The India Collective: written with passion and love!
Karan Mehrishi shares his views on the process of writing this book, in conversation with All About Book Publishing.
The India Collective: What India is All About is written by Karan Mehrishi, a graduate of Columbia University and an internationally recognised economist and financial journalist. Karan has worked as a financial journalist, economist and briefly as an equity research analyst with a bulge bracket investment bank. Here, he shares more about the book. Excerpts.
AABP: Can you provide a brief overview of your book The India Collective and its main objectives?
Karan: The India Collective as a concept describes the essence of India as a political economy. The idea here is that every successful country has an operating system, on which a country then builds its institutions, and social narratives. Without a defined and unique operating system, no country can succeed. The problem with India is that despite a rich history, the country that emerged in 1947 never bothered to define an operating system for itself, and hence the chaos. The book defines India’s operating system as ‘co-operation’, because that is what ultimately defines India’s disparate population, subcultures, and languages.
AABP: What inspired you to write a book on this particular topic?
Karan: A random drive in Delhi, when traffic was suddenly halted by a random crowd trying to cross the road. This crowd represented people of different faiths (represented by the religious markers), but in that moment everyone was part of a collective. A collective built on cooperation to cross the road, irrespective of the differences. Indeed, if Indians can make a collective to complete a random exercise of crossing a road, why can’t they make a collective to build their nation?
AABP: How did you approach the research process for your book?
Karan: The book is a product of four years of academic research and draws on my decade and half years of professional experience as an economist, and financial journalist. It also includes my personal experiences, and interactions with fellow Indians.
AABP: In your opinion, what are the major challenges currently facing the Indian economy?
Karan: There was a lack of vision, which is now luckily brought to centerstage by the current government. I believe that India needs a vision to reach its full potential, and an all encompassing public narrative, that is followed by all, irrespective of their political/ religious leanings.
AABP: Are there any untapped opportunities that you believe could drive economic growth in India?
Karan: I believe India has a tremendous opportunity to build its economy through collectives/self help groups/ co-operatives. This approach is applicable to all sectors of the economy where people of all walks of life come together and solve their economic problems collectively. This approach alone can drive our economy’s formalization, and give us decades of high and sustainable economic growth.
AABP: Who is the target audience for your book, and what do you hope they gain from reading it?
Karan: I have tried to make this book accessible to anyone, who wants to understand the India story, undiluted. Even though the book is on India’s political economy, the language is simple and relatable. There are some elements of conceptual economics though, but that is dictated by my professional and academic background.
AABP: Based on your research, what is your outlook for the future of the Indian economy?
Karan: I am a believer in the India story, and believe that as an economy, India will cross the $20 trillion threshold by 2040. But in the process we must remove our petty societal/ religious/ caste based differences, and become a homogenous society that is just defined by our Indian identity.
AABP: How has writing this book influenced your own perspectives on the Indian economy?
Karan: The book has been written with a lot of passion, and love for my country. At the same time, I have dispassionately analysed India’s peculiar problems, and critiqued the status quo. The process of writing and research changed my outlook significantly, as I could see myself evolve as an Indian, and sometimes questioned my own points of view.