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Imagining India: The Idea of a Renewed Nation
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Imagining India: The Idea of a Renewed Nation

3.77 of 5 stars 3.77  ·  rating details  ·  1,489 ratings  ·  72 reviews
A visionary look at the evolution and future of India
In this momentous book, Nandan Nilekani traces the central ideas that shaped India's past and present and asks the key question of the future: How will India as a global power avoid the mistakes of earlier development models? As a co-founder of Infosys, a global leader in information technology, Nilekani has actively p
ebook, 528 pages
Published March 19th 2009 by Penguin Books (first published November 25th 2008)
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Mar 04, 2014 Caroline rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Caroline by: Satyaki Mitra
Finished. At last! It’s taken me three weeks of slow, solid reading to get through this book, and it was worth every inch of the journey.

Nandan Nilekani, the author, is co founder of the hugely successful IT company Infosys. He is at the heart of the Indian business and economic community, and initiatives to modernise the country. He really comes across as having his finger on the pulse. His perspective seems to be humanitarian as well as purely practical, and for this he acknowledges the influe
Swamy Atul
So this is where Rahul Gandhi gets his ammunition of "India is an idea. India is a thought" from.
Good News
At 500 pages, you expect the book to be grounded in research. It is that, and more! The anecdotes about India's reluctance to accept technology are delectable. The one I found most amusing was about the time when Rajiv Gandhi asked Indian Railways to present data on spreadsheets and the Babus wrote it all on bed-sheets. The stories from License-Permit Raj drive home the point that it wasn't
Andy Oram
I learned quite a bit from this book, as someone outside India and the
Indian community, and thoroughly enjoyed Nilekani's writing. It's a
wide-ranging treatise with many big agendas; it covers education,
infrastructure, environmental challenges, government intervention, and
the role of historical narrative, among other things. Biggest among
its agenda--and the one that I wager will generate the most debate--is
Nilekani's own version of what I'd call a modern combination of
neoliberalism and neoprogres
Vadassery Thaiparambil Rakesh
What is a Demographic dividend? The concept was new to me before reading this book. India has more than 50% of its population below the age of 25 and more than 65% below the age of 35. It is expected that, in 2020, the average age of an Indian will be 29 years, compared to 37 for China and 48 for Japan; and, by 2030, India's dependency ratio should be just over 0.4 , ie. 60% of the population will be working. When China , USA and other major economic peers of India will be spending a major part ...more
Very well portrayed summary of India's growth story. The book simultaneously fills one with optimism about India's potential to become an economic powerhouse and laments the lack of initiative being taken. Exhaustive in covering all the important aspects of the nation from a policy maker's perspective - health, education, political scenario, employment, the environment - the book presents a candid picture of the state of affairs in the country. It presents the transition of the country from the ...more
The fact that someone could capture the journey of the worlds largest democracy in form of ideas would have been unbelievable had this book not been written. It is for everyone and anyone who is interested in India, how it became what it is. It makes you think too much to be read in one go. You could take months and years and may be your entire life to read and learn from it and still have something left. It is one of those books that are to be digested.
Yes, the author talks about ideas but not
Ananth Subramanian
Nandan Nilekani is not a professional writer. He is one of the succesful software business personality. He is the co founder of Infisys the well known Indian software company.

With this background one did not except much literay skills and expectation was a business focused book.

Well the book takes you by surprise. It is a well researched and beautifully chronicled book on what went right and what went wrong in India and the way ahead. The narration is intersting and makes for easy reading.

Ramakrishnan M
Nandan Nilekani certainly needs no introduction. He is an icon in the corporate world - not just in India, but across the globe. I had wanted to read his book for a long time (well, right from the time the book was launched, I guess).

Naturally, I had a lot of expectations when I finally got started on this. The start was very good – he begins explaining why he is writing a book on India, and not on IT / Infosys. He rightly detected the curiosity which any reader would have, and goes to explain a
Swatantra Kumar
Very thorough analysis of relevant and critical issues faced by India.If you want to know the rationale of current IT initiatives in policy decisions taken by Government, you should go through the book for eg Smart Grid Project, Direct Benefit Transfer, GIS in urban planning, NPS etc.
I liked few chapters very much for eg, India by its people, Deepening of democracy,Erasing Lines,The forest for the tree.Book shines on few aspects like giving an historical account of issues by accounting British I
Raman Makkar
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Akkinapelli Sandeep
Our ability to tackle challenges that lie ahead will determine our fate in coming years
Azwa Ahmad
The central theme of this book is ‘reformation’ and the element is extremely ubiquitous from the beginning till the end of the book. The movement of idea, as what Nilekani suggested, is the impetus that will drive reformation in order to achieve the governments’ political, economic and social objectives. In this belief is where I can see Nilekani’s sense of hope and optimism comes from, in which he passionately anticipates that the ideas and the implementation of the ideas will transform India a ...more
Sundarraj Kaushik
The book is well researched and provides lots of insight into the problems plaguing India.
1. The book has very well illustrated the ups and downs of the Indian economy along with the reasons.
2. It has well documented the need for reforms in the different sectors (education, power, environment) in India.
3. It has analyzed some reasons on why India has been through these ups and downs.
4. He has well argued as to why Government of India should stop trying to create jobs and rather concentrate on cr
Nandan Nilekani's book Imagining India encompasses the central ideas that shaped modern India, which have contributed to the country's progress, as well as those ideas that stifled its growth. He writes this book on the basic premise that, it is not economic growth alone that decides the country's future, also reform and innovation.

