Being Indian by Pawan K. Varma is a book that attempts to understand the many contradictory ideologies of Indians. Varma is also the author of the well known book, The Great Indian Middle Class, a book that aims to decode the buying population of the second most populous country in the world.
In Being Indian, Varma looks to analyze the various facets of the country and what makes the world think that it might actually be the next superpower. His writing is supported with numbers, such as, India a burgeoning middle class of more than half a billion, which makes it one of the largest consumer markets in the world. He contradicts such positive numbers with grim ones such as more than 200 million Indians still strive for basic needs of life.
It is through such contradictions that the author tries to understand this enigmatic country. Being Indian answers disagreements in Indian culture- the 'deemed-spiritualistic' nature of Indians, while Indian traditions celebrate the attainment of material wealth and gain; how followers of non-violence and Mahatma Gandhi can burn their daughters to death for dowry; the indifference of the Indian middle class towards the poor and their fervour for parliamentary democracy etc.
The author draws on several sources for his comparisons. In fact, his sources are as diverse as Hindu scriptures, Sanskrit texts, and Bollywood tunes. The book also does away with several misconceptions about India and Indians that are harboured by the West.
A member of Indian Foreign Service, who has served in Moscow, Cyprus, and New York, Pawan K. Varma has written this book in an authoritative manner that's not overwhelming for the reader. He has also written the book Becoming Indian, which is a worthy read too. This book has been published by Penguin India and available for online shopping. The book is listed with ISBN-10 and ISBN-13 number of 978-0143033424.