Book : Revolution 2020
Author : Chetan Bhagat
Publishing Year : 2011
Page Count : 296
Format : Paperback
Once upon a time, in small-town India, there lived two intelligent boys. One wanted to use his intelligence to make money. One wanted to use his intelligence to create a revolution. The problem was, they both loved the same girl. Welcome to Revolution 2020. A story about childhood friends Gopal, Raghav and Aarti who struggle to find success and love in Varanasi. However, it isn’t easy to achieve this in an unfair society that rewards the corrupt. As Gopal gives in to the system, and Raghav fights it, who will win? From the bestselling author of Five Point Someone, One Night @ The Call Center, The Three Mistakes of My Life and 2 States, comes another gripping tale from the heartland of India. Are you ready for the revolution?
I know that most of you haven’t heard of Chetan Bhagat. He is quite a big thing in India but not internationally. I’ve read a few books of his before but I’ve never been impressed as such. His writing his mediocre, at best. The Indian youth, in general, seem to gobble up his books whenever they get published and then they sing misplaced praises about him. Even though this book was published five years back, I never wanted to read it because of my past experiences with his writing. But my elder cousin was insistent that I give it a chance. For lack of anything else to do in this summer break till college starts, I picked it up last night. And boy, was I surprised!
The story is about three childhood friends : Gopal, Raghav and Aarti. Gopal comes from a poor family background, Raghav from a middle class family and Aarti from a rich family. The story is set in the temple city of India – Varanasi. When I saw this city as the setting, I expected it to be an integral part of the story itself. Because Varanasi is a place like that. It has always been portrayed to have its own soul. A soul unlike any other. But I was disappointed in the fact that the city was just there. It didn’t weave itself into the story as I’d have liked to see. The character of Aarti was annoying, at times. I couldn’t see the reason why there was so much fuss about her. And that’s where all my negative thoughts about the book end. Because strip down the book and you’ll get an honest reflection of the way the Indian education system actually is.
Gopal and Raghav both appear for the engineering entrance examinations for getting admission in the prestigious government colleges of India : the IITs and the NITs. Statistically speaking, the entrance examinations for the Indian Institute of Technology and the National Institute of Technology are two of the most difficult exams to crack worldwide. Even if you put your heart and soul to it, there’s no guarantee that you’ll get a chance. Lakhs and lakhs of students appear for it every year, only a few thousand actually get in. The Indian society is so cranked up that people actually compare a person based on his/her rank in the said exams.When I first started the book, I was surprised to find that I could actually connect with it! When Gopal couldn’t get in, his thought process was something that in a way, resonated within me. The feeling of uselessness, the feeling that what the heck did I do all these years and the shame that comes from disappointing your parents. All because of a rank in an exam.
The author portrays a very honest and picture of the Indian society which is filled with corruption. Our society, at large, has always been like this. If you have enough depth in your pocket, there is not a single door in India that will be left unopened to you. You can do anything. You can get away with anything. As long as you know all the right people. That is the sad truth. And the sadder truth is : there is really nothing much that can be done about it. All of this has been shown in a completely realistic manner. Now, I know, that I haven’t really talked much about the book, in general. That’s because the story in itself has such a truthful ring to it. To all my Indian readers, read this – for it is quite an honest reflection of our society. To all my non-Indian readers, if you ever do come across this book, real it – for it is quite an honest reflection of my country’s society. Maybe there will be a day when “bribe” wouldn’t be one such word that so many of us have to face regularly.
RATING : 4/5