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Capital: The Eruption of Delhiby Rana Dasgupta
Synopses & Reviews
A portrait of Delhi and its new elites—and a story of global capitalism unbound
Commonwealth Prizewinning author Rana Dasgupta examines one of the most important trends of our time: the growth of the global elite. Since the economic liberalization of 1991, wealth has poured into India, and especially into Delhi. Capital bears witness to the extraordinary transmogrification of Indias capital city, charting its emergence from a rural backwater to the center of the new Indian middle class. No other city on earth better embodies the breakneck, radically disruptive nature of the global economys growth over the past twenty years.
India has not become a new America, though. It more closely resembles postSoviet Russia with its culture of tremendous excess and undercurrents of gangsterism. But more than anything else, Indias capital, Delhi, is an avatar for capitalism unbound. Capital is an intimate portrait of this very distinct place as well as a parable for where we are all headed.
In the style of V. S. Naipauls now classic personal journeys, Dasgupta travels through Delhi to meet with extraordinary characters who mostly hail from what Indians call the new Indian middle class, but they are the elites, by any measure. We first meet Rakesh, a young man from a north Indian merchant family whose business has increased in value by billions of dollars in recent years. As Dasgupta interviews him by his mammoth glass home perched beside pools built for a Delhi sultan centuries before, the nightly party of the new Indian middle class begins. To return home, Dasgupta must cross the city, where crowds of Delhis workers, migrants from the countryside, sleep on pavements. The contrast is astonishing.
In a series of extraordinary meetings that reveals the attitudes, lives, hopes, and dreams of this new class, Dasgupta meets with a fashion designer, a tech entrepreneur, a young CEO, a woman who has devoted her life to helping Delhis forgotten poor—and many others. Together they comprise a generation on the cusp, like that of fin-de-siècle Paris, and who they are says a tremendous amount about what the world will look like in the twenty-first century.
"In this profound and fascinating book, Dasgupta (Tokyo Cancelled) conducts a series of interviews and personal explorations which reveal the history and evolution of the city of Delhi, examined through the attitudes and opinions of its inhabitants. He paints a picture of wealth and privilege, poverty and neglect, rampant corruption and boundless ambition, emphasizing the dichotomy which has transformed the landscape over the past few decades. It's a telling look at the author himself, Delhi and its people, and the 21st Century Indian culture as a whole. Packed with revelatory details and vivid in its impressions, this book covers everything from business to pleasure, sex to marriage, showing how Delhi has become a place of opportunity built on the backs of its residents. Dasgupta's sprawling narrative vibrantly captures the hustle of the current generation as they steer Delhi toward its global economic future. It's both a love letter to a city in transition and a haunting cautionary tale. (May)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
An extraordinary portrait of the fastest-growing city in the world—and the rise of a new global elite
Since the opening up of Indias economy in 1991, wealth has poured into the country, and especially into Delhi. Capital bears witness to the astonishing metamorphosis of Indias capital city, charting its emergence from a rural backwater to the center of Indias new elites. No other place on earth better embodies the breakneck, radically disruptive nature of the global economys growth over the past twenty years. In a series of extraordinary meetings with a wide swath of the population—from Delhis forgotten poor to its rich tech entrepreneurs— Commonwealth Writers Prize winner Rana Dasgupta presents an intimate portrait of the people living, suffering, and striving for more in this tumultuous city of extremes, as well as an uncanny glimpse of our shared global future.
In Capital, Commonwealth Prizewinning author Rana Dasgupta examines one of the great trends of our time: the expansion of the global elite. Capital is an intimate portrait of the city of Delhi which bears witness to the extraordinary transmogrification of Indias capital. But it also offers a glimpse of what capitalism will become in the coming, post-Western world. The story of Delhi is a parable for where we are all headed.
The boom following the opening up of Indias economy plunged Delhi into a tumult of destruction and creation: slums and markets were ripped down, and shopping malls and apartment blocks erupted from the ruins. Many fortunes were made, and in the glassy stores nestled among the new highways, customers paid for global luxury with bags of cash. But the transformation was stern, abrupt and fantastically unequal, and it gave rise to strange and bewildering feelings. The city brimmed with ambition and rage. Violent crimes stole the headlines.
In the style of V. S. Naipauls now classic personal journeys, Dasgupta shows us this city through the eyes of its people. With the lyricism and empathy of a novelist, Dasgupta takes us through a series of encounters with billionaires and bureaucrats, drug dealers and metal traders, slum dwellers and psychoanalysts which plunge us into Delhis intoxicating, and sometimes terrifying, story of capitalist transformation. Together these people comprise a generation on the cusp, like that of Gilded Age New York: who they are, and what they want, says a tremendous amount about what the world will look like in the rest of the twenty-first century.
Interweaving over a century of history with his personal journey, Dasgupta presents us with the first literary portrait of one of the twenty-first centurys fastest-growing megalopolises a dark and uncanny portrait that gives us insights, too, as to the nature of our own everyones shared, global future.
About the Author
Rana Dasgupta is the author of Solo, which won the Commonwealth Writers Prize, and Tokyo Cancelled, which was short-listed for the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize. Capital follows on from his Granta article, Capital Gains,” which was chosen for McSweeneys Best American Nonrequired Reading.
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History and Social Science » Asia » India » Ancient and General