noor i, Reviewer
Taseer writes gorgeous prose which makes this a very readable book, but the project has zero substance - he is out of his depth in this one, trying to find the 'soul of India' through learning to read Sanskrit and talking to referred authorities about Sanskrit-Brahmin-Hindu-culture amidst a Rising Modi. There's a lot of biography in this - the childhoods of referred authorities are given - all leading to the title of the book, meaning the interviewed people were 'reborn' by going back to the true Indian roots of thousands of years ago. What it really means is Taseer is not the only one who suffers from the gas-bag syndrome. It's all talk, soundbite, and then Taseer's reaction on the soundbite, his theories about the soundbite, trying to find some mystical reason for the soundbite and and his aversion to the environment of the interviewed people. Taseer, they are fundamentalists (Militant Hindus? Racist Upper-caste?) parading as intellectuals. Get it already! I also did not like the 'Alice in Wonderland' feel of the project: Taseer goes around towns, rivers, offices, houses without research or any idea of the people, place, culture (I am not even going to go into the whole culture vs. civilization dribble at the end). It felt like one big giant reel of U.S. Admiral James Stockdale during vice presidential debate in 1992: "Who Am I? What Am I Doing Here?" Maybe the problem lies with me - I just don't get it. Still, thanks to the publisher for the ARC.