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"Casting Light on India's Political Leadership: A Dive into 'How Prime Ministers Decide' by Neerja C


How Prime Ministers Decide: An Unprecedented, Explosive Look at How Decisions are taken at the Very Top of the Political Establishment.

Author: Neerja Chowdhary

Published by Aleph Book Company

Non-Fiction/Politics

Pages: 578

MRP: Rs. 999/-


Thank you @alephbookcompany for a media copy of the book.


The Book focuses on the major decisions taken on by various decisions taken by some of the Former Prime Ministers of our country, how those decisions were taken and what impact they had. It starts from Indira Gandhi declaring the emergency, loosing power and returning back(the decision to hold elections in the first place is also discussed); Rajiv Gandhi usurping the Supreme Court judgement on the Shah Bano case(to appease the Muslims), and all the political turmoil it led to including him having reopen the Ayodhya Mandir gates (to appease the Hindu’s) and all other decisions taken, which ultimately led to his assassination by the LTTE; the author also talks about V.P Singh and the dangerous Mandal Gambit which changed Indian political landscape forever; about P.V. Narasimha Rao and his indecision and inaction which led to the demolition of the Babri Masjid and all the turmoil that followed including the Bombay Blasts of 1992; about Atal Bihari Vajpayee who proved the opposition wrong, faced global backlash but authorized the testing of Nuclear Devices, making India a nuclear power and a force to be reckoned with; about Manmohan Singh’s administration, the author says it probably is the most underrated, and that they actually got quite a lot done. The most significant of which, is probably the Indo-US Nuclear Deal, the roots of which were set by the previous administration, this deal eased the sanctions the US had imposed on India and the global backlash had reduced significantly.



While the book covers quite a lot, and I am very impressed and thoroughly enjoyed reading the material, it could have been better packaged. The cover could have mentioned that the book only talks about administrations from Indira Gandhi to Manmohan Singh, so not to expect some of the recent decisions taken by the current administration, or decisions taken on prior to Indira Gandhi. The author Neerja Chowdhary is an esteemed journalist whose career spans decades, and she has interviewed almost all of the prime ministers she has written about personally.


It is very important while writing political books to be unbiased towards everything. The author here has done an excellent job of that and calls spade, a spade. From Indira and Sanjay Gandhi’s dictatorship to fallacies in Manmohan Singh’s administration, the author has written about most aspects in an unbased manner. Furthermore, "How Prime Ministers Decide" is a testament to the author's commitment to objective reporting. Her willingness to acknowledge both the successes and failures of each prime minister exemplifies journalistic integrity. The narrative transcends biases, treating each leader's decisions with an equal measure of scrutiny and fairness.



While the book primarily focuses on prime ministers from Indira Gandhi to Manmohan Singh, the blurb's promise to "change the way we view how prime ministers govern the country" holds true. Chowdhary's in-depth exploration of leadership nuances and the forces that shape decisions offers readers a rare glimpse into the minds of those who steer the nation's course.


Neerja Chowdhary's impeccable research, insightful commentary, and unbiased narrative come together to create a book that not only educates but also captivates, challenging readers to rethink their perceptions of leadership and governance.


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