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India shining

A new book on India's recent history tells the story of the last 60 years in resiliently upbeat fashion

By Yasmin Khan   July 2007

India after Gandhi: The History of the World’s Largest Democracy by Ramachandra Guha (Pan Macmillan, £25)

A fond but condescending attitude towards India still exists: you can see it, for example, in the faces of those queuing for visas at the Indian high commission near the Strand, smiling knowingly at the chaotic scenes within (the visa section is actually remarkably efficient). Many westerners speak nostalgically of white ambassador cars or the stately palaces of the maharajas, and recount stories of humorous encounters with the red tape and bungling bureaucrats of the “licence-permit-quota raj.”

In an age when the Indian industrial…

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