Grand Tamasha

Is India’s Moment a Mirage?

Episode Summary

Economist Ashoka Mody joins the show to talk about his new book and share his thesis on India's economic and political shortcomings.

Episode Notes

India Is Broken: A People Betrayed, Independence to Today is a big new book on India by the economist Ashoka Mody. Mody is an economic historian at Princeton's School of Public and International Affairs and a longtime official at the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

His new book provides readers with an unvarnished look at India’s twin economic and political failures over the past 75 years. Challenging the conventional wisdom, Mody argues that India’s post-independence leaders—from Jawaharlal Nehru all the way to Narendra Modi—have failed to confront India's true economic problems, seeking easy solutions instead. As a popular frustration grew, India’s democracy suffered, leading to an upsurge in nationalism, violence, and corruption.

Mody joins Milan on the podcast this week to talk more about his book. The two discuss Mody’s controversial thesis, the inadequacy of GDP as a metric of economic development, and the parallels between pre-Partition India and India of the president. Plus, the two talk about Mody’s solutions for addressing India’s twin economic and political challenges.



Ashoka Mody, “India’s Boom Is a Dangerous Myth,” Project Syndicate, March 29, 2023.


Ashoka Mody, “India’s Broken State,” Project Syndicate, February 20, 2023.


Milan Vaishnav, When Crime Pays: Money and Muscle in Indian Politics (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2017).