The PM’s ‘ Wishlist’ is a hard hitting political novel that will catch your attention from the first paragraph itself. A sentence on the first page talks of the people the PM is shaking hands with , ‘ some of whom were trying to, as they shook hands, make him lose his job or life or both and in no particular order’.
If a book opens with this promise, its surely going to make you curious about the compulsions and challenges that the PM of India must be facing. This book is not an out and out thriller. Infact it dwells on some extremely serious political imperatives that we don’t even normally hear from any political party. Sharan Karan, the PM of India ,in this political fantasy , sells to a nation a wishlist that will surely propel India to the big league of economic superpowers. The book repeatedly tries to convey that sound economics and populism can be friends.
By the time, you are at the end of the book, you realise it is very possible. “As a nation, we have not yet decided to become rich”says Sharan Karan in one of the interviews. This thought is disturbing and naively simple yet profound. Sharan Karan goes to the nation with a powerful message that taking India back to be called a Sone-ki-chidiya should take two terms , if he gets two terms as PM. This book touches on dense economics concepts so lightly that a reader could be pardoned for ‘ why didn’t I think of it’ moments. Sharan Karan, for example, attacks the fundamental flaw in the Indian economy that only a minuscule portion of Indian population pays tax or can pay tax.
The books comes up with some extremely radical ideas including one where Sharan Karan proposes creation of a Swiss Bank in India that also allows amnesty! You are entitled to discard it as preposterous but you may also want to ask yourself, ‘why not ‘. The security challenges that the country faces and the permanent terrorist threats are played out well but the red flag that catches the attention is the serious paradigm shift India needs to triple its naval strength to defend itself because Sharan is convinced, that India will have to be ready for a war that will be forced on it, not in Arunachal but beyond Andaman!
Overall the book is a must read for everyone who loves following India’s national politics and wants to see India becoming a superpower in their lifetime. The book stays away from describing the PM since the author wants to let the reader imagine the future PM basis personal preferences but the book has cleverly touched on some mannerisms of prominent prime ministerial candidates. They are hidden well and hard to find. The book concludes by summarising the wishlist but the one that shakes you up after a tense assassination attempt is the point on the wishlist that says, India will not lose a serving or a former PM again.
By all accounts The PM’s wishlist is a MUST READ.