The Indians.JPG

The Indians: Portrait of a People (with Sudhir Kakar)

Delhi: Penguin-Viking, 2007, 
ISBN: 978-0143066637

In this bold, illuminating and superbly readable study, India’s foremost psychoanalyst and cultural commentator Sudhir Kakar and anthropologist Katharina Kakar investigate the nature of “Indian-ness”. What makes an Indian recognizably so to the rest of the world, and, more importantly, to his or her fellow Indians? For, as the authors point out, despite ethnic differences that are characteristic more of past empires than modern nation states, there is an underlying unity in the great diversity of India that needs to be recognized.

Looking at what constitutes a common Indian identity, the authors examine in detail the predominance of family, community and caste in our everyday lives, our attitudes to sex and marriage, our prejudices, our ideas of the other (explored in a brilliant chapter on Hindu-Muslim conflict), and our understanding of health, right and wrong, and death. In the final chapter, they provide fascinating insights into the Indian mind, shaped largely by the culture’s dominant, Hindu world view. 

From Reviews

"…an important book… a readable and carefully considered statement on the issue of identity."

Pavan Varma, India Today

"…a compelling work on the cultural character of the Indian people… both provocative and revealing."

Shyam Benegal, Outlook

"This is a book which should be read by all Indian executives."

Mark Tully, Financial Express

"This stimulating book is a magnificent attempt to understand Indian life in all its fullness…deepens our understanding of not just our lives but our minds as well."

The Statesman

"Mr.and Mrs. Kakar display an encyclopedic and deep understanding of the Indian social reality, their "way of looking at things" is surpassed by none….This book is important for those who are just waking up to the India's economic juggernaut."

Far Eastern Economic Review

"…remarkably perceptive analysis of Indian character."

Khushwant Singh, Hindustan Times

"This incisive book…succeeds in great measure in understanding and explaining the Indian character."

Deccan Herald

"The fascinating portrait of society and culture of a country that will play an ever more important role in world politics in the future."

Die Zeit, Germany

"The book is a treasure trove full of Aha-effects—not only for India lovers, but for all those who in times of globalization seek to look beyond the rim of their own culture."

Der Spiegel, Germany

"A very readable and richly nuanced book which seeks to uncover the common identity of ‘The Indians’ in their historical continuity, homogeneity and civilizational uniqueness."

Neue Züricher Zeitung, Switzerland

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