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Breaking Through


Nominated | Book Awards 2021 | English Non-fiction

Breaking Through

Full Title: Breaking Through: A Memoir

Author: Isher Judge Ahluwalia
Publisher: Rupa Publications

Award Category: English Non-fiction
About the Book: 

Breaking Through is an account of a remarkable life that was witness to remarkable times
A riveting and inspiring autobiography of an amazing woman who built her stature as a global thought leader in development economics with courage, commitment and boundless intellectual pursuit.
—Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, Founder and Executive Chairperson, Biocon Limited

This is the life story of Isher Judge Ahluwalia, one of the leading Indian policy economists of her generation. Born into a family with eleven children and limited means, where she was one of the first to attend university, she takes us through her journey to Presidency College, Delhi School of Economics and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

She chronicles her career as a young policy economist fighting against the Indian economic orthodoxy that underpinned the license-permit-quota Raj, as an institution builder leading the Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER), one of India’s leading economic think tanks for over a decade, and also her most recent role in focusing attention on the challenges of urbanization in India.

Narrated with candor and from the heart, this is also a story of a woman balancing career and family, and trying to stay close to her roots as her life path takes her through the power corridors of New Delhi, both through her own career, and through a 50-year-marriage to Montek Singh Ahluwalia. An outsider to Delhi, who ultimately became the consummate insider, Breaking Through is an account of a remarkable life that was witness to remarkable times.

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