Jan Myrdal, the son of Nobel Laureates Gunnar and Alva Myrdal, has become widely regarded as Sweden's most important writer and intellectual, with a national importance possible only in a country like Sweden. When he had a heart attack a few years ago, the largest daily newspaper, a sensational tabloid, Expressen, had its front page completely filled with a headline about it. On his 60th birthday cabinet ministers, labor leaders, religious leaders as well as writers and artists came to his door with gifts (he lives two hours from Stockholm).
In this country, he is known mainly for his writing about China (Harrison Salisbury called Report from a Chinese Village a social classic) and Confessions of a Disloyal European, which the NY Times Book Review chose as "one of ten books of particular excellence and significance in 1968" in its Christmas book issue. But in Sweden he is the author of over 60 volumes of political commentary, art and literary criticism, history, novels, autobiography, poetry and plays, and has also curated exhibitions and regularly does documentaries for Swedish TV (recently a 13 part series on the history of political and social caricature, also printed as a coffee table book). Most recent volumes in Sweden are his collected art criticism and a huge art book "Five Years of Freedom," on a period in the 1830s when there was press freedom in France. Myrdal also curated an exhibition on the subject and was recently awarded the coveted honor, Chevalier des arts et des lettres, by the French government.
Coming to terms with the third world has been a continuing concern of Jan Myrdal's books since the publication of Report from a Chinese Village, which Harrison Salisbury has called "a social classic."
India Waits is an impassioned view of today's India—its complex origins and future prospects. It was written over a period of twenty years in which the author returned many times to the same places, the same people and the same questions.
Myrdal visits the poorest villages and the largest cities, stays in a peasant guerilla camp and visits a model capitalist town. His talks with peasants and politicians, revolutionaries and capitalists show an India which will be strange and often shocking to readers accustomed to viewing India through British eyes.
Myrdal confronts Western distortions of Indian culture and history; as he traces them back to the first encounters of East and West, both are revealed in the process. Here the people of India are encountered with an excitement of discovery made possible only by the greatest respect.