Last year, when we released our Independence Day Special edition, India was in a different state of mind. In keeping with our growing global aspirations, our special edition, brought out in collaboration with ICRIER, the leading New Delhi-based think tank, focussed on India and its expanding relationship with the rest of the world on a host of strategic issues like energy, water, access to markets and technology, international terrorism and security.
A year later, our gaze has now turned inwards. An embattled State is under fire for its failure to govern. With every passing day, accounts of widespread corruption and a growing nexus between politicians and businessmen are making the headlines. The political leaders whom we the people elected, are scurrying for cover. Unmet economic and social aspirations are fuelling dissent in various parts of the country. Parts of civil society are questioning the very essence of our constitutional model set down by our founding fathers at the time of Independence.
A little more than two years ago, Forbes India was born to chronicle the Great Indian Dream. This is perhaps an opportune moment to pause and take stock of the nation’s journey.
Our special project team, led by Associate Editor Dinesh Narayanan, explores the key fault lines that threaten to derail this journey. In his opening essay, Pratap Bhanu Mehta, India’s best known commentator, provides a penetrating analysis of why the State — one of the primary organs of our democracy — finds itself out of sync with the times.
Our writers travelled widely across three different states — Jharkhand, Rajasthan and Kerala — to bring you three special stories that collectively examine whether the very idea of India still remains alive. Anuj Chopra and Dinesh Krishnan stalked out for more than a week deep inside Naxal-controlled territory to explore what it takes to do business in a conflict zone. Udit Misra tracked the progress of a unique experiment in a leading regional newspaper in Rajasthan to make public servants more accountable. N.S. Ramnath travelled to God’s Own Country to bring us an untold story of a state hurtling towards a huge social crisis.
There are three other special items: the Forbes India-CNN-IBN & CNBCTV18 countrywide State of the Nation poll, conducted by CSDS. It offers a comprehensive, yet surprising picture of how people view the burning issues of the day. We also invited Riyas Komu, one of India’s hottest young artists and sculptors, to visually explore the theme of our special edition. You’ll discover his special effort on page 33. And finally, the results of our first readers’ photo contest, is presented on page 114 and 115. So, sit back and enjoy this special edition. I’ll be waiting for your feedback.
(This story appears in the 26 August, 2011 issue of Forbes India. To visit our Archives, click here.)