ISBN 1 873598 28 9
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Since his assassination in 1947, Gandhi has become one of the most loved and respected political leaders of all time. Louis Fischer, one of his biographers, claims that he is the greatest figure to emerge since Jesus Christ. The scientist, Albert Einstein, who was not known to exaggerate and had a considerable reputation for seeking the truth, commented after Gandhi's death: "Generations to come, it may be, will scarce believe that such a one as this ever in flesh and blood walked this earth." The main reason why Gandhi is so highly respected is that he was a man of peace. The 20th Century has been an extremely destructive period in world history and Gandhi was one of the few leaders of the dispossessed to have constantly advocated the use of non-violent action to solve political problems. However, some critics have claimed that he was a man who had failed to come to terms with the modern world. Others would argue that the world's only hope for survival is to adopt Gandhi's belief that only love can conquer violence. Whatever your final judgement may be, I hope you agree that his actions as well as his opinions are well worth considering.
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On 12th April, 1861, General Pierre T. Beauregard demanded that Major Robert Anderson surrender Fort Sumter in Charleston harbour. Anderson replied that he would be willing to leave the fort in two days when his supplies were exhausted. Beauregard rejected this offer and ordered his Confederate troops to open fire. After 34 hours of bombardment the fort was severely damaged and Anderson was forced to surrender. This event was the start of a civil war that was to last for four years. This comprehensive encyclopaedia of the American Civil War has over 290 entries, including sections on Battles (18), Political Figures (62), Military Leaders (78), Organizations, Events and Issues (22), Soldiers (42), Women and the War (18), Writers, Artists and Photographers (20), and Assassination of Abraham Lincoln (34).
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Available information suggests that there were about 500,000 deaths from all causes during the Spanish Civil War. An estimated 200,000 died from combat-related causes. Of these, 110,000 fought for the Republicans and 90,000 for the Nationalists. This implies that 10 per cent of all soldiers who fought in the war were killed. It has been calculated that the Nationalist Army executed 75,000 people in the war whereas the Republican Army accounted for 55,000. Around 10,000 Spanish people were also killed in bombing raids. The vast majority of these were victims of the German Condor Legion. It is estimated that about 5,300 foreign soldiers died while fighting for the Nationalists (4,000 Italians, 300 Germans, 1,000 others). The International Brigades also suffered heavy losses during the war. Approximately 4,900 soldiers died fighting for the Republicans (2,000 Germans, 1,000 French, 900 Americans, 500 British and 500 others). The economic blockade of Republican controlled areas caused malnutrition in the civilian population. It is believed that this caused the deaths of around 25,000 people. All told, about 3.3 per cent of the Spanish population died during the war with another 7.5 per cent being injured. This book attempts to capture the tragic nature of these events.
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In September 1860 Dickens burnt thousands of letters on a bonfire at his home at Gad's Hill Place in Kent. He also wrote to friends asking them to destroy any letters that they had received from him. We know that Dickens had always kept secrets from his friends and relatives. When he was a child his father was arrested for debt and sent to the Marshalsea Prison in Southwark. Yet during his lifetime he only told two people about this event. The same is true of his experiences working in the Warren 's Blacking Factory. Dickens admitted he had fears about what biographers would say about him in the books written after his death. Why was Dickens so ashamed about these events and what influence did it have on his work? This biography attempts to answer these questions. It also includes a large collection of primary sources so that the reader can make up their own mind about this deeply flawed genius.
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This comprehensive encyclopaedia of the First World War has over 800 entries. It includes sections the Outbreak of War, Armed Forces, Important Battles, Technology, Political Leaders, Home Front, Military Leaders, Life in the Trenches, Trench System, Trench War, Soldiers, War Heroes, War Medals, War at Sea, War in the Air, Pilots, Aircraft, War Artists, Cartoonists and Illustrators, War Poets, Journalists, Newspapers and Journals, Novelists and the War, Women at War, Women's Organisations, Weapons & War Machines, Inventors and the War, Theatres of War and War Statistics.
