The End of Karma: Hope and Fury Among India's Young (Hardcover)

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A penetrating, personal look at contemporary India—the world’s largest democracy at a moment of transition.

Somini Sengupta emigrated from Calcutta to California as a young child in 1975. Returning thirty years later as the bureau chief for The New York Times, she found a vastly different country: one defined as much by aspiration and possibility—at least by the illusion of possibility—as it is by the structures of sex and caste. The End of Karma is an exploration of this new India through the lens of young people from different worlds: a woman who becomes a Maoist rebel; a brother charged for the murder of his sister, who had married the “wrong” man; a woman who opposes her family and hopes to become a police officer. Driven by aspiration—and thwarted at every step by state and society—they are making new demands on India’s democracy for equality of opportunity, dignity for girls, and civil liberties. Sengupta spotlights these stories of ordinary men and women, weaving together a groundbreaking portrait of a country in turmoil.

About the Author

Somini Sengupta, a George Polk Award–winning journalist, covers the United Nations for The New York Times, for which she was previously the bureau chief in Dakar and New Delhi. She was born in Calcutta and lives in New York.

Praise For…

[A] sharply observed study...richly detailed portraits....What separates the book from the musings of so many other foreign correspondents is the lens through which Sengupta sees the country: that of a mother.

Thoughtful and timely...Sengupta balances strong impartial analysis with emotional investment.

Portentous...Returning to a transformed nation--its economies in bloom, its cities abuzz--[Sengupta] sensed a fresh impatience of aspiration....Vibrant.

Sengupta does a wonderful job of detailing the distinct lives of seven young individuals struggling to fulfill their educational and economic dreams…Highly recommended.

Anyone who imagines that India today is simply a land of IT companies and call centers should read this book. Somini Sengupta sees the new India in all its complexity—its gated towers and remote villages; its kidnapped maids and chief ministers; those who want to remake it into a Hindu nation and those who care only about getting ahead. India is home to nearly a fifth of the world’s people—few places will be more important to the shape of the twenty-first century. The End of Karma, with its vivid storytelling and intimate portraits of India’s younger generation, is a riveting vision of the future.

— Larissa MacFarquhar, author of Strangers Drowning

The End of Karma brilliantly opens the door into the world of the striving young men and women of the new India as they try to shed India’s past and invent their own future. Somini Sengupta’s chosen characters are so vividly drawn and so sensitively reported.

— Tina Brown

The End of Karma is the essential beginning for any reader who wants to understand the future of the world’s biggest democracy. With meticulously researched, grippingly told stories about youth in today’s India, Sengupta’s quest to understand her daughter’s birthplace seized me like no other book coming from the country today.

— Suketu Mehta, author of Maximum City: Bombay Lost and Found

Coverage from NPR

Product Details
ISBN: 9780393071009
ISBN-10: 0393071006
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Publication Date: March 7th, 2016
Pages: 256
Language: English