Against Ambedkar, Against the World – Harsh Trivedi

I was given this book by the publisher in exchange on an honest review, this is that review:

Well the title should tell you something if not everything. It’s the tale of a Brahmin boy Mayank with a North East Indian Girlfriend Baboi and two friends called Kamlesh and Shiv. Kamlesh being SC and Shiv being fellow Brahmin.

Even though the blurb promises an India of 2030 it’s only present in very few pages that too towards the end, all the abuses and the revolutions happen during the first two parts of the book. It’s fiction and the main character is openly against the entire reservation and talks in general about how easy reservation made it for the undeserving guys from SC/ST.

I am also from SC but I have never used the quota because whatever I did it didn’t matter there and I believe that the best reservation would not be on the basis of the caste but rather on the basis of financial situation. But let’s leave my personal ideas and thought and come back to the book.

Mayank writes a book and it spirals into a huge controversy and which culminates in a bleak vision of future India. The book start and stays on a comedic path but towards the end moves towards something sad but totally valid as per the narrative. Very nice book and totally worth reading I liked it and finished it in few sittings.

I would advise everyone to read this at least for quick fun.

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A Modern Indian Dystopian Fiction


Against Ambedkar, Against the World by Harsh Trivedi is a treatise on the existential crisis of the modern Indian youth. A fictionalized account in first person this novel traces the germination of the seeds and the final blooming of the questions “Who am I” and “Why am I” in the mind of the 25-year old JNU student, Mayank Trivedi.

Mayank has a complicated life. He is an intellectual in a group of friends, who are not inclined towards mental jogging, he is in love with a Christian, and he is a Brahmin, who does not understand the mechanics of the caste-system. Mayank’s inquiry leads him to the study and commentary on the Manu Smriti and a dope-induced vision of Dr Ambedkar.  In his fictional avatar the writer documents his understanding and interpretation of class-based society, education, and economy of modern India. Needless to say his account is not rose-tinted. His frustration is rendered into a published work, which changes the course of his life.

I love dystopian literature and the back cover blurb indicates this book to be of the genre. I was pulled into reading about a dystopian India by a young writer. I would not say this work is exactly futuristic because we actually see the events unfolding around us, everyday of our lives in present-day India. Harsh Trivedi has used real names of some political leaders and parties, making this a bold book. The events are unfolding right here, right now, as well as prophetic in some measures.

The title of the book is interesting. It is difficult to interpret it until you read the book. There might be many interpretations but for me it indicates that if you are against the politically-interpreted social caste-based philosophies of Dr Ambedkar, you are standing against a world order, based on the caste-system. Whether Dr Ambedkar would agree to the modern interpretation and caste-based reservations in educated and developed India, is debatable.

Amidst a journey of self-discovery, Mayank, the protagonist continues to question the validity and the necessity of caste-based reservations and what gives the SC categories in India their “swag.” In a thin book, Harsh Trivedi, has weaved many lines of thoughts pestering the modern youth and how our society continues to be divided and biased. Harsh has used characters from different social and religious segments to provide an interesting narrative. I couldn’t help but note the irony of a Catholic Christian girlfriend from a North Eastern state, who fiercely rejects premarital sex, because in India there are notions around the promiscuous temperaments of Christian girls from the North East.

In writing style, Harsh is a cross between Chetan Bhagat and Karan Bajaj. In the language and the sexual references in the book, it is evident he is catering to a young audience. The questions that he raises in the book, made me discard my squeamishness about some of the indiscrete descriptions and inappropriateness of conversational lingua. This book is like an onion, it has multiple layers and a discerning reader can get ample food for thought. Editing issues are few and the writer has command over the language though a tighter hold on some lingual aspects could have polished this book further.

This book has its light moments but becomes poignant towards the end. I enjoyed the initial part with its tongue-in-cheek humor and tweeted that I was surprised this book was “unputdownable”. This book will take you through interesting characters in the JNU hostels, Kanpur, Benaras, and then in France. The events as they unravel towards the end will give the Indian reader a sense of déjà vu because we have seen similar events then and now – the scary part is does the future also project such eventuality. This is the thought-provoking question that this novel raises.

I recommend this book to young and old readers alike to discover the social, philosophical, cultural, and emotional issues that are troubling our youth. The index finger, however, points to the role of politics, and how we are allowing important issues to ferment to the point that the intoxicating madness overflows.

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Against Ambedkar, Against the World Book Review

Against Ambedkar, Against the World by Harsh Trivedi apparently can be labelled as a fantasy, but in reality the typical elements also of the Indian society are there, with some thoughtful elements.

India will never be the same again in 2030 when Kejriwal becomes the seventeenth prime minister of India in a momentous term of office and a virgin Brahmin youth, Mayank decides to go on board on a life altering expedition to lose his virginity and discover his social order.

The story that the author creates is populated by real and unforgettable characters, whose stories are interwoven in number of ways as the young lad runs into the eventual monster of contemporary India’s identity, Ambedkar amidst Kamlesh, the SC with super-powers, Boboi, the tree worshipping Catholic and Shiv, the eternal lover, as their destinies run into in this nerve-jangling, shadowy and coked-up ride, in time and space, through an India that you have never seen before.

The protagonists are absolutely original who are initially wacky and a bit naive, impassive front to oddities, who makes an evolutionary process throughout the novel, which will transform it into a strong and brave characters and play a key role until the end of the book. All the characters have surprises from start to finish.

In the novel, I saw a number of underlying issues, events and thoughts, easily found in everyday Indian society today from the pains and burdens of the younger generation, the difficult choices and the need to grow and mature suddenly ahead of schedule with situations beyond their control which weigh on the shoulders of a teenager.

As to the style, I think is straightforward, simple and fluid. The author manages to keep alive the reader’s attention with twists and unusual lives. I highly recommend this novel both for the fantastic background and the ability to transmit thoughts, which are in everyone’s mind but most are afraid to talk.

The depth of the themes is perfectly balanced by the incisive and engaging style. The pages fly, the words make you think. I would not recommend this book to pass the time, and do not recommend it to become more educated. I recommend it to learn to live, to think, to address the problems to find hope even when it seems to have been abandoned.

 Format: Paperback ♥ Publisher: Leadstart ♥ Pages: 200 ♥ Published: April 2016 ♥ Language: English ♥ ISBN-13: 978-9352015818

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