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June Book: India After Gandhi (Part 4 and 5)

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[masked] 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’.

 

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  • Melanie

    Sorry, Kavita. Hope that you all enjoy the book and the discussion. Pity that I will be missing it.

    June 13, 2013

  • Melanie

    Hi Kavitha. Thanks for your message. I bought Sanyal's book from Flipkart after suggesting it to your group. Apart from not having started on the book, there is one more reason that I will not be able to attend next month's meet. I will not be in town. In case you are juggling around the books for July and August, let me know so that I will pick up the book and start reading it pronto! Best wishes.

    June 13, 2013

    • Kavita

      Hey -- my name is Kavita (not the way you spelled it!) -- we're reading Sanyal's book in July (we will miss you!) so at the moment not juggling around anything. sorry!

      June 13, 2013

  • Shankar P.

    Unfortunately I could not attend and I really miss it. Something urgent came up at my office at 6 PM and went on till 8 PM. I am disgusted.

    June 13, 2013

    • Kavita

      Shankar - we missed you at the meetup yesterday! Don't worry, I'm hoping to organize another discussion on this book soon (as part of another group, perhaps) -- as soon as we've made some progress on the other books assigned for our reading! Stay tuned :) This will give you an opportunity to finish the entire book before we meet again!

      June 13, 2013

  • Shankar P.

    I haven't read the book much due to pre occupation with my work.

    June 12, 2013

  • arvind b.

    Greetings everyone!

    Just a gentle reminder - We are meeting tomorrow at Costa cofee, Indira Nagar (the one next to Sony Center) at 7 pm. This is the same place where we met last time. Feel free to reach out to me in case you need directions etc. My cell is Eight Eight Six One Two Zero One Three Eight One.

    After reading Guha, how i wish he had written my NCERT history books. I would have been in a different profession for sure. In this second installment, we will discuss India after Nehru - the times of Indira Gandhi, emergency, and talk about Bangladesh, Kashmir, Janata Party and so many interesting developments that has shaped what see around us today.

    I hope to see you all there. I am looking forward to another evening of great discussion along with good coffee.

    Regards,

    arvind

    1 · June 11, 2013

  • Melanie

    Could not manage to read the book so regret will not be able to attend. Will take a call in July, when you decide on your next book. If you decide right away, it may help us some of us. The book called "Land of the 7 Rivers," by Sanjeev Sanyal was strongly recommended by a friend but I am yet to lay my hands on it. Going at a fantastic discount on Flipkart, is what she told me.

    1 · May 10, 2013

    • Kavita

      Melanie - we are having two meetups for this book -- not sure if you were trying to comment for this month's meetup (May) -- we're meeting next week on Wed May 15th in Indiranagar -- to discuss only Parts 1-3 of the book -- the book is really big which is why we have divided it up into two meetups :) most of us have not finished reading the book -- so please do consider joining us as we discuss Guha's take on India after independence! hope to see you next week!

      May 10, 2013

    • arvind b.

      Hi Melanie, Thanks for the book recommendation - Land of the 7 rivers looks great. I will add it to the poll for our next book selection. Btw, as Kavita mentioned, India after Gandhi has two meetups. It would be great if you can join us for the June one. AFAIK, parts 4 and 5 can be read without reading parts 1-3.

      1 · May 10, 2013

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