Shabd Book -

Missing In Action

Pranay Kotasthane

2 Chapters
Bought by 0 people
1 Readers
Completed on 22 March 2023
ISBN : 9780143459378
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Think of this work as a 'pop' public policy book. Like all books of this genre, we let stories of Indian experiences take centre stage. That's because context is king in public policy. There are very few immutable, universal rules that apply across all countries. We believe that our discourse on government is anchored way too much on the stories and experiences of other countries. The result is that public policy books end up discussing distant and unrelatable stories. For instance, you too would have come across a popular quote on WhatsApp. Attributed to Gustavo Petro, a former mayor of Bogota, the quote reads: 'A developed country is not a place where the poor have cars. It's where the rich use public transportation.' Reading about Bogota's transformation can give a misleading assessment that spending more on Bus Rapid Transit systems alone can bring about a similar change in India as well. However, what gets missed in transplanting such ideas unthinkingly is that context matters. Bogota's public transport success is also about changing social attitudes, individual incentives, and guiding market behaviour. Many not-so-apparent, context-specific things need to fall in place to replicate successes from other policy environments. For this reason, this book is about Indian public policy centred on India's experiences. Any individual is a part of three meta-institutions, each with its unique characteristics, follies, and strengths. Each chapter discusses a prevalent idea, story, or myth in the popular discourse on Indian governance. We hope, dear reader, you will find something useful in this book, something that will contribute to your understanding of Indians governing themselves. And we also hope you have fun while reading it. 


Its a great book. Consider this book to be a popular public policy text. We let tales of Indian experiences to take the stage, as in all novels of this kind. That's because in public policy, context reigns supreme. There are very few unchangeable, international laws that apply to all nations. We think that the narratives and experiences of other nations serve as an excessively strong foundation for our discussion of government. As a result, distant and uninteresting stories are covered in public policy literature. A beautifully written book.


In India, public policies are all around us. Despite this pervasiveness, yeh public sab nahin jaanti hai (the public doesn’t know it all). Questions are rarely asked of the Indian State-the institution that makes rules, bends them and punishes others for breaking the laws it creates. The privileged can afford not to think about the State because we have given up on it. The not-so-privileged have resigned themselves to a State that provides short-term benefits. Either way, we seldom pause to reflect on why the Indian State works the way it does. Missing in Action aims to change such perceptions through sketches from everyday experiences to illustrate India’s tryst with public policymaking. It acquaints the reader with some fundamental concepts of the public policy discipline. It explains the logic (or the lack of it!) of the Indian State’s actions, shortcomings, constraints, and workings. Jargon-free and accessibly written, the book achieves the difficult task of both entertaining and educating. There have been many books about Indian society, but none so far about the Indian state. Missing in Action fills that gap, and how! Kotasthane and Jaitley are two of our finest thinkers, and their writing combines a surgeon’s precision with a poet’s art of revealing the unseen. They paint both the big picture and the small details. This book is a masterpiece that will be essential reading 50 years from now. If you want to understand India, you should read Missing in Action.

"Missing in Action" by Pranay Kotasthane is a moving exploration of soldiers who vanish during military service, leaving their families in anguish. Kotasthane combines personal narratives with systemic analysis, shedding light on the emotional and bureaucratic challenges. It's a compelling call to address this issue urgently, leaving readers with a profound sense of duty toward the missing soldiers and their families.

"Missing In Action" by Pranay Kotasthane is a compelling exploration of the complexities of disappearances and unaccounted individuals. The book delves into personal, societal, and political dimensions of missing persons, offering a balanced view of the subject matter. Kotasthane's nuanced approach to the political aspects of missing persons exposes the intersection of personal tragedies and political maneuvering. The writing style is engaging and accessible, appealing to both familiar and new readers. The book injects moments of humanity and compassion into the narrative, making the reader emotionally invested in the lives affected by these disappearances.