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The End of Karma: Hope and Fury among India's Young

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256 pages, Hardcover

First published March 7, 2016

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About the author

Somini Sengupta

2 books20 followers
Somini Sengupta, a George Polk Award–winning journalist, covers the United Nations for The New York Times, for which she was previously the bureau chief in Dakar and New Delhi. She was born in Calcutta and lives in New York.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 80 reviews
Profile Image for Hana.
522 reviews288 followers
September 9, 2016
India is among the world's youngest countries with a baby boom generation--some 300 million strong--that grew up in the bright promise of 1991's economic reforms. Somini Sengupta calls this new generation Noonday's Children.

Somini Sengupta is an American whose family left their home in Calcutta in September 1975 after Indira Gandhi declared a state of emergency that brought India's young democracy perilously close to totalitarianism. Sengupta's family landed first in Canada and later migrated to the friendlier climate of Southern California settling into a middle class suburban life complete with a ranch house and a statue of the mother goddess, Durga stowed in the garage in between feast days.

Restless, impatient with tradition, Sengupta finds her place as a foreign correspondent, living out of suitcases, traveling the world. In 2005, thirty years after her family left India, she returns as bureau chief for The New York Times in New Delhi. The India she rediscovers is full of possibility, but also of failed promises and hopes dashed. Noonday's Children are, like Sengupta herself, impatient, restless, filled with aspirations, pushing their country to deliver on the freedoms promised so long ago at midnight, Independence Day, August 15, 1947.

Some seventy years after Independence "...ordinary citizens up and down the social ladder believed they did not have to be bound by their past, that they could escape what had been predestined." And as the book's title suggests, the energy of India's young people is already changing the very fate--the karma--of their motherland.

Deftly weaving history, economics, demographics and vivid reportage, Sengupta tells the story of India's new generation through the eyes of seven young men and women, from a Maoist rebel to a teen who loves Facebook--and winds up in jail for 'liking' the wrong post. The young people Sengupta profiles are full of grit, determination and talent. Some of them are born into affluence, others into rural poverty, but all of their stories fascinated and often moved me. Through her storytelling Sengupta manages to shed light on a wide array of current issues, some quite controversial, with admirable balance rather than sensationalism.

Bonus points for the superb notes that includes a daunting number of books that I simply must read, starting with Midnight's Children, Salman Rushdie's novel of India's independence and partition. (Sengupta's name for India's new generation is a tribute to Rushdie's novel). Marks off for one of the least informative maps of India that I've ever seen. I know where Bangalore and Mumbai are, thanks very little, but if Sengupta is going to talk about India's many states she really ought to show their boundaries on the map. I hope the publishers fix this in the next edition.
Profile Image for Divya.
89 reviews19 followers
June 3, 2016
I had the great fortune of hearing Sengupta talk as part of a promotional tour for this book. The statistics she quoted in her talk blew my mind. 1 million Indians turn 18 every month. The government has to find jobs for all the new adults and make sure they are adequately trained for these jobs. I remember walking away from the talk stressed and anxious wondering what India is going to do and how this generation (to which I belong) is going to end up. The book manages to convey exactly the same sense of urgency that I felt that day. The spin on aspiration and destiny and the focus on the youth of India is inspired. It's a great way to tell the story of India's legacy and India's future.

I was a little skeptical of the format- stories that are interwoven with hard facts and figures- of this book. Every time someone has attempted to convey a sense of India through a story or even a handful of stories, the result has backfired in my opinion. As Sengupta herself says, 7 stories can never be representative of any country, least of all India. But as "marginal" as these stories are (her words, not mine), they are extremely illuminating. Let's be honest, I grew up amongst these stories. But as Sengupta so beautifully puts it, in India you learn to see distress and yet not see distress. These stories are beautiful portraits of the lives of people who usually only appear in my world as statistics or news articles peripheral characters at most and do a great deal to get the reader personally invested.

