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INDIA AFTER GANDHI BY RAMACHANDRA GUHA After a long time gap, i am back to my favourite hobby i.e. Book reading.

Six months back, I happened to see this book in a book stall, nearly 800 plus pages book. I hesitated to buy this book. But the words Gandhi in the title compelled me to buy. Authored by Ramachandra Guha. The Hindu news paper reader may well known him. His articles in Open page ranges from cricket to cultural and political topics. Regarding this book, it is history of the worlds largest democracy. Mainly it is the political history of the independent India. For all of us history of India as told in our class books ends abruptly at 1947 August 15 with Indian independence and bitter truth about partition. After our independence day we were taught mainly the five years plan in economics and some political set up in civics. As it seems that after independence historians has no work to do in India. Barely after 5 months after Indian freedom, Gandhi was assassinated. The demise of British Raj and quickly followed by death of Gandhi has had determining influence on the writing of history of India. May be if Gandhi had lived on much longer, historians would have shown greater interest in writing history of free India. As we go through Guhas book starting from the days just before Independence, we were revealed the political mechanisms of that era and intense struggle of power transfer from the British to natives. India never had a large scale revolutionary war where we drove out the British and captured Delhi. In fact, the British ruled on less than one third of India as we know today with rest being ruled by princely states. We have vague notions of Vallabhai Patel, the Iron Man of India muscling his way to create a united India but we were never told about the back door politics that went in to bringing India together. last viceroy Mountbatten and V.P. Menon, who joined as a clerk, and steadily worked to rose important positions in the government of India played instrumental role along Patel to deal with princely states. It was literally like a haphazard jigsaw puzzle that took years to assemble with some parts in the North and Northeast still refusing to assimilate completely. For Indians freedom comes along with Partition of the nation. As the just born nation, cheers the people, the eastern and western parts of India plagued with riots, religious violence and large scale human refugees from both sides. The refugees who came into India after Independence numbered to 8 million. This was greater than the population of small European countries such as Austria and Norway, and as many as lived in the colossal continent of Australia. These people were resettled with time, cash, and not least idealism. One example...in Punjab (east) Sardar Tarlok Singh of the Indian Civil service settled 2,50,000 land settlements among in fluxing refuges by distributing 1.9 million hectors of land in the Punjab. Sadly apart from the notoriously violent regions of first Punjab, and now Kashmir, we as students somehow never realise that the period after Independence wasnt a joyous time spent in celebrating our new- found freedom and building the nation.

In the later parts of this book Guha narrates about framing of the Indian constitution. Why we choose secularism and democracy as guiding principle for writing of our constitution and pains taken by Nehru and Ambedkar for framing the constitution well narrated.

It is difficult to write a review for this 800+ pages book. Even more difficult for a history book. I know that i will not do justice to it, but I must highly recommend it as a must read to any one who is remotely interested in Indian history. By the time we finish reading this book, we realize that India has succeeded as a nation beyond anyones wildest imaginations and sarcastic comments on its disintegration has always proven wrong. The elephant continue to trudge along slowly yet surely More than anything, reading this book made me fall in love with India again. In spite of all the imperfections, the very survival of this country is creditable.