Preface, basically, but a little long for a normal-length preface of a book. It introduces the reason why the author decided to write the book and includes some disclaimers upfront about a few terms frequently used in the book, such as liberal, secular, Hindutva, and of course, Sanghi.
Pa-loo-ral and kaal-ph
The first chapter deals with the boyhood years of the author – the late 80s and early 90s. It has the following three sections:
Recollection of early days spent in Bihar Sharif, Nalanda, Bihar. A Muslim best friend. Saraswati Vandana. Allama Iqbal. Ramayana. Doordarshan. Diwali. And it starts with a couple of lines from a song from a Mithun Chakraborty movie!
More memories from the boyhood days, with retrospective narration. Includes commentary and observations on Sufis, Brahmins, one TV serial and two Khaljis. Also features Mahatma Gandhi, Sharad Pawar and the grand tradition of ‘lying for harmony’.
Some memories from the 1989 Lok Sabha and 1990 Bihar Vidhan Sabha elections, from the perspective of a young boy. Discovery of caste, Ram Janmbhoomi, and a political identity. Not a Sanghi identity, obviously.
The Congressi Hindu
The second chapter deals with teenage years of the author – the realization how he was a Congressi Hindu. It has the following four sections:
The high school days of the author. Textbooks and beyond. Explains the reasons due to which author writes that “despite studying in a school run by someone who, too, certainly would be termed a Sanghi by today’s liberals, I did not receive any Sanghi education.”
A tribute to the genius of the Congress party. Explains why most of the Hindus remained a ‘Congressi Hindu’ in indepdent India, despite the party supporting and nourishing an ecosystem that was increasingly at odds with Hindu causes right from the days of Jawaharlal Nehru.
Caste politics and caste wars of Bihar. Manusmriti. Rise of ‘communalism’ and how it’s conveniently but wrongly blamed on 6 December 1992 while dishonestly hiding changes taking place in the Muslim community in the preceding period.
College days, Vajpayee years. Media portrayal of the RSS and author’s own prejudices against the Sangh, despite having a Shakha going friend. The dominant secular narrative in the mainstream media, and desire to be the part of the same mainstream media.
The ‘terrorist’ batchmate
The third chapter deals with the author’s initiation into the world of media and journalism. It has the following four sections:
Why author chose journalism as the area of post-graduate studies after studying mathematics. The early days of TV journalism in India. Looking at Delhi from the eyes of a young man from Bihar. Discovering JNU.
Days at the journalism college. A batchmate who got accused of carrying out terror attacks later! Two-nation theory. How media and intellectuals deliberately choose to not see Islamism, and actively whitewash it instead.
Recounting the horrors of Hindu pilgrims being burnt alive in February 2002. How media knew the truth and why media chose to be economical with truth. From the eyes of an ‘intern’ in a leading news channel of India.
The riots that followed Godhra carnage and how it affected the author. From an angry Hindu to an ashamed Hindu. Power of selective story-telling. The television debates. Praveen Togadia vs a senior journalist.
Lessons in journalism
The fourth chapter deals with the author’s days as a professional journalist. It has the following four sections:
Why there is a bias in media and why it simply can’t go away. Why it is not even acknowledged as bias by the journalists. Why journalists think they are acting all responsibly while being biased. And why it has become only worse.
How the author, then a young man with no adequate awareness about ideologies, became an active partner in building and strengthening a left-leaning narrative. How this narrative keeps itself alive through suitable rewards for its flagbearers.
The 2004 Lok Sabha results and return of Congress. How media makes sure Congressi Hindus remain Congressi Hindus. How an average Hindu starts distrusting ‘Hindu groups’ and thus weakens Hindu causes and movements.
Pre-internet Zakir Naik. ‘Casual Islamism’. Career concerns. Disillusionment with the job. CAT. IIMs. Dreams of a job at NDTV replaced with dreams of a job in an investment bank.
In Modi’s Gujarat
The fifth chapter deals with author’s stay in Gujarat, primarily as a student at IIM Ahmedabad. It has the following three sections:
Author’s brush with Gujarat after being prejudiced against the state and the people in the aftermath of the 2002 riots. Getting to know the Gujarat side of the story. Realizing the impact of information asymmetry on oneself.
