Thursday, October 18, 2007

In Spite of the Gods: The Strange Rise of Modern India

This fall in my Readers Advisory class we have to write annotations on several books that we choose to read over the course of the semester. My favorite book so far that I've read skimmed through has been In Spite of the Gods: The Strange Rise of Modern India, which is an intriguing look into the history and rise of the world's largest democracy. When the Economist endorses a book, I go for it.

In Spite of the Gods was written by Edward Luce, a Washington Bureau Chief for the Financial Times who has stationed in New Delhi from 2000 to 2005. The author has an obvious passion for India, as he presents its many triumphs and beauties while not neglecting its failures and shortcomings. His study encompasses modern India’s politics, religion, and culture all of which have so influenced the country’s economic, technological, and academic growth. With staggering facts presented on every page regarding India’s IT boom, political corruption, massive poverty, and enormous population, Luce shows his readers a modern emerging India that is in position to rival China and the United States as a global player. This book dramatically takes into account the forces which have been shaping India as it negotiates between traditions of the past and its high-speed race toward modernity and innovation. Some things I learned from this book are that...

  • India is the fourth largest economy in the world
  • By 2034, India will have 1.6 billion people (the world population is a little over 6.6 billion)
  • India’s middle class is already larger than the entire population of the United States
  • 1 of 3 of the world’s malnourished children live in India
  • Only 65% of Indians are literate, compared to China’s 90%
  • While 400 million people are employed in India, only 35 million pay taxes.
  • 75% of the country lives in poverty
  • In 1991 Indians purchased 150,000 automobiles, and in 2008 they are expected to purchase 1,000,000
  • By 2008 3.5 million white-collar jobs are expected to be offshored to India
  • 29% of Indians fluently speak English (350 million people) - The entire US population is just over 300 million
This is serious stuff my friends.


Amy and Andrew Daigle said...

Yes, Indians are purchasing more cars... WAY more cars... which just might be a good reason why gas is getting more expensive. Good ol' supply and demand. What, you say? It's not because oil companies are evil? Well, I'm sure it's not that simple, but before we go blaming big companies, it's always good to get a better idea of world dynamics, no?

Sarah said...

Agreed. I'm a huge fan of fact-based arguments.

Anonymous said...

Wow you are educating us!