This is an excellent book to read if you want to know more about India whether you are Indian or not and whether you live in the country or not. If you're not Indian, this is one of the most nuanced descriptions of life in India. If you're Indian, chances are, you (like me) haven't looked too deeply into the lives of these people who aren't in your social strata or in your state/region of the country. And chances are you will gain some perspective into the world's most unlikely democracy.
Profile Image for Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship.
1,108 reviews1,168 followers
February 7, 2017
This is a really interesting book about modern India. Seven of its eight chapters each focus on the life of one young adult (the introductory chapter is about the author), using each story to illuminate some aspect of life in India. For instance, the first chapter focuses on a young prodigy who is born to a relatively poor family, but with enormous effort – and a very dedicated mother – makes it to college, but the chapter also discusses the sorry state of Indian education for most children – though almost all now attend primary school, many leave it still unable to read, and for uneducated parents it’s hard to tell whether the children are learning. Another chapter focuses on guerilla movements, and in particular one young woman who joined a rebel group. One chapter is mostly about politics and the rise of Narendra Modi, while another is about a young couple murdered by her brother because they’re from different castes.

Through the stories of generally interesting people, the book provides a lot of information about history, politics, and society, in a country undergoing rapid change. Sengupta is an award-winning journalist and so everything is provided in an easy-to-digest way. And she’s economical, packing it all into just 219 pages of text. The use of present tense for storytelling is a little odd, and the sections about the author were the least interesting parts of the book to me, but overall I enjoyed and learned from this. This book would be an excellent choice for anyone interested in India, and it makes a strong case for why those who aren’t yet should pay attention.
Profile Image for Matt Lieberman.
106 reviews16 followers
February 14, 2016
It's almost hard to believe now, but only several years ago India and China were deemed equally likely to be the economic "it" country that would be crucial to driving future global growth. India saw nearly double-digit growth in the mid-2000's and was even projected to see faster economic growth than China beginning in 2020. Today, India has largely taken a backseat to China, with the latter being seen as the global economic force and getting its own standalone section in The Economist. India is still likely to be a major player in the future, as the country has over 300 million citizens under 15 years old is set to pass the graying China as the world's most populous country around 2022. In The End of Karma, journalist Somini Sengupta chronicles how India's massive youth population is transforming the country and shaping its future through a handful of representative stories. The book is equally parts engrossing and illuminating and will leave the reader with a firm understanding of India and its future.

Sengupta's central thesis is that the gradual dismantling of India's state run economy in 1991 helped India's youth break free from the country's past and determine a new future for themselves. Caste and social standing no longer circumscribe Indians to a small geographic and occupational niche, as people can rise from a poverty-stricken caste to engineer in Bangalore or Silicon Valley. Sengupta illustrates her points through seven profiles of Indians from a variety of different social standings and Indian states. There is Anumpam and Verish using education to escape from their lower-caste upbringings, Varsha, a young woman from a caste of cleaners who is aspiring to be a cop in a country that can be dangerous for women, and Rahki who associates with Maoist rebels despite growing up in a decently prosperous household.The common thread between all of these stories are that the subjects are shaping their own destinies, a decently novel concept in a culture that has largely been bound by tradition in the past.

The End of Karma reads like 7 New York Times Magazine articles. While each story stands alone fine on its own, Sengupta will occasionally note similarities between her profiles and how they showcase similar themes. Sengupta covers the United Nations for paper and previously served as its New Dehli bureau chief. She writes with an eye for vivid details and helps bring settings ranging from the slums of Bihar to the gleaming luxury skyscrapers of Gurgaon alive to the reader. She also frequently points out how these individual stories showcase broader macro trends across the entire country and while the personal stories stand very well by themselves (I frequently found myself emotionally invested in the characters and rooted heavily them to succeed), the broader insights help leave the reader with a strong understanding of the major trends currently impacting the country, such as the sorry state of education, rise of Narendra Modi, and spate of urban violence against young women.

