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Archives > 2. How does the political struggle highlight the personal struggles experienced by the characters?

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message 1: by Kristel (new)

Kristel (kristelh) | 3895 comments Mod
Here are some questions about the political struggle that you might consider; Most people seem indifferent or hostile to the Prime Minister and her Emergency policies, but a few characters, like Mrs. Gupta and Nusswan, support her. What does the endorsement of such people indicate about the Prime Minister? Can you compare the Prime Minister and her supporters with other political leaders and parties in today's world?


message 2: by Book (new)

Book Wormy | 1840 comments Mod
This is a tough question, throughout the book it is shown that the Prime minister seized power illegally while the rest of the country suffer because of laws that change and even when they are within the law they cannot escape.

Her supporters seem to be the rich who like her can afford to manipulate justice how they want.


message 3: by Eadie (new)

Eadie (eadieburke) I agree with Book that its the rich who would support the Prime Minister just like in our country the rich are usually members of the Republican Party and the working class or union members are usually members of the Democratic Party.


message 4: by Connie (new)

Connie D | 91 comments This is just a comment about the initial question here: How does the political struggle highlight the personal struggles experienced by the characters?

I think it'd be interesting to go back and think about this as the characters see/hear/get caught up in demonstrations. Most of them, especially Dina, try to stay as far as possible from the political struggles, as if it might endanger them or suck them in. She avoids going out or to areas they may be occurring.

I suspect Dina simply doesn't have time in her own life, struggling to maintain her own independence, to deal with political issues. Her struggle parallels the demonstrators in that way.


message 5: by Pip (new)

Pip | 1343 comments Kristel wrote: "Here are some questions about the political struggle that you might consider; Most people seem indifferent or hostile to the Prime Minister and her Emergency policies, but a few characters, like Mr..."

I thought that the way Mistry distanced the story from the political struggles of the time by never actually naming the Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi, or the location, Mumbai, emphasised the distance that most characters feel they are from the locus of power. Most are so far from being influential players in their country's destiny that they ignore political vicissitudes completely as being beyond any difference that they could make. Those that do support the Prime Minister are those with more of a stake in society. I don't think that things have changed very much since the 1970's. Wherever one is in the world, those who have a bigger stake in society are those who participate. The current U.S. presidential primaries are being watched with disbelief by the rest of the world. How can a first world country support someone who is contradictory, thoughtless and seemingly without principle? At this point, there seem to be a surprisingly large number of presumably intelligent people who do! Sometimes it seems that "democracy is a foreign flower" as a Fijian leader once said about the first coup there.


message 6: by Josh (new)

Josh | 13 comments Yeah, whether you like the ideology or not, it reflects communism/Marxism. In the novel, the poor, powerless proletariat don't care about government, or they resent it. Only the bourgeoisie/upper class appreciate the "emergency" and the renewed discipline from the government.

I wouldn't consider myself a communist or even a socialist, but I think there is a truth that comes through this novel and through history that, "power corrupts." You see a strong fatalism in cultures that have persistently struggled with poverty because of their experiences with things similar to the experiences in this book.


message 7: by Kristel (new)

Kristel (kristelh) | 3895 comments Mod
Good point Pip. Of course, the story was about a people on the fringe, the ones hurt the most. I was happy it was not about the politics so much as about how these people tried to live even with things so awful. The ones that supported her (like the US) just didn't know because they were never touched by the abuses.


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