Makers of M odern India Edited and Introduced by. Ramachandra Guha PENGUIN VIKING VIKING Published by the Penguin Group Penguin Books India Pvt. ramachandra-guha. All PDF which are provided here are for Education purposes only Makers of Modern India by Ramachandra Guha Click here to Download. Download Makers of Modern India By Ramachandra Guha – Modern India is the world's largest democracy, a sprawling, polyglot nation containing one-sixth of.
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A third conjuncture that produces the politician-as-writer is a revolutionary change in the system of government.
Paradigmatic here are Lenin and Mao, the acknowledged leaders of the Russian and Chinese revolutions respectively. Pre-eminendy men of action, both also wrote influential works of political and economic analysis.
Prologue; Thinking Through India 3 Their essays and books were required reading in their own homeland, while also attracting attention in other countries.
This wider history notwithstanding, I believe India still constitutes a special case. Its distinctiveness is threefold. First, the tradition of the thinker-activist persisted far longer in India than elsewhere. While the men who founded the United States in the late eighteenth century had fascinating ideas about democracy and nationhood, thereafter American politicians have merely governed and ruled, or sometimes misgoverned and misruled.
O n the other hand, from the first decades of the nineteenth century until the last decades of the twentieth century, the most influential political thinkers in India were, as often as not, its most influential political actors. Long before India was conceived of as a nation, in the extended run-up to Indian independence, and in the first few decades of freedom, the most interesting reflections on society and politics were offered by men and women who were in the thick of political action.
Second, the relevance of individual thinkers too has lasted longer in India. For instance, Lenin's ideas were influential for about seventy years, that is to say, from the time the Soviet state was founded to the time it disappeared. O f the leaders who came after the Founders, at least four American presidents have reflected deeply on questions of political and social reform—and then sought to act on their reflections.
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However, the 6rst three did not leave behind a body of writing that has stood the test of rime. The jury is still out on Obama: on the evidence of his two memoirs, he might yet, once he demits office as President, give us an original and insightful work on how democracy functions— or malfunctions.
On the other hand, as this book will demonstrate, Indian thinkers of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries still speak in many ways to the concerns of the present. A third difference has to do with the greater diversity of thinkers within the Indian political tradition. Even Gandhi and Nehru never held the kind of canonical status within their country as Mao or Lenin did in theirs.
At any given moment, there were as many Indians who were opposed to their ideas as were guided by them. Moreover, the range of issues debated and acted upon by politicians and social reformers appears to have been far greater in India than in other countries.
This depth and diversity of thought was, as I argue below, in good part a product of the depth and diversity of the society itself. II I have long believed India to be the most interesting country in the world. This is the impartial judgement of a historian, not the partisan claim of a citizen. India may also be the most exasperating and the most hierarchical and the most degrading country in the world.
But whatever qualifier or adjective one uses or prefers, it remains the most interesting, too. For one thing, India is very large and contains one-sixth of humankind.
For another, its territory is astonishingly diverse, with its peoples differentiated by religion, language, caste and ethnicity, as well as by ecology, technology, dress and cuisine. Beyond the size and the diversity, what truly makes India interesting is that it is simultaneously undergoing five dramatic transformations.
The Indian economy was once very largely based on agriculture; now, it increasingly depends upon industry and services. An overwhelming majority of Indians once lived in the villages; now, hundreds of millions of Indians live in cities and towns. India was once a territory ruled over by Europeans; now, it is an independent nation-state. The political culture of India was Prologue: Thinking Through India 5 once feudal and deferential; now, it is combative and participatory.
The social system of India was once governed by community and patriarchy; now, it has had increasingly to make space for the assertion of individual rights as well as the rights of previously subordinated groups such as women and lower castes. There were, and are, five revolutions simultaneously occurring in India: the urban revolution, the industrial revolution, the national revolution, the democratic revolution and the social revolution.
The key word here is simultaneously. In Europe and North America, these revolutions were staggered. Thus the United States proclaimed its national independence in the eighteenth century, urbanized and industrialized in the nineteenth century, and became democratic only in the twentieth century, after women and African Americans were granted the vote.
In Europe, which was a continent broken up into many different nationalities, the pace of these different revolutions varied gready across countries.
