SBR: Gujarat Files by Rana Ayyub is the result of some brave work. Going undercover with a different identity, a different religion and doing stings operations on some of the top government officials in a state known for its vengeful ways of governance is not a job for the weak of heart. The stories that come out are chilling, even though not surprising for people who are not blind fans of our prime minister, his party, and his associates. What was slightly surprising for me was that she was able to get people into such controversial and intimate conversations with the ostensible objective of making a film on Gujarat (its glory, it seemed implied, and not the dark underbelly that she was really researching and managed to get people to talk about). Unfortunately, the book is not well-edited. A rewriting to tighten of the narrative was required. This vitiates the book’s potential impact. The untranslated Hindi parts of the transcripts can pose a challenge to non-Hindi speakers and hinder their understanding.
To read or not to read: It is not a must-read with any urgency. But do buy it, even if it is just to show a middle finger to the Internet trolls who have been hard at work on Amazon reviews since the moment the book has released.