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India Unbound: The Social and Economic Revolution from Independence to the Global Information Age

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  5,766 ratings  ·  339 reviews
India today is a vibrant free-market democracy, a nation well on its way to overcoming decades of widespread poverty. The nation's rise is one of the great international stories of the late twentieth century, and in India Unbound the acclaimed columnist Gurcharan Das offers a sweeping economic history of India from independence to the new millennium.

Das shows how India's p
Paperback, 432 pages
Published April 9th 2002 by Anchor Books (first published January 1st 2000)
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Riku Sayuj
Aug 07, 2013 rated it really liked it

Through most of the reading I wanted to be critical of the book. I was disappointed that the wisdom that was characteristic of the Das who wrote The Difficulty of Being Good was not much on display in his exploration of the 2nd of the four foundational principles (Dharma, Artha, Kama, Moksha) of Indian life [sic]. I could only conclude that it must be difficult for one man to take on the challenge of elucidating all four. I also had some fun imagining that this might be even more the case if he
Ashish Iyer
This is a great book to understand the political economic history of post independent India till the onset of software revolution. Written in an easy to understand language yet so compelling and scholarly. I may not agree with some of the perspectives offered in this book but there is definitely a lot worth thinking and considering. The writer has an insight for the business and the economy, being spent a lot of time in all aspects of business, from field to top executive. Gurucharan Das explain ...more
Vibina Venugopal
Jul 28, 2012 rated it really liked it
This book is a precise thoughts of Gurcharan Das former CEO of P&G, Hope, a business consultant,venture capitalist about India's economy and state of affairs..
He points out that India’s economy has been on the passive front until the information technology plunged India to forefront…Companies like Infosys and schools like NIT have a big hand in shaping up this image of better India thus adding to 9.2% growth every year.. Now it seems as though India has a promising potential to become of the maj
Nov 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I literally can't believe that this book has been written 20 years ago and yet it is not outdated. he describes everything like a story. Gurcharan Das talks about Indian economy in pre and post Independence era, five-year plans, economic reforms, what were the drawbacks and what has led to the growth of the economy, merits of LPG( Liberalisation-Privatisation-Globalisation), licence-raj, technology, etc

If somebody wants to know about Indian economic history, this is a great book to start with.
Jerry Jose
Aug 12, 2018 rated it liked it
Though India achieved political independence in 1947, it missed the liberalization bus of Asian Tigers and had to wait till 1991 to obtain some comparable economic independence. Gurcharan Das captures this economic journey in this autobiographical narrative, through his life and that of people around him. But in that ambitious effort, I found him to be doing more of a personal unbounding than that of India as a whole.

According to Das, the economic timeline of India went through a series of crest
Dec 08, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviews, india
I have memories of Naipaulesque India: people claiming cultural and spiritual superiority over the rest of the world while the country was consumed by poverty, the so called Indian socialists making a life and political career out of refuting everything in the world, leftist professors poisoning the minds of vulnerable uni students that they can remove the stupidity of the human nature by chanting slogans, all such nonsense only ended up in making India borrow food and pawn its gold.
Also on the
Palash Bansal
Jan 03, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: india-general
A well written book from the perspective of a businessman. The book basically revolves around the travel experiences of Gurcharan Das encompassing his excellent observational and analytical skills.
The basic drawback of this book is that the hypothesis and conclusion drawn by the author is completely one sided. Its a story of what he experienced by talking to his co-workers, partners, rivals, analysts and other people from the corporate world. True that India is shining, there is a great growth
Utsav Bansal
Sep 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
This is is a really insightful book chronicling India's journey post independence in the economic world. The great thing is how Das uses his personal experiences to tell the story and goes into the philosophical/fundamental aspects of India's growth journey. Personally as someone with slightly left of centre views on fiscal matters this was very enlightening and I believe necessary, as Das is wholeheartedly pro-capitalism in his ideas but he sells them well and address the problems with interest ...more
Hemant Joshi
Oct 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book was a birthday gift from my daughter !!

