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Announcing the publication of Samaaj, Sarkaar, Bazaar – A Citizen-First Approach by Rohini Nilekani

Civil Society | Jul 21, 2022

An invitation to re-examine the role of an engaged and active Samaaj

Bengaluru, Thursday, July 21, 2022: This August will mark the publication of Samaaj, Sarkaar, Bazaar: A Citizen-First Approach by Rohini Nilekani, a leading philanthropist, journalist and writer. The book showcases Nilekani’s learnings from her civic engagement and philanthropy over three decades. She advocates that the quest for a good society begins with positioning Samaaj as the foundational sector in order to keep the state and markets accountable to the wider public interest.

Through Nilekani’s writings, speeches and interviews over several years, we see the evolution of her understanding of the societal landscape over this time. From her early work on the responsibilities of citizens, the issues within the justice system, and the challenges of sustainability to the potential offered by the digital age along with key takeaways from the Covid-19 pandemic, she discusses the intricate equilibrium between the state, society, and markets.

Rohini Nilekani has been associated with several civil society institutions over her thirty years of work in the civic space both through her giving and being a founding member of organisations such as Pratham Books, Arghyam and EkStep Foundation. She has had a long association with organisations such as Akshara Foundation and Ashoka Trust For Research In Ecology And The Environment (ATREE).

Talking about the intent of the book, Rohini Nilekani says, “A Samaaj-first philosophy has guided my civic involvement and personal philanthropy for the past three decades. This new book, Samaaj Sarkaar Bazaar: A Citizen-First Approach, is a distillation of my thoughts about the need for a dynamic balance between the three sectors of Society, State and Markets. This book is an invitation to thinkers, researchers, writers, civic leaders, and all citizens to join the important public discourse around the changing role of these three sectors. I also hope it energises citizens to rethink our role in creating an equitable and resilient society.”

The book will release on August 4, 2022, and will be available to purchase at select bookstores and e-commerce platforms. Any proceeds will go to the civil society organisations that Rohini Nilekani Philanthropies supports.

A self-published book, licensed under the Creative Commons, it will also be freely available on for readers to download and share.

Early praise for the book:

“What does it mean to have citizens first while navigating a dynamic balance between markets and state? Samaaj, Sarkaar and Bazaar is a compelling read that not only brings together Rohini Nilekani’s views on these three essential pillars but also provokes readers towards further thought and action.” – Rukmini Banerji – CEO, Pratham Education Foundation.

“Rohini Nilekani has made an enormous contribution over the last three decades to building and improving the quality of the social capital of the different communities, cities and states of our country.  This was achieved through her widely admired activities such as author, columnist, social activism, philanthropy and each animated by her deep humanism. This collection of forty-three essays by her is truly a beautiful gem. I warmly recommend this book to all young and old working in India or abroad wishing to make a difference in how our world functions.” Vijay Kelkar – Chairman, India Development Foundation and Vice President, Pune International Centre.

Rohini Nilekani spotlights the lack of equilibrium between the state, society and sustainability which will spiral into a socio-economic catastrophe unless we the citizens demand better governance. A must-read for every concerned citizen who wants to challenge the status quo.” Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw – Executive Chairperson, Biocon & Biocon Biologics

About the author:

Rohini Nilekani is an author and philanthropist and has been a strong influence in the Indian social sector over the past three decades. Her philanthropic work spans different sectors of Indian civil society. She founded Arghyam, a foundation for sustainable water and sanitation, and co-founded Pratham Books, a non-profit enabling access to reading for millions of children. Currently, she is the Chairperson of Rohini Nilekani Philanthropies and a Co-founder and Director of EkStep, a non-profit education platform. Rohini and her husband, Nandan Nilekani, are signatories to The Giving Pledge, pledging to give away half of their wealth to philanthropy.

Rohini’s first book, Stillborn, a medical thriller, and her second, Uncommon Ground, were published by Penguin Books India. She is also the author of 16 books for young children.

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