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No Full Stops in India

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  933 Ratings  ·  56 Reviews
India’s Westernized elite, cut off from local traditions, ‘want to write a full stop in a land where there are no full stops’. From that striking insight Mark Tully has woven a superb series of ‘stories’ which explore Calcutta, from the Kumbh Mela in Allahabad (probably the biggest religious festival in the world) to the televising of a Hindu epic. Throughout, he combines ...more
Paperback, 368 pages
Published September 14th 1992 by Penguin (first published June 1st 1991)
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May 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: review
A book published in 1991, and so the best part about it is that it involves a fair amount of time travel. It's a collection of 10 essays with an introduction and epilogue that could pass off as mini essays too! While all of the essays are commentaries, what adds that little flavour is the author's own involvement in it, which he somehow manages to balance with a near objective view. The first essay, for instance, involves the marriage of his cook's daughter, and his experience at the village. Bu ...more
Sep 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
It is not a story, it is true things happening, happened and going to happen in future also.

Mark Tully described the India, it's culture and the politics existing in the country.

He shared his days with his maid in Ram Chandra's Story. He depicted one of the worlds largest religious gathering in The Kumbh Mela.

Mark Tully taken me in to the Golden Temple. His cover story on the operation held in Golden Temple he describe who's and who struggled during the Black Thunder operation between police and
Jan 10, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: india
The man I stayed with in Goa reccommended this book for me to read, I wanted something about Indian history/politics/culture -- and not some white upper-middle class woman's spiritual experience as a tourist or whatever. /No Full Stops In India/ was perfect for me, entertaining essays and insights by a former BBC journalist who truly loved the country. The book is comprised of 10 chapters, plus an introduction and an epilogue.

"Ram Chander's Story" is about Tully's servant: his life, their relat
Sourojit Das
Apr 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
A brilliant collection of articles by the veteran BBC journo covering several important events and some less well-known incident during his time in India.
Little Creature
Nov 28, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Time and again I have to run to Britishers to learn about my history or events in recent past. Michael Wood showed me some never seen before places in "Story of India". Mark Tully takes me to 60's and 70's when some of the major events in post-independent India happened and changed the course of history forever. Mark Tully is a journalist and hence his writing comes across as objective. Which is good in a sense you don't want to take any sides and just watch history as it is. Some of his comment ...more
Girl from Mumbai
Written by the last man standing in the line of Burra Sahebs, ‘Sir Mark Tully’s’ “No Full Stops in India” is a collection of 10 essays on his view of India.

As an English man born in India and the head of BBC for several years, he offers a unique perspective on both the political and social set-up experienced in his time. His writing covers a lot of different aspects of an India that we may have not experienced. From the life of his servant to the madness of Khumb Mela. From the beginning of Mar
Dayanand Prabhu
Jun 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Mark Tully's analysis of India and its problems are quite disruptive. He makes no attempt to hide the realities, on how more than 30% of India is below poverty line and yet the brown colonists(Mind you that includes even me) are proud of their global identity but fail to address their local problems. This book took me off guard when Tully came out clean as a non hypocrite and accepts the role of the British for much of economic backwardness in India. Although written in 1991 this book is still q ...more
Devangana Khokhar
Oct 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Even though, Michael Woods and Mark Tully are different in terms of their work, one being a historian and another being a journalist dealing with social and political issues, there's a striking similarity in the way they provide an account of India and having liked works by Michael Woods, it was obvious that I would have liked Mark Tully's too. I admire the way Mark Tully has described his explorations about India with utmost clarity of thoughts, keeping aside any sort of personal biases. He has ...more
Jul 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
The author concludes his introduction with this, " But the western world and the Indian elite who emulate it ignore the characteristic genius of the Indian mind. They want to write a full stop in the land where there are no full stops." Thus, the author hints you that unlike many of his peers , he is not a blind anglophile advocating cultural imperialism. This piece of work is melange of travelogue, social commentary, historical account, and investigative reportage amongst other. The author narr ...more
Arushi Srivastava
May 04, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: history
A white man rediscovering Indian! - how someone very eloquently and aptly described the book to me. This books feel like its written by an Englishman with not much understanding on the complexities of India. Not really expected of a journalist who has spent a substantial time in India.

