Some time back there was a question regarding good books that shed useful light on India and various aspects of it. Read Ten Best Books on India? Nobody mentioned Pankaj Mishra’s Butter Chicken in Ludhiana. Admittedly I dont hold it in high regard but definitely it is an important piece of travel writing in its time (if anything for lack of alternatives) that captures India well. Read Chandrahas’s take on it at Pankaj Mishra’s Butter Chicken in Ludhiana at eleven. You will also find quite a few good weekend reading links there.
India’s travel writing genre is yet to be explored fully. I am still waiting for a first-hand personal take a la Robert Kaplan (like his earlier books that combine geopolitics and travel well) with a dash of Tocquevillean insight and the economist’s take a ka William Easterly. Add to that Paul Theroux‘s travel writing style and John Mcphee‘s craft of eliciting engaging details. Probably too much to ask for. But yes, with limited competition and few travel writers the best of India travel writing has a long way to go. Hopefully a few social scientists will also jump into the fray to offer a different viewpoint.
However what specifically interested me in the post was Ramachandra Guha’s Why Indian intellectuals and activists are hostile to the market and Gautam Bastian’s take on it at The limit
edless market. Once again lots of good and interesting reading links await you here.