49.91% of India’s population was below the age of 24 in the 2011 Census. By 2020 India will become the world’s youngest country with...

49.91% of India’s population was below the age of 24 in the 2011 Census. By 2020 India will become the world’s youngest country with 64% of its population in the working age group of 15-64 years. This is India’s much touted “demographic dividend”. Economists anticipate the dividend to yield as much as an additional 2% to the GDP growth rate but this potential is hampered by poor education, plummeting job opportunities and inadequate access to health care. But who are Indian youth? What do they really want? Journalist Snigdha Poonam takes a deep dive into north India’s smaller cities in her first book Dreamers: How Young Indians Are Changing the World (Harvard University Press 2018), and returns with stories of hustle, aspiration and disenchantment.

Poonam is a journalist with the national Indian daily Hindustan Times. Her work has appeared in Scroll.inThe CaravanThe Times of IndiaThe New York TimesThe GuardianGranta and The Financial Times.  Her article ‘Lady Singham’s Mission Against Love’ was runner-up in the Bodley Head / Financial Times Essay Prize, 2015. She won the 2017 Journalist of Change award of Bournemouth University for an investigation of student suicides that appeared on Huffington PostDreamers is her first book.


Madhuri Karak holds a Ph.D. in cultural anthropology from The Graduate Center, City University of New York. Her dissertation titled “Insurgent Difference: An Ethnography of an Indian Resource Frontier” analyzed resource extraction and development as mutually constitutive logics of rule in the bauxite-rich mountains of southern Odisha, India. She tweets @madhurikarak and more of her work can be found here.

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