While there are a few things Mr Tully has rightly identified as a problem in India - for example elite following the west blindly and denigrating their own country, sadly his advice to these "English Speaking"egal
Feb 16, 2013 rated it liked it
If you are interested in the culture of India in the sense of religion, temples, music and dance, this is not the book for you, although there is an interesting chapter on the religious festival the Kumbh Mela, which reminded me of the descriptions of the Egyptian Moulid in Tanta described in Abdel-Hakim Kassen's book The Seven Days of Man. I also enjoyed the chapter about the filming of the Indian soap series which is based on the Hindu Ramayan stories.

Each of the ten chapters in Mark Tully's b
Feb 05, 2016 rated it liked it
It is amusing to see the other side of the dilemma of writers who are straddling two separate cultures and while they belong to one they cannot let go of the other, the more dominant one.

If one reads the writings of Mark Tully one would not suspect ninety nine out of a hundred times that he was not from India, or that he did not belong to India, in fact more than ninety nine times out of hundred - it is probably close to once in a few thousand times that one gets a little clue of the sort.

But of
Sep 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Anecdotes bundled together give insights about India how it was in different times post-independence. There are landmark stories embodying religious, social, political, cultural aspects of India. How rural India was transforming when urban India was trying to catch the fastest pace as it could. Almost all the stories are taken from rural parts of India with some exceptions to cover inter-religion issues. Writing is exceptionally gripping. I wanted to finish the book in one sitting. Many a times ...more
Renuka Govind
Oct 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
'No Full Stops in India', written by Mark Tully is an eye-opener. Mark Tully was a BBC journalist of India for 20 years and chronicles of his experiences has been outlined in this book. The language is simple and flowing. Tully has managed to touch almost all the aspects of Indian people and culture. He has given importance to all the subjects, including a simple servant of his house as well as cultural extravaganza such as Kumbh Mela. It is very refreshing to read this book and get to know very ...more
Chhaya Methani
I am surprised by the extent of insightful literature produced by the British on India. This book is another great addition to that saga, a collection of short essays on India and it's many eccentric customs as viewed by the foreign eye. Many things that we take for granted, and many others the details of which we sometimes miss even while staying in India are described with attention to all view points. I found the chapter on the Kumbh Mela to be particularly fascinating, many of it's details w ...more
Gurleen Kaur
Jan 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sir Mark Tully's writings portray an India most of us do not know about, or worse, turn a blind side to.
It is ironical that we protest over things like culture appropriation by a music band but we do not know what really 'makes' our country.
These 10 essays are a good place where one could begin, written with clarity that comes with great journalism, and keeping intact the human face of everyday interactions with people that make India, 'India'.
This was the second book that i read by this autho
Sangeetha Kodithala
Mar 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
I've taken to reading books based on Indian history lately, and loved this book in that sense. Mark Tully puts some important events in post-independence Indian history in perspective with his stories around people and places involved in the events.

