Democracy on the Road

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Title: Democracy on the Road: A 25-Year Journey through India
Published by: Allen Lane
Release Date: February 2, 2019
ISBN13: 978-0241388075


On the eve of a landmark general election, Ruchir Sharma offers an unrivalled portrait of how India and its democracy work, drawn from his two decades on the road chasing election campaigns across every major state, travelling the equivalent of a lap around the earth. Democracy on the Road takes readers on a rollicking ride with Ruchir and his merry band of fellow writers as they talk to farmers, shopkeepers and CEOs from Rajasthan to Tamil Nadu, and interview leaders from Narendra Modi to Rahul Gandhi.

No book has traced the arc of modern India by taking readers so close to the action. Offering an intimate view inside the lives and minds of India's political giants and its people, Sharma explains how the complex forces of family, caste and community, economics and development, money and corruption, Bollywood and Godmen, have conspired to elect and topple Indian leaders since Indira Gandhi. The ultimately encouraging message of Ruchir's travels is that, while democracy is retreating in many parts of the world, it is thriving in India.


"For a quarter of a century, Ruchir Sharma has been doing in India what political pundits should have done in the US, UK and France to understand Donald Trump, Brexit and the gilets jaunes protestors: he has left the big cities and listened to voters in the mofussil or provincial parts of the subcontinent. ... Above all, the trips allowed Sharma to predict and understand the rise of the Bharatiya Janata party's charismatic Narendra Modi, the collapse and later revival of the Congress party under the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty, and the enduring influence of regional politicians such as Nitish Kumar in Bihar and the late J Jayalalithaa in Tamil Nadu."
Financial Times

"Sharma's account of his travels offers a fascinating insight into the quixotic characters populating India's political landscape. Along the way, we meet mavericks and ministers, holy men and hoaxers. Sharma is a diligent, informed and sympathetic guide."

"A high-speed, breezy drive through two decades of electoral politics"

"Packed with nuance and detail of the many Indias that make India."