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'Hitchiker's guide to democratic palsy'

Book review of Despite the State: Why India Lets Its People Down and How They Cope

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BOOK REVIEW | Indian democracy | Journalism

Suhit Kelkar 

Book cover
Book cover of Despite the State: Why India Lets Its People Down and How They Cope

It is a truth generally known in India that success comes to most Indians not because of the state, but despite the state. Most Indians simply cannot rely on their governments — local, state or Union — to lift them or at least push them some of the way towards the fulfilment of their aspirations or even many basic needs. At best, the Indian state offers indifference and at worst, existential pain to most of its citizens. These hapless folks, trapped in the jaws of government “process” or bad decisions, look forward with anxiety or outrage to loss of cash or even their dreams, or at the very extreme end, their lives. The point is that the title and theme of this book will leave most Indians unsurprised.

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First Published: Fri, February 19 2021. 22:29 IST
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