In its first part, Malevolent Republic asks a difficult question? Can dynastism and authoritarianism be traced to the times when the country was at its democratic best? Komireddi does not absolve India’s first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru in this respect.
In the predominantly Punjabi neighbourhood where we spent most of our childhood, the festivities would be announced with drumbeats and bonfires into which peanuts and popcorn were thrown in as ritual oblation. But, for long, we did not really know what the fervour was all about.