India's Five-Year Plans were one of the developing world's most ambitious experiments. After nearly two centuries of colonial rule, planning the economy was meant to be independent India's route from poverty to prosperity. Planning Democracy explores how India married liberal democracy to a socialist economy. Planning not only built India's data systems, it even shaped the nature of its democracy. The Five-Year Plans loomed so large that they linked surprisingly far-flung contexts-from computers to Bollywood to Hindutva. In this compelling history, Nikhil Menon brings the world of planning to life through the intriguing story of a gifted scientist known as the Professor, a trail-blazing research institute in Calcutta, and the alluring idea of 'democratic planning'. Set amidst global conflicts and international debates, Menon reveals how India walked a tightrope between capitalism and communism. Planning Democracy recasts our understanding of the Indian republic, uncovering how planning came to define the nation and revealing the ways in which it continues to shape our world today
Nikhil Menon is assistant professor of history at the University of Notre Dame. He grew up in Chennai and studied at Delhi University as well as Jawaharlal Nehru University. His PhD in history is from Princeton University. He lives in South Bend, Indiana.