Why I am a Liberal
Author: Sagarika Ghosh
Publisher: Penguin Viking
Publishing Date: 7th December, 2018
Genre: Political theory
Cost: Rs. 284.05 (Kindle Edition), Rs. 299 (Hardcover)
The stamping out of difference, the quelling of diversity and the burial of argument is, in fact, most un-Indian. Anyone who seeks to end that dialogue process is ignoring Indianness and patriotism. The liberal Indian argues for the rights of the marginalized in the tradition of Gandhi for trust, mutual understanding and bridge-building.
Real patriotism lies in old-fashioned ideas of accommodation, friendship and generosity; not in force, muscle flexing and dominance. ‘Why I Am a Liberal’ is Sagarika Ghose's impassioned meditation on why India needs to be liberal.
‘Why I am Liberal’ is about the group vs the individual. It is a reminder of the perils in following any kind of herd mentality without own rationality. It questions the blind faith. It shows the prejudices these groups have with the other side. Sometimes, the other - is a woman or, a Muslim or someone from a different caste or someone who eats differently or conducts themselves differently. Or simply, someone who does not follow the common notion.
The book is extremely important for the contemporary world. The author says:
“Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was, in many ways, the most successful liberal politician of all time.”
Liberalism in India has a long history. The inclination towards asking important questions was narrated even in Upanishad. The foundation of Independent India is based on liberal thinking. Our forefathers and foremothers were liberals.
The liberal thinking gives importance to individual freedom and liberties. The liberals actually respect all religion. They respect every culture, every dynamics of being diverse as a nation. However, they are against using the emotions of a religion for political gain. They are against misusing people’s trust to win a certain election. The liberals speak against kinds of extremism that shatter the theory of ‘unity’.
The author correctly says:
“Maybe there will come a day when we can all- rural and urban, rich or poor, English-speaking hepcat or mofussil dweller- say: Garv se kaho hum liberal hain.”
The ideologies of Liberals involve respecting the right to freedom of expression and speech, which is most important in the present socio-political situation. It doesn’t chain you up for differing in opinions; just like French philosopher Voltaire had said:
“I do not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”
About the Author:
Sagarika Ghose (Born: 8th November, 1964) went to St Stephen's College in New Delhi before winning a Rhodes scholarship to Oxford University where she gained an MA and M Phil degree in History. She has been a journalist for fourteen years, reporting extensively on Indian elections, politics and society as well as traveling and reporting in Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
Ghose is the author of two novels, The Gin Drinkers, published in 1998, and Blind Faith, in 2004. Her first novel The Gin Drinkers was published to critical acclaim in 2000. In 2017, Ghose published a widely acclaimed biography of former Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, Indira: India’s most powerful Prime Minister (Juggernaut Books).
In her 2018 non-fiction book, Why I Am A Liberal: A Manifesto For Indians Who Believe in Individual Freedom, Ghose describes herself as a liberal who believes in rule of law, limited government, robust institutions and individual liberty. She is currently senior editor and prime time news anchor on the news channel CNN IBN.