Imagining India: The Idea of a Renewed Nation

  • ISBN13: 9780143116677
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Product Description
A visionary look at the evolution and future of India

In this momentous book, Nandan Nilekani traces the central ideas that shaped India’s past and present and asks the key question of the future: How will India as a global power avoid the mistakes of earlier development models? As a co-founder of Infosys, a global leader in information technology, Nilekani has actively participated in the company’s rise during the past twenty-seven years. In Imagining India, he uses his global experience and understanding to discuss the future of India and its role as a global citizen and emerging economic giant. Nilekani engages with India’s particular obstacles and opportunities, charting a new way forward f… More >>

Imagining India: The Idea of a Renewed Nation

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5 Responses to Imagining India: The Idea of a Renewed Nation

  1. After attending last night’s (book launch) lecture at MIT by Mr.Nilekani, anyone who is interested in India’s true development can say with confidence that this book is going to be totally uninspiring. The entrepreneur in him has spoken clearly, as he sees Indian population as human capital, which could be used to create more wealth. But he does not talk about creating new opportunities to distribute that wealth among the masses. Such top-down analysis of India cannot begin to provide an insight into the real Indian condition.
    Rating: 1 / 5

  2. I haven’t read the book but I’ve attended his lecture at MIT and he has spoken briefly about his ideas and what he’s put into the book. I am not an avid reader, nor do I delve much into economics and/or commerce.

    There always have been questions regarding future of India, its position in the global market, ways to improve it et al. Most seasoned politicians and even learned people had cliched answers for most of them — most of which are general and to most extent sound patriotic and shallow. However, what I heard from Nandan felt quite optimistic and realistic at the same time. They were calculated, well studied and more than a bible to follow these were some core ideas that made sense.

    I therefore think the book and the ideas he presents should be impressive.
    Rating: 5 / 5

  3. The book illustrate the key challenges dealt in the past, and a path to current-future challenges in a very simplistic manner. Much of the information is researched through various sources and it brings authenticity and clarity of the information.

    Nandan explified the key events and milestones in India’s growth very diligently. A must read book for anyone who is keen to know about India’s early growth pains and the continuous challenges to be a leader in the 21st century. Nandan, Job well done.
    Rating: 5 / 5

  4. In 2007, Ramachandra Guha wrote India After Gandhi: The History of the World’s Largest Democracy. In 750 pages, he summarized Indian history which, in Guha’s words, “is so rich and complex and yet so imperfectly documented and understood”. While Guha’s work gave this world the most comprehensive account of India’s social and political history ever written, it left a gap in my mind about the economic and policy context that has shaped our country in the same timeline. As an entrepreneur, this gap was cause for much trouble until it was filled quite unexpectedly and pleasantly by Nandan Nilekani’s Imagining India. It came as no surprise later, that “the book really began on a wintry evening in Coonoor… in December 2006. Ramachandra Guha, Rohini and I (Nandan Nilekani) were having coffee”. Nilekani acknowledges Guha as one of his mentors on this book. In the appendix, the book publishes a timeline of key events starting with the East India Company overthrowing the Newab of Bengal in 1757 through both money and military, to the swapping of the Left with UP’s Samajwadi Party by UPA in the wake of the Indo-US nuclear deal in 2008. Nilekani’s focus on detail and Indian history sets this book apart from any biography, autobiography or big picture book written by an Indian entrepreneur or bureaucrat painting a big, hairy, audacious vision of tomorrow’s India.

    Imagining India is not meant to be a history of relevant facts, however. It is Nilekani’s manifesto for reform in India, grounded in the history of relevant facts. Nilekani consistently stakes his claims about important policy matters; such as shedding of our socialist hangover & populist rhetorics, reducing government control over the economy, en-cashing the “demographic dividend” by empowering the unique human capital and entrepreneurship advantage of India, working towards a “single market” erasing the various lines of division thus leading to growth in both domestic and global markets, improving urban infrastructure without frowning upon migration from rural areas, and providing equal opportunity to Indians through a welfare system that brings energy, health, education, pension and environment preservation to the poor. Like any manifesto, it is open to debate and invites you to engage and act, in support or opposition. Nilekani’s dedication to public policy and social responsibility is rare amongst Indian businessmen of his stature, and his current position seems unimpeachable and beyond any hidden agenda to further private financial gain.

    Nilekani’s vision seems well grounded in the realities of India’s past and present, while being admittedly optimistic about the challenges at hand. At several places in the book, he lays out all that is broken and broken big, yet impels hope by citing relatively small but telling successes in the right direction. It is hard not to be cynical about the magnitude of reform that Nilekani is suggesting. It is harder to not be cynical about the pace at which these reforms will induce the desired results, even if they somehow become a reality. However, it is hardest to not be hopeful about this change knowing that Nilekani is dedicating his life to this and leading by example. Stranger things have known to happen in Indian history, against all odds and precedence.

    The author is not sitting in an armchair after making his billions, neither is he preaching a solution that he does not practice himself, nor is he standing on a pedestal assuming higher ground. Imagining India, as a manifesto for reform, has already driven results since being published in 2008. In the book, Nilekani describes a unique identity program and use of technology in governance as two key steps in implementing the reforms he recommends. In mid-2009, he was appointed Chairman of the Unique Identification Authority of India by the Prime Minister. In early-2010, he was appointed Chairman of Technology Advisory Group for Unique Projects by the Finance Minister. Although not successes in themselves, these are significant wins given the pace at which the Indian Government moves. One only hopes that these programs deliver even 1/10th of their promise in this decade.

    The one reason to read this book is to understand how Nandan Nilekani is planning to address some of the country’s largest issues with the help of UIDAI and TAGUP. The one reason to own this book to have a single point reference for the relevant economic history of India.
    Rating: 5 / 5

  5. mrc says:

    I hope all Indian Parliament members(MPs) and other politicians in India will read this book.
    Rating: 5 / 5

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