Shimla/New Delhi : Curiosity equals book sales. That equation seems to be at work with Jaswant Singh’s “Jinnah: India – Partition – Independence” zooming to the top of the bestseller list as people dig into their pockets to find out why the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) expelled its veteran leader.
The queues started soon after the party president Rajnath Singh, who is in Shimla with top leaders of the party for a three-day brainstorming session, announced the expulsion Wednesday morning.
“Yesterday, I issued a statement about the BJP dissociating itself from Jaswant Singh’s views. The party discussed the matter at the chintan baithak and it was decided to expel him,” Rajnath Singh announced, two days after the book’s release in New Delhi that was boycotted by the party.
With that, book sales soared.
“Jaswant Singh’s book is selling like hot cakes in Shimla. I sold more than 20 books on a single day (Wednesday),” said Rajender Aggarwal of Minerva Book Depot, a book store on The Mall in the Himachal Pradesh capital Shimla.
“I have never seen such a response to any author in about 30 years of being in the book selling business,” he said.
Ashok Kumar Kinger of Asia Book Depot received his first consignment Tuesday and has already ordered for more stocks.
“We received 10 books from a distributor Tuesday. So far, we have already sold six books. As the demand is increasing, we have ordered additional stocks.”
It was pretty much the same in Delhi too.
Ramakant Sahu of Jain Book Depot in the heart Cannaught Place said that there had been a sharp increase in the demand for the book since its launch.
“The demand has been increasing and in last four days we have sold more then 150 copies,” Sahu told IANS.
“The sale of the book is good; in fact, it is better then any other book at the moment,” added Suman of the Bahri Sons Book Depot in Khan Market.
At Rs.695, it is not cheap either.
“My basic purpose of buying this book is just to know what compelled the BJP to take the severe action against its senior party leader and that too just two days after the release of the book,” said Shveta Bhandari.
“I have spent Rs.695 just to quench my curiosity.”
“Shocked by the assertions (of Jaswant Singh after his expulsion) unfolding on television, I was disturbed. So, I purchased the book to know the exact contents,” said another buyer Vikrant Singh.
Most bookshops have displayed the book prominently in the belief that the BJP versus Jaswant Singh conflict will certainly attract customers.
Jaswant Singh has said Jinnah was “demonised” in India, while it was actually India’s first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru and first home minister Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel whose belief in a centralised polity had led to the partition of the subcontinent.
Jaswant Singh has also strongly contested the popular Indian view that Jinnah was the villain of the 1947 partition or the man principally responsible for it.
“I think we have misunderstood him because we needed to create a demon… We needed a demon because in the 20th century the most telling event in the subcontinent was the partition of the country,” he said in an interview to a TV channel.