This is great book which gives a history of the economic progress of India from pre-Independence day till modern day's India. What was an eye opener was : In early 18th century, India was a leading manufacturing country in the world and it had 22.6 percent share of the world's GDP. Because of the population and availability of the cheap labor, India lagged behind in technology and innovations. The productivity was also poor due to these reasons a
Sep 23, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"India will never be a tiger.It is an elephant that has begun to lumber and move ahead. It will never have speed, but it will always stamina"

Well !!!!!
I started my review with the quote by Gurchuran Das.
In my school days, i learnt about how my country is great in relation to its glorious and amazing history and how rigoursly we are maintaining this tradition by trying to attain a truly democratic and soverign society.

For a nation to be great, there requires its development on all three fronts
Jan 04, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: ebooks
'India Unbound' by Gurcharan Das turned out to be an interesting and engaging read which felt bit drab in the beginning. It is a very useful read to every Indian who wants to know why India still lags far behind China economically, and other poor countries than India like Bangladesh, socially. It succinctly chronicles the reasons for India's poor economic growth between post-independence and 1991. The book also brings out the necessary strategies for entrepreneurial success and the reforms requi ...more
Akhil Parekh
Nov 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
India Unbound is an excellent book for someone who wants to know about India's economic and social transformation in past 200 years. Gurucharan Das writes a story in a very mind griping way. Book communicates India's continuing rise from poverty to prosperity and the clash of visions that different leaders offered post Independence era. The book is neatly divided into three different sections, primarily into India under leadership of Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi and P.V. Narismha Rao.

First tw

Sep 04, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Reluctantly, I ordered 'India Unbound' by Gurcharan Das in first week of September. I have never read any books related to economics or any of his books. But once I started to read the book, I was so impressed by the way Das explained the economics of India in rather simple words.

Gurcharan Das has been able to convey the minute details of the License Raj just after India attained independence under Jawarharlal Nehru and how Nehru intended the welfare of the people of the co
Danish Zahoor
Dec 11, 2016 rated it liked it
Well written, but biased arguments in favour of capitalism, understandably because of the author's background. He tends to sell capitalism and free market practices as a panacea to all ills of the country. Doesn't hesitate in calling Nehruvian socialism "foolish". We must give credit to the great man for protecting the nascent Indian industry against foreign players, especially given the context of recently being emancipated from the clutches of imperialism.

The book portrays "market" as though
Anurag Chilukuri
Oct 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
I am impressed by the author's style of narration. I can't think of any other book that deals with India's economic-political history in such an insightful fashion. The books is divided into three parts - Pre independence and Nehru Era, Nehru-Liberalization era and the post liberalization era. It does total justice to the first two parts and makes for a really gripping read. The third part is not as good as the first two parts, may be because, by the time he wrote the book the story was still un ...more
Aditya Kulkarni
May 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: indian-history
It’s a good book that details how India has emerged from absolute darkness to provide hope to its citizens in the context of globalisation. Brilliantly exposes how Nehruvian socialism and Indira’s socialist policies held back India from growing to the maximum potential. Wonderfully explains the rot the Indian bureaucracy has caused to the country. The last few chapters seemed a bit like a drag but overall, the book is very good and a must read.
Jan 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A very readable account of India through its journey as an independent nation. Informative yet gripping. Objective yet personal. If you are inquisitive about post-independence India, but don't know where to start, start here.
Indians Read
Sep 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: indian-history
Original review posted here:

The book tries to give a brief history of economic policies since our independence. It's divided into three parts: the first part mainly talks about Nehru's mixed economy model and its failures. The second about the period until 1991 when rather than moving ahead based on the poor prior results, the subsequent governments furthered those policies. The final part talks about the period since Narasimha Rao's economic revolution a
animesh jain
Aug 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
India unbound is a story of India's economic independence.we got political independence in 1947 but our economy was freed only in 1991.Unlike other academic works which analysis this period based on theories and datas, author of this book do it by giving real life examples.
Author makes a strong case for market led free economy, he analysis the consequences of India's socialist policies post independence. Nehru was a product of his time and he led India on the idealist path of socialism. here we
Richa Sahu
Aug 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
This is one of those rare books, which talks sense and rationality cleverly avoiding the traps of hyper-active patriotism and still instilling a deep sense of belonging to your motherland!

