A Nation to Protect – Book Review by Asha Seth

Author: Priyam Gandhi-Mody | Genre: Non-fiction | Pages: 317 | Publisher: Rupa Publications

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Even after three waves of the pandemic, India has managed to save more lives than most countries in the world. The country has proved the cynics wrong with one of the lowest fatality rates. As a testament to its scientific and technological prowess, the nation has not only developed multiple indigenous vaccines but is running the world’s largest vaccination drive supported by superb infrastructure. True to our nature as a nurturer, our country has been acting as the ‘pharmacy of the world’ by providing life-saving drugs and medical equipment to other nations. With a staunch resolve to help all of humanity emerge out of the pandemic, India has committed over five billion vaccine doses in 2022 for countries in need and intends to provide more until every human being is secure.

A Nation to Protect is a definitive account of India’s pandemic response from the top echelons of leadership and government.

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A Nation to Protect is carefully curated piece on the current Modi-led government’s strategy against the pandemic. This book made of two parts handholds the reader through the first and the second waves of the Covid-19 pandemic that hit the nation in early 2020 and thereon leads one to understand the myriad tactics the PMO and the cabinet had to resort to ensure least impact of the pandemic on the nation.

Right from the first Janta curfew to lighting diyas to the developing of the vaccine to making vaccination available to the masses and the several other initiatives taken give a detailed view of the many minds and many efforts put together to curb the crisis, with certain degree of assured positive gain. It has many firsthand anecdotes from the PM that add credibility to the content and help see the ‘behind-the-scenes’ that went into recording lowest casualties month on month for over two years, making India one of the few nations better armored to face the pandemic.

A lot has been written in this book backed with meticulous research and a keen eye on editing, so much so that it is clearly evident that the author is Pro-Modi and pretty much admires he PM on all grounds and levels. Now this isn’t bad, but clearly a depiction of just one side of the coin. As portrayed in this book, the pandemic wasn’t exactly a bed of roses. The other side of the coin – the harsh brutal truth of government’s failures at some levels – have been conveniently swept under the rug. As a citizen, I felt that that is pretty misleading; if not fully wrong. India, as a nation, did handle the pandemic well, but it too came with a cost borne by the middle-class and underprivileged classes. And maintaining transparency would have been ideal; given the book is a non-fictional account aimed at highlighting facts.

Having said that, the language is pretty simple and the writing succinct to keep one engaged. Even though there are 20 chapters, it does not weigh you down.

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Learning about the struggles and grit of the management level about some of the major concerns faced by the administration does show us the devotion and dedication that was at the heart of everyone involved; which should not be forgotten. We, as an economy, did hold our forts better against the pandemic compared to most of the advanced nations, and for that the current PMO did do a commendable job.

Have you read ‘A Nation to Protect’? Do share your thoughts in the comments below.

Happy reading till we meet next. Until then, carpe diem! 

P.S.: I received a review copy from the publisher but the review remains unbiased.

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