India After Gandhi: The History of World's Largest democracy
By Ramachandra Guha
Since it is a very big book, we will be reading part 1 to 3 in May, part 4 and 5 in June.
About the Book:
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. Ramachandra Guha’s hugely acclaimed book tells the full story - the pain and the struggle, the humiliations and the glories - of the world’s largest and least likely democracy. While India is sometimes the most exasperating country in the world, it is also the most interesting. Ramachandra Guha writes compellingly of the myriad protests and conflicts that have peppered the history of free India. Moving between history and biography, the story of modern India is peopled with extraordinary characters. Guha gives fresh insights on the lives and public careers of those longserving Prime Ministers, Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi. But the book also writes with feeling and sensitivity about lesser known (though not necessarily less important) Indians - peasants, tribals, women, workers and musicians. Massively researched and elegantly written, India After Gandhi is a remarkable account of India’s rebirth, and a work already hailed as a masterpiece of single volume history.
About the Author
Ramachandra Guha is an author and columnist based in Bangalore. Born in Dehradun in 1958, he studied at St.Stephen’s College, the Delhi School of Economics, and the Indian Institute of Management at Kolkata, where he wrote a doctoral thesis on the history and prehistory of the Chipko movement. Now a full-time writer, he has previously taught at the universities of Yale and Stanford, held the Arné Naess Chair at the University of Oslo, and been the Sundaraja Visiting Professor at the Indian Institute of Science. In 2011-2 he will occupy the prestigious Phillipe Roman Chair in History and International Affairs at the London School of Economics.
Guha’s books include a pioneering environmental history, The Unquiet Woods (Oxford University Press, 1989); Savaging the Civilized (University of Chicago Press, 1999), A life of the anthropologist-activist Verrier Elwin which the Times Literary Supplement called the ‘best biography by an Indian for many years’, an award-winning social history of cricket, A Corner of a Foreign Field (Picador), and India after Gandhi (Picador, 2007), a widely discussed (and also award-winning) history of India since independence. He is now working on a book on Mohandas Gandhi’s years in South Africa. Aside from his scholarly work, Guha writes regularly on social and political issues for the general public. Between 1997 and 2009 he wrote a fortnightly column for The Hindu, India’s national newspaper. He now writes columns in The Telegraph and the Hindustan Times, with these articles appearing in translation in other Indian newspapers (such as Hindustan, Dainik Bhaskar, Prajavani, and Andhra Jyoti). Guha’s awards include the Leopold-Hidy Prize of the American Society of Environmental History, the Daily Telegraph/Cricket Society prize, the R. K. Narayan Prize, and the Padma Bhushan. The New York Times has referred to him as ‘perhaps the best among India’s non fiction writers’; Time Magazine has called him ‘Indian democracy’s preeminent chronicler’.