“Planet India” by Mira Kamdar

Planet India: The Turbulent Rise of the Largest Democracy and the Future of Our WorldRead in October 2007.

This is a book about India’s problems as they relate to the world.  The position that Kamdar writes from is that India is a microcosm of the world’s problems – and if India can solve them – so can the world.  She writes about the problems that most people who know anything about developing countries already know, but makes the problems seem more concrete with numbers and some historical insights.  She also helps the reader to see the rate of the problems’ escalation, making the need for improvement more immediate.

About half the book is about India’s problems and successes in becoming a world-force, and the rest is about people who are trying to solve them.  She interviews people from India or that have Indian origins and details exactly what they are doing to address the problems.  These interviews and the stories of these people is inspiring and shows how ordinary people can make a difference – with the right attitude and the intention to improve one small thing.

This book is worth reading on many levels, it isn’t dense or textbook deep but still packed with information.  India’s problems are not unique to the world and like it or not, the world will have to solve them in the next two generations.  Kamdar’s book is a great primer on the problems India faces today and some of the ways it can improve itself in the coming years.

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