1 873598 08 4
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This comprehensive encyclopaedia of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy has over 700 entries. This includes biographies of 668 people involved in the case. The encyclopaedia also looks at the possibility that different organizations such as the Mafia, CIA, FBI, Secret Service, KGB and the John Birch Society might have been involved in the planning of the assassination. Other possibilities such as anti-Castro activists, Texas oil millionaires and the Warren Commission's lone-gunman theory are also looked at. The book contains 2,633,711 words (approximately 6,500 pages).
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India After Gandhi: The History of the World's Largest Democracy
"If you do not know where you come from, then you don&apost know where you are, and if you don&apost know where you are, then you don&apost know where you&aposre going. And if you don&apost know where you&aposre going, you&aposre probably going wrong.
— Terry Pratchett"
India is world&aposs largest but least likely democracy. But how it still survives?
To me, Indian history always meant what happened till 1947 (year of Independence) or perhaps my knowledge expands one little year further till Gandhiji&aposs death. I was kept in the d "If you do not know where you come from, then you don't know where you are, and if you don't know where you are, then you don't know where you're going. And if you don't know where you're going, you're probably going wrong.
— Terry Pratchett"
India is world's largest but least likely democracy. But how it still survives?
To me, Indian history always meant what happened till 1947 (year of Independence) or perhaps my knowledge expands one little year further till Gandhiji's death. I was kept in the dark all these years about what happened once India gained its independence. Remember? none of our academic books mention what happened after India got its independence,either. But ironically that is the most crucial period of our country which tests our integrity, intelligence, power, responsibility and many more constitutional lessons to come. And this epic volume offers mountainous account of our pains (partition, Riots, assassinations of leaders), conflicts (never ending Kashmir problem, Nagaland 'land issues', trouble with tribal), humiliations (war with China), challenges (Constitution, New political parties, foreign policies, plans) and glories (inclusion of princely states, first general elections, wars with Pakistan etc.,) of our country.
Though this book attracted some criticism that author distorted some facts and truths in the wake of his unquestioning loyalty to the congress party which celebrates a rich legacy, I feel, at-least this book filled my huge knowledge gaps by relating me the events that occurred in 65 years after independence. I can decide later which point of view I shall consider things from. So no complaints there.
Finally, If You have time (remember it's 900 odd pages volume) and curiosity (Motivation is what gets you started, but habit is what gets you going) about the affairs of our country, it's a great book to own.
4.75/5 to this near perfect book. History never seemed this entertaining. . more
There probably never will be a completely satisfying book about India but this one really far exceeded what I could have expected. In here is no talk about the ‘Hindu way of life’ (thank you Naipaul) or other vague expressions and generalizations like that. There is, in fact, the very opposite, a great diversity of voices looking at the subjects from different perspectives.
At a few times, I didn’t agree wi
There probably never will be a completely satisfying book about India but this one really far exceeded what I could have expected. In here is no talk about the ‘Hindu way of life’ (thank you Naipaul) or other vague expressions and generalizations like that. There is, in fact, the very opposite, a great diversity of voices looking at the subjects from different perspectives.
At a few times, I didn’t agree with author’s conclusions (view spoiler) [(I think, for example, it was a wrong sort of politeness that made Nehru government to settle for less than a common civil code and exempt Muslims from marital and inheritance reform laws) (hide spoiler)] , but that is a matter of subjective judgement.
What is likable is that there are at least representations of different perspectives rather than just superlative judgements. (view spoiler) [For example, the author doesn’t find fault with one single party on issue of ’47 partition. According to him (and I agree), British government, INC and Muslim League all shared in fault. Similarly, the author is one of few Indians who have tried to see the merit in Pakistan’s claim over Kashmir and Kashmir and Mizoram’s claim for freedom. (hide spoiler)]
He is worshiping no idols either. What I feared was that he would present one or other icons in too good a light. While he has his favourites, here too he is willing to look at both sides of all the coins. M. K. Gandhi, Jawahar Lal Nehru, Indira Gandhi, India (the country) - have all received both praises and criticism mostly where due. The author is not afraid of calling it a spade if he thinks it is a spade - even if it is a religious spade. And you know how big a deal that is in India.
