A boy struggles to complete high school and he is the first person in his village to do so. A year later, when he cannot find employment, he ends up digging for sand on a dry riverbed. A dairy farmer breaks her hip while milking a cow, and is forced to sell her silver anklets to pay for substandard but expensive medical care. These are some of the heartbreaking, harrowing stories of India’s one billion plus that we encounter in Anirudh Krishna’s book.
Our age is marked by two grand narratives: globalization and democratization— which are not readily compatible. While the move toward democracy requires a certain civic equality among all participants, globalization in its present form accentuates social inequality. The Broken Ladder addresses the core issues of our democratic polity to underscore its faultlines. Our country represents a paradox, juxtaposing an impressive growth record and some of the trendiest investment opportunities with a large number of poor and undernourished people cut off from these opportunities that accrue from globalization.
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