He has a strong pro-India, pro-Hindu perspective, so some of his ideas may not go down well with a lot of people. But read from the circumstances and a British journalist's point of view, I was quite impressed that he could relate to so many things In
Rogue Reader
Nov 25, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: travel-india
The book's blurb says, "An unsentimental tribute to India by its best-loved Englishman." I don't know, to me it is more a British journalist exercising his post-colonial views; sometimes the writing is shaped by patronizing and superior lens of wealth, experience and exposure. Some of Tully's chapters are remarkable: the frantic religiosity of the celebration at the Ganges, the filming of the television series. Others are painful.
Frank O'donnell
Jan 31, 2014 rated it really liked it
Through parables of social and economic upheaval across India in the late 1980s, Tully warns against appropriating Western materialism and consumerism wholescale as the new benchmark of Indian modernity, as his contemporary Fukuyama was then arguing. An indigenous adaptation must be allowed to take place. This is unobjectionable, but some aspects - the sati episode, which Tully strenuously fails to condemn but instead reports all sides - can surely be left behind.
Jul 08, 2013 rated it liked it
The strongly worded introduction makes you realize how in the name of development and progress, we as Indians are losing grip on our origin and sustenance. The various stories itself are just lengthy anecdotes of the people the author meets in his travels. He thinks that by narrating the story of these people the morals and the lessons are implied to the reader. I for one, could not get the point of some chapters.
Vaarun Dhingra
Jan 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing
A brilliant book by Mark Tully who was working as a journalist for the BBC, this book was published in 1991 and therefore deals with a lot of the things that were making news back then. The chapters on the Sati and Operation Black Thunder were revelations to me as I had no idea they had happened. The other chapters that I loved were on the riots in ahmedabad, the death of a congressman, the kumbh mela and the artist. A must read.
Jan 30, 2014 added it
Tully was born in a nuclear family in India. His English environment, education in Europe, and experiences prepared a fertile ground where his love and reverence for India germinated and continues to grow. By the age of 79 he has lived for 49 years in India and during these years he has so much Indianised himself that the eastern religious ideas of karma and reincarnation don’t appear alien to him.
Ten chapters, ten essays on aspects of India. Published in 1991, shortly after the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi, it reads a little dated to me.
Some chapters were great - Ram Chander's Story, The Kumbh Mela, Operation Black Thunder & The Deorala Sati were the best, a few others were good, but the purely political essays were less appealing.
Aug 12, 2012 rated it liked it
Did not hold me for long. Tried really hard to finish it but eventually gave up.

Gives good narration of various events. The good part of the book was that it did not go about the usual route of claiming caste, religion etc in India are outdated and in principle bad. Made me question about their relevance and why it could be good.
Niloy Mitra
May 17, 2009 rated it liked it
One of those books which are hard to put down. Each chapter can be thought of as a view into a different world, a set of new characters with their own aspirations and measures of success/failures. A book that got me thinking. Learned a few things about India in 1980s, information which otherwise is a bit hard to track down.
Nov 23, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mark Tully talks about a whole range of Social and political issues in pre liberalised India. His inquiry is non partisan, the sort that we don't see in contemporary main stream journalism. It is hardly a surprise that so many of issues that plague India in 2015 can be clearly understood from the vantage point of Mark Tully's book.
Aug 26, 2014 rated it it was ok
A travel writer's job is to make the reader forget about the writer's presence while digging deeper into the subject's life. This book fails to do that. Tully's omnipresence bothers me - there's too much of him and what he thinks, it doesn't allow the reader to think and draw conclusions for himself.
Ayush Jain
Aug 08, 2010 rated it liked it
I learned from the book that the problems of India are localised to India and they should be solved keeping in mind the social, political structure of this country rather than implementing the ready made solution which have been applied in west in past
Dinesh singh rawat
Nov 11, 2011 rated it really liked it
According to me, one of the most knowledgeable person on India.Book is written in the from of stories of author's experience. As an urban Indian how little we know about my country. Book wrote more than 20 years earlier, but still it is in some sense true about india.
Edwina D'souza
Jun 12, 2016 rated it it was ok
Wanted to read something on India so purchased this one. Subjective but I felt that the stories were dated. One could look at it as time travel but it didn't work for me. Of the 10 essays, I most enjoyed The Kumbh Mela, The Rewriting of the Ramayan and The Deorala Sati.
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Sir William Mark Tully was the Chief of Bureau for the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) in New Delhi for 22 years. Schooled in England, he stayed mostly in India covering all major incidents in South Asia during his tenure. He was made an Officer of The Order of the British Empire in 1985 and was awarded the Padma Shree in 1992, a rare distinction for a non-Indian. He was knighted in the 200 ...more
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