Born against a background of privation and civil war, divided along lines of caste, class, language and religion, independent India emerged, somehow, as a united and democratic country. The story of its making has never been told before. Now, in this remarkable book, we have an epic account of the world's largest and least likely democracy. As ...
Born against a background of privation and civil war, divided along lines of caste, class, language and religion, independent India emerged, somehow, as a united and democratic country. The story of its making has never been told before. Now, in this remarkable book, we have an epic account of the world's largest and least likely democracy. As Ramachandra Guha points out, India may sometimes be the most exasperating country in the world but it is always the most interesting. Guha writes compellingly of the myriad protests and conflicts that have peppered the history of free India. But he writes also of the factors and processes that have kept the country together, kept it democratic, and defied the numerous prophets of doom who believed that its poverty and hetereogeneity would force India to break up or come under autocratic rule. Moving between history and biography, "India After Gandhi" is peppered with incredible characters from the longstanding Prime Ministers Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi to peasants, tribals, women, workers and musicians. Massively researched and elegantly written, this is the work of a major scholar at the height of his powers.
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Publishers Weekly, 2007-05-07 India is the country that was never expected to ever be a country. In the late 19th century, Sir John Strachey, a senior British official, grandly opined that the territory's diverse states simply could not possess "any sort of unity, physical, political, social or religious." Strachey, clearly, was wrong: India today is a unified entity and a rising global power. Even so, it continues to defy explanation. "India's existence," says Guha, an internationally known scholar (Environmentalism: A Global History), "has also been an anomaly for academic political science, according to whose axioms cultural heterogeneity and poverty do not make a nation, still less a democratic one." Yet India continues to exist. Guha's aim in this startlingly ambitious political, cultural and social survey is to explain why and how. He cheerfully concludes that India's continuing existence results from its unique diversity and its refusal to be pigeonholed into such conventional political models as Anglo-American liberalism, French republicanism, atheistic communism or Islamist theocracy. India is proudly sui generis, and with August 15, 2007, being the 60th anniversary of Indian independence, Guha's magisterial history of India since that day comes not a moment too soon. 32 pages of b&w illus., 8 maps. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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