With a Foreword by Montek Singh Ahluwalia
A woman and a girl set out to see India, lugging along the baggage of their pasts, on a journey towards understanding the country. From the abandoned tea estates of Jalpaiguri to the crowded bylanes of Varanasi, from the pristine forests of the Andamans to the seething valley of Manipur, from the scattered habitations of Ladakh to the flooded villages of Barmer – these are the roads less travelled.
Beautiful Country compels you to experience the hope and despair, misery and triumph, failures and innovations of another India – an India that does not make it to the front pages of newspapers, and has not been captured by the roving cameras of the 24x7 media channels – an India that remains invisible to most Indians.
"It is quite remarkable that Syeda Hameed, a leading figure in Indian planning, joined a young - and very gifted - journalist, Gunjan Veda, to produce this wonderful book about Indian people and their problems and concerns, observed minutely across the country, with sympathy, curiosity and solidarity. The book may have been generated by Syeda's frustration with distant planning, but the result is a great observational introduction to India."
- Prof. Amartya Sen
"The truth about India's development as told by those who know it, makes for a compelling read." -Khushwant Singh
"Hameed and Veda are courageous and energetic travellers that one comes to like very much by the time one finishes the book. They observe a great deal of suffering and injustice in their travels but one does not feel they have been numbed by the experience. On the contrary, they write with controlled passion of their outrage at the human costs of administrative incompetence and misguided policy. They have a strong sense of humbug, frequently using the limited power they have to right wrongs and chastise venal officials. They see enough on their travels to make them despair of India's future, yet see the point of working from within the system." - Sunday Guardian
"That’s what Syeda Hameed and Gunjan Veda are- raconteurs of a different kind. Beautiful Country captures the spirit of survival of the other India, now pejoratively referred to as Bharat. It’s a book that tightly packs slices of history, sociology and anthropology in an eminently readable format. Hard facts are interspersed with what Dr Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Deputy Chairperson, Planning Commission (who has written a foreword for the book) calls the ‘episodic memoirs.’" - Patricia Mukhim, Kangla Online
"The imagination soars with the thought of the kind of game shift that could take place in development delivery, if this book of narratives is made compulsory reading not only for the IAS and related cadres, not only for the policemen and civil society personnel but for Ministers and Members of Parliament , for media news hunters , and the armchair commentators on the India story...This volume, which I call a development travelogue needs to travel through corridors as well as streets and halls , and class rooms of India ." - Feminist Economist Devaki Jain Read complete review @ http://blogs.indiareads.com/views-and-reviews/a-development-travelogue/
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Read an excrpt from the book @ http://ibnlive.in.com/news/beautiful-country-stories-from-assam-meghalay...
Watch the curtain raiser at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Auocr7vk_jA