‘No Strings Attached’ by Bhaskar Parichha is a compendium of Odisha’s politics, political players and social leaders from varied fields and of trends in the state’s narratives, primarily touching the last twenty years. The book contains all the published writings of Parichha spanning the period, events and the state of affairs.
The emergence of Naveen Patnaik from perceived ‘ingénue’ or a novice to an unparalleled supremo of Odisha has baffled and intrigued the author. He is almost stalking him in this book, trying to decipher Naveen Patnaik, the phenomenon. He adds value to the national obsession of unravelling Naveen Patnaik and his times.
‘No Strings Attached’ is a worthy anthology, published by Bhubaneswar-based Dhauli Books, of research and thoughts without getting carried away. The author has mainstreamed the grassroots, activist genre of politics of Harish Buxipatra, the uniqueness of classical vocalist Raghunath Panigrahi and other social leaders of Odisha because of his love for his home state.
But he is not infatuated. This balance is the striking feature of the book. The writer is not overwhelmed by the rise and rise of Naveen Patnaik, nor is he dismissive about Odisha’s strides in the last two decades, under the invincible (national nonpareil) Naveen’s regime.
‘No Strings Attached’ is not confined to only personalities. It has disquisitions covering trends in Odisha governance, the role of policymakers and their impact on the life of people. Odisha, due to various reasons is addicted to conversations in politics in day-to-day life. Hence this anthology of thoughts is a remarkable, much-awaited “collector’s book”. Almost a reference volume, the book is a good balance between presentation and analysis.
Parichha, true to Odia proclivity is not imposing in his views nor is he apologetic. His is a roundtable discussion backed by facts and calendar but not an overly number or data-oriented.
The book’s title is pertinent and so is its cover page. Unruffled, the beautiful colourful umbrella stands still on the breezy shores. The book is also stoic. There are separate parts in the content of the book and in each part, he takes up an anchor chapter in an ostensibly ‘classical school’ of journalistic fashion – reporting without being judgemental. My extra favourites are: ‘Naveen the Arrival’, ‘Political Aloofness’, ‘Low growth, Siding Economy’ and ‘Is Odisha a litigant state?’
I couldn’t part-read the book and completed it – from one end to the other, in one go, uninterrupted. Commentaries on life and times of Odisha have come off age.
‘No String Attached’ is for keeps.