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India Unbound: from Independence to the Global Information age

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  5,062 ratings  ·  275 reviews
India Unbound is the riveting story of a nation’s rise from poverty to prosperity and the clash of ideas that occurred along the way. Gurcharan Das examines the highs and lows of independent India through the prism of history, his own experiences and those of numerous others he has met—from young people in sleepy UP villages to chiefs of software companies in Bangalore. De ...more
Kindle Edition, 432 pages
Published August 1st 2015 by Portfolio (first published January 1st 2000)
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4.06  · 
Rating details
 ·  5,062 ratings  ·  275 reviews

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Riku Sayuj

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 economy of post independent India till the onset of software revolution. Written in an easy to understand language yet so compelling and scholarly.
Read if you want to know about the problems people faced during the license raj and why reforms were necessary. Its not your standard economics book, it is mixed with a flair of story telling and author's own experiences thus making this a fascinating read. It is just a casual read book still invokes i
Vibina Venugopal
Jul 28, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 08, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: india, reviews
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
Jerry Jose
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
Palash Bansal
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
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
Hemant Joshi
Oct 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 04, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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
Anurag Chilukuri
Oct 07, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Aug 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Aditya Kulkarni
May 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
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.
Sneha Divakaran
Jul 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Shrinivas Devshatwar
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 d
Nov 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
"They say that the measure of a civilization is how it treats its women. Since coming to Delhi I have met many women who long for Bombay. My wife explains that Bombay gives women dignity. If Bombay respects women, Delhi looks on them as sex objects. In Bombay, she can take a taxi at midnight; in Delhi a girl cannot walk freely on the street in the evening. It seems that it takes more than education to bring civilization." (pg 231) "It took Ramesh Chauhan decades of sweat, toil, and brand buildin ...more
Dec 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was suggested to me by a friend when i shared my enthusiasm about reading India after gandhi and a work on Nehru by Walter Crocker. Those two books instilled in me a huge respect for Nehru for preserving democracy and free speech in our country when all the socialist oriented nations were paradoxically killing social liberalism. This book has given a glimpse onto economic conditions of india while the other two were much more oriented towards political and foreign policies of independent in ...more
Sharath Chandra Darsha
After reading the book, I came to know the importance of 1991 economic reforms. It was so sad to know that policies introduced by Nehru and his contemporary leaders with good intentions in fact had a negative impact on our economy. Nehru and his planners did not trust Indian private entrepreneurs, So they made the state the entrepreneur. It was a failure leading to corruption, non-accountability of public employees and less returns for tax payers money. Moreover, Indira Gandhi made the situation ...more
Sep 21, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
‘India unbound’ is an interesting commentary on the socio-economic and political landscape of India and the way it has influenced the mindset and lives of the Indian citizens over the period of 50 years starting from 1947 to 1999. The author has to be congratulated for his ability to traverse the complex issues of politics, society and business and to relate them finely with the prevailing social conditions and with the aftermath of the government policies. The book is a great mix of a memoir, a ...more
Danish Zahoor
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
Vignesh CV
Jun 16, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
A very detailed account of the transformation of india over the 60 years of independence.A very important factor for a political book is to remain neutral and analyse deeply the cause ie not just stating facts and calling them a mistake.Das analyses the cause for the mistakes and describes the situation at the time and the mindset of the politicians with which the policies where laid out.
Throughout the book,the reforms of 1991 are stressed on a lot and the book can be divided into before 1991 an
Jul 10, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Re-read India Unbound after 8 years. Feels like meeting an old friend whom you remember having a deep connection with, but whom you no longer relate to.

As I've told many, many people since I first read the book - I first discovered Government and Policy with India Unbound, a few months before I joined college. Reading the book was pivotal to many of my personal and professional choices.

I feel differently about the book now. Many of the caricatures are flimsy, and many of the generalisations pe
Rakshit Ranjan
Dec 27, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
India Unbound can best be described as the economic history of India. The ideas and the facts presented in the book very intricately weave a story around how the economics of India developed through the citing of personal experiences and cultural and psychological reasons for the same.

The book is written from the perspective of a former CEO and one can feel that the account is biased to a large extent. It is a rant against the mixed economy model adopted by the Indian state at the time of Indep
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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
“When individuals blunder, it is unfortuante and their families go down. When rulers fail, it is a national tragedy” 8 likes
“Good intentions are useless in the absence of common sense. —JAMI, BAHARISTAN” 7 likes
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