Elia Isabel Freeman Isabel Freeman من عند Elevation, NC, الولايات المتحدة
My limited view of India was of a country of Bollywood movies, curry, Indian customer service call centers, poverty, hundreds of millions of people, slums and more poverty. This pretty readable book gave me a, well, broader view of India. It's a crazy place--incredible diversity with a democracy that seems to work. Some facts just stuck with me: less than 10% of India's 1.1 billion people work in the formal work force and 80% of them work for the government. The bureaucracy is monumentally corrupt--most workers don't even show up for work but still get paid. There are more than 600,000 Indian villages--most without electricity or running water. There is only a 65% literacy rate. Most do not go to school (the teachers don't show up)but the tech universities churn out thousands of brilliant engineers. The caste system is alive and well, mostly as an economic classifier. We think our Christian fundamentalists are a threat to US civil liberties? The Hindu nationalist movement makes them look like pussycats. In Spite of the Gods gives you an idea of the forces that have shaped India--religious, historic, economic, cultural. There are some good anecdotes, interviews and enough data to satisfy anyone. And, since India will surpass China in population this century, and it's a nuclear power, and its economy will become the 3rd largest pretty soon, maybe we should take a look at it a bit more closely. "Remember, India always wins," as the author says.