Unlearning many ‘journalistic’ things. Discovering internet beyond Yahoo chats and emails. Discovering libertarianism. Discovering one’s strength and weaknesses. Discovering entrepreneurship.
Political landscape of India between 2005-2008. The numerous terror attacks including 26/11. BJP’s inability to set narrative while media’s ability to divert narrative. Modi’s new innings and image post 2007 Gujarat assembly election victory. Author’s first impression of Narendra Modi beyond his media image.
Internet, Anna, ‘paid media’
The sixth chapter deals with the UPA years and how they lost the narrative. Retelling of the contemporary history in four sections:
The Orkut years. Aarushi murder case and Mumbai terror attacks – two completely unrelated events – but one common theme. Mini controversies of Barkha Dutt and Rajdeep Sardesai.
2009 Lok Sabha elections. “The libertarian in me was happy. The Congressi Hindu in me was happy”. ‘Political Stock Exchange’ and ‘Faking News’. Twitter arrives. Sanghis arrive.
2G, CWG, and endless list of scams. Paid news controversy and Radia tapes. Even though none of these were remotely about Hindutva, how the narrative shifted in their favor.
Retelling the Anna Hazare’s anti-corruption movement that proved to be a little Janata Party type experiment with Left and Right helping each other. Why primarily it was a fight between Congress and its supportive ecosystem.
Hindutva vs the ‘Ecosystem’
The seventh chapter deals with the issue of the Congress-left ecosystem and Hindutva. It has the following three sections:
Understanding the genesis, which lies in the British Raj, of the Congress-left ecosystem and why it compulsorily hates Hindutva. Is it by design or default? How the ecosystem helps the Congress party despite appearing ‘neutral’. How Nathuram Godse unwittingly helped the ecosystem.
How Hindutva played an active part in the national pitch of Narendra Modi despite him sticking only to the issues of development (vikas). How did narrative build around Hindutva while Modi talked only vikas. How liberals and Congress undid their own propaganda against Modi and the RSS.
Author being back in a mainstream newsroom with Network18 acquiring Faking News. The anti-RW blacklist. One-way street of respect and acceptability. Liberals unravel themselves as Modi rises and Sanghis get vocal. The real intolerance. The hidden hypocrisy.
Making of Modi’s India
The eighth chapter deals with Narendra Modi’s first term as Prime Minister and ideological shift of the author. It has the following four sections:
The challenges before Narendra Modi and why the author didn’t think he could score a convincing victory. How Modi survived attack by both the Congress party and the mainstream media. Rajdeep Sardesai’s Freudian slip.
Why did Hindutva—painted evil by the media and intelligentsia over decades—not prove to be a challenge for Modi. How did Modi change the connotation around the term Hindutva. How the liberals unwittingly helped Hindutva by supporting caste politics in hope of defeating the BJP.
Liberals losing their marbles as Modi became Prime Minister. Understanding the method to their madness. Their plans for the Modi era. Why the author finally gave up trying to have a conversation with the so-called liberals.
After revealing themselves as hypocritical and irrational, liberals start betraying how they did not have any principles at all. ISIS, Teesta Setalvad, Ramchandra Guha, Madan Mohan Malviya, Ghar wapsi, and much more. Why the author became a ‘lapsed libertarian’ and adopted the ‘Sanghi’ label.
The sore losers 2.0
The ninth and the last chapter analyses the run up to the 2019 elections and issues till August 2020. It has the following three sections:
Dissecting various narratives from award wapsi to Lynchistan. Why there seemed to be just one agenda behind every narrative– shame those who voted for Modi. What liberals aimed to achieve, what things they did right, and where they went horribly wrong.
How liberals were trying the same tricks against Modi that they had employed against Vajpayee to make sure he is just a one-term Prime Minister. Why Pulwama didn’t polarize the elections. How and why author voted for the first time, at the age of 39!
How liberals saw the 2019 verdict. Analyzing their behavior in the second term of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The dangerous games since 2019. Parallels between Khilafat 1.0 and Khilafat 2.0 and where are we headed. Why and where RW has the upper hand in the narrative, and how it can fritter away that advantage.
A short note on the RSS
Since the author has self-identified himself as a Sanghi, he offers his views on the RSS. His limited experiences, complaints, and wishes from the organization.