A Feast of Vultures

The Hidden Business of Democracy in India

A tour de force through the heart of modern India, weaving together the daily struggles of its poorest with the she-nanigans of its rich, A Feast of Vultures clinically examines and irrefutably documents the crisis gripping the world’s largest democracy. For anyone interested in understanding modern India, this is a must read.

The book opens in an ordinary village and winds up outside the palatial residence of one of the richest Indians. In the pages in between, Josy draws up on the stories of anonymous poor and famous Indians to weave together the challenges facing the world’s largest democracy.

From across the country, the author does breakthrough reportage on the flourishing phenomenon of middlemen in modern India. He brings to life the men and women who facilitate access to decision makers, and manipulate government decisions. A whole caste of middlemen sustains the staggering level of corruption in everyday life in India. From the lowest police post to the offices of the Prime Minister and President on New Delhi’s Raisina Hill, middlemen are as ubiquitous as they are varied.

The book zooms in on a particular segment of Indian economy to show how pliable the institutions of Indian democracy are at the hands of ambitious and well-funded business leaders seeking preferential treatment directly from government officials or through intermediaries, including those from the criminal underworld. Through a detailed investigation, the author reveals how evidence exists that some of the most successful of India’s new generation entrepreneurs have thrived through bribes, manipulation, and possibly even murder.

In the final segment of the book, Josy writes about the real beneficiaries of this corrupt and crumbling system. Many of India’s elite are lawmakers and lawbreakers – who use their financial and political clout to steer policymaking and legislation to benefit their business empires – and keep competitors at bay. They have become the puppet masters in today’s bankrupt system of governance, straddling the heights of political and economic power, unencumbered by either democratic accountability or regulatory oversight.