What is more, I learnt about a lot of Wikipedia page deserving people who have been mostly forgotten by popular mind. (Come to think of it, I should have a Wikipedia page!.) A good portion also went to recording experiences of minorities, marginalized groups and refugees. Then there are many very touching as well as hilarious moments in it. It might sound like a oxymoron but it is an entertaining history book.
One thing that has been heavily criticised by author (and rightly so) is the idea of Hindu nationalism, but I think I shall repeat author’s argument of the concluding chapter on this point:
Now above mentioned concept of nation is rather common. England wants her immigrants to learn English, because, well you know, it is England. U, S. A. Is worried that immigrants aren’t leaving their cultures behind and melting away into melting pot. The famous two- nation theory, forwarded by both Hindu and Muslim right, which lead to the red partition was based on this definition.
But then how do you explain India?
What is that attribute common among Indians? Language - European Union has 28 countries and 24 official languages. India alone has 22 scheduled languages (among others). There is no one language spoken or understood throughout the country. There are no common traditions and customs either – we have scores of different religions, festivals, food items, dances etc making tradition in different parts. Ethnicity – We are screwed there as well with simply countless Ethnic groups. A last theory is common struggle against common enemy. British government quickly comes to mind but those now living in Pakistan were a part of this struggle too and still there was partition, while there were parts of (new) India that didn’t participate in struggle.
There are a few things that do come close – Indians are fairly united in their wars against outsiders but that is more because of national identity rather than cause of it. Same for sports (cricket obviously getting special mention). Another thing is we enjoy same entertainment (movies, singers etc.) – but that entertainment too is shared with Pakistanis. (Still it is good to see that author should talk about those things that make us at least more Indian than our politicians ever did.)
So it would appear India is an impossible nation. And still, it was exactly the country that so many of the freedom fighters fought for. Ever since, although Hindu nationalists have tried to force some sort of common tradition down Indian throats – cow-worship and Hindi language among others, their efforts have got no long term success, India remains and remains impossibly despite huge differences on the basis of religion, region, language, caste, class, customs etc. Somehow like members of a joint family who might at times fight and threaten to but won’t part, people have learned to live together through a sense of mutual respect. And that might just be what Indian experience have for Euro-American world to learn from. . more
Unfortunately the book is extremely underwhelming for those who have more than passing interest in political history of India. It is consistently biased in favor of a Nehruvian/Congress/Leftist-Marxist viewpoint. Guha&aposs hero-worship of Nehru, a leader with many flaws, is also less than neutral. He also sweeps under the floor the history of corruption in India since independence. Mr. Guha is partial toward First Prime minister Mr. Nehru and never criticize him at any moment and more over this wri Unfortunately the book is extremely underwhelming for those who have more than passing interest in political history of India. It is consistently biased in favor of a Nehruvian/Congress/Leftist-Marxist viewpoint. Guha's hero-worship of Nehru, a leader with many flaws, is also less than neutral. He also sweeps under the floor the history of corruption in India since independence. Mr. Guha is partial toward First Prime minister Mr. Nehru and never criticize him at any moment and more over this writer is trying to save Nehru from any such side. Nehru is venerated like a god by writer. You will find half of book dedicated to nehru and as a fan on Nehru writer give his super human abilities of solving everything.
All the events described will be in and around congress and its activists. I think historians shouldn’t do such kind of things. Glorification of INC is the main propaganda of this book and hence lacks a balanced view needed for any keen history student. They should describe the events in an unbiased manner and leave the opinion to readers. Instead, in the whole book you find the authors opinion on how congress struggle or manage India. Few great people are just mentioned by name in some incidences and not about their contribution. Even state parties also contributed towards India.
Since Mr Guha has dedicated a large chunk of the book to the political lives of Indira Gandhi and Nehru, I would've like to have been informed more of the implications of their policy decisions (he does touch on some) and also their failings -Nehru's in particular. Not saying that I think Nehru was a failure, but Id have liked to have heard a mock debate between the pro and anti Nehru factions as well as the pro and anti Gandhi factions. There was no defense of these giants of the country (which makes sense since there were no real criticisms presented in the book). Even if the author felt no criticism was warranted, he could have addressed the criticisms of other writers/ thinkers. This is the least he could have done for Nehru (who he obviously admires).