Gurcharan Das takes the reader on a journey from despair to freedom. Ironically the despair sets in almost immediately after India gains freedom in 1947 and continues for four decades after that. The time when everyone was waiting to achieve the glorious heights that were promised and dreamed of during the stru
Ayush Kanodia
Sep 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
My first thought at reading this book was - I need to read more content like this, and I need to read more editorials. For someone who has shied away from the latter due to their obvious subjectivity, I think I'm a converted reader.

However, that does not mean this is a perfect book. I learnt about India's political economy, and what was striking was the contrast with the position the author implicitly takes vs the one Guha takes in India after Gandhi. It is instructive to note such biases. The a
Solitude Bird
Apr 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
When we criticize our history we should possess a strong database of details to prove what went wrong, this book gives it all. Under the current scenario of economic downfall and uncertainty, we blindly accept the acknowledgments put forth by our elected leaders to blame past governance and in many ways it becomes easy for them to hide there own incapabilities, but we seldom have any real knowledge about what went wrong.
India Unbound is a great book through which Gurcharan Das explains in detail
Sneha Divakaran
Jul 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
A businessman's understanding of India, from independence to the global information age. The book is 80% a critique (mostly criticism) of the Indian polity and economy, with a handful of let ups when it took up case studies of successful Indian business houses. The rest 20% is a pleasant memoir.
Dec 04, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
To be frank, this is not my genre and being an engineer, this is my first foray into world of economics. But still i wanted to try this because of its span, spread right from independence of India till liberation (from archaic license raj). And it is surely a ride ! Keeps you engaged despite many paragraphs of figures numbers and personal commentary. Honestly, yes, i have been skipping pages, mostly in last section. But still, an enriching read for sure.
Shrinivas Devshatwar
Nov 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Its one of the best book that somebody wrote about economy in India. You don't have to be a student of economics to understand the simple concepts and facts stated in the book!
India Unbound is the name of the book I read last semester. It is written by a person who was president of a multinational company P & G in the 1980s when India was in socialist era. Frustration of working in the era when Government did everything to stop private firms from working is visible. Gurucharan Das author of this book is very intelligent man. He has Philosophy degree from Harvard and has immense knowledge of economic and foreign policies of India since independence.
He has exactly depic
Nov 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Must Read
Jun 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
An absolutely joy to read and a must-read for anyone trying to understand Contemporary India. I was actually sad this book ended.

Here's my review from my blog. June 2007 [SPOILER ALERT]

I finished reading the book a few weeks ago, and I’m officially declaring it as one of my favorites. I’m sure many great men and women have reviewed this book much more objectively and eloquently than I could ever hope for. So this is not going to be your traditional review, in fact I’m not quite sure what this
Mukesh Kumar
Jul 17, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not a perfect book by any means, in particular the rail against Socialist policies of Nehru and the single pointed demonizing of the Indian bureaucracy seem a little simplistic and one-sided. Although the author rejected the whole concept of 'Mixed' economy of India after independence as idealistic and wish-fulfilling, his whole-hearted endorsement of economic reforms as the panacea for all perils seems much the same. Also one has to keep in mind that Nehru and his economic policies were as much ...more
Apr 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
After 2 years, I finally managed to complete this book and hands down it has been one of the best reads till date. A very insightful read that chronicles India’s journey of economic transformation. It is also quite fascinating to see how a complex and vast topic like the economic history of India has been so easily and lyrically narrated by the author through his life instances. A must read for all, not just from a business perspective but to understand what we as a country stand for and what ou ...more
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Gurcharan Das (Punjabi: ਗੁਰਚਰਨ ਦਾਸ, Hindi: गुरचरण दास), (born October 3, 1943), is an Indian author, commentator and public intellectual. He is the author of The Difficulty of Being Good: On the subtle art of dharma which interrogates the epic, Mahabharata. His international bestseller, India Unbound, is a narrative account of India from Independence to the global Information Age, and has been pub ...more

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