This is the life story of Isher Judge Ahluwalia, one of the leading Indian policy economists of her generation. Born into a family with eleven children and limited means, where she was one of the first to attend university, she takes us through her journey to Presidency College, Delhi School of Economics and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She chronicles her career as a young policy economist fighting against the Indian economic orthodoxy that underpinned the license-permit-quota Raj, as an institution builder leading the Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER), one of India's leading economic think tanks for over a decade, and also her most recent role in focusing attention on the challenges of urbanization in India. Narrated with candor and from the heart, this is also a story of a woman balancing career and family, and trying to stay close to her roots as her life path takes her through the power corridors of New Delhi, both through her own career, and through a 50-year-marriage to Montek Singh Ahluwalia. An outsider to Delhi, who ultimately became the consummate insider, Breaking Through is an account of a remarkable life that was witness to remarkable times.
• Written crisply and with verve, this is a memoir by a remarkable woman who, through sheer intelligence, sustained hard work, boundless energy and the good fortune of a few excellent teachers along the way, rose to become a leading academic and policy economist in the charmed inner circles of Lutyens’ Delhi. • Isher is driven, can-do and solution-oriented. This book also reveals a talent hidden so far: an easy, uncluttered turn-of-phrase at storytelling. • Profound, analytical and thought-provoking, this is a must-read.