland tale? Being sympathetic does not mean being soft Tully is called an honorary Indian and yet retains that he is a foreigner With the best of both worlds he should be brave enough to speak his mind and offer his insights into the stories he hearsAs readers we expect something of his wisdom some analysis other than the refrain that becomes redundant by the end of the book “If governance issues are resolved India would be non stop”Second it is difficult to write for dual audiences One wants broad strokes the other wants detail The Preface to the Indian Edition suggests that the main text is the same for both audiences Like Aesop’s fable when you try to please everyone you end up pleasing no one At many points Indian readers will find that the book sinks into what I call the daal soup naan bread category of narrative It is tedious to read through superfluous explanations of known items time and again and this does not ease up as the chapters progress So perhaps the chapters were meant to stand alone and be read in any order It is a little baffling why Tully would not have insisted that the publishers have the text modified for separate audiences This could easily have been fixed with a few smart copy editors on the job And third the difficulty of writing prose While nobody is expecting literature from Tully we certainly expect meat in his content There is a difference between the spoken and the written narrative and he must control if not master the media he presents in This would mean that he put of himself and his thoughts onto the written page Other than in the introduction there’s not much of Tully in this book The same aloofness that makes him an excellent radio reporter lets him down in printSo in the end when you’re done reading the book there is a sense that something is missing Reading the chapters was like browsing through a solo exhibition in an art gallery Each painting is interesting on its own; some are detailed appealing than others But at the end of your walk through you are left wondering what the theme was What was the artist trying to say? Did he in fact want to say anything?The key element that’s missing in this narrative is the author’s passion There’s a reluctance to immerse into the landscape fully and ultimately this lack of critical engagement with the subject is what was truly disappointing about the book Mark Tully as a BBC correspondent in New Delhi made India his second home Any outsider's perspective on India has a potential to offer unbiased review over happenings in our country But at the same time it is also fraught with a danger of misunderstanding India But Tully offers best of both worlds He takes a balanced view in analyzing India's growth and development story His extensive knowledge of India his ability to speak fluent Hindi make his insight all the reliable India captured in all its peculiarities in a manner that is delectable and delightful Mark Tully lays out a compilation that manages to move the heart mind and soul in one soft tug

  • Hardcover
  • 280 pages
  • Non Stop India
  • Mark Tully
  • 19 July 2015
  • 9780670083893

About the Author: Mark Tully

Sir William Mark Tully was the Chief of Bureau for the British Broadcasting Corporation BBC in New Delhi for 22 years Schooled in England he stayed mostly in India covering all major incidents in South Asia during his tenure He was made an Officer of The Order of the British Empire in 1985 and was awarded the Padma Shree in 1992 a rare distinction for a non Indian He was knighted in the 200


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