Democracy on the Road

Democracy on the Road


On the eve of a landmark general election, Ruchir Sharma offers an unrivalled portrait of how India and its democracy work, drawn from his two decades on the road chasing election campaigns across every major state, travelling the equivalent of a lap around the earth. Democracy on the Road takes readers on a rollicking ride with Ruchir and his merry band of fellow writers as they talk to farmers, shopkeepers and CEOs from Rajasthan to Tamil Nadu, and interview leaders from Narendra Modi to Rahul Gandhi.

No book has traced the arc of modern India by taking readers so close to the action. Offering an intimate view inside the lives and minds of India's political giants and its people, Sharma explains how the complex forces of family, caste and community, economics and development, money and corruption, Bollywood and Godmen, have conspired to elect and topple Indian leaders since Indira Gandhi. The ultimately encouraging message of Ruchir's travels is that, while democracy is retreating in many parts of the world, it is thriving in India.


  • For a quarter of a century, Ruchir Sharma has been doing in India what political pundits should have done in the US, UK and France to understand Donald Trump, Brexit and the gilets jaunes protestors: he has left the big cities and listened to voters in the mofussil or provincial parts of the subcontinent. ... Above all, the trips allowed Sharma to predict and understand the rise of the Bharatiya Janata party's charismatic Narendra Modi, the collapse and later revival of the Congress party under the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty, and the enduring influence of regional politicians such as Nitish Kumar in Bihar and the late J Jayalalithaa in Tamil Nadu
    Victor Mallet, Financial Times

About the author

Ruchir Sharma

Ruchir Sharma is a global investor and a writer. He is currently a contributing opinion writer with the New York Times. His most recent book, The Rise and Fall of Nations: Forces of Change in the Post-Crisis World, was released in June 2016 and instantly became a New York Times bestseller. His 2012 book, Breakout Nations: In Pursuit of the Next Economic Miracles, debuted as the number one bestseller in India, and earned Sharma the Tata Literature Live! First Book Award for 2012. Breakout Nations also made it to the Wall Street Journal hardcover business bestseller list, and was chosen by Foreign Policy as one of its '21 Books to Read in 2012'.
Learn More

Sign up to the Penguin Newsletter

For the latest books, recommendations, author interviews and more