Book Review: ‘India’s Blind Spot’ by Devashish Dhar

Unlocking the Potential of Urbanization: Navigating Challenges, Embracing Opportunities.


Book Title: India’s Blind Spot: Understanding and Managing Our Cities
Author: Devashish Dhar
Publisher: HarperCollins
Number of Pages: 408
ISBN: 978-9354895203
Date Published: Feb. 11, 2023
Price: INR 712

India's Blind Spot by Devashish Dhar Book Cover

Book Review

Urbanization refers to the process of population migration from rural areas to urban centers, leading to the growth and expansion of cities. It involves rural landscapes’ physical, social, and economic transformation into urban environments. The effects of urbanization on city life can be both positive and negative. Managing urbanization requires careful urban planning, sustainable development strategies, and inclusive policies that address the needs of all residents. By striking a balance between economic growth, social equity, and environmental sustainability, cities can maximize the benefits of urbanization while minimizing its negative consequences

To shed light on the prevailing circumstances and to propose practical solutions, “India’s Blind Spot” by Devashish Dhar embarks on a comprehensive exploration of Indian cities and their current state of exasperation. The book aims to deepen our understanding of the intricacies and complexities of urbanization in India. It emphasizes that cities are critical to achieving India’s promised destiny and are poised to drive critical global political and economic trends in the coming decades.

The book’s standout feature lies in its comprehensive collection and organized presentation of a wide range of information, primarily at a macro level. This wealth of data forms the foundation for the book’s recommendations across eight vital sectors, encompassing urban economy and governance. Regardless of whether readers agree with the proposed solutions, the book’s meticulous sourcing of data lends it integrity and credibility. Furthermore, the abundance of material in the book offers ample opportunities to delve deeper into the discourse and explore the subject matter from various perspectives.

By analyzing the challenges faced by Indian cities, “India’s Blind Spot” puts forth a range of policy solutions and innovative approaches to tackling these multifaceted issues. It advocates for a holistic and integrated approach encompassing improved governance structures, enhanced infrastructure development, sustainable land management practices, and nurturing vibrant city economies. The book also emphasizes the urgent need to address the pressing concerns of water scarcity, flooding, and environmental degradation, while simultaneously prioritizing the creation of accessible and well-designed urban green spaces and public areas. Furthermore, it calls for a concerted effort to ensure the safety and inclusion of marginalized populations, such as the economically challenged, migrants, and vulnerable communities.

Amitabh Kant, G20 Sherpa, and former CEO, NITI Aayog and author of MADE IN INDIA: 75 Years of Business and Enterprise, released in March 2023 and published by Rupa Publications, commented on India’s Blind Spot:

‘Does a brilliant job of combining economics, history, and international relations to highlight the importance of well-planned, sustainable cities for India, and to illustrate how to implement sound urbanization … Insightful, evidence-backed, comprehensive, progressive and scholarly.’

– Amitabh Kant

Just for reference, several captivating books delving into urban planning and development aspects have been published recently. Notable among them are Varun Gandhi’s “The Indian Metropolis” (2023), AN Sarkar’s “Smart Cities” (2016), and Ashok Kumar Jain’s “City Planning for a Changing India” (2018). These works offer intriguing insights into the dynamic and evolving field of urbanization, providing readers with valuable perspectives and knowledge.

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India’s Blind Spot” ultimately presents a compelling case for recognizing the immense potential and significance of Indian cities. It argues that by embracing urbanization and adopting comprehensive strategies to address the associated challenges, India can position itself as a global leader in shaping the future of politics, economics, and sustainable development. Through policy reforms, innovative solutions, and a collective commitment to inclusive urban growth, India can transform its blind spots into vibrant hubs of opportunity, progress, and prosperity for all its citizens.