Saturday, February 18, 2012

Gang leader of the day - book review

While I was reading freaknomics the chapter 3 on,  "Why Do Drug Dealers Still Live With Their Moms?"", was the most intriguing to me . It referred to a research work done by Sudhir Ventaketesh on crack dealers. This name drew even more curiosity since his name sounded like a Tamil name. Then when I read that he has documented his 7 years of life with the underworld I badly wanted to read the book.

So finally I laid my hand on "Gang leader for a day". The book lived up to the expectation. I am sure if I had read the book 10 years back, I would have become a sociologist for sure. Couldn't have been more intimate, interesting and for some weird reason even inspiring, Its one of those books which is a cross between a biography ( JT thought it was his biography, but I thought it was Sudhir's biography), a novel and an academic work. Some of the pages reminded me of the movie Nayagan and another all time classic "God father". But then whenever I remember that this is his own story and not celluloid stuff, it gave me goose bumps.

While reading this I was thinking that how we lack insights in to our own complex social issues and we rely on statisticians who provides us with indexes derived from theory and politicians who are on their own agendas to tell us what the masses at grass root level are concerned about. Unfortunately they are far fetched from truth. Seriously we need Sociologists of this type, who break from the norms and live their research.

I maintain my reading list at

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