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Imagining India: The Idea of a Renewed Nation

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Overview

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 ...

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Imagining India: The Idea of a Renewed Nation

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Overview

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 for the young nation.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

The premise of this suave and unabashedly free market overview of the New India-the rising economic powerhouse-is that ideas lead economic and social policy rather than the other way around. It's not a consistently held position, however, as Nilekani, cochairman of the board of directors of Infosys Technologies (a leader in India's burgeoning IT sector), refers in the same breath to a longstanding (postindependence) antipathy to teaching English reversed by its economic advantage in a global market. Theoretical consistency aside, the author makes a bid for a centrist position in the globalization debate. His focus rests on India's particular domestic and international advantages in such areas as population, English proficiency and information technology. But there's little separating his take on India's recent past (hobbled by Nehru-era socialism) or best present course (embracing "globalization," seen as a harmonious and harmonizing amalgam of democracy, equal opportunity and resource access) from such neoliberal champions as Thomas Friedman (who supplies the foreword). Readers inclined to a free market perspective will find Nilekani eminently reasonable, if less than startling; those seeing it as antithetical to an equitable and sustainable future will meet a familiar frustration on nearly every page. (Mar.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Kirkus Reviews
The co-founder and co-chairman of Infosys, one of India's leading computer companies, passionately expounds his position on the nation's developmental issues and possible policy solutions. Nilekani is most insightful in his analysis of the IT revolution spurred by companies like Infosys, which took advantage of the economic liberalization and reforms instituted in 1991 by finance minister Manmohan Singh. The author expresses nationalistic pride at the speed with which Internet community centers and IT kiosks have been set up in rural areas across India, providing previously isolated villagers the ability to check crop prices and get treatment via telemedicine. His description of such other successes as a stable democratic process and a colonial legacy of education in English, the world's language, validate India's potential to catapult itself into the league of developed nations. Regrettably, the book loses focus when Nilekani addresses the multitude of policy issues his homeland must tackle, such as the need for better primary schooling or sustained infrastructure development. He carefully explains each issue in the context of India's history and consults with a grab bag of experts, ranging from the Princeton professor Atul Kohli to "a friend of mine who runs a BPO," whose viewpoints he assumes to be true. This may lead some readers to suspect that Nilekani's proffered solutions are shaped mostly by the random impact of those he had access to. Others may wonder if it's absolutely necessary for India to abandon its socialist traditions, as the author advocates, in order to achieve economic growth. Nilekani also calls for limits on governmental regulation, so as to encourageentrepreneurship and private investment, and for strong political leaders able to overcome sectarian politics. Verbose, ardent study of the steps required to complete the "Indian miracle."Author events in New York, Washington, D.C, San Francisco. Agent: Andrew Wylie/The Wylie Agency
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780143116677
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 2/23/2010
  • Pages: 528
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Nandan M. Nilekani is the co- chairman of the board of directors of Infosys Technologies Limited. Nandan is the recipient of several awards, including the prestigious Joseph Schumpeter prize for innovative services in economy, economic sciences and politics. He was listed as one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time magazine in 2006 and was named Forbes Businessman of the Year in 2007. Nandan received his bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, India, in 1978.

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Table of Contents

Foreword ix

Notes from an Accidental Entrepreneur 1

Part One India Reimagined

Ideas That Have Arrived 31

India, by its People 34

From Rejection to Open Arms: The Entrepreneur in India 57

The Phoenix Tongue: The Rise, Fall and Rise of English 77

From Maneaters to Enablers 95

Home and the World: Our Changing Seasons 119

The Deepening of Our Democracy 140

A Restless Country 164

Part Two All Aboard

Ideas in Progress 169

S is for Schools: The Challenges in India's Classrooms 172

Our Changing Faces: India in the City 195

The Long Roads Home 218

Erasing Lines: Our Emerging Single Market 242

Moving Deadlines 266

Part Three Fighting Words

Ideas in Battle 271

The Sound and the Fury: Our Biggest Fights 274

Jostling for Jobs 297

Institutions of Sand: Our Universities 315

A Fine Balance 334

Part Four Closer Than They Appear

Ideas to Anticipate 341

ICT in India: From Bangalore One to Country One 345

Changing Epidemics: From Hunger to Heart Disease 366

Our Social Insecurities: The Missing Demographic 385

The Forest for the Trees: India's Environment Challenge 404

Power Plays: In Search of Our Energy Solutions 428

The Network Effect 450

Conclusion: The Awakened Country 453

Acknowledgments 465

Notes 471

A Time Line of Key Events 481

Index 495

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 10 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 10 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 2, 2013

