Interpreting the present

Dipankar Gupta, my erstwhile colleague at the JNU, is one of the country's most visible scholars. His many books have done much to educate us all on what is happening around us. As one of India's foremost thinkers on social and economic issues, in his latest book The Caged Phoenix: Can India Fly? "he takes a critical—and controversial—look at the limits of the Indian success story, knocking down ivory towers and challenging comfortable assumptions in the process.

Through a fine blend of theory and new empirical evidence," Gupta argues "that despite the promises of Independence and liberalization India continues to remain caged in backwardness. Why does the phenomenal growth story not translate into development? Why is the much vaunted human-resource capital not taking India towards excellence? How can deprivation and prosperity live so easily side by side?

Questioning traditional thought, Dipankar Gupta critically examines:

  • how the elite is reluctant to acknowledge that structural impediments, and not cultural factors, deny growth benefits to the majority of one billion plus Indians.
  • how the wealth of a few is intimately tied to the poverty of many.
  • the close link between growth in high technological sectors of the Indian economy on the one side, and sweat shops and rural stagnation on the other.
  • how affluence came to the developed West only when general standards arose across all social classes.

Combining scholarship with an easy, engaging style, Dipankar Gupta enters uncharted territories to question why, despite so much talent, human resource and an open society, India is still waiting to fly."

In our Sociology and Essays sections, in hardcover, 336 pages. Rs 550. ISBN: 9780670082728

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