Putting #IndiaFirst: India Positive Citizen Perspectives, by Savitha Rao: Book Review

“Building a great Nation, one India Positive action at a time” and “Putting #IndiaFirst”: this is the philosophy behind Savitha Rao’s self-published book – a compilation of short life histories and thoughts of well-known and not-so-well-known inspirational people in India from various walks of life. Each of these esteemed persons brings in their unique perspective of life, and offers insights on how they and you can help build a great nation.

The legendary Param Vir Chakra Naib Subedar Bana Singh describes how he led his team to an incredible victory over a Pakistani force that was well entrenched on a post above the dangerous heights of the Siachen glacier, overcoming the extreme cold, ultra-high altitude of 21,153 feet and a sheer ice wall of 1500 feet on all sides. The post has since been renamed Bana Top in his honour.

Vikas Manhas, an ordinary civilian, writes about his heart rending experience at Jammu when seven brave jawans succumbed to terrorist attack and they were mass-cremated by locals without the presence of their relatives, which was the common practice at the time. He developed a passion to visit and spend time with the families of soldiers and officers who gave the ultimate sacrifice for the nation. It is quite shameful that bodies of our brave martyrs started returning home for their last rites for the first time since independence, only after orders from then Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee during the Kargil war.

S Vijaykumar whose India Pride Project has been responsible for bringing our priceless stolen murtis from temples back home, writes about the communities that suffered due to their beloved deities being stolen from the temple and the joy with which they welcome the deity back. His work is entirely voluntary. If you have read about PM Modi bringing back idols from various countries, including the Annapoorna murti that was installed at Kashi Vishwanath Temple earlier this month, that is the India Pride Project in action.

From top industrialist Ajay Piramal and Dr R S Sodhi who took Amul to dizzying heights, to Dr Nagaraj Hegde who is revolutionizing agriculture by generating compost from stubble in 20 minutes as compared to normal time of upto 3 months, each story is priceless. When visually challenged entrepreneur Srikanth Bolla writes how his lack of sight helped him to focus on his vision of being an enabler for other disabled people for earning their livelihood and starting his own company, it inspires you to go beyond what you think is possible. When Dr Gobardhan Das, who is pioneering research into tuberculosis, describes his traumatic childhood when his father fled from Naokhali after witnessing their entire family being massacred, your heart bleeds with him and at the same time you are elated that he has still managed to reach such dizzying heights professionally and personally.

The story of Meghna Girish, whose brave son Akshay gave the ultimate sacrifice for the nation, and who is now giving back to other families of martyrs through her trust, compels you to think about helping your colleagues’ families in their difficult times. You learn first-hand from Dr Krishna Ella, the founder of Bharat Biotech, how and why he led top quality research into vaccines over the years culminating in development of Covaxin, India’s WHO-approved indigenous vaccine against COVID.

You learn about Gopaldas Sutharia, a wealthy diamond merchant who left the family business to set up a now renowned gaushala for preservation and propagation of native species in the traditional way. When Major DP Singh, who lost his leg and nearly his life in the Kargil War writes that feeling bad about the loss of his leg would be disrespectful to the Sikh gurus who gave valiant sacrifices over centuries, you can’t help but be awed and inspired.

Therefore, this is not a book to read in a hurry. Every short story is a compact life lesson that should be savoured and absorbed to be inculcated in daily life. From developing an entrepreneurial attitude and making a successful career to inculcating love for the nation and giving back to society, there is something to learn from every life story of these amazing persons. It is certainly one of the most inspirational books I have read.

I highly recommend the book and congratulate Savitha Rao for this excellent effort.

Amazon link for purchase:

Putting India First : India Positive Citizen Perspectives: Building a great Nation, one India Positive action at a time https://www.amazon.in/dp/B09HML841Y/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_glt_fabc_VH573AZM0ZBAT9HM4GFW

Differing opinions are welcome as long as you keep it clean, so go for it :)