Akash Kapur is the former Letter from India columnist for the International Herald Tribune and the online edition of The New York Times. His writing has also been published in The Atlantic, The Economist, Granta, The New Statesman (UK), The New York Times Book Review, The New Yorker, and Outlook (India), among other places. Kapur writes primarily on issues related to India’s economic development and the dramatic cultural and social changes that have accompanied it. His book, India Becoming: A Portrait of Life in Modern India, is an insider’s look at the process of development—an attempt to capture the ground realities of the massive economic and social transformation that is remaking India and, indeed, the global economy.
Kapur was raised in South India, in the countryside outside the town of Pondicherry. He is the son of an Indian father and American mother. After studying and living in the United States and England, he returned to the area around Pondicherry, where he continues to live and write. Much of Kapur’s writing focuses on rural India—an area often neglected in contemporary writing about the nation, yet where 70% of the population lives.
Kapur has a doctorate in law from Oxford University, which he attended as a Rhodes Scholar, and a BA in social anthropology from Harvard University, where he graduated summa cum laude. His writing is informed by his training as an anthropologist: he tries to tell big stories—about economic development, about a new global economy, about cultural transformation and environmental depredation—through ordinary lives.
While at Oxford, Kapur researched the effect of India’s technology boom on rural development. He has written and consulted on related topics (for example, the digital divide and global Internet governance) for a variety of international organizations, including the United Nations Development Programme, the U.S. Trade and Development Agency, and The Markle Foundation.