Despite the State

Why India lets its people down and how they cope

M. Rajshekhar


Context, 2021

Language: English

289 pages

Price INR 499.00

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The story of democratic failure is usually read at the level of the nation, while the primary bulwarks of democratic functioning—the states—get overlooked. This is a tale of India’s states, of why they build schools but do not staff them with teachers; favour a handful of companies so much that others slip into losses; wage water wars with their neighbours while allowing rampant sand mining and groundwater extraction; harness citizens’ right to vote but brutally crack down on their right to dissent. Reporting from six states over thirty-three months, award-winning investigative journalist M. Rajshekhar delivers a necessary account of a deep crisis that has gone largely unexamined.

M. Rajshekhar

M. Rajshekhar is a journalist. He joined in 2015 to do a thirty-three-month-long reporting project, Ear to the Ground, which became the substrate for his book Despite the State. This series won the Ramnath Goenka Excellence in Journalism Award (2015), the Bala Kailasam Memorial Award (2016), and two more Shriram Awards for Excellence in Financial Journalism (2015 and 2016). He now writes on energy, environment, climate change, political corruption and oligarchy.