The New India Foundation is pleased to share that Dr. Milan Vaishnav has won the first Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay NIF prize for his book When Crime Pays: Money and Muscle in Indian Politics published by Yale University Press and Harper Collins.
The Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay NIF prize, which will be awarded annually, recognizes and celebrates outstanding non-fiction books on modern and contemporary India. The prize takes forward the New India Foundation’s mission of supporting high-quality research and writing on the world’s largest democracy. This prize is named after Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay, the great patriot, and institution-builder who had contributed significantly to the freedom struggle, to the women’s movement, to refugee rehabilitation and to the renewal of handicrafts.
The winner was announced on 27 October at the Bangalore Literature Festival. Dr. Milan Vaishnav received the prize of Rs. 15 lakhs from the eminent literary historian Shri Velcheru Narayana Rao.
When Crime Pays is an ambitious attempt at understanding a crucial paradox in India’s democracy: the flagrant nexus between crime and politics. The book offers an important conceptual framework with which to understand this puzzling phenomenon and brings a wealth of empirical materials to illuminate this problem.The book’s admirable rigor and clarity are matched by its elegance of presentation and accessibility to a wide readership. As India prepares for its next general elections, this book illuminates the past and present of our democratic experiment as few other accounts have.
This year’s winner was selected from nearly 60 books by a jury chaired by Ramachandra Guha and including Dr. Rukmini Banerjee, Professor Niraja Gopal Jayal, Nandan Nilekani, Manish Sabharwal, and Dr. Srinath Raghavan.