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Daniel Lak Listings

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1 Daniel Lak
India Express: The Future of a New Superpower
Penguin/Viking; New Delhi, India; 2008; 0670082341 / 9780670082346; First Edition; Hardcover; New; New; 
India Express is a fast-paced analysis of India’s potential role as ‘Asia’s America’. Daniel Lak has covered the region for two decades and draws on his detailed knowledge of the country’s lesser-known byways to bring together a complex canvas of interviews, anecdotes, statistics and history. From the ghats of Varanasi to the campus of IIT Kharagpur to a polling booth in rural Bihar, Lak argues that India’s plural democracy, its rule of law, entrepreneurial talent and military might are together fashioning a country that is globally respected and increasingly influential. What marks this book out from the many voices proclaiming India’s nascent superpower status is Lak’s clear-sighted grasp of the agents and forces of change in the country today. Acknowledging India’s uninterrupted engagement with democracy as unique in the region, the author points out that the growing political heft of the urban middle classes, linked to a historic strengthening of liberal institutions in the country, is part of a process whereby key blocs of voters exchange their political support for government patronage. Coalition governments—a widely accepted sign of democratic maturity—are both a testament to Indian political pragmatism and a de-facto devolution of central authority in a country that has struggled for most of its independent existence with an imbalance of power among centre, states and communities. Printed Pages: 336. 024220

Price: 11.25 USD
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2 Daniel Lak
Mantras of Change: Reporting India in a Time of Flux
Penguin/Viking; New Delhi, India; 2005; 0-67-005826-5; First Edition; Hard Cover; New; New; 
Daniel Lak’s foray into writing a book on India started with a non-image. When, towards the end of his three-year stint as a BBC correspondent in India, he was accused by a young university student of portraying stereotypical images of the country in his report—bullock carts, cows ambling in the streets, snake charmers surrounded by enthralled spectators—he was completely taken aback. This got him questioning the images of India portrayed by the media, especially the Western media. Mantras of Change: Reporting India in a Time of Flux brings to the fore the face of a new India, a country that is in a constant and prolonged state of social and economic ferment, largely driven by the aspirations of people at every level, fuelled by the many forces that are beyond the control of the government or the increasingly powerful private sector. Bullock carts and snake charmers are deliberately set aside as Lak offers a glimpse of life in changing India based on his travels and encounters with people along the way. Witty and provocative, the essays talk about the information technology boom and its impact, the sexual revolution, environmental degradation, the breakdown of family structures and, of course, poverty and caste. In a series of sharply drawn portraits, the book introduces us to a policeman working in death squads, Hindu priests striving to save the environment, HIV-positive women dying a dignified death, old soldiers from the opposite sides of intractable conflicts showing genuine affection for each other, and several sexual advice counsellors. Above all, Mantras of Change is an effort to share with the readers Lak’s idea of India and his love affair with a glorious and perplexing land.Printed Pages: 272. 011592

Price: 8.50 USD
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