Dreamers by Snigdha Poonam

#Book Review
Non-fiction | Aspirational | Political | Society |
Rating: ****

Dreamers: How Young Indians Are Changing the World is a non-fictional book that documents the aspirational dreams and challenges of the youth of India from rural villages. Snigdha Poonam, an Indian journalist, gives us a glimpse of what it feels like to be in the shoes of these young dreamers. Some of the main characters mentioned in the book include – Vinay Singhal (CEO of Wittyfeed), Richa Singh (former and first woman president of Allahabad University Students’ Union), Moin Khan (the English coach), Pankaj Prasad (the Jack of all trades), and Mohammad Azhar aka Azhar Khan (the struggling model). This book covers their successes, frustration, and disappointments. The dreams of these millennials are not ordinary, one wants to become a revolutionary politician to change the country, another wants to become a famous Bollywood star in the glamor industry, and another wishes to climb the success ladder to such an extent that his future goal is to rule on Mars.

Success is often determined by money and power to prove to themselves, their parents, extended family, and mohalla (society) their achievements. However, the sad plight of these millennials is that it is almost impossible for all to make their dreams come true. On one end, some young dreamers are not just making their life better but also aiming to improve society. On the other end, are dreamers who are scamming people by selling them fake dreams and hopes so as to make quick money.

There are also dreamers whose jobs are to harm people in the name of religion, and politics, and to spread hatred so they can get recognition and experience the much-needed power they crave. ABVP, Gau Rakshaks (Cow Protection), and RSS parties give these young dreamers a taste of that power. It’s like a never-ending loop of treachery, if one wins then someone needs to lose. Can you blame them for choosing these seedha and tedha paths (right and wrong) ? They are trying to accomplish their dreams, be it by any means, hook or crook; reaching for a power that can make them feel superior.

India is a country with a population of over 1.3 billion consisting of more than 40% young adults. These young adults need to face relentless competition at every step of their life – to excel, to be better than the rest, and nothing less than the best to succeed in life. What else can they do, there are more people in this country than jobs, resulting in a cutthroat race toward success.

Is it possible for all their dreams to come true? No. Should they stop dreaming? No. But you know what’s great about living in India? The country never stops selling hope and Indians never stop dreaming. What keeps us going is the eternal hope to get noticed and finally make it to the top. It’s the long and patient wait for the stroke of luck to strike at any moment. Till then our young dreamers with their never give up attitude will continue working hard towards achieving their goals. Now, let it please be by always choosing the right path and not a crooked shortcut towards success.

Snigdha Poonam has well-captured the lives and stories of the youth in her book, Dreamers. Her writing style is more like a long form investigative article that is honest, knowledgeable, and it clearly talks about the facts of rural India. Her commentary is rare but insightful. I recommend you read this book if you want to get a feel of the anger, aspirations, and disappointments of the invisible youth of India.

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