India After Gandhi, The history of the world largest democracy, is an attempt by author Ramachandra Guha to describe the history of India since independence. Whenever we talk about the history of India, the era of British India comes to our mind first. It has been more than 70 years since India got independence on 15th August 1947. So today, it is very important to know the history of India after
If you do not know where you come from, then you don’t know where you are. If you don’t know where you are, then you don’t know where you’re going. And if you don’t know where you’re going, you’re probably going wrong.Terry Pratchett
What made me read India After Gandhi
From last few years, my mind was highly cluttered by the ideas of India propagated by social media. Pretty much every news on social media used to confuse me. I became desperate to understand the Indian history in depth. At the same time, I was highly concerned about the biases the author might have. It is very important to read a history book which is not based on the author’s opinions but the facts of history. One of my colleagues recommended me this book which I ordered right away and started reading.
India After Gandhi is a big book, around 900+ pages, but when I started reading, nowhere it appeared lengthy. I found the book so grasping & compelling that when it was coming to the end, I didn’t want the book to finish. India After Gandhi was initially published in 2007. There were additions to 10th-anniversary edition to include last 10 years. I read the 10th-anniversary edition. The was book exactly what I was looking for. The author wrote the book in such a compelling storytelling way that I couldn’t resist reading each and every part in detail. India after Gandhi is also available as kindle version and the book is also available in
About the author – Ramachandra Guha
Ramachandra Guha was born on 29th April 1958 in Dehradun. He is a well known Indian historian, journalist, and writer. Educated in Delhi and Calcutta, he has taught at the University of Oslo, Stanford, and Yale, and at the Indian Institute of Science. He served as the Indo-American Community Chair Visiting Professor at the University of California at Berkeley. His books cover a wide range of themes, including a global history of environmentalism, a biography of an anthropologist-activist, a social history of Indian cricket, and a social history of Himalayan peasants.
Guha’s books and essays have been translated into more than twenty languages. The prizes they have won include the U.K. Cricket Society’s Literary Award and the Leopold-Hidy Prize of the American Society of Environmental History. (source Goodreads).
Book Title: India After Gandhi
Author: Ramachandra Guha
Published: April 20, 2007
Genre: Non-fiction, History, Politics
Goodreads Link: Click here
India is a 50-50 democracy. Its mostly when it comes to elections, freedom of expression and speech. Its not when it comes to Politicians and Political Institutions.
Why every Indian should read India after Gandhi
During the British era, we knew our foes exactly and who we had to fight against. But today, India is struggling mainly with its own internal issues. We are unsure of what is right and what is wrong. This book is an unbiased account of the history of India post independence. When it comes to India’s history, we always talk about the glory of India before and during the British era. We talk about the movement of freedom. But most of us are still less aware of the events of the last 70 years. It is important and interesting to know how the country so diverse, so big, so many languages & religions, is held together. Once you understand, it will start making sense that the issues we are facing today are very natural. Here are few important aspects this book explains:
Initial phase after Independence
Book tells us the fascinating story of making of the nation with the integration of princely states. Along with that, it explains making of the constitution, dealing with challenges like refugees, natural causes, poverty etc. India faced just after the British left.
This book details the major and widely discussed disputes, the issue of Kashmir, various riots overtime, the establishment of states on linguistic basis and so on. All these disputes look independent but they all connect and affect each other in one way or another.
Rise and fall of political parties
The book discusses various phases of Indian politics. From the death of Gandhi & Jawahar Lal Nehru, the phase of the emergency to the rise of BJP, are discussed in a detailed manner.
Formation of important laws and bills
Formation of important laws and bills which eventually decided the fate of Indian society. For example, it explains how the Hindu Code Bill and the other laws were passed which empowers women. With facts, the author tells who supported the bill and who protested against them.
Foreign Policies and Wars
Book also explains various foreign policies of India with countries like Pakistan, India, China, Russia etc. The non-alignment policy of Nehru and how that affected everything. It tells us about the various wars India has gone through with its neighbors. 1947 Indo-Pak, 1963 Sino-Indian, 1965 Indo-Pak, 1971 Indo-Pak and Kargil war. How the government handled the situation and how its foreign policies affected India.
Riots & Clashes
Book discusses the facts of various riots & clashes happened over time. The book describes Sikh riots of 1984, demolishing of Babri Masjid, 2002 Gujrat riots, Bombay riots etc. in detail. The events and causes lead to those riots and how the government handled and reacted to those.
A lot of interesting facts
There are a lot of interesting facts mentioned in every chapter. For example, Since 26th January 1930, the day was being celebrated as independence day. Many Indian leaders preferred 26th January 1948 for the independence. But Lord Mountbatten chose 15th August 1947 as the date because that was the second anniversary of the Japanese surrender to allied forces in the second world war. So freedom finally came on a day that resonated with imperial pride rather than national sentiment.
Writing 70 years of history in just 900 pages is no joke but the author has done it very well. The author wrote the book, India After Gandhi, with facts in a highly compelling manner. I recommend this book to everyone who is interested in history. Once read, you’ll make better sense of the real issues vs the propaganda of different organizations. The most impressive part of the book is, the book doesn’t advocate any political party. Rather than knowing the distorted information on social media which cannot be easily validated. India After Gandhi is definitely worth reading. Once you read with facts not opinions, you’ll start connecting dots together and see how everything works.
Rating: 4.5/5 Stars
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