It is a very big book, about a very big country.
Although it runs to almost 800 pages, it is well worth reading in full.
India is already the seventh largest economy in the world, is growing at 7% a year, and could be the 3rd biggest economy ten years from now.
It is a large exporter of software, and it will surprise many to learn that it is also the largest producer of milk in the world.
Guha’s book shows how India survived as a democracy, and remained united, while authoritarian regimes elsewhere broke up.
Although India obtained its independence peacefully, civil disturbances after partition meant that the new Republic of India had to absorb 8 million refugees from what is now Pakistan. Democracy has taken secure root in India. Voter turnout in the first national election, in the late 1940s, was 46% and it has been increasing ever since.
Initially the Congress party dominated the political scene and pursued a socialist and protectionist economic policy. Since the early 1990’s, that approach has been reversed. Congress is no longer dominant, and political power has been dispersed among numerous parties. This has made decision making more difficult.
Like Ireland in the 1960’s, India in the 1990s, opened itself up for international investment and trade. This has contributed to the rapid economic growth in the country.
Even more rapid growth is possible because, unlike China, India has a youthful population.
It’s economy is still held back by excessive bureaucracy and corruption. If those artificial obstacles can be removed, India can become the driver of growth for the global economy.
Understanding the diversity of India, with its numerous languages, races, and religions, is important to anyone who wants to do business in the county.