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India After Gandhi : The History of the World's Largest Democracy

Ramachandra Guha, Picador, 2007, xxvi, 900 p, ISBN : 9780330396103, $0.00 (Includes free airmail shipping)

India After Gandhi : The History of the World's Largest Democracy/Ramachandra Guha

Contents:  Prologue : unnatural nation. I. Picking up the pieces: 1. Freedom and parricide. 2. The logic of division. 3. Apples in the basket. 4. A valley bloody and beautiful. 5. Refugees and the republic. 6. Ideas of India. II. Nehru's India: 7. The biggest gamble in history. 8. Home and the world. 9. Redrawing the map. 10. The conquest of nature. 11. The law and the prophets. 12. Securing Kashmir. 13. Tribal trouble. III. Shaking the centre: 14. The southern challenge. 15. The experience of defeat. 16. Peace in our time. 17. Minding the minorities. IV. The rise of populism: 18. War and succession. 19. Leftward turns. 20. The Elixir of victory. 21. The rivals. 22. Autumn of the Matriarch. 23. Life without the Congress. 24. Democracy in disarray. 25. The son also rises. V. A history of events: 26. Rights. 27. Riots. 28. Rulers. 29. Riches. 30. A people's entertainments. Epilogue: why India survives. Acknowledgements. Notes. Index.

"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. This remarkable 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. But he writes also of the factors and processes that have kept the country together (and kept it democratic), defying numerous prophets of doom who believed that its poverty and heterogeneity would force India to break up or come under autocratic rule. Once, the western world looked upon India with a mixture of pity and contempt; now, it looks upon India with fear and admiration.

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. There are vivid sketches of the major 'provincial' leaders whose provinces was as large as a European country: the Kashmiri rebel-turned-ruler Sheikh Abdullah; the Tamil film actor-turned-politician M.G. Ramachandran; the Naga secessionist leader Angami Zapu Phizo; the socialist activist Jayaprakash Narayan. But the author 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 magisterial account of India's rebirth, and the work of a major scholar at the height of his powers." (jacket)

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