“Thank you, KPA Mumbai and Mumbaikers, for releasing my latest book, Does India need a dictator, during your vibrant cultural function, Harud, at Rangsharda, Bandra (West) Mumbai, on 8 September 2018. I wish to express my gratitude to Dr Sanjay Dhar (President KPA), Mr SP Kachru (Past President KPA), Mr Chand Raina (Editor, Milchar) and to all members of the management committee and the Board of Trustees of KPA Mumbai. Well done to you all for organising such an educational and entertaining event! You are truly helping the Kashmiri Pandit community in keeping its culture, traditions and the history alive. Thank you, again!
The title of my book may be construed to be controversial and many Indians may feel offended and, therefore, potentially react. However, the contents of the book – as driven and written by my heart – are aimed for the survival and sustainability of Mother India. I urge its readers to read it by heart, and without intellectual or emotional ego. Time is of the essence, as far India is concerned. I hope the message conveyed by the book is received earnestly by the readers and the relevant stakeholders in India, as intended. I also pray the important stakeholders shed off their characteristic ‘ostrich attitude’ before it is too late to turn the things around.
During my speech at the book launch in Mumbai – when I was speaking about the constantly dwindling liveability in the cities of the country and, therefore, a dire need to urgently address the issue for the sake of the current youth and all future generations (to whom the country belongs) – a gentleman sitting in the second row tried to be (annoyingly but unsurprisingly) disruptive. As decorum would have required of me, I exercised the necessary restraint, repeatedly urging him to read the book and pressed on gently (and firmly); otherwise, it would have been another Arnab Goswami show. I do thank this gentleman for expressing his views; after all, he had the democratic right to express himself. However, in civilised communities, everything has a time and place; it would have been much more helpful if he would have tolerated me for a few more minutes and waited for me to complete my speech first. I also thank those ladies in the audience, also sitting in the second row, heard murmuring, ‘NRI aaya hai hum ko sumjaane ke liye’, for their reaction!
Wise people say it takes just five (5) percent people to bring about a positive change. Thankfully, I had more than 95 percent audience (more than 400 people) paying attention to what I was saying. Many of them have subsequently sent me personal messages of their support. I sincerely thank all of them. I see a ray of hope for a possible positive change in the country; not all may be lost yet!
Earlier on 2 Sept 2018, on the auspicious occasion of Shri Krishan Janamashtami, Mr BB Bhat, the President of Jaeshta Devi Shrine in Srinagar (Kashmir) and the revered scholar, Pandit Onkar Nath Shastri ji, blessed and released the book in an inaugural (spiritual) book launch ceremony at the shrine. My deep gratitude and hand-folded thanks to the both respected members of our community.
I thank my wife, Dr Rekha Koul, for her support during the writing phase of the book and travelling all the way from Perth, Australia, to attend the book launch events.
My sincere thanks to Vitasta Publishing Pvt Ltd, my publisher, for bringing this book to the people in India and abroad. In particular, I wish to express my thanks to Mrs Renu Kaul Verma, the Managing Director of Vitasta, and Mrs Veena Batra, my editor, for their respective roles in the making of the book.
I thank Col BB Razdan, for travelling all the way from Chandigarh, and my cousin, Mr Ashwani Kaul, for travelling from Pune, to attend the book launch event at Mumbai.
Lastly, I remain ever thankful to Mr Rakesh Misri, Ms Ella Fitriani and Dr Farzad Beyghi for their continued support and for playing their respective roles in my writing journey thus far.” Bill K Koul