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Rogue Elephant: Harnessing the Power of India's Unruly Democracy [NOOK Book]

Overview

Five years ago, India was an emerging world power being courted by the world's most powerful political and business leaders, an upbeat story of unparalleled economic growth. Since then, it has failed to account for the human capital at the heart of its effort to modernize: more than one billion people clamoring for what has become known as the "Indian Dream"–an education, a career, and an opportunity to pull one's family out of poverty and into prosperity. Today, India is suffering an immense crisis of ...
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Rogue Elephant: Harnessing the Power of India's Unruly Democracy

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Overview

Five years ago, India was an emerging world power being courted by the world's most powerful political and business leaders, an upbeat story of unparalleled economic growth. Since then, it has failed to account for the human capital at the heart of its effort to modernize: more than one billion people clamoring for what has become known as the "Indian Dream"–an education, a career, and an opportunity to pull one's family out of poverty and into prosperity. Today, India is suffering an immense crisis of confidence–crippling political corruption, politicians mired in the status quo, economic inequality, brutal violence against women, and rampant social injustice.

Simon Denyer, former Indian bureau chief for the Washington Post, perceptively captures India at this crucial tilting point in its history–from the Nehru-Gandhi family dynasty that has ruled the country for most of its post-independence years, to flawed heroes such as news anchor Arnab Goswami and anticorruption crusader Arvind Kejwiral, to, most compelling, ordinary people fighting daily against corruption and the system. They, Denyer convincingly shows, are harnessing the force of the world's largest democracy to positive effect, demanding transparency and accountability as never before. The battle between the deep-rooted system of graft and patronage and the forces demanding change will have huge global significance, and Denyer's insight makes Rogue Elephant a vital contribution to the international conversation about India's present and future.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
07/01/2014
The year 2004 saw India poised for economic lift off. A decade on, the Indian economy appears grounded—still burdened by endemic corruption, lawlessness, parliamentary dysfunction, and a ravenous political elite. Denyer (China bureau chief, Washington Post) covered India during that time and has written a riveting account not just cataloging the last decade's tribulations but also optimistic signs that ordinary citizens throughout the country are finding their voices, demanding change, and being heard. Each chapter is organized around a distinct theme that lays bare the cruel conditions of daily life: women sexually assaulted, farmers battling against land seizures, citizens paying bribes to conduct everyday business, and villagers in remote regions abused by the military. Fortunately, Denyer leavens the horrors with hope as he describes how civil society is using the latest technologies, a 24/7 media environment, and a stringent right-to-information law to push back against these conditions. VERDICT While it remains to be seen if the May 2014 elections are a watershed event that changes India's economically diverse society for the better, this book is important for scholars of Indian history and culture as well as general readers seeking understanding of recent events in that country.—Chris Sauder, Round Rock P.L., TX
Publishers Weekly
03/17/2014
In this revealing panorama of Indian politics, Denyer, former Washington Post India bureau chief and current China bureau chief, presents a wide-ranging indictment of the country’s deep-seated problems: a corrupt, unaccountable, often criminal political class (being charged with violent felonies is no bar to Parliament); a government bent on extracting bribes rather than building infrastructure; a culture of lawlessness that turns a blind eye to rape and child-trafficking; brutal counterinsurgencies; rigid economic policies that stifle growth; terrible schools that produce unemployable graduates; vicious religious strife; and a callous indifference to the misery of the poor. Denyer explores these issues through well-told stories of activists, officials, crusading lawyers, and grandstanding television journalists who are fighting to expose and correct abuses, sometimes at considerable peril. (He includes more jaundiced profiles of political leaders, portraying Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as the well-intentioned but hapless puppet of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty.) The pervasive misrule that Denyer highlights is outrageous, but he balances it with hopeful signs that India’s democracy can respond to popular pressure. Avoiding clichéd notions of India as either South Asian super-tiger or eternal basketcase, Denyer’s sharp-eyed reportage and analysis convey both the size of India’s problems and the strength of efforts to remedy them. Agent: Patrick Walsh, Conville & Walsh Literary Agency (U.K.) (June)
From the Publisher
"[A] revealing panorama of Indian politics…Avoiding clichéd notions of India as either South Asian super-tiger or eternal basketcase, Denyer’s sharp-eyed reportage and analysis convey both the size of India’s problems and the strength of efforts to remedy them." –Publishers Weekly "Forthright, fair and frank reporting." –Kirkus "[A]n accurate view...Denyer has reported well out of India." –Washington Post "A riveting account not just cataloging the last decade’s tribulations but also optimistic signs that ordinary citizens throughout the country are finding their voices, demanding change, and being heard...this book is important for scholars of Indian history and culture as well as general readers seeking understanding of recent events in that country." –Library Journal "Mr. Denyer has doggedly covered many of the stories that have dominated India's headlines in recent years, and his thorough reporting is on display here." –Wall Street Journal "Denyer offers a careful and thorough examination... he gives a rich and varied portrait of India...Rogue Elephant’s take on Indian democracy is varied, complex, and fiercely independent, characterized by a dogged refusal to give in to common generalizations or the readymade interpretations of India’s political parties. This approach allows Denyer to create an original and illuminating portrait." –Foreign Policy
Kirkus Reviews
2014-05-17
An examination of what may be salvaged from the recent squandering of India's "golden era."Former Indian bureau chief for the Washington Post, now based in China, Denyer watched with dismay as the great promise of Indian economic growth unleashed in 1991 derailed due to entrenched obstacles that have continually hindered the country. Corruption, patriarchal values that tolerate the abuse of women, poverty and low education, feeble infrastructure and social services, dynastic politics, and a burgeoning population that will overtake China's in 2025 and leave a dearth of jobs for young people: Denyer addresses these intractable issues in turn, offering at the same time a glimmer of hope that India's "insanely complex democracy" might still be able to prevail. Accountability is the key, and the vast majority of Indians, while extremely poor, do vote. From their ranks, some crusading new leaders have emerged—e.g., activists spearheading the landmark Right to Information Act, which helped expose the corruption behind Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's administration, and the small farmers who took on the laws governing land rights. The shabby handling of the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi in 2010 and Singh's silence as his colleagues "filled their pockets" exposed India again to the kind of global censure and ridicule it had hoped to banish forever. Yet, promisingly, the scandals emboldened a public outcry, leading to the dogged exposure of Singh's operations by Comptroller and Auditor Vinod Rai, the galvanizing of the India Against Corruption movement led by the Gandhian figure Anna Hazare, the huge popularity of Arnab Goswami's hard-hitting TV journalism, the support of whistle-blowers within the bureaucracy and massive protests against government mishandling of rape cases. Denyer even takes on scion Rahul Gandhi and the "culture of sycophancy" that has surrounded him.Forthright, fair and frank reporting.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781620406090
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
  • Publication date: 6/24/2014
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 448
  • Sales rank: 286,597
  • File size: 801 KB

Meet the Author

Simon Denyer was the India bureau chief for the Washington Post. Previously, he has been the Washington bureau chief for Reuters, he ran the Reuters bureau in India, and he spent two years immediately after 9/11 doing the same thing in Pakistan and Afghanistan. He is editor of Foreign Correspondent: Fifty Years of Reporting South Asia, an anthology of writing about the subcontinent. He has made frequent TV appearances in the United States and India, and also worked as for Reuters Television as an anchor and correspondent. He spent more than four years covering East Africa for Reuters out of Nairobi, and has also worked in New York, London, and Paris. He currently lives in China as the China bureau chief for the Washington Post.
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