No time devoted to the financial world and the industrial world and the world of the Indian scams! Ambani the entrepreneur and rule-breaker, Harshad Mehta, the fodder scam etc barely get a mention!
No mention of indigenous Indian governmental scheme's for the various reforms. There are some big holes in the book. Even details on wars was not properly mentioned.
The chapters on PV Narasimha Rao, Vajpayee primarily deal with Secularism issues totally ignoring the strides India made in Economy, Foreign policy, Defense etc during their era. Millions of Indians including me owe our jobs to PVN's economic policies. If India has finally emerged as a force to reckon with, it is primarily due to the economic policies of PVN and Vajpayee governments. It is truly astonishing that the impact the new policies have had on lifting millions of Indians out of poverty over the last two decades is not given the importance it deserves in the book. Even foreign economists like Robert Shiller who called PVN India's Deng Xio Peng. The author buries the legacy of PVN and Vajpayee in the issue of secularism.
There are so many things to point out but i don't have that much time to mentioned all that here. These kind of books set bad precedent. Even you can see this book have high ratings.
As another reviewer has said, one should remind Guha the words of the great historian R C Majumdar, who reiterated that "The aim of history is to solely tell the truth, by conscientious finding it out without any respect for individual or communities". But 'India after Gandhi' is dishonest history: there is no objectivity and Guha seems more interested to propagandize his readers than to present a neutral book.
Read it to know one side of the coin. No one book or may be any at all will ever completely articulate the other side of the coin. Even an extremely biased and opinionated book like this cannot spin it well to lead the readers to the authors point of view.
I don't want to recommend it. . more
Speaking of India the nation state, one must insist that its future lies not in the hands of God but in the mundane works of men. So long as the constitution is not amended beyond recognition, so long as elections are held regularly and fairly and the ethos of secularism broadly prevails, so long as citizens can speak and write in the language of their choosing, so long as there is an integrated market and a moderately efficient civil service and army, and – lest I forget – so long as Hindi film Speaking of India the nation state, one must insist that its future lies not in the hands of God but in the mundane works of men. So long as the constitution is not amended beyond recognition, so long as elections are held regularly and fairly and the ethos of secularism broadly prevails, so long as citizens can speak and write in the language of their choosing, so long as there is an integrated market and a moderately efficient civil service and army, and – lest I forget – so long as Hindi films are watched and their songs sung, India will survive.
I first want to thank my many Indian friends who, actively or passively, have recommended this book to me. The first two wrote glowing reviews of the book, and all the others rated it highly.
Lit Bug Sujeet Riku Sayuj Praj Megha Aniruddh Sai Kishore Dhandayutha Sumirti Singaravel Rohan Santhosh. Thanks to you all!
June 2015. I read the Prologue tonight, with increasing astonishment. What the author wrote about in the Prologue was the attitude that the West had about India's Independence: that they wouldn't be able to govern themselves, that there were too many divisions in the country, that it couldn't possibly survive as a single country (the diversities in the country - caste, class, religion, language - were so immense, people were writing (in the 40s and 50s and later) that it was less likely to survive than would be Europe if Europe became a single country). And on top of that it couldn't possibly survive, even in pieces, as a democratic nation or nations, because of it's incredible poverty.
So here we are six decades later (when the book was written), India still a single country, with democratic institutions, and yes still with a host of divisions and problems, but perhaps the single most astounding experiment in democracy that the world has seen.
As I read these fifteen pages it was as if blinders were falling off my eyes, I had never considered these things before. I was just overwhelmed by how this author, who writes extremely well, is setting out to make a narrative of the history of these years in India, to suggest what the underlying things were that made this so improbable thing come about. I suddenly understand that there is some sort of “miracle” involved in this country’s post-colonial history.
