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Rogue Elephant

By Simon Denyer

Made available by Vishal Modi in Mumbai

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At the beginning of the twenty-first century, India seemed to stand on the brink of an exciting new era. Second only to China as the fastest growing major economy in the world, gleaming shopping malls were being built around the country to service a rapidly expanding middle class, and mobile phones were reaching even the remotest villages. The installation of Manmohan Singh as Prime Minister in 2004 seemed to promise more good times ahead. Singh had unleashed 'shining' India's potential more than a decade before as finance minister, introducing the liberalising economic reforms that had set the country on a new course towards prosperity. Yet a decade later, the dream has crumbled. A series of corruption scandals has badly tarnished the nation's image and undermined its self-confidence, while the economy has slowed and violence against women has dominated the headlines. Their country is no longer 'shining' and Indians are left wondering where the magic has gone. Reporting from across India, meeting activists, farmers, factory and office workers and media figures, and interviewing influential political leaders including Narendra Modi, Rahul Gandhi and Arvind Kejriwal, Denyer exposes the battles taking place all across the nation between powerful vested interests and those trying to foster change. By delving into many of the country's most troublesome issues, from gender relations to education, from corruption to populist politics, he analyses the Indian malaise and, equally important, discovers signs of new and vigorous life and a deep desire for change. If the world's largest democracy can control the greed, corruption and bad governance that bedevils it, its future may indeed be truly dazzling.

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