rana dasgupta’s delhi

0511-bks-Subramian-master675-v2Samanth Subramanian at the New York Times:

The financial heart of India has long been Mumbai, but it is Delhi, increasingly, that seems to be driven by money, galvanized by it, besotted with it. Delhi is India’s capital. It is where the nation’s networks of crony capitalism converge, where money seeks license to earn more money. Delhi talks to itself about money — about what money can buy, about the cabinet minister pocketing kickbacks, about the suburban swatch of land that a lawyer’s untaxed, all-cash fee has purchased and, in near-reverential tones, about the ingenious and illegal ways more money can be made. This last subject, in particular, exercises the city’s soul enormously. Delhi is flatulent with greed.

When Rana Dasgupta moved to the city from New York in 2000, the reimagination of Delhi had just begun, and there was, he writes toward the beginning of “Capital,” a thrilling anticipation and a “utopian clamor” to the city’s first paddles into the global market economy. Even as Dasgupta watched, however, the transition went off-kilter: “The land grabs and corruption-as-usual that became so blatant in those later years, the extension of the power of elites at the cost of everyone else, the conversion of all that was slow, intimate and idiosyncratic into the fast, vast and generic — it made it difficult to dream of surprising futures any more.”

more here.