Book Review: ‘India in the Age of Ideas’ by Sanjeev Sanyal

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Book Title: India in the Age of Ideas: Select Writings 2006-2018
Author: Sanjeev Sanyal
Publisher: Rupa Publications India
Number of Pages: 336
ISBN: 978-9357022439
Date Published: Jun. 05, 2023
Price: INR 388

India in the Age of Ideas by Sanjeev Sanyal Book Cover

Book Review

India in the Age of Ideas: Select Writings 2006-2018” by Sanjeev Sanyal is an impressive and diverse compilation that offers readers a deep insight into various aspects of Indian society and culture. Sanyal’s exploration of India’s rich heritage and philosophical underpinnings of Hinduism captivates the reader from the beginning. By presenting Hinduism as an evolving ecosystem, he challenges the traditional understanding of the religion and portrays it as a dynamic entity that adapts and innovates over time. This perspective sets the stage for a broader analysis of India’s historical, economic, and urban issues within the Comprehensive Adaptive System (CAS) framework.

One of the book’s standout features is Sanyal’s call to revise Indian history. He questions the Delhi-centric narrative and advocates for a more inclusive representation of the country’s past, shedding light on forgotten heroes and episodes from various regions of India. By drawing parallels from world history, the author warns against the loss of cultural heritage and emphasizes the need to learn from historical mistakes to shape a more sustainable future. This thought-provoking approach challenges readers to reassess their perspectives on history and its impact on contemporary society.

In the section on urban dynamics, Sanyal offers a fresh and pragmatic approach to city planning. He urges a symbiotic relationship between educational institutions and cities, advocating for their integration to foster mutual growth and development. The idea of “smart cities” is redefined as more than just digital technology; it entails walkability and accessibility, ensuring that cities serve their residents efficiently. This emphasis on urban sustainability and functionality resonates with readers seeking practical solutions to modern urban challenges.

Throughout the book, Sanyal’s writing style remains approachable and straightforward, making complex ideas accessible to a broad audience. Although some concepts are reiterated, this repetition reinforces the author’s consistent and well-synchronized thought process, strengthening the conclusions drawn from various societal issues.

As an economic advisor to the Indian government, Sanyal addresses critical global problems resulting from resource misallocation. He underscores the urgency of effectively reevaluating resource allocation to tackle issues like financial crises and ecological collapse. His insights and policy suggestions offer readers a deeper understanding of the complex economic landscape, making the book particularly relevant for those interested in the future trajectory of India’s economic growth.

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In conclusion, “India in the Age of Ideas: Select Writings 2006-2018” is a captivating and thought-provoking book that provides readers with valuable perspectives on India’s past, present, and future. This book was first published in 2018, and this is a reprint. Sanjeev Sanyal’s exploration of cultural, historical, and economic aspects within the Comprehensive Adaptive System framework offers practical solutions to tackle contemporary challenges. This compilation is a must-read for anyone seeking a nuanced understanding of India’s diverse and evolving landscape and its potential to shape a better future.

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