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Published on: 04/4/16 5:48 AM

Book review: This Unquiet Land by Barkha Dutt

This Unquiet Land by Barkha Dutt (Aleph Books).
The title line says `Stories from India’s fault lines,` and indeed this autobiography from arguably one of the country`s best TV news-journalists,  is just that: a klieg light shone on the disquieting things we would rather not dwell too much upon.
Dutt touches on the dismal condition of women; the Kargil conflict and other flashpoints; terrorism; Kashmir, our involvement in the age of social media, and of course politics and politicians. The writing is honest, direct, free of any frills, with some small amount of pontificating.  These are topics that she is on sure ground with, and it shows.
The truth and lies of Jammu and Kashmir’s reality, Dutt says, is reminiscent of Kurosawa`s Rashomon; each take is contradictory, yet plausible. On Priyanka Vadra, the author  states that she is  charismatic, photogenic, stylish but also makes a telling comment, that she has felt Priyanka`s spontaneity is marked by `inner turmoil and unvoiced angst, ` make what the reader will of it.
As for Rahul, Dutt finds him well- read, respectful of academic expertise and keen to mine specialists` minds. She puts it succinctly when she says RG`s  problem is  his statistical approach to a profession that is  about instinct and human connections, as well as an intrinsic inability to cope with what Dutt calls the surround sound of inflammatory politics.
Dutt`s personal story is one of ambition realised, and she deals with her  many haters with quiet good humour. The flashlight she wields is selective but that is her prerogative as an author.
However, there is nothing new for the regular NDTV watcher, the regular reader of Dutt`s columns. It’s a commentary on the state of our nation and our own state of being, from an articulate commentator. Nothing salacious or gossipy but no new insights either. Definitely worth a read,


Aleph BooksBarkha DuttIndiaKashmirNDTVThis Unquiet Land

Sheila Kumar • April 4, 2016

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