FOREIGN AFFAIRS MAGAZINE, July/August 2009
The Prospects of a Country on the Rise
Nandan Nilekani has produced one of the best and most thought-provoking books on India in years.
EDWARD LUCE is Washington Bureau Chief of the Financial Times and the author of In Spite of the Gods: The Strange Rise of Modern India.
"Businessmen, after all, do not usually make good public intellectuals," writes Nandan Nilekani early in his book, as he recalls discussing with a friend whether to put finger to keyboard. A few pages later, he describes himself as an "avid amateur" when it comes to modern India's political economy. Avid and proficient, it turns out, for his efforts have produced one of the best and most thought-provoking books on India in years. Few Indian, or indeed Western, businesspeople would be capable of drafting such a dispassionate and self-critical account of their country's prospects. And perhaps no other Indian public intellectual could write across so many disciplines -- politics, economics, finance, education, the environment -- with as much clarity and acuity.