One of Walker's New Nations and Peoples Library series, Mrs. Zinkin's short book is a simple, yet by and large reliable, primer on the nation she describes as ""big, diverse, old, poor, and important."" It is of course impossible to cover any country's past, present, and probable future in slightly more than 200 pages, including 100 illustrations and 3 maps. The best one can expect is a fair children's textbook or a handy background piece for tourists, and this is what appears here -- once some bias is discounted. Mrs. Zinkin knew India as resident and newspaper correspondent for 15 years, but it should be noted that her husband is a former member of the (British colonial) Indian Civil Service, and that the papers she wrote for were The Economist, The Guardian, and the Wall Street Journal. Thus, while her feelings for India's terrible problems are strong and sincere, she tends to take a dim view of many of that country's efforts at genuinely independent solutions, especially of the policy of nonalignment. Her handling of the colonial era, however, is quite frank, and the picture she gives of Gandhi and Nehru as politicians is solid as far as it goes. Not so good as Beatrice Lamb's India- A World in Transition (1963).