Author: Daniel Lak
ISBN/UPC (if available): 0670058262
Daniel Lak’s foray into writing a book on India started with a non-image. When, towards the end of his three-year stint as a BBC correspondent in India, he was accused by a young university student of portraying stereotypical images of the country in his report-bullock carts, cows ambling in the streets, snake charmers surrounded by enthralled spectators-he was completely taken aback. This got him questioning the images of India portrayed by the media, especially the Western media.
Mantras of Changes: Reporting India in a Time of Flux brings to the fore the face of a new India, a country that is in a constant and prolonged state of social and economic ferment, largely driven by the aspirations of people of every level, fuelled by the many forces that are beyond the control of the government or the increasingly powerful private sector. Bullock carts and snake charmers are deliberately set aside as Lake offers a glimpse of life in changing India based on his travels and encounters with people along the way.
Witty and provocative, the essays talk about the information technology boom and its impact, the sexual revolution, environmental degradation, the breakdown of family structures and, of course, poverty and caste. In a series of sharply drawn portraits, the book introduces us to a policeman working in a death squad, Hindu priests striving to save the environment, HIV-positive women dying a dignified death, old soldiers from the opposite sides of intractable conflicts showing genuine affection for each other, and several sexual advice counselors, Above all, Mantras of Change in an effort to share with the readers Lak’s idea of India and his love affair with a glorious and perplexing land.
1. The First Impression
2. The Ghost of Truth
3. Breakfast with Bose
4. Yogi Berra’s Legacy
5. Beer Barons and Brahmins
6. Cyberabad: Hype or High-tech Heaven?
7. Death by Semantics
8. A Tale of Two Calamities
9. Sexuality set in Stone
10. No Lesbians Please, We’are Indian
11. Victims of Family Values
12. India’s Worst Nightmare
13. Ganga Blues
14. Bombay Meri Jann
15. Computers, Crime Busters and Contradictions
CONCLUSION: THE WAY AHEAD