Perceptive and detailed, James Crabtree’s book advances a familiar argument about the story of India’s uneven growth.
James Crabtree’s The Billionaire Raj: A Journey Through India’s New Gilded Age opens like a crime thriller. A badly damaged Aston Martin Rapide is found abandoned outside the Gamdevi Police Station in Mumbai. The car was earlier involved in a crash with an Audi A4 in South Mumbai, not far from Antilia, the skyscraper residence of Mukesh Ambani. The car belonged to Reliance Industries and the driver of the car reportedly fled the scene by jumping onto one of the SUVs tailing the car. This scene sets the tone for a pacy account of the rise (and, in many cases, fall) of India’s new super-rich and the associated problems of crony capitalism and income inequality.