Twenty years after India opened its economy, it faces severe economic problems, including staggering income inequality.
A third of its citizens still lack adequate food, education and basic medical services, while Mumbai businessman Mukesh Ambani lives in the most expensive home in the world, which cost over a billion dollars to build, and despite the fact that India now has a Mars mission there are still more mobile phones than toilets in the country.
In most places, such a disparity would have the locals pounding at the gates.
So why no Arab Spring for India? Hindol Sengupta, senior editor of Fortune India, argues that the only thing holding it back is the explosion of local entrepreneurship across the country.
While these operations are a far cry from the giant companies owned by India's ruling billionaires, they are drastically changing its politics, upending the old caste system, and creating a "middle India" full of unprecedented opportunity. In fact, India's 7,000 biggest companies only employ around 7% of its workforce. The other 93% work in this so-called 'unorganised sector,' - like Gazalla Amin whose flourishing horticulture business from the heart of Kashmir, where nearly 50,000 people have been killed in a 20 year old militancy, has given her the title 'lavender queen'. Or Sunil Zode, who stole the first shoes he ever wore and now drives a Mercedes andwhose pesticide business istearing apart India's centuries old vicious caste system. And, in one gripping example of invention growing out of necessity, Calcutta's Pranaadhika Deb Burman, who has been molested more than 25 times in her 26 years, makes homemade pepper sprays that sell out instantly.
Sengupta shows that the true potential of India is even larger than the world perceives, since the economic miracle unfolding in its small towns and villages, as opposed to large financial and tech companies, is not reflected in its stock markets.
He reveals an India rarely seen by the larger world or even spoken of among Indians themselves - the millions of ordinary, enterprising people who are redefining the world's largest democracy.