Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay NIF Book Prize – Winner Announcement

19 Dec 2018

The New India Foundation is pleased to share that Dr. Milan Vaishnav has won the first Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay NIF prize for his book When Crime Pays: Money and Muscle in Indian Politics published by Yale University Press and Harper Collins.

The Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay NIF prize, which will be awarded annually, recognizes and celebrates outstanding non-fiction books on modern and contemporary India. The prize takes forward the New India Foundation’s mission of supporting high-quality research and writing on the world’s largest democracy. This prize is named after Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay, the great patriot, and institution-builder who had contributed significantly to the freedom struggle, to the women’s movement, to refugee rehabilitation and to the renewal of handicrafts.

The winner was announced on 27 October at the Bangalore Literature Festival. Dr.  Milan Vaishnav received the prize of Rs. 15 lakhs from the eminent literary historian Shri Velcheru Narayana Rao.


About the book



When Crime Pays is an ambitious attempt at understanding a crucial paradox in India’s democracy: the flagrant nexus between crime and politics. The book offers an important conceptual framework with which to understand this puzzling phenomenon and brings a wealth of empirical materials to illuminate this problem.The book’s admirable rigor and clarity are matched by its elegance of presentation and accessibility to a wide readership. As India prepares for its next general elections, this book illuminates the past and present of our democratic experiment as few other accounts have.



Shortlisted Books for the Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay Book Prize



This year’s winner was selected from nearly 60 books by a jury chaired by Ramachandra Guha and including Dr. Rukmini Banerjee, Professor Niraja Gopal Jayal, Nandan Nilekani, Manish Sabharwal, and Dr. Srinath Raghavan.


The other shortlisted books this year were:


  • Abhinav Chandrachud, The Republic of Rhetoric: Free Speech and the Constitution of India (Penguin Randomhouse India, 2017).

  • Aanchal Malhotra,  Remnants of a Separation: A History of Partition Through Material Memory (HarperCollins, 2017).

  • Anirudh Krishna, The Broken Ladder: The Paradox and Potential of India’s One Billion(Penguin Randomhouse India, 2017).

  • Sujatha Gidla, Ants Among Elephants: An Untouchable Family and the Making of Modern India(HarperCollins, 2017).

  • Francesca R. Jensenius, Social Justice Through Inclusion: The Consequences of Electoral Quotas in India (Oxford University Press, New York, 2017).

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