Being Indian

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9780143033424: Being Indian

In the 21st century every sixth human being will be Indian. India is very close to becoming the second largest consumer market in the world, with a buying middle class numbering over half a billion. The Indian economy is already the fourth largest in terms of purchasing power parity. It is in the top ten in overall GNP. Yet at least 200 million Indians remain desperately poor. Illiteracy rates are high. Communal violence is widespread; corruption endemic. Brides are still tortured and burnt for dowries; female infanticide is common. The caste system has lost little of its power and none of its brutality How are we to make sense of these apparently contradictory pictures of India today? And how can we overcome the many misconceptions about India that are fed by western stereotypes and Indians' own myths about themselves. Pavan Varma turns a sharply observant gaze on his fellow countrymen to examine what really makes Indians tick. How, for example, does the indifference of most middle-class Indians to the suffering of the poor square with their enthusiasm for parliamentary democracy? How can a people who so supported Mahatma Gandhi's strategy of non-violence during the struggle for independence burn young brides for their dowries and beat domestic servants to near-death? Why do Indians have a reputation for being spiritual and 'other-wordly' when their traditions so exalt the pursuit of material well-being as a principal goal of life? Drawing on sources as diverse as ancient Sanskrit treatises and Bollywood lyrics, Pavan Varma creates a vivid and compelling portrait of India and its people. Being Indian is an essential book for anyone who wishes to understand Indians, and for Indians who wish to understand themselves.

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In the 21st century every sixth human being will be Indian. India is very close to becoming the second largest consumer market in the world, with a buying middle class numbering over half a billion.It is in the top ten in overall GNP. Yet at least 200 million Indians remain desperately poor. Illiteracy rates are high. Communal violence is widespread; corruption endemic. Brides are still tortured and burnt for dowries; the caste system has lost little of its power and none of its brutality.

How are we to make sense of these two, apparently contradictory, pictures of India today? And how can we overcome the many misconceptions about India that are fed by the stereotypes created by foreigners and the myths about themselves projected by Indians? In Being Indian, Pavan Varma, whom the Guardian has called 'one of the country's most perceptive writers', demolishes the myths and generalisations as he turns his sharply observant gaze on his fellow countrymen to examine what really makes Indians tick and what they have to offer the world in the 21st century.

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Pavan K. Varma
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Varma, Pavan K.
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Book Description Penguin, New Delhi, India. Paperback. Book Condition: New. First Edition. This book is a new and dramatically different inquiry into what India and being Indian mean in the new millennium. Such an inquiry is especially relevant today when the world's largest democracy is also a nuclear power, a potentially major economic power poised to emerge as the second largest consumer market in the world, and a growing force in information technology. Misconceptions about India and Indians abound, fed by the stereotypes created by foreigners, and the myths about themselves projected by Indians. In Being Indian, Pavan K.Varma demolishes these myths and generalizations as he turns his sharply observant gaze on his fellow countrymen to examine what really makes Indians tick and what they have to offer the world in the 21st century. Varma's insightful analysis of the Indian personality and the culture that has created it reaches startling new conclusions on the paradoxes and contradictions that characterize Indian attitudes towards issues such as power, wealth and spirituality. How, for example, does the appalling indifference of most Indians to the suffering of the poor and the inequities of the caste system square with their enthusiastic championing of parliamentary democracy? And why do Indians have a reputation for being spiritual and `other-worldly' when their philosophy and tradition exalt the pursuit of material well-being —artha—as a principal goal of life? The book also examines India's future prospects as an economic, military and technological power, providing valuable pointers to the likely destiny of a nation of one billion people. Drawing on sources as diverse as ancient Sanskrit treatises and Bollywood lyrics, and illuminating his examples with a wealth of telling anecdotes, Pavan Varma creates a vivid and compelling portrait of Indians as he argues that they will survive and flourish in the new millennium precisely because of what they are, warts and all, and not because of what they think they are or would like to be. This book, which will stimulate reflection, discussion and controversy, is a must read for both foreigners who wish to understand Indians and Indians who wish to understand themselves. Printed Pages: 325. Size: 14 Cms x 22 Cms. Bookseller Inventory # 024759

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Book Description Penguin Books India, 2005. Softcover. Book Condition: New. 15 x 23 cm. Misconceptions about India and Indians abound, fed by the stereotypes created by foreigners, and the myths about themselves projected by Indians. In Being Indian, Pavan K.Varma demolishes these myths and generalizations as he turns his sharply observant gaze on his fellow countrymen to examine what really makes Indians tick and what they have to offer the world in the 21st century. Varma?s insightful analysis of the Indian personality and the culture that has created it reaches startling new conclusions on the paradoxes and contradictions that characterize Indian attitudes towards issues such as power, wealth and spirituality. How, for example, does the appalling indifference of most Indians to the suffering of the poor and the inequities of the caste system square with their enthusiastic championing of parliamentary democracy? The book also examines India?s future prospects as an economic, military and technological power, providing valuable pointers to the likely destiny of a nation of one billion people. Drawing on sources as diverse as ancient Sanskrit treatises and Bollywood lyrics, and illuminating his examples with a wealth of telling anecdotes, Pavan Varma creates a vivid and compelling portrait of Indians as he argues that they will survive and flourish in the new millennium precisely because of what they are, warts and all, and not because of what they think they are or would like to be. This book, which will stimulate reflection, discussion and controversy, is a must read for both foreigners who wish to understand Indians and Indians who wish to understand themselves. Printed Pages: 248. Bookseller Inventory # 22453

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Book Description Penguin Books India, 2005. Softcover. Book Condition: New. 15 x 23 cm. Misconceptions about India and Indians abound, fed by the stereotypes created by foreigners, and the myths about themselves projected by Indians. In Being Indian, Pavan K.Varma demolishes these myths and generalizations as he turns his sharply observant gaze on his fellow countrymen to examine what really makes Indians tick and what they have to offer the world in the 21st century. Varma’s insightful analysis of the Indian personality and the culture that has created it reaches startling new conclusions on the paradoxes and contradictions that characterize Indian attitudes towards issues such as power, wealth and spirituality. How, for example, does the appalling indifference of most Indians to the suffering of the poor and the inequities of the caste system square with their enthusiastic championing of parliamentary democracy? The book also examines India’s future prospects as an economic, military and technological power, providing valuable pointers to the likely destiny of a nation of one billion people. Drawing on sources as diverse as ancient Sanskrit treatises and Bollywood lyrics, and illuminating his examples with a wealth of telling anecdotes, Pavan Varma creates a vivid and compelling portrait of Indians as he argues that they will survive and flourish in the new millennium precisely because of what they are, warts and all, and not because of what they think they are or would like to be. This book, which will stimulate reflection, discussion and controversy, is a must read for both foreigners who wish to understand Indians and Indians who wish to understand themselves. Printed Pages: 248. Bookseller Inventory # 22453

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