Imagining India: The Idea of a Renewed Nation

Author: Nandan Nilekani
Publisher: Penguin Press HC, The
Released: 2009

Editorial Reviews:
From Publishers Weekly
The premise of this suave and unabashedly free market overview of the New India—the rising economic powerhouse—is that ideas lead economic and social policy rather than the other way around. It's not a consistently held position, however, as Nilekani, cochairman of the board of directors of Infosys Technologies (a leader in India's burgeoning IT sector), refers in the same breath to a longstanding (postindependence) antipathy to teaching English reversed by its economic advantage in a global market. Theoretical consistency aside, the author makes a bid for a centrist position in the globalization debate. His focus rests on India's particular domestic and international advantages in such areas as population, English proficiency and information technology. But there's little separating his take on India's recent past (hobbled by Nehru-era socialism) or best present course (embracing globalization, seen as a harmonious and harmonizing amalgam of democracy, equal opportunity and resource access) from such neoliberal champions as Thomas Friedman (who supplies the foreword). Readers inclined to a free market perspective will find Nilekani eminently reasonable, if less than startling; those seeing it as antithetical to an equitable and sustainable future will meet a familiar frustration on nearly every page. (Mar.)
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Product Description:
A visionary look at the evolution and future of India by a preeminent business leader

India’s recent economic boom—similar in scope to that of the United States during the early 1990s or Europe’s during the 1970s—has triggered tremendous social, political, and cultural change. The result is a country that, while managing incredible economic growth, has also begun to fully inhabit its role on the world political stage. In this far-ranging look at the central ideas that have shaped this young nation, Infosys cofounder Nandan Nilekani offers a definitive and original interpretation of the country’s past, present, and future.

India’s future rests on more than simply economic growth; it also depends on reform and innovation in all sectors of public life. Imagining India traces the efforts of the country’s past and present leaders as they work to develop new frameworks that suit India’s specific characteristics and challenges. Imagining India charts the ideas that are crucial to India’s current infrastructure revolution and quest for universal literacy, urbanization, and unification; maps the ideological battlegrounds of caste, higher education, and labor reform; and argues that only a safety net of ideas—from social security to public health to the environment—can transcend political agendas and safeguard India’s economic future.

As a cofounder of Infosys, a global leader in information technology, Nandan Nilekani has actively participated in the company’s rise in the last fifteen years. In Imagining India, he uses the global experience and understanding he has gained at Infosys as a springboard from which to discuss the future of India and its role as a global citizen and emerging economic giant.

A fascinating window into the future of India, Imagining India engages with the central ideas and challenges that face the country—from within and as a part of the global economy—and charts a new way forward for a nation that has proved itself to be young, impatient, and vitally awake.

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