India In Slow Motion

Mark Tully has been reporting for BBC in India for more than 20 years. He’s been in the thick of everything that has shaped our nation — the Emergency, Indira’s and Rajiv’s assassinations, the droughts, the floods, the IT wave and the liberalization. Mark Tully and Gillian Wright travelled extensively around India talking to people of all kinds about India’s past and present problems for their book India In Slow Motion.

The book is broken into sections, each dealing with a problem facing our country. Some of the subjects of the book are Kashmir, water, farmer suicides, child labour and religion. The travels to far-off places, the interviews with rustic people are delightful and eye opening. In every single aspect, the government and bureaucracy turn out to be impediments. Also, it seems like the state governments have little autonomy, having to depend on the Center for everything. This stands out clearly in the progressive states for whom the Center has just become a roadblock. And even in this bleak landscape, there are people with the spirit to make change. The takeaway for me from the book was the extensive historical origins of each problem that the authors detail. Tully does satirical takes on everything and everyone. For Indians, it might be a bit depressing to go through the book in a single read. I read it over several nights, this was easy since it is broken into independent sections. This is a good thoughtful read.

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