The Indian Economy Blog

November 26, 2006

Weekend Reads

Filed under: Business — Naveen @ 2:53 am

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 limitedless market. Once again lots of good and interesting reading links await you here.


  1. Wondering if anyone\’s read Luce\’s book, and had any comments? Jai has a good review here…

    Comment by Prashant — November 26, 2006 @ 3:47 am

  2. Hey, Have you taken a look at dani rodrik’s papers?

    From Hindu Growth to Productivity Surge: The Mystery of the Indian Growth Transition

    His other papers:

    Looking forward to some comments.

    Comment by Ananth — November 27, 2006 @ 6:26 am

  3. Thanks Ananth, for the papers. I did come across Rodrik’s paper but it slipped my mind :-) Comments on it will follow in later posts.

    Comment by Naveen — November 27, 2006 @ 10:42 am

  4. There was this book on Being Indian by Pavan K. Varma. It gave me a very good insight into India. I was always searching for my identity (kind of) because I studied in a convent school and then when I came out of it, I realised that I had been living in a cocoon.
    The real India was where I worked and the real India was in my new neighbourhoods. Varma’s book gave me an insight into the the workings of the Indian mind and pointed me to where I came from.

    Comment by Nita Jatar Kulkarni — November 27, 2006 @ 1:06 pm

  5. If you look in the regional media, you will see lots of good travel writing. The problem is these have to be translated to English. Vernacular magazines and Sunday pull-outs of most regional newspapers publish lots of travel articles, which are unfortunately inaccessible to the majority of the reading population.

    Comment by Raj — November 29, 2006 @ 9:05 am

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