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A Feast of Vultures: The Hidden Business of Democracy in India
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A Feast of Vultures: The Hidden Business of Democracy in India

4.26  ·  Rating details ·  1,218 ratings  ·  153 reviews
'Every day, millions of people -- the rich, the poor and the many foreign visitors -- are hunting for ways to get their business done in modern India. If they search in the right places and offer the appropriate price, there is always a facilitator who can get the job done. This book is a sneak preview of those searches, the middlemen who do those jobs, and the many opport ...more
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published July 15th 2016 by HarperCollins India (first published July 10th 2016)
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4.26  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,218 ratings  ·  153 reviews

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Aug 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
This has been a difficult book to read. As a citizen of the country, you cannot be ignorant of the corruption and injustice festering through its length and breadth. However, this books offers the jarring realisation that we have only seen a somewhat sanitised version of it. It fills me with despair, guilt, shame, anger and helplessness. That urban India, which gripes daily about infrastructure woes, is largely ignorant of the many struggles of its rural counterpart is brought home rather effect ...more
Soni Somarajan
Aug 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
And the poor continue to beg for their inalienable rights
A dazzling piece of non-fiction, A Feast of Vultures lays bare the problems that confound India. India s best-known investigative reporter, Josy Joseph, writes with moral conviction, yet never denigrates to pontification as he piles up evidence of corruption in high places. The truth is conveyed through a searing prose an alarm for the citizens to wake up and take notice. Corruption is everywhe
Arun Divakar
Jun 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
There are a few words hardwired into the Indian psyche that only float to the surface at the time of elections. Some that I can think of are - development, secularism, anti-corruption, growth, anti-fundamentalism etc. These words lavishly peppered with other well-worn ones like democracy and freedom are used and abused in speeches and other promotional material during the elections. The amusing thing about these words is that they disappear into thin air once someone wins and comes to power, onl ...more
Umesh Kesavan
Aug 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
A brilliant overview of the multiple actors who run our country from behind the screens. The author will be facing litigations from big corps and they are the best reviews for this book.
Annie Zaidi
This is a brave book, based on some good, old-fashioned journalism. It serves as a reminder of the processes that are eating up our democracy from within - the black money that not only leaves but also returns to the country, via tax havens, in the form of 'investment'; the businessmen who are no longer content with simply lobbying elected representatives and are increasingly buying their way into both houses of Parliament and blatantly sitting on committees and in ministries where the conflict ...more
Nov 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
Rating on the normal scale: 4/5
Rating on the Anand Gopal scale: 2/5

Of the things I like to do when looking for some validation of my existence, is re-watch the part of the documentary Nero’s Guests, wherein Sainath says, “The cruelty of what’s happening is the most astonishing part of it.”

I find solace in reminding myself that there are lifeforms—the members of the think-tank industry and the “development” consultants whom he describes using very appropriate words—whose existence is more burdens
Harsimran Khural
Jul 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
One line summary:

"yeh bik gayi hai gormint!"
Feb 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
A very courageous book that names and shames India's top industrialists for their illegal and inhuman paths to riches. Also gives a glimpse into how the political machinery works at all levels.
However, the book seems to be written in a haste and it should have been longer and indepth.
Puneet Shetty
Mar 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Of the few lines that stuck with me after reading the book 'A feast of vultures' this one is probably the most moving - "Our cities are lit up with their tears." Their refers to the villagers who have for a very long time been fighting a losing battle against Indian conglomerates who have been exploiting the nation's natural resources for their personal gains. This book gives an immense understanding into the " business of democracy" since India has attained Independence and the kind of country ...more
Oct 07, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: india
A journalistic work on how the rapacity and greed of the Government-Businessmen-crime nexus rules this nation.
Vaishnavi Devshatwar
Jan 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Truth is bitter to read, but it's time to accept and try to do something to make India's democracy more stronger and efficient.
Dec 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
The book is the culmination of the information and knowledge that the author has gathered over an illustrious journalistic career, about the way our country works and what it takes to get anything done. It showcases the sheer amount of crony capitalism, rampant corruption and excessive greed which feeds the engine of "growth" at the cost of the environment, social justice and fair play. It's an eye-opening account for someone unfamiliar with how India works and provides a lot of insight to show ...more
Shanavas Pn
Aug 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing

