This epic story of the political and religious contradictions of modern India led me on a thought-provoking and uncomfortable journey. Daunted at first by the sheer size of the book, vivid descriptions of fragrant spices and perfumed artars soon absorbed me into the culture of bustling Chandni Chowk. Powerful images and sporadic scenes of graphic violence and sex capture the essence of a novel which stayed with me long after the final page.
'Chandni Chowk is not an ordinary constituency,' declares Harilal Gupta. 'Where else in the world will you find a street inhabited by all four religions? Gaurishankar Temple, Fatehpuri Masjid, Gurudwara Sisganj and the Baptist Church! When I campaigned, I had to fold my hands in a namaste, then switch to an aadaab, then rush to say, 'Sat sri akaal,' and then ....' Here he pauses, uncertain how a Christian might be greeted, but recovers quickly. 'Religious diversity is what makes Chandni Chowk the greatest parliamentary constiuency in India.'