Capital: A Portrait Of Twenty-First Century Delhi by Rana Dasgupta is published today by Canongate Books, available in eBook and hardback priced in local currencies.
Capital is an intimate and wide-ranging portrait of Delhi, one of the fastest changing, and fastest growing, cities on earth. India has rapidly become a global economy, and in only the last decade Delhi has moved from a quiet colonial capital to a vast, teeming twenty-first century city, with slums and markets demolished, and luxury offices and apartment blocks springing up in their place. As elsewhere in Asia, the change has been breathtaking, fast, and brutal. While many have prospered, others have lost everything. English-born Dasgupta, who has lived in Delhi for the last fourteen years, explores the transformation of his adopted hometown into a twenty-first century megalopolis through the eyes of its people - its billionaires and slum dwellers, drug dealers and call centre workers, the playboys and Sufi mystics, members of the so-called middle classes, whose relatively high incomes make them a local elite, and sons of the true global elites of the political and business classes.
As you'd guess from its title income - money - is important in this book. Like Beijing and Jakarta, Delhi can be seen as an accelerated microcosm demonstrating the impact of rapid globalisation linked to an unregulated market economy.
Residents of Asia's other rapidly-developing hotspots of capitalism will surely find in Capital many parallels with their own experiences of living in corrupt, sometimes violent, traumatised cities, ones growing so fast they are almost unrecognisable to their own inhabitants.
Capital is Dasgupta's first work of non-fiction. His earlier work includes the much-acclaimed novel Solo, and Tokyo Cancelled, a collection of urban folktales. He hosts a website and blog here.