He adopts a topical approach to elaborate the ideas that are in various stages of gestation. The ideas that have already arrived, ideas in progress, ideas widely deba
M.p.s. Reen
Aug 11, 2010 M.p.s. Reen rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Every Indian
Recommended to M.p.s. by: No one
Imagining India

Imagining India is a book that every Indian must read. Most of us make up our opinions from somebody else’s reviews without having any ground to confirm what they say because we neither have the time nor the patience to do so. Imagining India puts virtually everything into perspective from a layman’s point of view.

As an average reader on the road no where did I feel that the book was a monotonous economic survey stacked with figures to prove a point. On the contrary the book held
Stephen Brody
Imagining India as yet another of the United States, full of loud-talking parvenus and peasants playing the stock market on smartphones. Bangalore, which in its modern form seems to have been invented largely by the author, is the least interesting city in the country. The Indian population, it is true, is very intelligent, quick to learn and to adapt as it always has, but it's a shame if that is at the cost of their ancient and wiser heritage
Dinesh Yalavarthy
a decent compilation on the economic and a bit of social history of India after Independence, much on the lines of India Unbound of Gucharan Das. Has a lot of reformist view as expected but deals with the social sentiments, challenges and political pragmatism as well.
one can only give as much 'way ahead' in a book, especially regading policy. Nandan does it decently well almost undermining the challenges by giving them a 'but.. we have this which i hope will be trampled by the energy of the peo
Ipsita Dasgupta
Jul 14, 2014 Ipsita Dasgupta added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People with heaps of patience.
This is rediscovering India - complete with a dash of wit, humour and entrepreneurial outlook - all in the perfect amount. Nilekani leaves you falling in love with the country. Apart from being a brilliant read, it is also a plethora of information, recommended for the likes of those who detest Google-ing a country.

This is India - then, now, and henceforth.
Great book.

Provides 3 perspectives,

the historical perspective on the economic policies and how they shaped business after independence.

Nandan's own personal vision for India and some key ideas.

A review of current economic development ventures Govt., private and NGO based.

Here is a fact I thought was useful: India spends over 10 trillion rupees every year in subsidies. Subsidies take precedence over infrastructure projects and take up a huge portion of the state and federal budgets.

Nandan ind
Though its a long book bt it totally worth it. This fills one with opticism about india potential.Nandan takes us to a journey of India growth story.
Recommended from my side to everyone who wants to get the idea of india.
What becomes very clear in this book is that although India's economy has really taken off and many of citizens are living much better lives, a lot of the old problems still exists, and abject poverty is still a way of life for vast amount of the population. Nadan Nilekani spends most of the book discussing the ways in which hopefully, these problems can finally be solved. What I found lacking in these discussions was the voice of the common man. Nilekani talked with experts in many fields and s ...more
This is often from an economic or business point of view in relation to India's recent history and challenges (as well as successes), but informative about many aspects of India from that pov.
I love everything about India but I have to admit it was difficult to get through this book. Not because it isn't good - it is. But it is very dense and long and unless you are really, really interested in the overview of what is good in India, what is not so good and what their current challenges are, this book might not be for you.
I am glad I read it but I am more glad that I finished it and can go on to read something else now. Although I do have a much better appreciation of the co
Jun 18, 2011 Biogeek rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone going to India
This is a well-written book for the reader who already has some idea about India, but is seeking new ideas and explanations. The authors knowledge about the latest developments in India are helpful. Provided me with some insight into how the current divides in India have deepened, where improvements have been made, and the recent political landscape. Also was interested by what he had to say about the role of the English language in India today.
I found the content interesting, but it was a bit of a slog to get through. Also, there were times it was really hard to agree with Nilekani's optimism, and I felt he was trying to sell me on something. Still, there is a lot to think about.

my favorite quote: "At the end of the day, therefore, when it comes to our policies and ideas, I would rather be right than righteous and put aside emotion in favor of rational argument."
Mike Violano
I really wanted to enjoy this book and there are some great insights into the birth of modern India and Indian business from Nilekani, a founder of Infosys and a successful pioneer in IT outsourcing. Unfortunately there is too much other info from Indian history to urbanization, infrastructure, profiles of personalities-- India, British, American, etc. that gives the book a bloated feel.
Amit Jain
"Imagining India", when I picked this book, I dint knew what to expect from it but by the time I completed it, I was aware of a perspective of looking at India as I never knew, the book presents the challenges faced by overtly populated nation burned with bone crushing poverty and possible solutions for the nation as a whole, to achieve its full potential. A must read for business people..
Sabyasachi Das

Nandan Nilekani as done an awesome job of research on the history of the country's issues, as well as providing his insights on the current scenario. A brilliant read for anyone interested in India. Personally, one thing which would have made it better, would be a small summary at the end of each chapter, just to capture the major points.
Shoaib Ahmed
A book of sprawling ideas that covers topics from economics,taxation policies,education systems,concepts of negative income taxes,carbon policy pricing.Nandan Nilekani proposes some unique and specific solutions to the problems that haunt India and will be haunting it in coming decades as India charts its developement trajectory.
I could not complete the book :-( Maybe I'll get back to it some other time, not sure. The language and style used is very tedious and reading it right after Pavan Varma's 'Being Indian', I couldn't even go beyond 40 pages. Maybe the book gets interesting later on, but the initial few chapters are definitely not great.
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Paradox 2 24 May 29, 2014 09:52AM  
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“Since independence, India struggled for decades with policies that tried to put the lid on its surging population. It is only recently that the country has been able to look its billion in the eye and consider its advantages.” 0 likes
“IT has obviously come a long way—from something seen as a threat to people to something people are demanding as a way of protecting their rights. For Indians, it has become an enabler.” 0 likes
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