February 28, 2013

Inspite of the Gods - Edward Luce - Book Review

Hi Guys,

I rarely read Non Fiction books. After being recommended by a few professors, I decided to read the book ‘Inspite of the Gods’ – The Strange Rise of Modern India written by Edward Luce. A superb book written by Edward Luce that has in-depth research on India and its growth story.

As the title suggests, the book deals with how India grew despite the Gods being against the country. At many places in the book you will seriously feel ‘God Save the Country’. Already many of us know much about the politicians in our country. If you want a more detailed knowledge or the naked face, this is a much read book for you.

The book starts with how India grew after its Independence and how India has grown from the past. After that he writes about the Bureaucrats of the country whom he calls ‘The Burra Sahibs’ (Big Bosses). He speaks of how bribe, corruption and bureaucracy have stalled the growth of the country. Then he writes about the issues of the Lower Castes in the country and the history of how it came into existence and how various political parties play with the castes. In this chapter Luce has described his interviews with Lalu Prasad Yadav and Amar Singh.

Then he moves into the Hindu nationalism that has been a constant threat to the Country’s Secularism. He goes deep into the Gujarat Riots and the various other movements of the Hindu Nationalistic groups and how are no different from the others.

Then he goes to the Congress party. He researches about the Nehru – Gandhi Dynasty and how the Congress party can’t survive without them. In this chapter, the story of Arun Jaitley and his Delhi Cricket Association Secretary days are exposed. Luce concludes that in this country, ‘If you are rich and important, you rarely pay. If you poor, you usually pay through the nose. And there is no guarantee that you will get what you paid for’

Next he moves into the Muslim people of this country and analyze the problems of Kashmir and Pakistan. He says that the people of Kashmir are exhausted and they want to live. They don’t care which country they belong to. He further goes on to say that though it is said that they are separate from the society, Indian Muslims have all the complexities of the society. He concludes that they are no separate entity and they are better than their counterparts in other parts of the world.

In the next chapter, he discusses the triangular relationship between India, China and USA. He analyzes how US was with China and Pakistan in the early days and how they have come close to India now. He also says that USA is backing India mainly for the reason that India is the only country that is atleast capable enough of tackling China. He also depicts the importance of relationship between India and China and the increasing trade between the countries.

In the final chapter, he discusses the multilayered dimensions of modern Indian Economy. He portrays how life is different for some and how it remains the same for many. He says despite modernity, how the roots remain and how it continues to trouble the country.

Finally he concludes saying ‘Hers to Lose’. He writes that despite having many differences the country moves in One Direction. It might take time, but the way India moves is like an Elephant – Slow yet Strong.

It was a different experience reading this book. A very insightful book that had many factual data and in depth research. If you have interest in knowing how India performs and the various nuances in the country, it is a must read for you.

Happy Reading!!!


  1. Nice review..I will try to read this book after reading your review on it...It is good to know there is a book like this !!

  2. I think that the author has nicely threaded all the major issues that seem to dent our countrys progress! Nicely reviewed karthick, have a nice day :)


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