In which Nobel Prize winning economist and thinker Amartya Sen tackles a variety of subjects relating to the subcontinent from ancient Vedic times to the present day in a very readable collection of essays and articles.
Themes covered include Hindu art and literature, Indian nationalism, the secular state, India's colonial past, Gandhi and so on. No great surprises in the choice of ground to cover but the perspective is a refreshing one. As a very successful NRI (non-resident Indian, an expat) Sen has no axe to grind and casts a dispassionate (some would say Western) eye over the last four thousand years of Indian culture and history.
A must-read for anyone interested in getting more than a cursory impression of this ancient and complex country. The perfect companion to the essential The Rough Guide to India