Book review: India Rising, By Oliver Balch

Posted: September 2, 2013 in Uncategorized
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If you are keen on cycling the 2014 Indian Adventure, from the famous Taj Mahal in Agra, to the southern tip of India at Kanyakumari, this is a book you really should have on your list. Image


Oliver Balch is fascinated by the transitional India, or the New India, as he calls it. He has travelled to the country numerous times and during his latest exploration he follows the curious trail of entrepreneurs and successful modern Indians as they embrace the ever-changing landscape. Not only is it a well-researched and informed read, but it is also brilliantly written in a very engaging manner that neither judges nor belittles the people he meets. From billionaire self-starters and mavericks, to rag pickers and teah wallahs, Balch searches for the characters behind India’s expansion of its middle classes: the everyday man who has created an extraordinary life for himself.  The people that Balch meets are colorful, creative and truly inventive. They see obstacles as challenges and meet them with a gleeful approach. They are experimental and fearless.


Through numerous interviews, expertly captured by Balch, whispers of ancient India can be heard as the New India bubbles and boils to a vivid life. There’s a lot of detail in the book. It is not a quick read but rather a slow languorous journey of meeting people who offer us, through the empathic eyes of a professional journalist, insights into an ever-changing country. Balch has clearly taken no shortcuts whilst capturing India’s zeitgeist.  A must read.


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