March 2011
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Makers of Modern India by Ramachandra Guha


Makers of Modern India is a rich and comprehensive repository of India's political traditions.

Ramachandra Guha, author of the internationally acclaimed India After Gandhi, profiles nineteen Indians whose ideas had a defining impact on the formation and evolution of our Republic, and presents rare and compelling excerpts from their writings and speeches.

These men and women were not only influential political activists – they also wrote with eloquence, authority and deliberation as they reflected on what Guha describes in his illuminating Prologue as 'the most contentious times in the most interesting country in the world.' Their writings take us from the subcontinent's first engagement with modernity in the nineteenth century, through the successive phases of the freedom movement, on through the decades after Independence. This book highlights little-known aspects of major figures in Indian history like Tagore and Nehru; it also rehabilitates thinkers who have been unjustly forgotten, such as Tarabai Shinde and Hamid Dalwai.

These makers of modern India did not speak in one voice: their perspectives are sometimes complementary, at other times contradictory. The topics they explore and analyse include religion, caste, gender, language, nationalism, colonialism, democracy, secularism and the economy—that is to say, all that is significant in the human condition.

These issues have a resonance in our own times, not just in India but everywhere in the world where violence is opposed to non-violence, where people of different faiths have to learn to live with each other, where the marginalized struggle for their rights, and where states have to chose between privileging a single 'national' culture or permitting a hundred flowers to bloom.

About Ramachandra Guha

Ramachandra Guha is a historian and columnist based in Bangalore. He has taught at the universities of Yale, Stanford, and Oslo, and at the Indian Institute of Science. His books include a pioneering environmental history, The Unquiet Woods (University of California Press, 1989), and an award-winning social history of cricket, A Corner of a Foreign Field (Picador, 2002). India after Gandhi(Macmillan/Ecco Press, 2007) was chosen as a book of the year by the Economist, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, the San Francisco Chronicle, Time Out and Outlook; and as a book of the decade in the Times of India, the Times of London, and The Hindu. Guha's books and essays have been translated into more than twenty languages. 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".

Ramachandra Guha's awards include the Leopold-Hidy Prize of the American Society of Environmental History, the Daily Telegraph/Cricket Society prize, the Malcolm Adiseshiah Award for excellence in social science research, the Ramnath Goenka Prize for excellence in journalism, and the R. K. Narayan Prize. In 2008 Prospect and Foreign Policy magazines nominated Guha as one of the world's hundred most influential intellectuals. In 2009 he was awarded the Padma Bhushan.

 
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