The Promise of India

The Promise of India

How Prime Ministers Nehru to Modi Shaped the Nation (1947–2019)


On 15 August 1947, most Indians had stars in their eyes as they looked ahead to a glorious future as a free country. In this first-of-its-kind book, Jaimini Bhagwati analyses the key political, foreign policy and economic decisions of all the premiers from Jawaharlal Nehru to Narendra Modi, to understand how well they steered the nation on the path of progress and development.

With his long experience in the corridors of power, Bhagwati reveals fascinating behind-the-scenes events and offers fresh insights into each PM's governance. For instance, Nehru, considered a 'socialist' by some, in fact acted according to the prevailing wisdom of highly regarded economists; why P.V. Narasimha Rao has not received adequate credit for heralding economic reforms; how Atal Bihari Vajpayee followed in the footsteps of Nehru and Rao; and how and why Modi focused on the delivery of basics to the poor. Using a novel framework, Bhagwati also assesses the PMs on the values of Character, Competence and Charisma, to measure their impact on India's story.

Grand in sweep and thoroughly researched, this deeply engaging book sheds new light on independent India's history. As it critically examines whether our leaders always put the country first, The Promise of India provides an incisive overview of India's political culture and what keeps its democracy ticking.


416 Pages | ISBN13 9780670089826
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Jaimini Bhagwati
Jaimini Bhagwati

Jaimini Bhagwati is a former IFS officer, economist and foreign policy expert. He was high commissioner to the UK and ambassador to the European Union, Belgium and Luxembourg. Bhagwati has served in senior positions in the Government of India, including in foreign affairs, finance and atomic energy. In the World Bank, he was a specialist in international bond and derivatives markets; he was the RBI chair professor at ICRIER; and is a Board member of IDFC's holding company.

Bhagwati did his master's in physics from St Stephen's College, Delhi, master's in finance from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA and received his PhD in finance from Tufts University, USA. He has published research papers in several books, ICRIER and at the World Bank. He has been a columnist for Business Standard since 2005.

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