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India Unbound is a narrative of India’s economic voyage, from 1943-1999 and the political revolutions and the ensuing hurdles, encountered on the way.
Summary Of The Book
Opening with a précis of 18th and 19th century India, the book is written as a potpourri of a memoir, historical facts, and commerce. Gurcharan Das believes India’s progress was engendered by economic reforms rather than political and has chronicled the events that transpired during 1943-1999, into three categories: Spring of Hope, The Lost Generation, and Rebirth of Dream.
Spring of Hope begins with the economically stifling years, when India was still under the dominion of the British and barely made any economical progress. Although the enhancement of railways was expected to boost the Industrial scenario, Das outlines the various facts that precipitated a slump in the Indian economy. Hope dawned after 1947, when India began her journey as a free country with Jawaharlal Nehru as the Prime Minister.
Nevertheless, Nehru introduced economic policies that fell somewhere in between those of the democratic west and the soviet world. These unique policies failed to foster any enterprise or entrepreneurship in the Indian industry, as the public sector was granted too much authority over business houses.
The Lost Generation refers to Indira Gandhi’s reign of power, when the Indian economy went through a disastrous phase and depleted all hope of betterment. She imposed the License Raj, binding every industry with red taped laws. Companies were not permitted to expand beyond the margin determined by the government, pricing was monitored and PSUs monopolized their sectors. Deterioration in quality and services ensued as a consequence of the MRTP and FERA Acts, which practically crushed trading and business houses.Indira Gandhi’s ‘Garibi Hatao’, an election propaganda, to root out poverty in the country, was not only futile, but counter-productive and plunged the impoverished sections deeper into penury. Finally there was the declaration of an Emergency when India hit rock-bottom.
Rebirth Of Dream, alludes to a period of economic reforms made by P.V. Narasimha Rao, which founded the stepping stone to today’s thriving, free-market, Indian industry.
India Unbound was published in 2000 and is an international bestseller. It has been translated and published in several different languages and also filmed by BBC.
About Gurcharan Das
Gurcharan Das is an Indian born bestselling novelist, philosopher and thinker, who has experienced both the pre-independence and post-independence eras of Indian history.
Among novels, he authored, the bestselling novel, The Difficulty of Being Good: On the Subtle Art of Dharma and A Fine Family: A Novel. He also wrote a book of essays, The Elephant Paradigm India Wrestles With Change and the anthology, Three English Plays: Sahib/Mira/9 Jakhoo Hill.
Gurcharan Das has been widely appreciated for his language, especially in India. His work is versatile in nature, but generally follows a factual yet perhaps subtly opinionated style. Although his books might be weighty with intellectual or philosophical matter, Das’ graceful language rivets the readers thought to the end.
Gurcharan Das was born on October 3, 1943, in Lyallpur, which was earlier a part of India. Subsequent to finishing school in Washington D.C., he attended Harvard University, graduated with honors in philosophy, and then went on to study a management program in Harvard Business School. Das had a flourishing career - he went from being CEO of Procter & Gamble India and Vice President for Procter & Gamble India to being Vice President and Managing Director of P & G Worldwide for strategic planning. He retired in 1995 with a desire to write full-time, and at present resides in Delhi with his wife and children.