December 2016. And now, 18 months later, I’ve read the last word of this fascinating book. ”Eighteen months?”, you say. Well, I’ve struggled to read probably 60 other books during those eighteen months. But whenever I picked up his book to read another chapter or two, there was no struggle involved, rather pure pleasure.
And when finally done, having read the Acknowledgments, read (or scanned) every one of the hundreds of endnotes occupying over ninety pages (during the read), I thought this must be close to the best history book I’d ever read.
Following the Table of Contents Guha presents a Cast of Principal Characters. The list: (view spoiler) [
I think these are the most significant
Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah (1905-1982), Kashmiri leader and politician.
B.R. Ambedkar (1892-1956), leader of the low castes and first law minister of independent India.
Morarji Desai (1896-1995), first non-Congress prime minister of India, 1977-1980.
Indira Gandhi (1917-1984), prime minister of India, 1966-1977, 1980-1984.
Monhandas K. Gandhi, also known has Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948), commonly regarded as the Father of the Nation, no relation to Indira, Rajiv, or Sanjay Gandhi.
Rajiv Gandhi (1945-1991), prime minister of India, 1984-1989, son of Indira Gandhi.
Sanjay Gandhi (1946-1980), Congress party politician, son of Indira Gandhi.
Sonia Gandhi, (1946- ), Congress party politician, wife of Rajiv Gandhi.
M.S. Golwalker (1906-1973), leader of the Hindu radical organization the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh.
E.M.S. Namboodiripad (1909-1998), the first Communist chief minister of an Indian state (Kerala).
Jayaprakash Narayan (1902-1979), socialist and social worker (known as JP).
Jawaharlal Nehru (1889-1964), prime minister and foreign minister of India, 1947-1964, father of Indira Gandhi and grandfather of Rajiv and Sanjay Gandhi.
Vallabhbhai Patel, (1875-1950), home minister and deputy prime minister of India, 1947-1950.
A.Z. Phizo (1913-1991), Naga separatist leader.
Chakravarti Rajagopalachari (1878-1972), first Indian governor general, and founder of the free-market Swatantra party.
Lal Bahadur Shastri (1902-1966), prime minister of India, 1964-1966.
Atal Behari Vajpayee (1924- ), first non-Congress prime minister to complete a full term in office, 1998-2004. (hide spoiler)]
Here’s a list of acronyms, in some cases nicknames, Guha sometimes uses, made by referencing the Index.(view spoiler) [
BAMCEF – All India Backward and Minority Communities Employees Federation
BSP – Bahujan Samaj Party
BJP – Bharatiya Janata Party
CEC – chief election commissioner
CFD – Congress for Democracy
CBI – Central Bureau of Investigation
CPI – Communist Party of India
CPM – Communist Party of India (Marxist)
CRPF – Central Reserve Police Force
DDA – Delhi Development Organization
DMK – Dravida Munnatra Kazhagam (party in Madras)
IAS – Indian Administrative Service
IB – Intelligence Bureau
ICS – Indian Civil Service
ICSSR – Indian Council of Social Science Research
IFS – Indian Foreign Service
ISI – Indian Statistical Institute
IUML – Indian Union Muslim League
JKLF – Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front
JP – Jayaprakash Narayan (see Principle Characters)
KMPP – Kisan Majdoor Praja Party
LTEE – Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam
MGR – M.G. Ramachandran (popular film hero & provincial leader in Madras)
MISA – Maintenance of Internal Security Act
MNF – Mizo National Front
NC – National Conference
NDA – National Democratic Alliance
NEFA – North-East Frontier Agency
NNC – Naga National Council
NTR – N.T. Rama Rao (film actor)
PAC – Provincial Armed Constabulary
PIL – public interest litigation
PWD – Public Works Department
RJD – Rashtriya Janata Dal (political party in Bihar)
RSS – Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (Hindu group, antagonistic to other religions)
SCs – Scheduled Castes (officially designated, disadvantaged indigenous peoples, of Hindu, Sikh or Buddhist religions earlier called Depressed Classes eg Untouchables)
SNDP – Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana (caste association in Kerala)
SP – Samajwadi Party
SVD – Samyukta Vidhayak Dal (United Legislators party)
TNV – Tripura National Volunteers
UF-LF – United Front-Left Front Party
VHP – Vishwa Hindu Parishad (Hindu World Council)
1) The term “communalism” is much used. For American readers, I believe a good equivalent would be “parochialism”.