Josy, an investigative journalist behind India’s recent journalism scoops, effectively straddles his makeover as a leading non-fiction writer. While his work through the years chronicles the brutal saga behind India’s leading problems of corruption and ‘middle-man’ equations—Josy courageously names politicians and businessmen, who are complicit in the art of undermining India’s progress for their selfish agenda. As the country’s image suffers in
Anal Ghosh
The deep-rooted business of corruption in India as seen through the years of investigative journalism by Josy Joseph. There are eye-opening revelations about middlemen whom we never hear about (typists & acquaintances of the ruling clan, arms deal brokers, tax haven logistics providers, etc.) and the enormous power they wield in policy decisions and government deals. The book dedicates a significant portion to the private aviation sector, the meteoric rise of East West airlines, and how a ce ...more
Ankur Vohra
Aug 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
If you want to get depressed about state of affairs for us in India-pick up this book. I think you can call the book more a piece of narrative journalism which lays bare the well known but rarely told ways in which the Indian democracy and its institutions work. The writer raise some pertinent questions about- why the most important questions facing our democracy like Funding of our Political Parties, The politician-corporate-criminal nexus and so on, can only find limited coverage in our mainst ...more
Sainath Sunil
Aug 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
this book is a troubling reportage of the state of affairs of governance and its the various arms that are meant to keep corruption and malpractice in check. sadly we have seen a cohabitation of both. this book explores the role of middle men who could be anything for ex military to politicians to stenos or personal assistants of ministers and bureaucrats who would the real power. this book also discusses the rapid rise of how corporate India remains a benefactor of which ever party that comes t ...more
Dec 04, 2016 rated it liked it
The book is a bit slow start with but the chapters towards the end are really insightful. The book had an overall negative undertone.
I think with the mass media the point that the author is trying to make does get broadcasted one to often.
I would have appreciated it more if the author could have given even more insight into the modus operandi of the characters mentioned in the book. That said I really liked the chapter on an old famous airline that many might not even know the name of now.
Shafeeque Suhail
Nov 05, 2016 rated it liked it
Questions that arose in my mind each time a scandal or scam broke, finds a place in Josy’s book.

“ The duty of the new officers was to push aside all kinds of obstacles and facilitate industries, and if there were laws for protecting the tribals and the forest, and for land acquisition their duty was to help the entrepreneurs overcome them, because India wanted all these thousands of megawatts of electricity and ores.”

A Feast of Vultures, a terrifying read on corruption in India, is testimony t
May 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book is a brilliant piece of investigative journalism. Nothing prepared me for many of the shocking revelations in this book. The author has been now slapped with a Rs 1000 crore defamation case by a major businessman. The sections which focus on the murky defense deals were an eyeopener. I had to read most of the sections of the book twice to really take in the information contained.
Imran Kazi
Aug 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is going to be fascinating. Started today.

Latest update: Investigative journalism of the best quality.
Nishant Gupta
Dec 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites
I'd few minutes of spare time to kill between the work, and this book was resting on my desk after being freshly delivered earlier in the morning. So, I picked up this book and started reading its introduction and then I couldn't put it down before finishing it. It's gripping, depressing, frustrating, disappointing, incredible and brave at the same time. It's the story of corruption in the contemporary India and how everyone is available for sale.

Josy Joseph is an investigative journalist and ma
Conrad Barwa
Solid journalistic account of some of the major corruption scandals in India by the Hindu's current Defence Correspondent. Joseph doesn't cover any new ground on several issues, as social scientists such as James Manor and Anirudh Krishna have already outlined the role of ''fixers'' and political intermediaries in allowing ordinary citizens access the Indian state. And the exploitation of the central adivasi belt in India has been better covered elsewhere by Rohit Pradhan and Nandini Sundar. Whe ...more
Harsh Panchal
Sep 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: true-accounts
Everybody in India loathes about the existence of corruption and the biased government machinery that alleviate the prosperous than the poorer who needs genuine help and support. Despite all the difficulties and pessimism, we always hope for the best and appreciate the reforms. One of it took place a few days back, the decriminalisation of #Section377. It came with a long struggle of few awakened citizens who fought for equal rights, privacy and acknowledgement of orientation. We always hope tha ...more
Joseph Rai
Feb 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Journalist Josy Joseph's brilliant and explosive non-fiction book A Feast of Vultures categorically proves the old adage that the pen is mightier than the sword right, as he exposes the men in power of their corrupt practices and the frustrating nature of doing business in India.
Little wonder then that just months after the release of the book, Jet Airways founder and chairman Naresh Goyal filed a Rs 1000 crore defamation lawsuit against the writer and publisher Harper Collins.
In response to the
Muzammil Usman
Apr 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
A feast of vultures gives a forgotten recap with mind boggling stats on the biggest scams and the unshakable part of the population in India. Chapters on how contacts could be the only vital part that takes people to places, stories on how middle men who rise to power acting as mediators, how people can stand above the Democracy buying out the legislature, executive and judiciary. Makes us think how the urban class takes advantage of the abundant resources provided for them only to know it comes ...more
Nov 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
"However, the people who told me some of the greatest truths about modern India will never even know about this book, because they cannot read."

Josy Joseph points out the machineries, middlemen and multimillionaires who grease the rusty cogs of power religiously and wallows in the murky waters of corruption without any concerns.

A good read indeed.
Jayasankar Thayyil
Oct 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is investigative journalism at its best. Bold, fierce and courageous. A fascinating account piercing the machinations of the unknown actors and their attempts to manoeuvre the state according to their interests. It has to be widely read at least for its sheer audacity! Recommended.
Abdul Razik
Dec 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Every Indian acknowledges corruption exists in the country but this book shows how deep rooted it is, especially in the often forgotten rural areas. Josy Joseph's proper investigative journalism with interactions at ground level showing the the root of corruption is shocking to read. I personally feel this book hasn't got the levels of attention it deserves, had this book been about some developed country, it would have brought world-wide attention and humiliation to the entire nation.
Kr Abhishek
Sep 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book is a light read.. However, overly cynical of the Indian system
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“Democracy in India is only a ‘top dressing on an Indian soil, which is essentially undemocratic’.” 2 likes
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