Overall, The End of Karma is a compelling read to anyone curious about India. It is well-written and insightful and serves as an excellent primer to the issues that will shape India's future. Sengupta seems to be aiming for a foreigner audience and some of her material may already be familiar to native Indians or those who have closely been following the country for the past decade or so, but if you fall outside of that camp there should be a lot to learn and enjoy from The End of Karma.

8 / 10
Profile Image for Eduardo Santiago.
603 reviews30 followers
August 17, 2021
When the scale of your problem is too vast, you break it down into manageable chunks -- or stories. This book is a manageable, feel-able, look into the tragic failures of a once-promising democracy. Seven stories, each centering around one or two individuals, each focusing on one aspect of the systemic failures. Sengupta hinges everything on the word "aspiration" and shows example after example of young people dreaming hard, working even harder, and invariably being shot down by a disastrous combination of corruption, poverty, ignorance, misogyny, and religious hatred. (Clarification: we're talking India here. Any similarities to other nations are purely intentional).

Compassionately written. Engaging. And so heartbreaking.
Profile Image for Brian Griffith.
Author 6 books214 followers
August 25, 2020
Sengupta explores the world of India’s biggest youth generation by getting to know seven young people scattered across India. These include a boy from a Patna slum who wins entry to a top engineering school, a young woman from the Jharkhand jungles who serves as a maid for middle class people in a gated community outside Delhi, an Adivasi tribal girl who has joined the communist rebels and been a child soldier, a social media addict from near Mumbai who faced riots by Hindu nationalists over a comment she made on Facebook, and a girl near Delhi who wants to become a police officer. The stories touch on themes that have rocked recent history in India: the rise of Hindu supremacists and the Modi government, the mushrooming of economic inequality as the economy lifts off, the abysmal failures of the nation's public schools, and the rise of a bold, demanding feminist movement. It’s a very helpful, human way to size up the realities and challenges facing a very self-reliant generation.
Profile Image for A Man Called Ove.
900 reviews217 followers
March 20, 2020
3.5/5 Poverty,Caste,Freedom of Speech,Orthodoxy,Violence,Politics - The author has done 7 stories on India's youth in the year 2013 and she has also narrated her own personal life alongwith them. Since reading commentary on contemporary India is one of my favourite genres, I picked this one as an easy read.
The stories were on expected lines and I ended up skimming a couple of them as I have read a no. of books on those topics - 2014 general elections and Maoism etc. The writing style was very good - her writing had insights, her commentary and a sense of detatched narration all in the right amounts.
Profile Image for Anup Umranikar.
19 reviews
March 10, 2016
"The End of Karma" is Somini Sengupta's explanation of the new modern India. This is not the India that just attained freedom, but is a fast-developing democracy. Sengupta has explored different aspects of this modern India by interviewing and narrating the lives of Indians from different walks of life. These people are predominantly young and optimistic about their future.

The book contains of multiple chapters, with each chapter dedicated to the life of a principal character, thereby exploring a different side of India. As she explains the person's situation and outlook, she also puts forth her views and her situation related to that same issue. Wherever applicable, she also explains the history and background to that issue. Due to these different aspects about a particular issue, the chapter seems "thorough" and well-researched.

The issues covered are multiple and varied: In "HI-FI", she talks about a smart student from a poor and lower-caste background, and his struggle to get into one of the best colleges in India and obtain a good education, in general. In this same chapter, she explains the Indian caste system and how it plays today with "reservation" (a quota-based affirmative action for backward castes). She covers the politics – both, current, and historical – of the region where her principal character of this chapter, Anupam, is based. In the latter parts of this chapter, Sengupta discusses the education system and the intense competition to get into the top colleges in the country, and how Anupam works his way through it all. This is an example of how thorough Sengupta's research is.

