India is the land of young in our aging world. If Indians under age 35 were their own nation, their ranks would surpass the combined population of the United States, Britain and France. The End of Karma tells the stories of this unprecedented youth bulge through the lens of young Indians hungry and hopeful and keen to write their own destinies: a daughter of the slums who wants to protect other daughters of the slums, a peasant woman who escapes the barren hinterland, a couple who follow their hearts over the dictates of caste.  Driven by aspiration—and thwarted at every step by state and society—India's young are making new demands on India’s democracy. Sengupta, who was the first Indian-American bureau chief for The New York Times in New Delhi, weaves together their stories of resilience and grit in groundbreaking portrait of a country in turmoil. India is soon to be the world's most populous country—and their stories should matter to us all.

Published by WW Norton & Co., March 2016


The Economist

The Economist reviews The End of Karma and writes, "The argument running through Ms Sengupta’s book, made of seven richly detailed portraits of young Indians, is both simple and beguiling. For centuries Indians born into wretched circumstances have accepted their lot as karma—punishment for misdeeds in past lives."

The Wall Street Journal

Writing for the Wall Street Journal, Maxwell Carter says, "Ms. Sengupta illustrates broader societal trends and moves skillfully between the personal and the general, qualifying bright spots with sobering statistics."

The New York Times

"In the book’s most vibrant sections," writes Samanth Subramanian, "Sengupta profiles seven young Indians, shadowing some of them over years."

The Seattle Times

"In this gorgeously written, memoir cum sociopolitical study of democratic India, a ‘love letter’ to her adopted daughter, Sengupta views the political impact" of India, writes Bharti Kirchner in The Seattle Times.

Now in paperback

Now in paperback


New York Times correspondent Somini Sengupta talks to Christiane Amanpour about her new non-fiction book on the many challenges facing India's youth.

The Guardian

Somini Sengupta, a New York Times journalist born in Kolkata, talks about her book on India’s youth ‘bulge.’

The New York Times Upfront Magazine

In an adaptation for young adult readers, New York Times reporter Somini Sengupta, who covered India for four years, profiles an ambitious young woman striving for a better life.

KCRW To the Point

The world's largest democracy is changing fast, but India's caste system still prevails in many ways. Somini Sengupta, who covers the United Nation for the New York Times, has lived in both the United States and India, and considers herself part of both countries. Now she's written a book about the world's second most populous nation — expected to surpass China before very long. India is also the world's largest democracy, where 40% of the population is under age 35 and a million people turn 18 every month. Her book is The End of Karma: Hope and Fury Among India's Young.

NPR All Things Considered

NPR's Ari Shapiro talks with Somini Sengupta, the former New Delhi bureau chief for The New York Times, about her book, The End of Karma: Hope and Fury Among India's Young.


"Sengupta has a powerful grasp of the nuances of India’s socioeconomic landscape and uses this to piercing effect in this snapshot of the country’s youth."

Advance Praise

“The End of Karma is the essential beginning for any reader who wants to understand the future of the world’s biggest democracy. With meticulously researched, grippingly told stories about youth in today’s India, Sengupta’s quest to understand her daughter’s birthplace seized me like no other book coming from the country today.”
Suketu Mehta, author of Maximum City: Bombay Lost and Found

“The End of Karma brilliantly opens the door into the world of the striving young men and women of the new India as they try to shed India’s past and invent their own future. Somini Sengupta’s chosen characters are so vividly drawn and so sensitively reported.”
Tina Brown, CEO & founder, Women in the World Media

“Anyone who imagines that India today is simply a land of IT companies and call centers should read this book. Somini Sengupta sees the new India in all its complexity—its gated towers and remote villages; its kidnapped maids and chief ministers; those who want to remake it into a Hindu nation and those who care only about getting ahead. India is home to nearly a fifth of the world’s people—few places will be more important to the shape of the twenty-first century. The End of Karma, with its vivid storytelling and intimate portraits of India’s younger generation, is a riveting vision of the future.”
Larissa MacFarquhar, author of Strangers Drowning

“In fluent, conversational style, Somini Sengupta asks that burning question of contemporary India—‘What happens to a dream deferred?’—by looking at the trajectories of seven lives. The resulting book is compelling, moving, necessary and, above all, truthful.”
Neel Mukherjee, author of The Lives of Others