In 1967 a group of academics gathered in the Indian Institute of Advanced Study at Shimla to reflect upon socio-economic change in India. The source material or their deliberations was the reports of the decadal Census of India which had commenced in 1871. The papers in this volume thus serve as a window on close to a century of change in India. A wide spectrum of topics ranging from education and industrialization to agriculture and the growth of national income are covered by them. As the period 1871-1967 straddles the colonial and post-colonial periods of Indian History they provide an insight into how the group assessed the progress made in India since 1947. By now, into the twenty-first century, we may have more data and superior statistical methodology to measure change but these essays retain their power to educate us about the country. Viewed from the perspective of the history of Ideas they are a record of the evolution of thought in the analysis of India’s society, politics and economics.