As she herself points out in the epilogue, it seems like the she has discussed chiefly the stories of the marginalized – a housemaid, a rebel, a murdered girl. She defends herself by saying that these are Indians too, and that their stories are just as important. Although I completely agree with her on this point, to make the book more "wholesome", I would have preferred reading about lives of people from Indian middle-class families also. She does discuss stories of some upper middle-class families, but I would have liked to see some more of those also. That said, India is such a large country, with such a diverse set of people, that no one book can cover all backgrounds, and so, my expectation for other backgrounds cannot be held against the book!

At the end of the book, she provides references and notes to topics she has discussed, which can serve useful to readers looking for more, as well as for those who don't know much about that topic.

"The End of Karma" is an excellent book for anyone with interest in India, its current affairs, and the lives of Indians.
Profile Image for Wendelle.
1,495 reviews17 followers
August 12, 2021
Seven local narratives that elucidate the current state of India, where the world's fastest growing population of young people have fierce, noble aspirations of social mobility and education but are hindered by a chronically enduring caste system, yawning chasms of economic inequality, the lack of jobs that are worthy of the capabilities and certifications of the young people, existing extremes of intergenerational poverty and malnutrition that handicap people even during their childhoods, and the national memory is seared with the images of the violence and rapes that occurred during the Partition. It also shows the additional burdens of an unreliable state: corruption is rife, funds that should go to state services vanish, electricity and water systems are unreliable, the middle class abandon public services such as public schools for their ineptitude and strive to keep themselves in oases of gated communities. At the same time, as the title states, India's incredible, intellectual youth are rapidly recognizing the end of karma: the end of belief that their destinies are engraved for them, the end of belief in systems that dictate their worth in life and the ambitions they could reach for.
Profile Image for Rachel.
294 reviews
August 30, 2019
An honest, well-written, and very insightful portrait of modern India. Sengupta does an amazing job telling the stories of seven different young Indians and weaving their personal stories into the larger narrative of current issues in India. I feel like I learned so much about India's (recent) history and shifting culture. I especially connected with the stories of Anupam, Mani, and Varsha. The political stuff in the middle kind of weighed me down, but overall I think that Sengupta shows the pride, dignity, and aspiration of India's younger generation without sugarcoating the very real issues of poverty, equality, and violence against women that are present in the country.
October 22, 2017
Unbelievable stories of hope, ambition, and fear

I read this book in preparation for a study abroad program to India. Having visited the country many times, and having grown up around family that live and grew up in the country, I didn't realize just how much I still had to learn about how its current state of being came to be and why. Thank you to the author for providing me this introduction.
Profile Image for Venky.
936 reviews337 followers
June 8, 2020
Taking recourse to seven diverse real life stories or rather strenuous struggles, Somini Sengupta reveals the arc of paradigm shift that is catapulted Indian into the forefront of global capitalism and economic development. An India that surges ahead with optimism, outlook, drive - a far cry from the sordid environment the author herself experienced in her younger days before she emigrated to the United States of America leaving behind a confused, desolate and desperate nation reeling from the after effects of an autocratic emergency imposed upon by a power hungry Prime Minister.

Somini Sengupta returns to India in the role of a correspondent for the New York Times and the panorama spread out before her eyes is one of a coruscation of ambition, iridescence of previously entrenched beliefs and an inescapable fervour that seems omniscient and omnipresent. Anupam, the son of a auto-rickshaw driver has his sights set on getting himself into the hallowed portals of one of the famed Indian Institute of Technology ("IIT") centres, an achievement that would redeem his family from the clutches of poverty, deprivation and squalor. Rakhi is a reluctant fundamentalist who joins the dreaded Maoist Rebellion in the jungles of Chattisgarh after her helpless family sinks into a quicksand of penury. Exasperated by the pressure of killing, the strains of camouflage and enervated by a constant fear of being either killed or captured by the armed forces, Rakhi takes the extraordinarily dangerous step of betraying her comrades and surrendering to the police. Under the aegis of a lackadaisical witness protection programme, Rakhi speaks to the author about the circumstances that led to her life taking a strange and unenviable twist, for the worse.

