By Bad Seed
Since the early 1990s, India has witnessed great social, political and cultural change. As the worlds largest democracy, its most diverse nation and one of its fastest growing economies, India is now, sixty years after Independence, universally regarded as an emerging superpower. In this sweeping and comprehensive book, one the countrys finest and most dynamic minds examines the central ideas that have shaped modern India, and offers an original perspective on our past, present and future.
Infosys co-founder Nandan Nilekani, who has been a key player in Indias growth story and was chosen by Time magazine as one of the hundred most influential people in the world, points out that the countrys future rests on more than simply economic growth; it also depends on reform and innovation in all sectors of public life. Looking closely at our recent history, he examines the ideas and attitudes that have evolved with the times and contributed to our progress, as also those that keep us shackled to old, unproductive and fundamentally undemocratic ways. He discusses how, despite good intentions and astonishing idealism, our early socialist policies stifled growth and weakened our democracy; how, contrary to received wisdom, Indias large and overwhelmingly young population has now become our greatest strength; how information technology is revolutionizing not just business but also governance in the everyday life of a vast majority of Indians; and how rapid urbanization is transforming both our society and our politics.
He also gets to the heart of charged debates about caste politics, labour reform, infrastructure, higher education, the English language in India and the role of the state in a globalized world where the wealth of big corporations exceeds that of some nations. And as he does this, he asks the key questions of the future: how will India as a global power avoid the mistakes of earlier development models? Will further access to the open market continue to stimulate such extraordinary growth? And how will this growth affect and be shaped by the countrys young people?
India is in the middle of a huge transformational process, Nilekani argues, and only a safety net of ideas—from genuinely inclusive democracy to social security, from public health to sustainable energy—can transcend political agendas and safeguard the countrys future.