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Abhishek Choudhary’s Vajpayee: The Ascent of the Hindu Right 1924-1977

The early years of late Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee are captured in a new biography, Vajpayee: The Ascent of the Hindu Right 1924-77, by Abhishek Choudhary. The book published by Picador India was released in May 2023. This first volume lays out 53 years of Vajpayee’s life, spanning from 1924 to 1977.

Initially, the novels feel biographical, even self-indulgently autobiographical. But, as the plot unfolds, the reader, without realising it, is exposed to a major political faultline of modern America: race, class, gender, neo-colonialism, through the story of the Jewish kid from Weequahic High School, Newark.

The first instalment of Abhishek Choudhary’s two-volume biography of Atal Bihari Vajpayee is one of the most significant works of non-academic history in recent memory, for multiple reasons. Like Roth’s fiction, Choudhary has provided not just an account of a ‘great’ man’s life but rather, a vivid portrait of a worldview that today – more often for the worse – seeks to remake India in its insecure image.

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