Somini Sengupta, in her book intertwines narratives, by dwelling into her own past and juxtaposing the chosen path of her protagonists thereby lending a stark albeit clear contrast. A contrast that both differentiates as well as integrates the India of the present from the India of the past. The stories are spontaneous and inspiring in addition to being the mirror that reflects the progression of India towards economic prosperity and also a regression unto social imbalance triggered by a still persistent medieval belief system that has at its edifice an ineradicable attitude towards caste, colour, creed, community and gender. It is this contrast, which as Somini Sengupta, illustrates in her work, cleaves India. While the son of an autorickshaw driver proves the power of meritocracy by securing a place for himself in an educational institution hitherto thought of as merely for the elitists, a pair of educated, well-to-do, real estate owning brothers murder their own kith and kin under the nauseating justification and ruse of 'honour killing'. It is also a cleave which on the one hand recognises that there is no future for a country that does not envisage an empowerment of the woman and the preservation of her dignity; while on the other hand leaves a woman lying without a stitch on, with her entrails streaming out of her on a busy stretch of a bustling road, not before the hapless victim was gang raped by a bunch of drunken perverts - in a moving bus.

"The End of Karma" is neither a fairy tale nor a gloomy portent. It is a binding narrative that tries to pry into the machinations of an economic superpower with the highest concentration of youth in its population, which in trying to punch beyond its weight has both succeeded and failed beyond all reasonable expectations.
255 reviews25 followers
February 28, 2017
It is hard to imagine a country with greater challenges and greater potential than India.
Profile Image for Gerald Hickman.
Author 10 books42 followers
February 28, 2016
This excellent book deals with India's young people since Independence. The changes and challenges for the cultures in this country are awesome.
The Karma as used in this title refers to the end of the caste system of old in the Indian sub-continent as I interpret this work. The author is a very skilled and professional writer. She lived in India as a young girl, and then her family moved to the USA. She returned to India to visit relatives frequently and then was transferred from New York to Calcutta and other areas of the country as a working journalist.
Her work and experiences in USA and India give the reader an opportunity to learn a vast amount about the people of India and especially the young persons who do not have a caste system to control their careers and social life.
I learned that I had ignored India and its peoples for many years of my life. My extent of knowledge was limited to information about wildlife and natural history of the area. One of my favorite authors was of English origin but born in India. This was Jim Corbett, the man who helped the villagers of the countryside in numerous cases when they had man-eating tigers and leopards to live with. This was during the time when India was part of the English Empire.
Since reading this fine book, I now have a better idea about India's efforts to maintain its democracy which began with independence.
After establishing a very good background about recent history, the author develops chapters that deal with case studies of individuals she has written about during her career and shows how India has struggled to maintain religious freedom for all and opportunity currently available which was impossible to achieve before independence of the country. Interesting to read and understand in my opinion.
Profile Image for Indira.
424 reviews
October 3, 2016
Full disclosure, I grew up with the author in the same Indian immigrant community so I am a bit biased as she was always that cool older sister you really admired. I knew I'd like the book before I read it and was tickled by the veiled shout out to my father in the opening pages. I really appreciated all the historical background she provided while telling the stories of the impressive individuals she showcased. I was also glad that she didn't sidestep the precarious dangerous and downright awful status of women in the country for I certainly felt that threat of violence when I spent extensive time in New Delhi in 2003. She didn't sugarcoat the multilayered problems of India which causes such ambivalent nostalgia and conflict for many of us. A really impressive, urgent and thought provoking collection of stories, it is a clarion of recognition, that Desi mothers and daughters, whatever their relationship with India may be, are incredibly conflicted in embracing the culture of a country that is so frustrating.
Profile Image for Imrankhan Mulla.
30 reviews5 followers
April 22, 2017
A book that follows the hope, expectations, and frustrations of those born in post-liberalization India; described as noonday's children(as opposed to midnight's children - those born around India's independence) by the writer. The writer returns after decades to India , the country of her birth, as chief editor of Nytimes India. It is both a journey of her discovery of the "new India" and stories that tell of the contradictions that it has become. A country torn between its traditions and its aspirations, between its ambitions and inequities, between its boundless expectations and the restricting realities. Well written - worth a read for a peek into new India. Author does try to remain neutral and not be too critical of India's failings, but perhaps only does as well as an outsider could.
631 reviews
September 23, 2016
Sengupta was a reporter for the Times and has traveled and written extensively. Born in India, but raised in the US, she returned to Delhi as a bureau chief for the Times, and she seems to have an intimate knowledge of India's history, culture and people. She interviews six very different young adults in India - from a maid in a fancy high rise to a budding Communist - and pieces together a sense for the challenges India faces now. A fairly new democracy - 1947 - India has one of the fastest growing populations; has immense challenges with illiteracy, poverty and unemployment; and is brokering clashes between old cultural norms (read caste stratifications and censorship) and new expectations (read belief in self determination and free speech).
Profile Image for Surabhi Yadav.
51 reviews6 followers
February 9, 2019
Aspirations are not just a reflection of devotion but also of aggression. The hunger 'to achieve something' is common in the youth of India who has such a clear vision of their success that it feels almost a reality to them instead of a distant dream. This spirit of India's young to chase their audacious bold dreams, bend the rules (either created by self or by the society), relentlessly push the boundaries is what Somini Sengupta has wonderfully captured in this book.

