I have been travelling to Delhi on a regular basis since I was a child. In the last 25 years or so I have gone almost yearly, sometimes even more often. During that time I have personally seen the city go through enormous transformation, some of it welcome but a lot of it disturbing. It was for these reasons I was fascinated when the book "Capital: A Portrait of 21st Century Delhi" was released in 2014.
The 5 minute video below gives a glimpse of the book with the author Rana Dasgupta.
In this podcast I have the privilege of interviewing Rana about his book and the changes that Delhi has experienced and is continuing to go through.
Rana is a globally acclaimed author:
"Rana Dasgupta is the most unexpected and original Indian writer of his generation." (Salman Rushdie)
"An astonishing tour de force by a major writer at the peak of his powers." (William Dalrymple)
"Lyrical and haunting." (International New York Times)
What is unique about the book is how Rana weaves together the history of Delhi with conversations with such a variety of people. In many ways it is quite a bleak book showing how greed and rampant materialism is tearing away at the heart of society. But it is a story that needs to be told, not least because, as Rana assets, 'Delhi is a prophecy of the world we may well find ourselves living in the coming years'.
Do join us as we discuss:
- Rana's Asian-British- American identity.
- How Delhi for centuries, from the time of the Moguls, has been discarding its past and continually keeps moving on.
- The exponential acceleration of change since the liberalisation of the economy in 1991.
- How the title of the book refers both to the political status of the city it chronicles and to the avalanche of money changing its character.
- The rise of decadence, drug abuse, sexual licentiousness, marital breakdown and the impact on the extended family system
The 2015 edition the book has been renamed "Capital: The Eruption of Delhi".
Disclaimer: The views expressed in the book are those of the author. Also the language and stories used in parts of the book some may find disturbing and offensive.
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The Power of Connecting with Your Past (for a lighter feel-good video and discussion of the impact of globalisation in India and Pakistan)
A Long Way Home (how technology re-united a family)