2) Before reading a chapter, scan the end-notes for it. For those that look interesting, find them and circle them in the text. Then keep a second book mark back in the notes section.
3) There are two fine maps in the Epilogue, pp. 752 and 754.
The first four parts of the book (the “history” so-called by Guha) have been placed here: https://www.goodreads.com/story/show/.
PART V : A HISTORY OF EVENTS
The author: “… the book now moves from “history” to what might be called “historically informed journalism. Part V deals with the events of the last two decades, that is, with processes still unfolding.” (p. 593)
Since these five chapters are organized as broad topics, with overlapping times, I’ll treat them all separately.
(view spoiler) [
- Far from disappearing since Independence, caste continued to have a determining influence in (and on) Indian society.
- Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, and Other Backward Castes – and the Backward Castes Commission (Mandal Commission)
- The Recommendations of the Mandal Commission, after court challenges, were finally implemented in 1990 because of the number of people affected, possibly one of the most influential reports ever commissioned by any government.
- Upsurge of the Dalits (the formerly “untouchable” castes) during the 1990s.
- Escalation of caste conflict.
- Caste conflicts in Bihar frequent, bitter, bloody.
- Kashmir, the Valley, again erupting in 1989-1990 kidnappings, killings, many separatist groups active.
- Radicals in the Northeast as well the secessionist United Liberation Front of Assam.
- The falling ratio of young girls to young boys in the years 1981-2001 and the “crisis of masculinity”.
- “In the 1990s, as before, a ve=ariety of right were being asserted by a variety of Indians… However, as before, while some conflicts were being expressed in more intense and vilent forms, other conflicts were being attenuated and even, at times, resolved.”
(view spoiler) [
- “The language of the mob was only the language of public opinion cleansed of hypocrisy and restraint.” Hannah Arendt
- The campaign in Ayodyha ultimately Hindu mobs attacking Muslim localities.
- 1991, assassination of Rajiv Gandhi by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.
- In the general election of 1991, “Riots were being effectively translated into votes” by the BJP in four northern provinces which it now controlled.
- December 1992, Bombay, Hindu shops raided, BJP leaders burned in effigy. The violence waxed and waned.
- The big story of the 1990s was the rise of Hindu communalism. The BJP “came to define the political agenda in a way the Congress once did in the 1950s and 1960s.”
- In “desperation”, Congress called up Rajiv Gandhi’s widow Sonia, living in seclusion with her family in Delhi, to head the party. As president from 1998, she worked overtime to dispel the image of her party as “anti-Hindu”.
- in Kashmir, outnumbered Hindus began leaving, some to the Hindu-majority Jammu, others as far as Delhi or Bombay.
- OED: “pogrom” an organized massacre of a particular ethnic group. By this definition, only two pogroms in independent India: against the Sikhs in Delhi in 1984, and against the Muslims of south Gujarat in 2002.
- Rise of the Hindu right has brought gloomy forebodings about India’s future. But as of November 2007, dire predictions have not come to pass.
(view spoiler) [
- Fragmentation of the party system, the rise of coalition governments.
- In recent general elections the two major parties, Congress and BJP, have only got 50% of the vote. The rest has gone to Communist parties (West Bengal, Kerala) 8% backward caste and Dalit parties (north India) 16% and regionalist parties (southern and eastern India) 11%. STILL leaving 15% to be divided in tinier slices among other parties.
- 1984 to 1989, Rajiv Gandhi, as prime minister, had sought to create an all-India system of local self-governance. This attempt bore fruit after his death when Congress regained power at the Centre.
- 1993, the 73rd & 74th amendments to the constitution: local government institutions at the village, county, and district and the same for towns and cities. Everywhere, one-third of the seats were reserved for women, with additional reservations for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.
