According to current projections, India will overtake China to become the most populous country on Earth by 2050. Its 1.6 billion people will live in the world's second-largest economy, after China but ahead of the United States and the European Union. A democracy and an open society compared to China, India's destiny matters deeply to a West whose influence in shaping the 21st century will decline as that of these two Asian giants and other emerging economies in Africa and Latin America rise. In India in the 21st Century, Mira Kamdar, a fellow at the Asia Society and the World Policy Institute and an award-winning author, offers readers an introduction to India today in all its complexity. An ancient civilization tracing its roots back 5,000 years, the Republic of India was the first of Europe's former colonies to gain independence in the mid-20th century. With institutions of governance and a legal system inherited from the British, as well as the English language, India has the potential to function as a "bridge nation" between Asia and the West, between the advanced economies of the global North and the developing countries of the South.
As such, India is set to play a critical role in how our world evolves during the coming decades. In a concise question-and-answer format, Kamdar addresses India's history, including its colonial legacy and independence movement; the political and social structures in place today; its rapidly growing economy and financial system; the geopolitical landscape of the 21st century and India's place in global politics; and the environmental concerns faced by the country, among other topics. She explores India's contradictions and complications, from its worringly narrow politics of patronage to its willingness to censor information by banning books and controlling internet content. At the same time, Kamdar celebrates the merging of India's muticultural landscape and deep artistic and intellectual heritage with the dawning of the Information Age and the expansion of mass media, which have made it one of the world's 21st-century cultural powerhouses. With clarity and balance, Kamdar brings her in-depth knowledge of the country and eloquent writing style to bear in this focused and incisive addition to Oxford's highly successful What Everyone Needs to Know series.
Mira Kamdar is the author of the award-winning Motiba's Tattoos, as well as Planet India. She is formerly a member of The New York Times Editorial Board, writing on international affairs. Her work has also appeared in Slate, The Washington Post, The Times of India, the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune, and the World Policy Journal.
Introduction: India: Past and Future Present ; Part One: How India Got to the 21st Century ; Section I: India's Civilizational Legacy ; Section II: India and Western Expansion ; Section III: India's Independence Movement ; Section IV: A New Republic ; Section V: The 1990s and early 2000s: Setting the Stage for the 21st Century ; Part Two: Will the 21st Century be India's Century? ; Section I: Economy ; Section II: Geopolitics ; Section III: Society ; Section IV: Environment ; Conclusion