Indian Innovation, Not Jugaad: 100 Ideas that Transformed India
Dinesh C. Sharma
As India turns 75, Indian Innovation unpacks 100 ideas that transformed a young democratic republic into a complex and thriving nation of a billion-plus people. With compelling urgency and the lucidity of a skilled narrator, Dinesh C. Sharma writes of an India newly independent in 1947 after the British colonial powers left it to its own destiny, of its subsequent wavering journey through the decades all the way to a raging pandemic and of the small and big innovations that paved the way for India. In doing so, he turns on their heads prevailing notions of innovation often propagated in a galaxy of books on the much used and abused narrative of jugaad that romance the idea of how the ‘poor’ innovate to get by. Very often, a bulk of the writing heavily focuses on technological, novel, IT or digital solutions and disruptions alone, many of which fizzle out as one-time wonders. Sharma does the difficult job of writing about the original disruptions that revolutionized the way things were done in a particular sector and context. Covering policies, concepts, and institutions in areas such as, but not limited to, science, healthcare, education, governance, business, grassroots movements, agriculture, fashion, law and others, this is a book one needs to read to better understand India. Propulsively put together, with effortless prose, Sharma’s writing, with his decades’ long journalistic understanding of science, technology, environment, and communities, is teeming with stories and anecdotes of innovations that went on to change the lives of Indians forever. From software parks to shampoos sachets, jan sunwais to oxygen langars, Lijjat papad to mohalla clinics, the Chipko movement to Khabar Lahariya, this is also the story of the unknown, unsung people behind these innovations that are continuing to shape India as we know it.
Dinesh C. Sharma is a New Delhi-based award-winning journalist and author with over thirty-five years of professional experience. He has written extensively on science and technology, climate change, health, environment and innovation for national and international media, including The Lancet and The Wire. He has been Science Editor at Mail Today, and Managing Editor at India Science Wire and is currently the Jawaharlal Nehru Fellow (2020–2021). His book The Outsourcer: The Story of India’s IT Revolution was awarded the Computer History Museum Book Prize in 2016. He has also been a visiting faculty at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi and Ateneo de Manila University, Manila. Dinesh C. Sharma tweets at @dineshcsharma