Crucially, in every country the national revolution preceded the democratic revolution by several decades or more. That is to say, the residents of a certain circumscribed territory came together under a single flag and single currency well before they were allowed to choose the leaders who would govern them.
India has three times as many people as the United States. It has as many major languages as Europe, with this significant difference— each of these languages has its own, distinctive script. It has far greater religious diversity than either the United States or Europe. And it became a democracy at the same time as it became a nation, this in contrast to the countries of Western Europe and North America, where nationhood came long before democracy; and in contrast also to its great Asian neighbour, China, where nationhood has been sustained only by the repressive regime of a one-party state.
In any event, the industrial and national revolutions would have produced major conflicts and upheavals— as they have elsewhere in the world. Notably, in India these conflicts have been articulated on the one hand through armed insurgencies or secessionist movements, and on the other hand through street protests, legal 6 Makers of Modern India challenges, press campaigns and parliamentary debates: that is to say, through the processes of political mobilization and rhetorical expression that a democracy permits and even encourages.
The size of its territory plus the diversity of its people plus the simultaneity of these five great revolutions— this is what makes India the most interesting country in the world. The individuals featured in Makers of Modem India lived through these revolutions, struggled to facilitate or reshape them and— the aspect of their careers that is of most interest to us here—wrote about their impact on themselves and their compatriots.
Their writings probed deeply into each of these five revolutions. They explored, for example, how to harmonize the interests of city and countryside in the transformation of the economy; how to promote national unity amidst religious diversity and discord; how to advance the rights of women and low castes; how to reconcile the sometimes competing claims of individual freedom and social equality.
The orientation of some of these thinker-activists was outward as well as inward; in seeking to unite their country and make it more democratic, they also looked at the most productive ways in which India could engage w ith other nations in an increasingly interconnected world. The men and women featured in this book did not speak in one voice. Their perspectives were sometimes complementary and more often competitive. But they were always instructive. Their writings were and are not merely of academic interest; rather, they had a defining impact on the formation and evolution of the Indian republic.
It begins with Rammohan Roy, who was perhaps the first Indian thinker to seriously engage with the challenge of the West. Bom in Bengal, the first province to come under British rule, Roy saw in the presence of the foreigner an invitation to re-examine the presuppositions of his own society.
On the one hand, he sought to reform his native faith of its ugly and exploitative aspects; on the other, to demand of the white-dominated East India Company democratic rights that were granted at home yet denied in the colonies.
In both respects, Roy set the tone for the reformers and activists who were to follow. From Roy we move on to a quintet of thinkers active in the last part of the nineteenth century and the first part of the twentieth.
In , there was a major uprising against colonial rule, led by disaffected soldiers who drew very many peasants and preachers into their fold. In , as the new regime was consolidating itself, a group of city-based and well-educated colonial subjects came together to found the Indian National Congress.
In this effort it was substantially but not entirely successful. While many intelligent and ambitious Indians joined its ranks, others stayed away, claiming that the Congress represented a sectional, elite interest that was inimical to other and often less advantaged kinds of Indians. O f the five thinkers profiled in Part II of the book, two were long-standing members of the Congress, whereas two others were opposed to it. The fifth was agnostic. By or thereabouts he had become the acknowledged leader of the Indian National Congress.
In subsequent decades he organized three major campaigns against colonial rule, initiated various social reform measures, and wrote ceaselessly on the problems and prospects of the nation-in-the-making. Even in his lifetime, Gandhi was hailed as the Father of the Nation; but he was equally the mother of all battles concerning its future. No modem politician was as ready to be criticized as Gandhi.
His daily activities were open to public scrutiny, while his campaigns were always intimated in advance to his adversaries. Nor were the latter always or even principally British. Among the Indian critics of Gandhi were colleagues who worked alongside him but could not follow his word entirely, as well as rivals who set themselves up in political opposition to him. All his life, Gandhi engaged in arguments with friends and rivals.
Like Churchill, Nehru had a deep interest in history; unlike him, he also had an interest in political ideas and ideologies and hence a special fondness for intellectuals. In the British writer E. Forster imagined Voltaire being reborn and composing a letter on the fate of humankind. The rulers in uniform were as philistine as those who sat on thrones; Voltaire could scarcely bring himself to write to living generals such as Ayub Khan of Pakistan or Tito of Yugoslavia.
