Ganjahon ki Goshthi is like a breath of fresh air that brings back the era of satire in Hindi Literature. If you follow the author Saket Suryesh on Twitter, you are probably already acquainted with his classic Hindi Humor. His command on language and his ability to connect two different words are amazing.
He comes from a lineage of Shrilal Shukla who in his Raag Darbari has set the standards for Desi Satire for generations to come.
Ganjahon ki Goshthi is a satire on current affairs of let’s say the second half of 2018. Author has picked up many topics to comment on like North-South Divide of India, of politics, of cotton wearing intellectuals, of a common man in India.
Satire on current affairs
I loved some of the stories like the one where during the election season in Karnataka, Emperor Ashok lands up in a conversation with a local leader. The conversation is really potent and makes you think of many things that we have lost and found through the integrated history of this country. I think the story is brilliant.
The character makes another appearance in another story but is rather weak. Karnataka elections dominate a lot of stories, I guess the book was being written while the elections were being held.
One story of Ganjahon ki Goshthi takes to post the 2024 election scenario, is rather depressing. I think the author brings all his worst fears together to tell this story. How I wish he had not put it into words, for the words have an amazing power of coming true.
Story on NOTA is brilliantly told. In one story, the satirist tells the tale of his own breed and what they go through in the age of paid media.
Most of the characters are real and you can easily identify them. Author has a huge potential to become the Satirist of this generation. Look at some of the quotes from the book:
- On Shashi Tharoor’s Why I am a Hindu – You can read it as his explanation, opposition, amazement, confidence or guilt.
- On Kapil Sibal – Ram may or may not be a myth, Hindu Vote is the biggest myth.
- A shrewd politician knows when to sit on a throne like an emperor and when to dance like a courtesan in front of the public.
- There is a tradition in Jambudwip to appoint someone to do the work you dislike.
(Translation Mine) – Most of the ones I highlighted on my Kindle are not really translatable. At one places he has translated the popular Shloka from Gita for Kejriwal and it is hilarious.
Buy Ganjahon ki Goshthi by Saket Suryesh at Amazon
However, I felt this book has been written in a hurry. Some of the short stories seem to have been stitched together from his Twitter threads. What Saket and his editors seem to have missed is that Twitter is in the instant. The satire that you do on Twitter is relevant Now, and may not be so 3-4 months down the line when a reader reads the bool. Much less, if the book is read a couple of years or decades down the line. It is not easy to pull yourself out of writing for instant online media to writing for long term relevance.
Even the characters have to be seen in totality and not just based on their comments and activities in a small period of time.
Must Read – Raag Darbari by Shrilal Shukla
Most of the stories end as soon as they begin. In fact, they end as soon as you get into the groove and start enjoying them. I wish stories like the one on ‘Forgiving’ as the national trait of India or the one on Hunger Strikes or on Democracy being in danger or loans, I think there is so much more that could have been said on those topics. You can read comment both as a compliment and a complaint.
Read More – Ghumakkad Swami by Rahul Sankrityayan
I seriously hope Saket Suryesh writes many more books, and I hope he takes a Twitter break when he sits down to write books. Language is one of the high points of the book – as it should be for a satire. However, I did feel the need for better editing & consistency of language. At places, language oscillates between ‘Shuddh Hindi’ and Colloquial Urdu.
If you read Hindi & Enjoy good satire, Go read this book.