India - Introduction 2
- a Tale of Two Indias 2
- Britisk Indien 6
- Shashi Tharoor's Stirring Speech at Oxford Union Goes Viral 11
- Political Map of India 12

Hinduism 13
- What Is India's Caste System? 13
- India’s Caste System Is Alive and Kicking – and Maiming and Killing 17
- Cow Slaughter to Be Punishable by Life Sentence in Gujarat 21

Women in India 23
- 'Death by Dowry' Claim by Bereaved Family in India 23
- India's Shame 26
- Can an Advert for Tea Really Change India's Sexist Attitudes? 28

Business in India 30
- Bengaluru: What's Next for India's Tech Capital? 30
- What Has 'Make in India' Made for India? 33

Fiction 36
- Good Advice Is Rarer Than Rubies 36

To get to 15-year-old Vikas Sharma's home in Bangalore, you have to travel along a narrow dusty lane, then climb a steep flight of stairs that's draped with a neighbor's drying laundry.

Inside the tiny apartment, the bedroom Vikas shares with his younger brother is so small there's barely room for the bed and the table where the two boys study.

It may sound sparse, but the Sharma family has already come a long way.

Seven years ago, they moved to Bangalore—a rapidly growing city often referred to as India's "Silicon Valley"—from a tiny impoverished village in the northern state of Bihar, where there was no running water or reliable electricity. There was also no English-language school.

"My parents wanted us to join an English school and make our future in the big city," explains Vikas.

Most Indians consider mastery of English, used in business and government, to be essential for success.

The Sharma family is among the millions of Indians who are moving out of poverty and into the middle class, as India's economy continues to soar.

They represent a bridge between two vastly different Indias: The India they've left behind is largely agricultural, uneducated, and very poor; the new India they're grasping at has a vibrant economy with an expanding high-tech sector and is rapidly becoming a global economic power.

"You have striking growth and progress and terrible poverty and lack of progress in the same country," says Isobel Coleman of the Council on Foreign Relations.


The change has been striking. There are thousands more cars on the road every week, and now an Indian company is selling a tiny car called the Nano for just $2,900.

In big cities, construction is everywhere, and shopping malls are opening everywhere.

"Some of the statistics are mind-boggling," says Ulrich Bartsch, the senior economist in the World Bank's India office.

"From basically zero 10 years ago, India now has 500 million cellphones. You can go to rural areas in the middle of nowhere—the desert in Rajastan—and your BlackBerry works."

Many international companies are setting up factories and offices in India to take advantage of its large pool of English speakers and comparatively low wages.

(American companies operating in India is the premise for the NBC sitcom Outsourced, about a Kansas City company that moves most of its jobs to India and sends an American to run its operation.)

American tech companies have been operating call centers in India for years.

Now companies like Microsoft and Yahoo are also setting up research facilities in India, with Indians doing the kind of advanced technical work that until recently was done in the U.S.

The Sharma family has directly benefited from the country's rapid growth. Vikas's father, who builds furniture for new homes, dropped out of school when he was young.

His mother, who never went to school, now works as a seamstress in a garment factory.

Neither speaks English. They migrated to Bangalore in the hope that educating their children would provide a way out of poverty.

"We came to Bangalore to change our lives," says Vikas's mother.

Both parents are proud that they've never missed a payment for their sons' school. And no one goes hungry, even if there are days when they can afford only lentils and rice.

Vikas, who is in ninth grade, is doing his part. He studies hard and often gets the highest grades in his class. In particular, he excels at biology. He hopes to be a doctor someday.

"I want to work hard and make my parents proud," he says.

His drive for success is part of what is pulling India toward prosperity.

"There's still a very large bad-news element in India, but the good-news part of the picture has been growing over time," says Dhume, the journalist.

"The consensus view over the past 10 years has certainly shifted more and more toward the people who say yes, India can overcome its problems."