A second was an admirer. The remaining were sometime colleagues and friends. Before Independence, as fellow Congressmen they had been incarcerated in the same jails and for the same cause; now, with freedom finally won, they parted ways on how best to serve the interests of the Indian people. O f these three friends-tumed-rivals of Nehru and the Congress, one was the main ideologue of the socialist left; a second the founder of the party of the libertarian or free-market right.
Furbank London: Penguin Books, , pp. As prime minister, Nehru was actually head of government rather than head of state, the latter being the president of the Indian republic. The last part of the book, like the first, foregrounds one individual alone. Unlike Rammohan Roy, however, he is quite obscure, his name wholly unknown outside India and unrecognizable even to most educated Indians.
IV Why were these nineteen thinkers chosen? One important strand that is not represented here is Marxism. In , a few radical exiles in Moscow proclaimed the formation of a Communist Party of India CPI , although the party actually started operating in India only in Ever since, Marxism in one form or another has had a substantial presence in Indian politics.
Through the interwar years, communists were among the sharpest critics of the Indian National Congress. The achievement of political independence in August was dismissed by them as a sham, a mere transfer of power between elites, with a brown comprador bourgeoisie said to have replaced a white metropolitan bourgeoisie as the ruling class of India. It took the better part of three years for the insurrection to be contained.
Gandhi, Rabindranath Tagore, B. Ambedkar, M.
Jinnah, E. Golwalkar, C. Prologue; Thinking Through India 11 the revolutionaries came overground and swore allegiance to the Indian Constitution. Through the s, the CPI fought and even occasionally won elections. Then, in the early s, the party split into two. The breakaway group, called the Communist Party of India Marxist , wished to cultivate close ties with both Russia and China, whereas the parent body identified with Russia alone.
Towards the end of the decade the CPI M itself broke up into two. While one group stayed for the moment within the system, the other sought to overthrow the Indian state by armed struggle. From the late s, they have been active in central and eastern India. In the past decade they have gready expanded their reach and influence. Attacking police stations, beheading public officials, the Naxalites remain committed to an armed revolution resulting in the eventual capture of state power in New Delhi.
While they participate in elections, and even run provincial governments, in theory they still subscribe to an ideology that promises India an authoritarian political system to be run by a single party, their own. The appeal of Marxism has much to do with the pervasive inequalities in Indian society. I have not included any Indian Marxists in this book because their work has been mostly derivative. As a consequence, there have been no novel contributions by Indian thinkers, no expanding or deepening of the ideas of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Mao.
Their work and legacy has powerfully influenced the ideas of many of the thinkers featured here, who have sought, in more democratic and incremental ways, to contain or transcend the divisions within Indian society.
I should also explain a few other omissions. At least two great, iconic leaders of the Indian national movement are not included here. These are Subhas Chandra Bose and Vallabhbhai Patel, In the crucial decades of the s and s, Bose inspired many young men and women to join the opposition to foreign rule. As for Patel, he both built the Congress party machine before and secured the unity of the Indian state in the early years of Independence. They were both considerable figures, Patel especially.
In each case, the decision to leave them out was taken owing to the paucity of original ideas contained in their published work. As prime minister of India between and and again between and , she had a profound impact on the history of her country.
Her legacy remains controversial—while some venerate her for her qualities as a war leader and her concern for the poor, others criticize her authoritarian tendencies and her populism. At any rate, the speeches and writings that carried her name were written by her staff.
[Ramachandra Guha] Makers of Modern India(Bookos.org)
In this and perhaps other respects she differed from her father, Jawaharlal Nehru, who was a widely published author before he became prime minister, and whose speeches and writings as prime minister were almost always drafted by himself. These include the revolutionary-tumed-spiritualist Aurobindo Ghose and the philosopher-tumed-public figure Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan.
Both wrote prodigiously; while Radhakrishnan wished to make Hinduism compatible with the modem world, Aurobindo sought to spiritualize literature and politics on the basis of classical Indian ideals and traditions.
