I happened to see an interview with Josy Joseph on Newslaundry.com sometime in 2016 or 2017, which made me curious about his book.
People like Joseph is a rare breed in India today, people who risk everything to investigate the corrupt and the powerful, and for this very reason, if not just for the explosive contents and great writing, every Indian must read Josy Joseph.This book is divided into three sections. The first one talks about the "middlemen", people from all walks of life, from a peon in a Government office to Union Cabinet Ministers and Corporate and Underworld criminals, middlemen are the ones who essentially keep our democracy running, albeit for their own benefit. Anything and everything can be accomplished if you know who to approach to get things moving and if you have the resources required. In particular, I liked the second chapter about the famous personal assistants (PAs) of our famous politicians. By playing the trusted confidant and gatekeepers of the big and the powerful, these PAs became hyper-important just by association.
The second section talks about India's aviation industry and is my favorite part of the book. It is full of exciting details about the inner workings and despite being non-fiction, it made me read it with the excitement of fiction. As cliche as it sounds, truth is often stranger than fiction. It talks about India's entrepreneurial spirit, the Government, the criminal underworld and how our premier investigation agencies are just toys at the hands of the powerful. I highly recommend this book just for this section.
Finally, the last section talks about India's super-rich and how they became what they are. It talks about the Mallyas, the Jindals, the Saharas, the Adanis and last but most prominent, the Ambanis. The last chapter, "A House for Mr. Ambani" was a great read.
I appreciate the courage of the author to name and shame such big and powerful names in India. But he knows what he is talking about and is not just making things up. His investigations have led to several big talking points in India's current affairs and we need more people like him to be India's conscience keepers. I highly recommend this book to everyone who would like to have a reality check of India's celebrated democracy.
You can watch the interview below: