“One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.” — Plato
Politics is scary yet intriguing. I love politics but I also find today’s political system to be crazy and devastating. Well, politics is different for everyone as we all have our individual opinions on the subject.
Since politics is such an interesting concept, some great writers have eloquently put their golden thoughts and ideas in their literary masterpieces which even got later adapted into movies. With the magic of fiction and critical thinking, they stressed upon some valid points existent in the said society. As a literature student, I’m really excited to share 5 political novels that I find great in this blog. So, without adding any more beautiful words, let’s view my compiled list.
Note: Not gonna give you any spoilers! So, feel free to read further. 🙂
1984 by George Orwell
I did not want to do a disservice to George Orwell by not mentioning his novel on the list. His dystopian novel, 1984, truly deserves to be on the top of this list. The novel critically highlights crucial themes, like war, social unrest, totalitarianism, propaganda, manipulation, distortion of every shred of evidence, submission, crime, violence, and basically what happens to everyone when democracy becomes dead. There’s so much to say about this novel but since I’ve taken an oath to not give you any spoilers, I’m tight-lipped right now. One thing I must say is that this novel holds true even in today’s political world. I’m sure you understand what I’m talking about.
The Home and the World (Ghare Baire) by Rabindranath Tagore
This novel was a part of my final year paper and taught me one important life lesson, i.e, to never believe in flattery and to differentiate the difference between true and false or destructive nationalism. Through the dilemma of the main character, Bimala, we get to know the political structure and personal ideas of two main male characters – Nikhil and Sandip. The book is set in the backdrop of Swadeshi movement and portrays themes, such as nationalism, marriage, politics, religion, gender roles, societal norms, and so on.
The Shadow Lines by Amitav Ghosh
This again was an indispensable part of my final year’s English Honours syllabus. I’ll admit this book was a little difficult for me to understand initially but ultimately I did get to grasp an important theme – memory and its impact on our lives. My favourite character is Tridib as he taught the narrator to view things as they were with a clean slate and without any bias. A great read, indeed!
Ice Candy Man by Bapsi Sidhwa
Ice Candy Man or Cracking India by Bapsi Sidhwa is a book that you can only read when you have a strong heart. The book shows the pre and post effects of India-Pakistan partition through the eyes of a young girl, Lenny. Partition of India is a thing that’s still fresh in the minds of Indians. The novel gives you every gruesome detail of violence that was inflicted upon people during that time through fictional characters. It highlights how political leaders and their shenanigans can create havoc in a healthy society. You can even see the film Earth by Deepa Mehta once you’ve finished reading the book.
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
This book says a lot about our current society. It might be fiction but it is not completely divorced from reality. The themes associated with this novel are racism, social inequality, ethics, loss of innocence, law and justice.
Politics is a controversial subject. That’s why most of us avoid talking about this “most-dreaded subject”. These authors were courageous to touch upon themes prevalent in their times and with the aid of words, presented them before us. So, which one will be the first book you’re planning to read with your cuppa? Comment below. See you again!
Author Bio: The name’s Juhi Pandey, a literature student and a writer. “I would rather read a good book than socialize” is my in-built mood.