With literary beauty, the warmth of empathy, and acute awareness of India’s contextual realities, she writes about the lives of seven different individuals to shed light on the macro-level strengths and challenges facing contemporary India. She brilliantly outlines the socio-political landscape of the country with the help of individual experiences of a few people some of whom she shadowed over years. The writing style is very journalistic - much aligning to the author's career as a foreign correspondent for decades.

Read the book if you want a sneak peek into the social realities of India's young whose lives are constrained by resources and rules but not their imagination and courage to dream. This is not just for the international folks who might not be aware of Indian context but also for the urban educated class who might not have much experience of listening to the many who don't belong to their ideological bubble. The book might challenge your assumption about how complex it can get to define modern India which still is steeped into gender, caste, and religious inequality among other things.

Out of all the stories, I think, the last three stories which are focused on the lives of women are my favorite one. The stories do a great job of tying together various complex pieces: lawlessness around freedom of speech, the abuse of power of the 'protectors of the Indian culture', and the constant battle between individual freedom and community harmony.
Profile Image for Katie.
1,105 reviews53 followers
August 13, 2017
Well-written and -researched book about modern India, through the stories of seven young people handpicked to highlight certain trends in India's politics, culture, and society.

The author calls them "noonday children," as opposed to "midnight's children" as coined by Salman Rushdie in his seminal magical-realism novel about those children born at the moment of India's independence in 1947. The author juxtaposes that earthshaking transformation in the 1940's with modern-day India's growing pains associated with being an enormous, youthful, economically erratic 21st century country.

There really isn't any other place quite like India. Demographically speaking, its intense skew towards the young makes it a guessing game as to how all these people will make their living and not become a mass population of "precariat" (a term coined by a London economist to describe aimless and underemployed young people, who are tempted to get up to no good since their able-bodied selves are not being fully utilized by gainful employment).

Macro-analysis about the society at large is balanced out by the author with detailed looks at her seven subjects, which helps to personalize the points she is making about such enormous numbers of people that it's hard to examine carefully any other way.
2 reviews
September 14, 2017
I greatly enjoyed reading Somini Sengupta's book. Though I would only recommend it as something introductory to people curious to know more about contemporary Indian society, I found it very well-written and particularly easy to read for non-fiction. The author bases her portrait of modern India on a set of interviews that she holds personally with a few young people in India from different states, and with different stories and statuses, with whom she maintains contact over several years. She does so conscious of the fact that the stories of a handful cannot represent the experiences of all of India's youth, but rather finds them representative based on statistics that she borrows from various academic and official sources (UN, WHO, think tanks etc.)

