There can be few more discussed countries in the world today than India. In recent years it has shed its popular image as a poor, tradition-bound backwater to stand poised on the threshold of super-power status, rivalled only by China as the greatest winner in the post-Cold War world order. And yet India remains strikingly different from all previous global colossi.
In Vishnu's Crowded Temple Maria Misra has written the essential history to allow us to understand, in all its complexity, the fascinating historical trajectory of this emerging third-world super-state. The book dramatizes the dynamic counterpoint between the resilient Indian people and a succession of ambitious, if flawed visions of the nation, be they the baroque pseudo-traditional fantasies of the British, the religious arcadia of Gandhi, the planned paradise ofNehru, the Hindu-raj of its Brahmin elite or the cyber utopias of its new business moghuls.