An Intimate Portrait of a Nation's Remaking
By Anand Giridharadas
(Times Books, Hardcover, 9780805091779, 288pp.)
Publication Date: January 4, 2011
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Reversing his parents' immigrant path, a young American-born writer returns to India and discovers an old country making itself new
Anand Giridharadas sensed something was afoot as his plane from America prepared to land in Bombay. An elderly passenger looked at him and said, "We're all trying to go that way," pointing to the rear. "You, you're going this way?"
Giridharadas was returning to the land of his ancestors, amid an unlikely economic boom. But he was interested less in its gold rush than in its cultural upheaval, as a new generation has sought to reconcile old traditions and customs with new ambitions and dreams.
In "India Calling," Giridharadas brings to life the people and the dilemmas of India today, through the prism of his emigre family history and his childhood memories of India. He introduces us to entrepreneurs, radicals, industrialists, and religious seekers, but, most of all, to Indian families. He shows how parents and children, husbands and wives, cousins and siblings are reinventing relationships, bending the meaning of Indianness, and enduring the pangs of the old birthing the new.
Through their stories, and his own, he paints an intimate portrait of a country becoming modern while striving to remain itself.