The book seems well-researched. I enjoyed greatly her inclusion of personal details such as the influence of her pregnancy and the birth of her daughter on her writing, and the direction of the book.

Though at times I was frustrated not to learn anything new in content, the book brought novelty in its style and personal touch.
43 reviews
December 1, 2017
This is a very interesting book, even for someone like me who didn't have a particular interest in India before reading the book (I received an ARC). The author is a journalist, which is pretty obvious in her writing style, since she uses the examples of ordinary people to tell her story. While I'm usually not a fan of this approach, I feel she handled the individual stories well enough to make the point she was trying to make.
It is also quite obvious that she has a deep passion for the issues she raises, and a desire to do what she can about the ills of Indian society that are affecting the lives of many unsuspecting young people. The book also makes a good case (intentionally or nor) on how tradition can trap people, limit their dreams and ambition, and overall reduce their chances to be happy.
Profile Image for Abhijit.
31 reviews1 follower
March 4, 2018
"For centuries, an Indian's destiny has been scripted in the womb. There, it was determined whether you could go to school or look a policeman in the eye, what work you did, who you married and if you could wear diamond studs in your ears.
Noonday's generation is not like the generations that have come before it. These young Indians expect democracy to deliver something- for them. The idea of democracy is no longer just topsoil, to invoke Bhimra Ambedkar, India's first law minister. It has become very much part of the undersoil. Millions of Indians coming of age in the last two decade take it for granted that they ought to be able to make their own fate. They are hardly going to bottle their aspirations forever. They may not give their elders much time. They can be pushy."
Profile Image for Partha.
12 reviews1 follower
January 28, 2019
This book haunted me, and somehow rhe bongness of the author hit a note like not many bong authors have. It felt like really having a chat with her at India Coffee House in Kolkata over chicken cutlet and black coffee. Her research is amazing. Her story weaving is rich. She never forgets a character, and always returns to reference older characters in her newer chapters. Every time i read the book i felt invigorated, enlightened and positive. Shes unbiased, true to her profession and just does such a fab job. I ended the book with moist eyes.
119 reviews
October 13, 2022
The author of the book was driven to explore the question of what the youth of India want. To do so, she picked about eight characters and explored their stories. Readers are introduced to youth who are ambitious, apathetic, thwarted, supported, political, and apolitical. It meshed well with several books I have read in recent years with a connection to India, such as Global Maoism, Magic Seeds, and One Thousand Cranes for India. I really love these books by journalists that combine the personal with the factual.
Profile Image for Stormy.
205 reviews12 followers
September 28, 2018
Appreciated this author's knowledge of two democracies - the U.S. and India's. In addition, her heritage of India and U.S. citizenship since childhood made it an enlightening read. She took 6 young women and one young man in poor regions of India and explained about their lives, aspirations, and challenges.
Next I am reading How Democracies Die for another bookclub. In Great Decisions 2018 topics we had been seeing challenges and history of Democracies from Rome forward.
198 reviews7 followers
November 20, 2022
This book is just superb - Somini Sengupta is a superb writer who is crisp while being compassionate. This is the story of India post 1947 with a focus on six stories involving young people at the margin. Women’s lives continue to have limited value. Castes still prevail and yet so much progress has been made. As India is on the verge of becoming the most populous in the world, this is an important story to read. I couldn’t put it down.
21 reviews8 followers
May 28, 2017
I quite enjoyed this book. It offers a glimpse into how India is changing through the eyes of 7 of its young people. The author also posed some important questions about the future - questions that apply not only to India but to the world.
Profile Image for Alon Shalev.
Author 15 books122 followers
May 8, 2017
Stunning Book

For anyone who has allowed India under their skin, this book weaves through the lives of several young people - the future of India - and, in doing so, helps us understand both India's past and present.

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