Monday, June 4, 2007

In Spite of the Gods

I have read a few books in the past couple of years that are either set in India or tell the story of Indian immigrants to the United States. I wish I had read this book before then, because it filled in a lot of gaps I had in beginning to understand the history and current situation in India. Luce is obviously an admirer of Indian culture and sees its potential as a major player on the international stage, but he also illuminates many of the obstacles standing in the way of progress, most notably corruption and intense poverty. It is a story of contradiction--where secularism is ensconced but religious strife and caste still persists, where in some parts of India only 80 girls are born for every 100 boys due to selective abortion but a country which has elected several female leaders, including one of the former untouchable class. I was especially interested in the complex relationships India has with both China and the United States. This is really intended to be a sort of introductory primer on the current role of India, and I gained a lot of information to put any further readings on India in a much better context.

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