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With a novelist's eye for detail and colour, Gita Mehta writes of the continent of contradictions that is host to one-sixth of the world's population. The world's largest democracy, it still practices the caste system. It's a burgeoning economic superpower, and one of the poorest nations on earth. It has the world's largest film industry, and the world's oldest religions. It is an ancient civilisation celebrating fifty years as a modern nation, entering a new international order many believe will belong to China and India. Now as never before, the world wants to know what contemporary India is all about.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780099268222
ISBN-10: 0099268221
Format: Paperback
(198mm x 129mm x 14mm)
Pages: 240
Imprint: Vintage
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
Publish Date: 26-Mar-1998
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

Reviews

US Kirkus Review » Short essays about the "alarming speed with which India is changing," by an admired novelist (A River Sutra, 1993, etc.). Mehta, born in India before her country gained independence, lived through that period with a child's alert imagination and has been passionately studying the place ever since - although, as she makes plain here, her identity is as much cosmopolitan (with moorings in London and Manhattan) as Indian. While some of these pieces seem too hectic, possessing a heady, dashed-off quality, Mehta's quickness of mind and pen is also her strength. She can plunge us into the intensely remembered girlhood pleasures of reading Nabokov and Kerouac and "Archie" comics in Calcutta's impromptu lending libraries. She can precisely catch the differences between a concert audience in India and another in America: "Art is not just something displayed by the talented to a passive audience," she writes, observing an Indian singer, "but, rather, that moment when the artist, the audience, the subject, the discipline - all combine to become something approaching religious experience, a moment of mutual creation." Mehta also tells spirited personal Stories of her adventures and researches, such as seeking out ragpickers to find out how they live. She's very good on the ethics of power: "The most interesting evolution in independent India is the change from individual fearlessness in the face of social and political injustice to craven courting of those who possess social and political power." Shrewdly, she avoids generalizing about India, concentrating instead on a wide range of quite specific topics - e.g., the spiritual meaning of trees to Indians; interior design as a clue to the country's character; the coming of high-tech and shopping malls to the land of Gandhi. Pugnacious in tone and irreverent in critique, Mehta clearly loves her home and is maddened by it. (Kirkus Reviews)


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Author Biography - Gita Mehta

In addition to her books Karma Cola, Raj, A River Sutra and Snakes and Ladders, Gita Metha has written articles for a number of Indian, European and American magazines, and filmed documentaries for European and American television. Her books have been translated into thirteen languages and published in twenty-seven countries. She lives in New York, London and India.

Books By Author Gita Mehta

River Sutra by Gita Mehta

A River Sutra

Paperback, May 2007
$16.89
Raj by Gita Mehta

Raj

Paperback, May 2007
$26.99
Ganesh by Gita Mehta

Ganesh

Hardback, October 2006
$34.19