Book review: Is this India’s moment?

For the May/June issue of Foreign Affairs, I’ve reviewed a big new book on India by the economist Ashoka Mody, India is Broken. Amidst the hype about India’s geopolitical moment in the sun, Mody’s book offers a rather sobering take. Mody’s thesis is straightforward: after 75 years of independence, India’s democracy and economy are fundamentally broken.

Here’s an excerpt from the review:

India Is Broken methodically demolishes the bumper-sticker version of India’s story that CEOs and politicians conjure at glitzy international conferences such as the World Economic Forum in Davos. It takes readers on a tour of India’s dark underbelly, where corruption has triumphed over compassion, and democracy exists in theory but rarely in practice. Many recent critiques of India’s trajectory focus on Hindu nationalism and the rise of the BJP. But Mody goes further by connecting the failures of successive Indian governments—alternately led by the Congress, the BJP, and smaller regional parties—since independence, showing the deep roots of India’s troubles.

India is Broken is a provocative book—a useful corrective that perhaps too often over-corrects. Mody’s account is powered by simple binaries that do not always stand up to scrutiny.

Here’s a paywall-free link of the review, which you can also find below as a PDF.