New Delhi | Covering Rahul Gandhi's journey from when he officially entered politics in March 2004 to when he ended his Bharat Jodo Yatra in January 2023, an upcoming book attempts to analyse the Congress leader's “ideas, leadership, reason and emotions”.
"Strange Burdens: The Politics and Predicaments of Rahul Gandhi" by journalist-author Sugata Srinivasaraju is not an effort to understand Gandhi's "failures and successes in tabular columns" but speculate in the best traditions of political commentary "why he is where he is, both politically and as an individual", according to publishing house Penguin Random House India (PRHI).
Divided into 11 chapters, the narrative traverses two decades with the intention of understanding Gandhi's "politics and predicaments, confusions and contradictions, triteness and triumph, as well as his burdens and benignity". " " 'Strange Burdens' is not a biography but a book of political commentary ... The book does not seek to answer questions about his suitability or unsuitability for a public role but is rather focused on how he has been caught in the currents of history. It is not a myth-busting or myth-making exercise, nor is it an inquisition; it is a pursuit of political insight," writes the author in the introduction of the book. He describes the 53-year-old former Congress president as a "fascinating subject of study" in whom the "political and the personal are entwined".
His "individual destiny is enmeshed in the destiny of his party, and the destiny of his party in turn is argued to be linked with the very destiny of India". Gandhi, a scion of the Nehru-Gandhi family, won his first election from Amethi (Uttar Pradesh) in 2004. He took over as leader of the Congress at the end of 2017 when Sonia Gandhi decided to step down as leader.
However, the Congress' marginally worse performance in the Lok Sabha elections in 2019 than in 2014 prompted him to resign as the party leader. He was recently disqualified as a member of parliament from after being convicted in a defamation case and sentenced to two years in jail.
Besides Rahul Gandhi and the Congress party, the book also claims to discuss Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
"Examining one automatically illuminates the other. The book looks at the contrasts and convergence of the two personalities and the two parties they represent," reads the introduction of the book, which will release on August 28.
Sugata's previously authored books include "Furrows in a Field: The Unexplored Life of H.D. Deve Gowda", "Keeping Faith with the Mother Tongue: The Anxieties of a Local Culture" and "Pickles from Home: The Worlds of a Bilingual".