Gurcharan Das

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Gurcharan Das
Mr GD at New Delhi.jpg
Gurcharan Das
Born (1943-10-03) 3 October 1943 (age 74)
Lyallpur, British India
Occupation Author, Commentator, public speaker, Intellectual.

Gurcharan Das (born 3 October 1943) is an Indian author,[1] commentator and public intellectual. He is the author of The Difficulty of Being Good: On the subtle art of dharma which analyses the epic, Mahabharata. His international best-seller, India Unbound, is a narrative account of India from independence to the "global information age", and has been published in many languages and filmed by BBC.

He is a regular columnist for six Indian newspapers in English, Hindi, Telugu and Marathi. He writes periodic pieces for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, Foreign Affairs, and Newsweek.

Gurcharan Das graduated with honours from Harvard University in Philosophy. He later attended Harvard Business School (AMP), where he is featured in three case studies. He was CEO of Procter & Gamble India and later managing director, Procter & Gamble Worldwide (Strategic Planning). In 1995, he took early retirement to become a full-time writer.

His other literary works include a novel, A Fine Family, a book of essays, The Elephant Paradigm, and anthology, Three English Plays.

Early life[edit]

Gurcharan Das was born in Lyallpur, India (now Faisalabad, Pakistan). His mildly autobiographical novel, A Fine Family, sheds light on his early life. After the partition of India, Das's family migrated to India. His father was an engineer with the government and he spent his childhood in Shimla and Delhi. When staying in Delhi he studied in Modern School, he also went to a high school in Washington D.C. when his father was posted there in the mid-1950s. He attended Harvard University and graduated with honours in Philosophy. He wrote his thesis under John Rawls. Later he attended Harvard Business School's Advanced Management Program, where he is featured in three case studies.


Gurcharan Das was the CEO of Procter & Gamble India and Vice-President for Procter & Gamble Far East between 1985 and 1992. He was later Vice-President and managing director, Procter & Gamble Worldwide, responsible for global strategic planning. Prior to P&G, he was chairman and managing director of Richardson Hindustan Limited from 1981 to 1985, the company where he started as a trainee.

At the end of 1994, after a 30-year career in six countries, he took early retirement to become a full-time writer.

He began to write a regular column on Sundays for The Times of India and continued to do so for 15 years. Gradually, he added Dainik Bhaskar, Prabhat Khabar, Eenadu, Sakal, and Mathrubhumi. He also wrote occasional guest columns for Time and Newsweek magazines and occasional pieces for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, and Foreign Affairs .


Gurcharan Das has published India Grows at Night: A liberal case for a strong state[2] in 2012. He is also general editor for a 15 volume series, The Story of Indian Business (Penguin) of which three volumes such as Arthashastra: The Science of Wealth, Merchants of Tamilakam: Pioneers of International Trade, The East India Company: The World's Most Powerful Corporation [3] have already appeared.

He is now mainly known for his two best-selling books, India Unbound and The Difficulty of Being Good. India Unbound, is a narrative account of India from Independence to the global information age, and has been published in over a dozen languages and filmed by BBC. The Difficulty of Being Good: On the subtle art of dharma (Penguin 2009) examines contemporary moral failures through the lens of the millennia year old epic, the Mahabharata.

India Unbound is mainly about the transformation of India from birth of the writer in (1942) to (1999). The author majorly speaks about the Indian politics and the economy of India. He categorises the complete timeline from 1942 to 1999 in three major sections: 'Spring of Hope (1942–65)', 'the Lost Generation (1966–91)' and 'Rebirth of Dream (1991–99)' and tells various stories (memoirs) and the historical facts of that time.

Gurcharan Das began to write soon after college. He wrote three plays in his twenties, which have been published as an anthology, Three English Plays (Oxford University Press, 2001). It consists of Larins Sahib, a prize-winning play about Sir Henry Lawrence and the British in India, which has been presented by Akademeia Repertory Theatre (ART) and its producer and artistic-director Rumi Palsetia, as the first-ever Indian theatre production in English, in the then 40-year history of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, in 1991; Mira, which was produced off-Broadway to critical acclaim from New York critics; and 9 Jakhoo Hill which has been performed in major Indian cities. A new edition of the anthology, titled Three Plays, was published by Penguin India in 2011.

He wrote a novel in his thirties, A Fine Family, which follows the stories of several generations of a Punjabi family beginning with the Partition.

The Elephant Paradigm is a book of essays which covers subjects such as Panchayati raj, national competitiveness, and the sacred and philosophical concerns of the average Indian consequent to India's entry into what the author calls the "age of liberation."

Personal life[edit]

Gurcharan Das is married and lives with his wife in New Delhi, and has two children. He is a classical liberal.[4]


  1. ^ Prasad, Amar Nath; Rukhaiyar, U. S. (1 January 2003). Studies in Indian English fiction and poetry. Sarup & Sons. pp. 146–. ISBN 978-81-7625-368-0. Retrieved 26 September 2011. 
  2. ^ CampusEra (9 January 2012). "3rd K.Mahipathi Rao Memorial Lecture by Gurcharan Das". CampusEra. Retrieved 9 January 2012. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ "Why classic liberals don't win elections, and populists do". Times of India. 26 February 2017. Retrieved 15 April 2017. 

External links[edit]

Articles by Gurcharan Das:

Articles on Gurcharan Das:

  • “Against Eurocentrism: A Postcolonial Re-reading of Gurcharan Das’s Larins Sahib”, by Pinaki Roy in Unmasking Power: Subjectivity and Resistance in Indian Drama in English (eds. J. Sarkar and A. Bhattacharya), Guwahati: Papyrus, 2014, ISBN 978-93-81287-40-8, pp. 101–21.