Monday, October 06, 2008

India After Gandhi

The book by Ramachandra Guha as exemplified by its title rests on a simple premise - What we know of Indian history stops at 15th August 1947, atleast in our textbooks or at best the assassination of Gandhi. It serves to remedy the gap and does so splendidly.

It matches his "In a Corner of a Foreign Field" on scholarship and serves to illustrates the diligence of Guha, whatever the topic.

It sweeps across a broad group of topics, not least of which is politics which has to necessarily dominate a historical work of such ambition. To review the book would demand a perspective almost equal to that of the author! And I must admit my shortcomings at writing. However the book more than does fulfil its stated aim - One is given the feeling of being a witness to a canvas while it is being painted by the talented, almost affectionate author (somewhat like standing alongside a scholarly version of the common man by RK Laxman) - drawing on scenes from Gandhi's assassination to Nehru's rise and somewhat tragic demise, the rise and fall of his daughter and then his grandson, the rise of several factional events that have shaped modern India from JP's attempt at unseating Indira Gandhi to the emergency, ...

The last time I felt so educated was when I read an issue of the Frontline which discussed the background to the Cauvery conflict. This book does the same for just about everything that has dominated India in our lifetimes, before those and almost certainly, the ones after. The author does permit himself only one indulgent nod to modern India's current state and the reasons for India's staying together, advancing that movies, a staple for most Indians, have created a fabric for such a diverse nation. I am not sure I agree with that, but it is worth an amusing read anyways.

Must read for every Indian and for anyone else wanting to know the evolution of our country since its independence.

p.s. The only reason this got read finally after having begun a long time ago is due to a really bad case of antibiotic allergy which has confined me to home, with no running!



Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home