May 07, 2012

Beautiful Country: A Book review

Beautiful Country: Stories from Another India
By Gunjan Veda and Syeda Hameed
 A Harper Collins publication

This was an atypical book for my book shelf. So, I began reading it without any expectations.

The two authors capture their journeys across various states in rural India, from Kerala to Manipur, from Assam to  the Andamans. Since one of them has been involved with the Planning Commission, their views are informed, empathetic and at times depressing even.

It is filled with raw, emotional moments, oscillating between the beauty of our culture, the pathos of planning gone wrong, the small hopes and triumph of the people, the differences in the landscape and progress, stories of innovation and hope and inspiring ordinary people who seem oblivious of the change makers they truly are.

The book brings to the Urban reader a sense of the real India -which they may not have any inclination to acknowledge or may have ignored since it does not seem immediatelyy relevant.  A heavy book, with some disturbing data as well, it is a good introduction to the Other India.

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