From farmer protests to the CAA, India’s Covid response and the challenges of the second wave, India’s skirmishes with China to the Balakot strike, “The Midway Battle” (Bloomsbury) by Gautam Chintamani takes a broad look at the challenges and triumphs of the Narendra Modi-led government in its second term thus far.
In 2019, the BJP came into power once again on the back of one of the most significant electoral mandates in recent years. Since then, the government has seen a tumultuous few years as it has implemented far-reaching legislative changes, including the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, triple talaq, the Citizenship (Amendment) Act as well as farming laws. These laws, when implemented, caused widespread protests and upheaval across the country.
While the country grappled with internal strife, it also faced challenges from its neighbours in the form of one of the most intense military stand-offs in decades after an unprovoked attack by China’s People’s Liberation Army at Galwan as well as a global pandemic. While the Modi government took swift steps to limit the spread of the pandemic in 2020, the second wave of Covid-19 in early 2021 hit the country hard, claiming thousands of lives.
Bringing a well-researched and nuanced understanding to Modi’s second term, “The Midway Battle” sheds light on the socio-political issues facing India as it continues its struggle against enemies both known and unknown and puts into in perspective what lies ahead for the world’s biggest democracy.
Gautam Chintamani is a film historian and author whose books include the bestselling “Dark Star: The Loneliness of Being Rajesh Khanna” (2014), “The Film That Revived Hindi Cinema” (2016), “Pink: The Inside Story” (2017) and, most recently, “Rajneeti: A Biography of Rajnath Singh” (2019). His writing has featured in publications across the world and he has also contributed original essays to the British Film Institute. He was on the National Film Awards jury for Best Writing on Cinema in 2016.
Gautam is the great-grandson of literarian Sir C.Y. Chintamani and the grandchild of Telugu poet laureate Arudra and noted feminist writer K. Ramalakshmi. He and his wife, Amrita, along with their dog, Buddy, live in Gurugram and in the hills of Himachal.