Siddhartha Deb: The Power of Participatory Journalism [VIDEO]
"When I set out to write this book," he says, "it was based on this idea that the new India, or India shining...was a lie. But I was interested in uncovering the complexities of that lie." To do this, he explains how he employed the use of immersion journalism and embedded himself in the culture to get an inside look at what was really happening from the perspective of those living in the country. Following the lives of real people—both the rich and the poor—allowed him to capture a unique look at what was really happening. He was able to create portraits of the people who embodied what it meant to be a newly wealthy business tycoon, a member of the changing middle class, or someone who still—despite India's rising economic status—lived on less than $2 a day.
The use of one character to represent a broader cultural reality was inspired by the work of F. Scott Fitzgerald, he explains—in fact, the title of the book and its first chapter were borrowed from the author's work. While Deb says he experienced criticism from the Indian population because he chose one character to represent the country's changing landscape, he argues that the character does indeed showcase the new way of life. The character he profiled is representative of the fact that there are several rich tycoons emerging in the market who overshadow the deeper problems occurring in the country—which is still failing in other areas, he says. Deb's use of participatory journalism takes the reader—and audiences who hear him speak—into the heart of the new India, and gives them an insider's look at the massive changes occuring in the country.