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INDIA RISING: Fresh Hope, New Fears

By RAVI VELLOOR

In an Asia caught in rapid transition, no country is as fascinating to report on as India. Big, noisy, bulging at the seams, India’s economy and society move much like the traffic on a New Delhi road – states and sections of its people advancing at varying speeds and levels of discipline. For every high horsepower engine on the road, there is the cycle rickshaw and the humanly powered pushcart frustrating those who seek to travel more quickly. Meanwhile, a few intrepid riders do weave ahead, often by breaking the rules of the road or fixing them to their advantage.

But behind its warts and obvious confusion, a pattern is discernible of an India that warrants optimism. This is the India of resilience, of improvisation, a nation of multiple ethnicities in 29 states jelling as one, even as they steadily and confidently embrace the world outside.

INDIA RISING tries to chronicle that India, alongside its convulsions. It is a collection of anecdotes and observations of the significant events that marked the decade of Congress Party rule under Manmohan Singh, culminating in the rise of Narendra Modi. It is built around the access the writer enjoyed with some of the key decision-makers of the time and is targeted at the person who has a general idea of India, and perhaps is curious to know more. The reader is invited to begin anywhere, because the chapters are very nearly self-contained – like the traditional Indian village community that only needed to reach out of its territory for salt and matrimonial alliances.

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