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Nonetheless the name says 'India After Gandhi' but the narrative starts right from the Sepoy Mutiny days. Ramchandra Guha splendidly tracks down all important events in the history of India. Right from Partition and Riots and various famous and infamous incidents and the contribution of various freedom fighter and leaders pre and post Independence. Author has still missed upon a few significant ones like - Subhash Chandra Bose, Khudiram Bose, Madan Lal Dhingra, Uddham Singh, Bipin Chandra Pal, Bagha Jatin and the likes...
Detailed descritption has been given of the period when the counrty was in the hands of the Monarchs (Nehru-Gandhi) which ends with the death of the Rajiv Gandhi. Which gives the description of the various incidents like Blue-Star Operation and the Emergency rule under Indira. Aurthor also describes all the wars faught with China and Pakisthan and one of them which inturn led to the formation of Bangladesh.
LTTE in Ceylon and the rise of Naxal are a treat as it helps to relate with the current events in Sri Lanka and Gadchiroli (maharashtra). Mr Guha have not even missed the Union Carbide gas tragedy in Bhopal and Godhra carnage that marked the rise of a new leader with a good 'M' to his name(Narendra Modi).
The pace slakens at the end with a detailed description in the field of Indian Cinema, art and culture.
Overall the book is nothing less than an epic which can easily replace any Social Studies book of primary. With a splendid narration just the author has dealt the subject like that of any screenplay.
I would recommend it as no other book in the recent past enriches the reader with so much in just one pack.
As a student, I remember how drab and detached histrory lessons were. Moreover, if one did not pursue history/political science in class XI and XII, one was deprived of any knowledge or insight into the happenings of this great nation post-Independence. To all those young people who, like me, have a thirst for knowing about the events, thoughts and ideas that have shaped modern India but feel that they have to grudgingly satisfy themselves with tid-bits of information in newspapers, Tv and internet, "India after Gandhi" is a book not to be missed.
It is indeed a magisterial work. It chronicles the Indian saga in a painstakingly detailed but engaging manner from the time impending independence. What makes this book interesting, unlike history lessons, is that it is anecdotal and contains various quotations etc. attributed to the historical figures being discussed, sourced from their personal letters, official records and others.
Since Indian has so much to offer, it is inevitable that readers will always have complaints that certain personalities/events were not given adequate attention in the book. I too, believed that the Nehru-Gandhi family in power was discussed at length, often at the cost of ignoring other personalities of the era. In particular, I missed an account on our ex-PM, Shri A.B. Vajpayee, whose BJP government in power was indeed a watershed in Indian politics. Guha hardly devotes any space to Vajpayee and limits himself to citing a poem of his.
At more than 800 pages, it is indeed a bulky book, and not your typical bedtime read. However, once you turn the last page, you will feel so much more enlightened and confident of developing an opinion on the happenings of India.
There is a theory called "Butterfly effect" which indicates that a small seemingly insignificant change can cause remarkable effects over a course of time."India after gandhi" surely looked like a proof of that.It surely points at the big and small reasons that have constructed our nation.
The chronicles of India has been so neatly described that it seeds a feel in the readers heart .Especially for younger generation it gives a glimpse of our history and it instills a belief that it is a nation that withstood all the tyranny and against all popular beliefs stayed as a democratic country.
Even-though the book is around 800 pages I never felt bored reading it.This book surely has altered lots of my prejudices about our history and our national leaders.
I liked the way Ramachandra Guha has chronicled the development of India right since independence. Its a beautiful narrative and the book is a very detailed account of India since independence. Ramchandra guha is a Nehruvian. He writes equally about Hinduism but as the book proceeds he continues more to give it a bashing like a secularist. The book is very long. Guha has done extensive research in order to write this book. The book is one of the most comprehensive one and traces a history and goes up to 2007.I must say its a must read for people interested in history. He does give his own perspective of the events. He is sometimes unbiased in his writing but as he moves towards the 2002 Gujarat carnage he becomes a secularists. He quotes newspapers
The book extensively is more about the politics and economics of India,more so the political events and hw they shaped the country. Guha has not left a stone unturned. There are some very good photographs in the book. Guha has most importantly captured the essence of transformation of the country from a socialist economy to the capitalist economy. He writes about the Indira Gandhi government. Its a book that is difficult to write about. Guha yet uses simple English and not complicated words. What makes the book stand out is its journalistic style. Guha could have written more about saffron politics which he hasn’t. I say that this book is a must read for those interested in Indian history since independence. The book talks extensively about small towns and villages as much as it does about the big cities of India..I wont say more. I leave you to read this book for yourself and find out.
We Gen Y live in a modern India which has been transformed immeasurably from our parents time, but are ignorant of the events and personalities that changed our destiny as a nation. Our independence struggle is well known and is taught in detail is most classes albeit with some biases as to magnify contributions of some actors and diminish others. But it is fairly perceptible that we know a lot about our freedom struggle and story of our independence from British. But as a fairly read student, any questions related to partition of India, impulses that drove Nehru to a socialist doctrine in 50s and 60s, back stories of 4 wars India fought, the air of idealism and hope that permeated India only to pave way for disillusionment and rise of trade unionism & workers movements in a very corrupt 70s and reason for the failure of democracy in the emergency period in India etc were only vaguely appreciated or understood. There were multitude of separatist movements, ideology changes of governments, but still India survived as a democracy. We fail to appreciate the magnitude of this fact in a relatively calm 90s and 2000s. I wanted a definitive book which could help me identify the modern Indian and his identity in greater detail.
This lack of knowledge in our immediate history forced me to search for good books to read and my choice of this book was the most apt one. This book straddles a veritable mix of very accessible history but nonetheless is a well referenced book for the serious reader. A simple story like narrative fail to do justice to the multifaceted course of Indian state post independence. Chapter organization is fairly chronological, but anachronistic musings are interspersed between which help make the statement clear in a larger context. Press photos capture the historic moments perfectly. Guha's liberalist retelling of our shared history is a must read for any educated Indian curious enough to know story of their and their parents generation.