My Country, My Love

Review of I for India – a novel; Karan Khanna; Alchemy Publishers 2011; Rs 150; pp 361

– Rashi Goel

Karan Khanna’s I for India is a very basic account of a rich, spoilt NRI brat with an unquenchable thirst for his home country. To say the least, this desperate yearning to return to his homeland is probably the one reason that the protagonist loses traction with the reader somewhere along the way.

Torn between the ‘love’ for his homeland and the luxuries in his adopted land Australia, 25-year-old Karan Sehgal finally arrives in India on the pretext of his cousin’s wedding, falls in love with South Mumbai girl Ria. He happens to propose to her at the Golden Dragon at the TajMahal hotel on the night of the 26/11 terror attacks, loses his fiancée forever and then returns to Perth in a state of trauma. At this point he is confronted with the much talked about Aussie racialism which further prods at his burning heart. Jolted into realizing the love for his nation and the shortcomings of the Indian political system, Sehgal returns to India, sets up an NGO called ‘Rise India’, then turns politician, marries his late girlfriend Ria’s best friend and continues to take our nation to new heights.

Embedded in the very structure of the entire novel are the stirring ideas of banishing corruption, fighting terrorism, eradicating poverty, cleaning up politics and turning India into a super power. Sadly, the primary character of this book fails to communicate the radical emotions of the author. Although displaying drastic positive change, Karan Sehgal is not a character that evokes the reader’s empathy – you don’t feel much sadness when he loses the love of his life Ria, neither do you resonate with his happiness when he wins the game that is Indian politics. If anything, he appears a pompous fool, purely smitten by the power element that lies in politics.

This being Khanna’s debut book, I will cut him some slack and affirm that the author is abounding with the passion that his protagonist has been unable to make portray. However, at a fairly young age of 24, Khanna has successfully authored and published his deepest dreams and desires. Definitely a man with a vision and a candid writing style, he could have done considerably well with better editors and guides. With an almost predictable storyline, grammatical errors and immense repetition, read ‘I for India’ only for Khanna’s in-depth research on the functioning of State Politics. The book lacks an element of surprise much like an Indian Bollywood flick.

To conclude, glimpses of the author’s passionate vision of future India and his desire to motivate the youth, make one want to watch out for his next book.

** Rashi Goel, 27, was born in Pune, India. She is north Indian by lineage, but a South Indian at heart. Two years of high schooling in Bangalore made her see things different and by the time she turned 18, she knew that she wanted to work in advertising. A BBA and Mass Comm degree later Rashi was working with a couple of the best advertising agencies in the capacity of a Media Planner for over four years.

Having lived the 12-hour drudgery that life in Mumbai brings, she knew that time for oneself doesn’t just come, it has to be worked towards. While music relaxes Rashi, reading invigorates her, helps her travel to new worlds when she’s not actually travelling. She loves all fields creative whether it’s spending time over design elements in her home or painting or going crazy with her digital SLR camera. Books inspire her – to continue to attempt at being a better person, indulging her creativity more and eventually writing a book herself one day. 

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Rating: 9.3/10 (8 votes cast)
My Country, My Love, 9.3 out of 10 based on 8 ratings

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This entry was posted on Monday, March 12th, 2012 at 4:55 pm and is filed under Fiction, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

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