Thursday, January 21, 2010

India Unbound

Dense Delhi fog followed me to Gwalior, Jhansi, Orchha--everywhere it seems, even France. I spent most of the first week of the new year in and out of airports and railway stations.
But this post is not about the long journey back to Rennes. India Unbound, Gurucharan Das' personal account of the socio-economic history of post-independence India is a compelling read. The story of a Punjabi family with roots on the other side of the Radcliffe divide and their middle class aspirations annotate discussions on economic policy. What could be dry chapters on Nehru, Shastri and the never-ending Gandhi line are brought to life with vignettes that have a "I was there" ring of authenticity.
It is this story telling that makes this book different from others. It is as easy to read as a well-researched work of fiction in the style of Amitav Ghosh.