What does one say about a book that got a rave review from Amitav Ghosh even before it hit the stands? A book that Ashish Nandy describes as ‘a majestic work on society’s future?’ A book that Aruna Roy, Jean Dreze, Amit Bhaduri, Justice Krishna Iyer and many other stars of the jholawala pantheon have praised in words that go well beyond the call of comradely duty? This reviewer was awe-struck even before opening the pages of this book. Having read it through, she is eager to add her humble name to the list of those who have hailed it as a landmark contribution to public discourse and debate on India’s future. But let me be honest—like all those whose endorsements fill the first few pages, I am a believer. My first reaction to this book is a believer’s triumphant ‘I told you so!’ It is immensely satisfying to see how, once the layers of obfuscation are peeled away, even the official statistics substantiate and validate what so many voices have been warning for many years now—that economic growth in India is creating poverty instead of reducing it; that our chosen model of growth is socially and ecologically disastrous; that our policies are shaped to meet the priorities of international finance and corporate capital rather than by the needs of our citizens; and that very soon, it will be too late to make any course corrections.
September 2012, volume 36, No 9