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India Calling by Anand Giridharadas

Written by: Suba Subramanium


Book cover
India Calling by Anand Giridharadas


India Calling by Anand Giridharadas was published in the United States by Times Books, in January, 2011. The book is all about the author returning to his roots. Anand Giridharadas is a young American-born writer, who returns to India and discovers an old country turning a new leaf. In his book, Giridharadas brings to life the people and the dilemmas of India today, through the perspective of his family history and his childhood memories of India. The reader is introduced to entrepreneurs, radicals, industrialists, religious seekers and Indian families.

India Calling showcases how parents and children, husbands and wives, cousins and siblings are reinventing relationships, and redefining the meaning of Indian traditions. Through endearing stories of other people and his own, Giridharadas paints a warm sketch of a country becoming modern while striving to remain itself. Here’s an excerpt from ‘India Calling’ to help you get a glimpse of Giridharadas style of writing and line of thought:
India was erupting in dreams.

  • The dream of a roof of one’s own. The dream to break caste. The dream to bring a cell phone to every Indian with someone to call. The dream to buy out businesses in the kingdom that once colonized you. The dream to marry for love, all the complicated family considerations be damned. The dream to become rich. The dream to overthrow the rich in revolution.
  • It was the very existence of such brazen, unapologetic dreams, and their diffuse flowering from one end of India to the other, that so decisively separated the present from the past – and separated the India my parents had left from the India to which I had now returned.
  • The Indian revolution was within. It was a revolution in private life, in the tenor of emotions and the nature of human relationships. The very fabric of Indianness – the meaning of being a husband or wife, a factory owner or factory worker, a mother-in-law or daughter-in-law, a student or teacher – was slowly, gently unraveling by the force of these dreams, and allowing itself to be woven in new ways.


And here’s what The New York Times and Amartya Sen have to say about the book:

1. “India Calling is a fine book, elegant, self-aware and unafraid of contradictions and complexity. Giridharadas captures fundamental changes in the nature of family and class relationships and the very idea of what it means to be an Indian.”—The New York Times Book Review
2. An enormously readable book in which everyone, at home in India or abroad, will find something distinctive and altogether challenging.”—Amartya Sen, Nobel laureate in Economics

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Anand Giridharadas is the author of “India Calling: An Intimate Portrait of a Nation’s Remaking.” He writes the “Currents” column for The New York Times and its global edition, the International Herald Tribune: it explores fresh ideas, global culture and the social meaning of technology, among other subjects. A native of Cleveland, Ohio, and a graduate of the University of Michigan, he worked in Bombay as a management consultant until 2005, when he began reporting from that city for the Herald Tribune and the Times. He now lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Sign up to join his regular newsletter here.

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