In Conversation With Sridhar Subramaniam, Author, Are You Listening Prime Minister
Are You Listening, Prime Minister?
By: Sridhar Subramaniam
Sridhar Subramaniam is a Management Graduate from the University of Bombay (SP Jain Management Institute). His corporate career has been in Marketing and General Management.He has been a prolific writer from his early days and has contributed articles of topical interest and on diverse subjects to The Deccan Chronicle, Hyderabad, All India Radio, BBC and the
magazine, Wisdom. He is married, has two kids and is presently living in Lexington,MA.
What was the inspiration to write this book?
There are a lot of things going for India now but yet there are myriad challenges that it is facing. It has to seize the moment and take its rightful place in the comity of nations. I wanted to address this subject, India's development and development objectives from the perspective of the common man who is also a coffee table analyst. A subject like this is enormous in its scope and the expectations are also that much higher. But rather than approach the subject from a high falutin, ivory tower perspective I felt there are a lot of things which are mundane and of every day relevance to folks like you and me which needed to ventilated and articulated. Rather than writing a research dissertation, the the vista is one seen from the prism of a common man.The book, Freakonomics, is a book which analyses economics from a unique perspective and was eminently readable. To some extent, that was also a model that I sought to pattern the book on. The book not only highlights certain problems/ challenges but also offers certain homespun and common sensible suggestions, which can be implemented with great success and will yield enormous success.
Give us a brief summary of what the book is all about ?
The book gives a realistic portrayal of the present day realities in India. Offers some real simple solutions to some of the complex challenges which India is facing today. Also some proactive strategies have been advocated which could help India sustain the momentum that has been generated with the advent of liberalization and the terrific success of the Information Technology and IT enabled services.It can continue to ride the crest of the wave !
What kind of research has gone into it. What other books/people/events did you research ?
There was this germ of an idea. Extensive reading and cross fertilization of ideas enabled me to incubate and ferment and it finally found expression in the form of this book, with a rather catchy title which is bound to generate and stoke the curiosity.Shashi Tharoor, Ramachandra Guha and Nandan Nilekani have all written books on India from a similar standpoint.
How long did it take to complete it
It took me about 4-5 months to give final shape to the book
Was it hard to find a publisher for it
Initially I had interacted with a couple of publishers but finally settled with this publisher as there was a meeting of the minds and I liked the hand holding and support they extended. They also helped me with the design of the cover which has also won a lot of plaudits and encomiums.
Did you talk to many people before you wrote this book?
Yes I did. In fact, it is the ventilation of a lot of pent up emotions which finally found a medium
How has been the response/feedback till now?
The response has been fairly good especially amongst the Indian community and the Indian diaspora but I expect it to be a big draw in India also. Efforts are underway to get it printed and released across India also. I expect it notch up tidy sales. The more satisfying thing would be that I had been able to disseminate what I wanted to convey and trigger off the thought process amongst "right thinking" and for people who have India at heart !
You have addresses it to the Prime Minister? Why? and did you ever meet him ?
I have great admiration for Dr. Manmohan Singh who under the able stewardship of the then PM, Mr.Narasimha Rao ushered in the reforms. I have not met him but I hope to, in the near future. I am planning to send a copy of the book to him also and inspire him to announce some big ticket reforms which will firmly set India on a higher growth trajectory .
What do you hope to achieve by writing this book?
Small economies like Malaysia, Korea, Vietnam , Singpore have forged way ahead. I am keen that India also script that kind of a success story which will keep the pundits talking. My book seeks to set people thinking and initiate steps in their own small way which will pave the way for India's eventual success.Ideas impact people and people impact ideas.
Are you involved in any community events here?
Presently not at the community level though I have been active in some events in the Library.
Point out some highlights or issues that you think India needs to pay attention?
Unbridled Population could throw the spanner in the works for India.Our politicians and political apparatus could be the spokes in the wheel who could sabotage and derail our progress. Cleansing the body politic is the crying need of the hour.Balanced Regional development, heavily investing in infrastructure, indulging in aggressive economic diplomacy like China, developing linkages with other potential growth areas are all a part of the proactive strategy India should follow.
How do Lokvani readers hope to get a copy of the book ? What is the best way to reach you?
My book is available for sale through Amazon.com and the xlibris online bookstore. Requests for copies can be made to you (Lokvani) and I can also help them get the same. Information on the book is on www.mustreadthisbook.com and I can be reached through mail on : firstname.lastname@example.org.
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