Book Review: For Reasons of State

India is a young nation. Three fourths of us probably have no recollection of the ravages of the Emergency period from January 1975 to March 1977. This book was first published in 1977, just after the national elections, called by Prime Minister Indira Gandhi – in a bout of self-delusion as a referendum on the […]

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Book Review: Paying the price for aid

Three themes undergird the author’s exhaustive narrative of the politics around foreign aid in India between 1950 and 1975, during the early years of the Cold War — the people who made key decisions; the domestic context and, finally, the geopolitical incentives that shaped donor responses. The deal makers Indian officials come across as being surprisingly […]

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Bimal Jalan reflects

  Bimal Jalan exercises the writer’s privilege to box his reflections between three inflection points. The first is 1980, ostensibly because 1977-79 was the first time the Congress lost power at the Centre. The second is 2000, being the start of a new millennium. And 2014 is the bookend when the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National […]

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Well begun is half done

BOOK REVIEW India Transformed 25 years of Economic Reforms Rakesh Mohan – edited  Penguin Viking  670 pages; Rs 999   Curating 31 essays into a story on India’s economic reforms can be a giant yawn. But Rakesh Mohan, a videshi economist and a veteran of four major government committee reports, is up to the challenge.  THE PLUMBING WHICH […]

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The Parsi who abducted Jinnah

BOOK REVIEW : Reddy, Sheela. Mr and Mrs Jinnah: The Marriage that Shook India Penguin Random House India, 2017. 464 pp. Sheela Reddy has a winner in this deftly crafted and diligently researched work on the life and times of Rattanbai Petit Jinnah. But this is not a racy read to be completed on the flight from […]

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India’s pressured public institutions

BOOK REVIEW Rethinking Public Institutions in India Devesh Kapur, Pratap Bhanu Mehta, Milan Vaishnav (Eds) Oxford University Press 548 pages; Rs 995 Public institutional reform has a stale air about it. There are plenty of options but little action. The sombre packaging of this book adds to this gloom. Possibly, the “monkish”, value-for-money branding is […]

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