Modern India is the world's largest democracy, a sprawling, polyglot nation containing one-sixth of all humankind. The existence of such a complex and distinctive democratic regime qualifies as one of the world's bona fide political miracles.Read more...
Modern India is the world's largest democracy, a sprawling, polyglot nation containing one-sixth of all humankind. The existence of such a complex and distinctive democratic regime qualifies as one of the world's bona fide political miracles. Furthermore, India's leading political thinkers have often served as its most influential political actors think of Gandhi, whose collected works run to more than ninety volumes, or Ambedkar, or Nehru, who recorded their most eloquent theoretical reflections at the same time as they strove to set the delicate machinery of Indian democracy on a coherent and just path.
Out of the speeches and writings of these thinker-activists, Ramachandra Guha has built the first major anthology of Indian social and political thought. "Makers of Modern India" collects the work of nineteen of India's foremost generators of political sentiment, from those whose names command instant global recognition to pioneering subaltern and feminist thinkers whose works have until now remained obscure and inaccessible. Ranging across manifold languages and cultures, and addressing every crucial theme of modern Indian history race, religion, language, caste, gender, colonialism, nationalism, economic development, violence, and nonviolence "Makers of Modern India" provides an invaluable roadmap to Indian political debate.
An extensive introduction, biographical sketches of each figure, and guides to further reading make this work a rich resource for anyone interested in India and the ways its leading political minds have grappled with the problems that have increasingly come to define the modern world.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2011-02-28
- Reviewer: Staff
"The striking thing about modern India is that the men and women who made its history also wrote most authoritatively about it." So begins one of the first major anthologies of Indian political writing, impressively annotated by Guha (India After Gandhi). The book recovers and elucidates obscure political writings that "had a defining impact on the formation of the Indian Republic" and demonstrate the diversity of India. A variety of rhetorical styles adds to the complexity and liveliness of the collection: Syed Ahmad Kahn's blunt political rhetoric on Muslim separatism abuts Rammohan Roy's elegant articulations on gender inequality. Though providing a wide gamut of political, religious, and regional writings, the collection is marred by a paucity of female voices—only two women are included. An indulgent focus on Gandhi is punctuated by welcome excerpts by other gifted writers: Jayaprakash Narayan and his incisive critique of Indian political apathy toward Tibet in the earlier stages of Chinese annexation, and Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay's excerpt on communalism and the class underpinnings of partition. Despite the vastness of the material and the limitations imposed by its structure (organized by individual not by theme or chronology), the book is an engaging and illuminating read, and brings to the fore both the diversity of India and the relevance of its modern political origins. (Apr.)