    Galaxis

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 2, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Imagining India

    Many businesspeople believe that India¿s national economy will be a dominant international force in the future. India¿s vast resources, untapped human capital and enterprising businesses cast it firmly in the role of global economic powerhouse. Nandan Nilekani, co-founder and co-chairman of Infosys, the corporate services giant, offers an insider¿s view of his home country¿s remarkable progress and ever-present challenges. He pulls no punches in detailing India¿s problems, ranging from political to cultural to economic matters, but in so doing, he paints a revealing portrait of a nation slowly coming to grips with myriad issues. This substantial book is detailed, sometimes too much so for the casual reader, but its wealth of insight and information make reading it a worthwhile endeavor. getAbstract recommends Nilekani¿s honest assessment of India ¿ past, present and future.

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  • Posted October 17, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Broad perspective from a business and technology leader

    I learned quite a bit from this book, as someone outside India and the
    Indian community, and thoroughly enjoyed Nilekani's writing. It's a
    wide-ranging treatise with many big agendas; it covers education,
    infrastructure, environmental challenges, government intervention, and
    the role of historical narrative, among other things. Biggest among
    its agenda--and the one that I wager will generate the most debate--is
    Nilekani's own version of what I'd call a modern combin...more I learned quite a bit from this book, as someone outside India and the
    Indian community, and thoroughly enjoyed Nilekani's writing. It's a
    wide-ranging treatise with many big agendas; it covers education,
    infrastructure, environmental challenges, government intervention, and
    the role of historical narrative, among other things. Biggest among
    its agenda--and the one that I wager will generate the most debate--is
    Nilekani's own version of what I'd call a modern combination of
    neoliberalism and neoprogressivism that seems to be gaining
    ground. The general idea is that governments should take a leading
    role to promote social progress by creating an infrastructure that
    allows individuals to form their own destinies (good education, good
    health care, good physical infrastructure, a light-touch form of
    regulation that ensures quality, and occasional direct welfare
    payments) rather than preserving oases of protection and easily abused
    subsidies for particular interest groups, notably unions, small
    businesses, and disadvantaged castes.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 6, 2009

    Good book for understanding India's current portfolio of problems

    When I came to know about this book I thought finally there is a book which would perhaps make Indians think ( as the title suggests) what their country is potentially capable of becoming. Author mentions in his book a clear and understandable historical background of all the problems which India is currently facing. Problems have been thoroughly analyzed, discussed with experts and have been put in a clear and comprehensible text.However, when it comes to the solutions which would solve these problems, there is so much yet to be put in the book if the title suggests to Imagine India. What are we imagining is still left to be answered I suppose.<BR/>The more apt title would have been Analysing India rather than Imagining India. Here the concern is that India's citizens, planners, politicians, acamedicians and many others who are interested in India's growth know India's problems fairly well, however, they are still not sure how to solve those problems, for that matter , there is no project plan so to say. I would have appreciated this book more if a 'dream' project plan for India had been given stating all problem areas having a clear target date for resolution of each of them, putting resources that would be required to accomplish each project activities. In such a project plan mentioning risks, dependencies and assumptions for each activities should be mentioned with the mitigation plan for each of them. For execution, monitoring of such as project plan for India, there has to be involvement from not only state but also from corporates, citizens and many others. Teams should be formed to execute each activity of the project plan, analyze the budget requirement for each area. Put target dates for each activity of the project plan and make people accountable. To substantiate this, lets say we would like to see literacy rates to be as good as 90% by 2020, then based on this target date, see how many schools, teachers, universities etc would be required based on the population to be targeted. Then see how what amount of money would be required for this, identify teams and start executing the plan. <BR/>When people will know about the India's dream plan and what would we will achieve after executing that plan then there will definetly be something to Imagine about India, otherwise, if we just mention problems, then it is only about Analysing India. I would surely recommend this book to others as this gives summary of all problems. I hope there is a sequel of this book for more concrete solutions mentioning teams, budget and timelines for accomplishing India's dream plan.

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    Posted May 28, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 14, 2009

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    Posted May 14, 2011

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    Posted August 22, 2010

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    Posted June 12, 2009

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    Posted November 27, 2009

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