In their lifetime, both had a considerable following among English-speaking Indians. However, that influence never really extended beyond the middle class; nor did it last much beyond their death. Both were, in their own day, quite influential; yet as with Radhakrishnan and Aurobindo their influence has passed. Other reformers more directly challenged the principle of caste itself.
The most famous of these radicals, B. Ambedkar, is represented in this book. But two other fascinating and intriguing figures are not. This is Dadabhai Naoroji, the businessman, social reformer, author and activist who helped found the Indian National Congress, who became the first Asian ever to become a member of the British parliament in the s , who lobbied for decades for the rights of Indians with the British government, and who was an early influence on Gandhi.
Naoroji also wrote several books, at least one of which was widely read by nationalists. The book was called Poverty and Un-British Rule in India; it chastised the rulers for focusing on draining wealth out of the subcontinent rather than on fostering economic development within it.
The book and its themes are somewhat dated in this post-colonial age, but in his day Naoroji was an important figure. Geetha and S.
The Harvard historian Dinyar Patel is currendy working on a new life of Naoroji. Prologue: Thinking Through India 15 The churning provided by the colonial encounter led to a range of rich and fascinating writings in the various Indian languages.
Some of this is represented here, in translation; but a great deal could not be. One reason, of course, is space; another is my focus on politics and social reform. Contemporaneous with the individuals featured in this book were a set of creative writers, operating in the various Indian languages, who used poetry and fiction to articulate and nurture new ways of thinking and feeling.
These writers cultivated a distinctively modem sensibility, which paid greater attention to the individual self and to interpersonal relations. The changes they collectively wrought in the domain of culture were profound and long-lasting.
Regrettably, their work and influence He beyond the scope of this book. The Republic of India has twenty-eight states, each of which had its own set of radicals and reformers who wrote insightfiilly on politics, society or culture.
The present selection cannot ever hope to satisfy the strong linguistic and regional sentiments prevalent in India. About the reception of this book, I am certain only about one thing: that each region and language will have its own special grouse about people I have left out. The individuals represented here come from all parts of India. Bom in north, south, east and west, many also travelled extensively in parts of the country that were not originally their own.
They were bom in different castes and display a wide variety of religious and political orientations. Anantha Murthy Kannada. At least four of these thinkers were as much shaped by Christianity as by Hinduism. One was bom a Hindu but died a Buddhist. Another was ordained as a Christian priest but later left the church, being attracted, successively, to tribal faiths and to Buddhism.
Several were anti-religious atheists who never said a prayer or entered a temple nor a mosque or church either. There are only two women, but at least six of the men campaigned energetically for gender equality. Then there is Gandhi, who cannot be categorized according to convention at all, unless one sees him as being at once socialist, liberal and conservative. The diversity of individuals and ideologies is matched by a suitable diversity of themes.
Makers of Modern India by Ramachandra Guha
The topics explored and analysed in these pages include race, religion, caste, gender, tribe, language, nationalism, colonialism, democracy, economic development, violence and non-violence— that is to say, all that is significant and important in the human condition.
The politicians whose legacies Hofstadter so skilfully analysed were all male, all Christian, and all English-speaking. Sociologically speaking, one might view India as having three principal axes of diversity, these represented by religion, language and region respectively; and as simultaneously having three principal axes of disparity, these represented by caste, gender and class.
In terms of these six categories, these thinkers had widely varying backgrounds and life experiences, which were reflected in their writings as well as in their political choices.
They travelled overseas and lost caste by doing so. They opposed the British rulers and so found themselves in jail. Later, they fought among themselves and thus found themselves out of favour or out of office. They lived in tumultuous times, which they helped sometimes to tame, and at other times to make even more tumultuous. As I worked through the collected writings of these thinkeractivists, reading standard works still sold in bookshops as well as fugitive pamphlets that are unavailable even in the best libraries, I was struck by the congruence of substance with style.
The nineteen individuals included here all wrote very fluendy in their own languages and at least half a dozen were fluent in English as well. Most of them could have, if they had so chosen, made a living from journalism—indeed, many ran their own journals to further their social and political campaigns.
What these nineteen Indians saw and experienced was exciting and important enough. W e are exceptionally fortunate that they presented what they saw and experienced in such compelling prose. While their language was sometimes idiosyncratic, it was always expressive. The eccentricities of syntax and grammar notwithstanding, the arguments were made with clarity and directness.
