Relying on many years of fieldwork and on his involvement with several national level policy making bodies, the author presents a cultural interpretation of how public life and state interventions in India should be viewed. While commending statistical interventions in governmental decision making, he detects a marked deficiency in the understanding of how cultural factors impress upon and condition economic life. Towards this end, Dipankar Gupta interrogates anti-poverty drives, labour relations, election studies and, in this process, provides a novel and helpful guide towards resolving the vexing relationship between the domains of the public and the private. In all of this, the sociological antenna is constantly at work, beeping helpful signals on how one might untangle knotty issues in public life. More than anything else, this book urges policy makers to be self consciously intersubjective in their approach and this is where sociology can make its mark. The Appendix too provides a medley of situations where cultural sensitivity and the discipline of sociology prove their worth in figuring out fresh ways to resolve outstanding problems in our country.--------- Dipankar Gupta taught for three decades in the School of Social Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. He has authored numerous books on caste, modernity, rural India and ethnicity. His current interest lies primarily in understanding how sociology can help understand and assist social policy.