2007 marks 60 years of India's independence from colonial rule. Traditionally, in India, the attainment of 60 years, called shashti-poorti, is an important milestone in the life of an individual. It is a time to reflect on one's past and start planning for the future. This volume brings together a brilliant posse of writers, including academicians, journalists and activists, who took up the challenge of such stocktaking, of assessing the achievements and failures of these six decades across a range of issues and concerns. The result is a lively collection of essays that examine the problems, solutions and debates which move contemporary India. From democracy, elections, agriculture, economy, education, human rights and reservations - areas where no single voice or solution seems to be the answer - to literature, art, cinema and urban life - where the eye cannot keep pace with the flashing images - writers range at will, differing from one another in tone and opinion, but allied in the clarity and sharpness of their perspective. Dipankar Gupta discusses the imperatives of democracy in the context of reservations; Lord Meghnad Desaiwrites on the course that the Indian economy has charted over the past 60 years; Sudhir Kakar summarizes for us the paradoxes of the Indian family; Kanti Bajpai sets out the parameters of changing Indo-US relations; Sir Mark Tully reflects on the transformation of broadcasting technology and content; Dayanita Singh frames space and emotion in a series of speaking images of a society in transition while Pankaj Mishra writes with characteristic ease and insight on the death of the small town. A thoughtful compendium of elegantly presented arguments supported by facts and, more importantly, a real understanding of the way things work in this country of a billion ideas, India 60 is a must-read for all those who seek to know India. For, more than any other book in recent times, it captures for us, truthfully and without artifice, the shifting boundaries of ideology and creativity that continue to shape a nation at once old and young.