This two-volume work provides an account of how India has been meeting its myriad of economic, political and social challenges and how things are expected to evolve in the future. Despite enormous challenges at the time of independence, India chose to address them within a secular, liberal, democratic framework, which guaranteed several fundamental rights. Challenges included intense mass poverty and hunger, very poor literacy and educational abilities of the population, the task of uniting a country with scores of languages and ethnicities ruled by different entities for decades and persistent threats of external aggression, to name just a few. Over time, incomes and opportunities have expanded enormously and India has regained her self-confidence as a nation. In this first volume, Jha presents a long view of the performance of the Indian economy and discusses key aspects of India's population, land and labor. In addition, the Indian Constitution and basic structure of governance are analysed within the context of major economic and political developments in independent India.