Political partisans, past and present, would tend to foreground the work and contribution of their particular hero or heroine. I have chosen instead to view each thinker and life as nesting within a wider and longer tradition of democratic debate and dispute. Viewed individually, in isolation, they may provide consolation to one or another sect or party; taken together, they provide proof of the depth and robustness of the Indian political tradition.
V After the fall of the Berlin Wall in , there was an outpouring of books reflecting upon the rivalry between totalitarian and democratic political systems. Some were triumphalist, seeing the Makers of Modem India victory of the West as inevitable and owing to the superiority of its institutions and values. Others were more introspective, recognizing that the two major forms of totalitarianism, fascism and MarxismLeninism, were themselves invented in the West and that they had, for large swathes of the twentieth century, a profound appeal for Western intellectuals and opinion-makers.
Makers of Modern India
Once more, the mood varies: where some books are apocalyptic and even hysterical, viewing Islam as in every way irreconcilable with modernity, others are more sober and accommodative, seeking to wean ordinary Muslims away from the grip of fanatics and into the home camp of liberal democrats.
From this perspective, Soviet Russia stood menacingly against the West during the Cold War, its work aided by malign or misguided fellow travellers living within democratic capitalist countries.
W ith Islamism the threat is likewise internal as well as external. O n the one hand, there are jihadi terrorists waiting to attack Westerners and Western institutions everywhere, as part of a global campaign for dominance; on the 17 A sample of these works would include Robert Conquest, Reflections on a Ravaged Century New York: W.
Prologue: Thinking Through India 19 other hand, there are the growing numbers of Muslim immigrants in Western Europe and North America, who tend to live in enclosed ghettos rather than integrate with the host society.
To this writer, what is remarkable about this substantial and still growing literature is that it largely ignores India. Some books may have a passing reference or two to this country, others do not even grant it that favour. It also lays out the criteria for selecting these individuals from a galaxy of Indian luminaries. The writings include his attack on Sati and the existing patriarchal society, and his defense of women against charges of their being physically, mentally, and morally inferior to men.
Another excerpt is from a memorial addressed to the Bengal government pleading for press freedom and unbanning native publications deemed seditious. Also included are his writings on Hindu-Muslim relations, in which he likened the two communities to two lustrous eyes of a beautiful bride, and on the new Indian National Congress, which he opposed given its domination by the Hindu Bengali intelligentsia. Tilak also defends it against the charge of being anti-Muslim. A second excerpt details his critique of moderate politics practiced by the likes of G.
Gokhale, the next reformer selected by Guha. As he argues, while in Britain Mr. In the next excerpt, Gokhale advises the Hindu community to share a greater responsibility for Hindu-Muslim unity since they had an advantage over other communities in terms of their numbers and education.
At the same time though, he opposed special status to Muslims on the grounds that they were the rulers of India before the advent of British rule.While many intelligent and ambitious Indians joined its ranks, others stayed away, claiming that the Congress represented a sectional, elite interest that was inimical to other and often less advantaged kinds of Indians.
In it was widely taken for granted that the martial Pakistani Punjabis would defeat the non-martial Bengalis. Other Indian politicians and reformers were also serious writers, articulating, in their own more restricted spheres, ideas that had a powerful resonance in their own day and continue to do so in ours. The nineteen individuals included here all wrote very fluendy in their own languages and at least half a dozen were fluent in English as well.
I have chosen instead to view each thinker and life as nesting within a wider and longer tradition of democratic debate and dispute. At any given moment, there were as many Indians who were opposed to their ideas as were guided by them. Attacking police stations, beheading public officials, the Naxalites remain committed to an armed revolution resulting in the eventual capture of state power in New Delhi. In some very peculiar ways, the extraordinary and savage war of was the consequence of British imperial attitudes and decisions of Curzons decision to split Bengal into two and of the disastrous decision in to yield to Jinnahs plan for a country separated in two, united only by religion.
Most enthusiasts of modern Indian history, had picked this book after reading the brilliant "India after Gandhi" by Ram Chandra Guha, expecting this to be similar in treatment to the works and contributions of the makers of modern India.
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