- Through the 1990s, whether led by the BJP of the Congress, a convergence of views on foreign policy – enhanced military capabilities, and more assertive in general.
- March 1998. The National Democratic Alliance, led by the BJP, takes office. Atal Behari Vajpaye begins a six-year term as Prime Minister. In the second week of May India explodes five nuclear devices.
- 1999, the Kargil conflict begun by Pakistan in Jammu and Kashmir.
- Across India, this conflict ”unleashed a surge of patriotic sentiment… the Kargil war was cathartic for the men in uniform, and for their compatriots as a whole.”
- Despite sporadic acts of terrorism in Kashmir, the summer of 2003 saw tourists from other parts of India “flocking” to Kashmir for the first time in years this because of the newly elected chief minister having stated, “this is the first time since 1953 that India has acquired legitimacy in the eyes of the [Kashmiri] people.”
- The current generation of Indian politicians are attracted to it by power and prestige, and the opportunities of financial reward.
- Thus corruption, criminalization, and nepotism now endemic in the political system.
- These traits not so evident in the Indian administrative and police services, nor are they in the judicial branch of government.
- Insofar as it holds regular elections, has multiple parties, and has a free press, India is emphatically a democracy. "But the nature of it has changed profoundly. It is now a populist rather than a constitutional democracy.”
(view spoiler) [
- The Indian economy examined in some detail. Changes and growth in specific sectors, and specific areas of the country.
- In brief: The strategy of economic development followed in the 1950s was backed by a strong consensus. By contrast, the strategy adopted since the 1990s has been subject to searing critique within and outside the political system. The debate is conducted between two schools, the "reformists" and the "populists", the vigorous arguments conducted in the press, in Parliament, on television, and in the streets.
A People’s Entertainments
(view spoiler) [
- The eternal fascination which motion pictures exerts on the Indian public.
- The Indian movie industry the largest in the world.
- The popularity of film songs, and the innovations in the accompanying music fusion with all sorts of Western musical types and instruments.
- The “capacious cosmopolitanism” of the film industry: Parsi, Jewish, Hindu, Muslim, Christian exemplars in all aspects of film: producing, directing, acting, screenwriting, songwriting.
- The astonishing range of subjects addressed in the films of Satyajit Ray.
- Theater and theater groups K.V. Subanna and Habib Tanvir.
- The classical music of the Hindustani and Carnatic styles. Ravi Shankar, Ali Akbar Kahn.
- Spectator sport. In achievement, India has excelled in billiards and field hockey but in popularity football (soccer) and cricket dominate.
- The influence of radio and television in aiding many of these forms of entertainment. All India Radio.
Epilogue. Why India Survives
(view spoiler) [
Just some quotes. It’s a great conclusion.
“In 1959, the Atlantic pitied India for being a democracy when it might be better off as a military dictatorship. In 1999, the Atlantic thought that democracy had been India’s saving grace.”
“… as surveys found, women increasingly exercised their choice independently - that is, regardless of their husband’s or father’s views.”
“India is perhaps the only large democracy in the world today where the turnout of the lower orders is well above that of the most privileged groups” (Yogenda Yadav)
“The history of independent India … has challenged ideas of nationalism emanating from the western experience… [for example] the Indian nation does not privilege a single language or religious faith … From its inception the Indian National Congress was a political Noah’s ark that sought to bring every species of Indian on board.”
“On the paper money … the denomination is printed in words in Hindi and English (the two official languages), and also, in smaller type, in all the other languages of the Indian Union. In this manner, seventeen different scripts are represented. Each language, and each script, represents a distinct culture and regional ethos, here nesting more or less comfortably with the idea of India as a whole”
“It is in the nature of democracies, perhaps, that while visionaries are sometimes necessary to make them, once made they can be managed by mediocrities.”
“The key men in British India were the members of the Indian Civil Service (ICS)… In the first, difficult years of Indian freedom, the ICS men vindicated Vallabhbhai Patel’s trust in them. They helped integrate the princely states, resettle the refugees, and plan and oversee the first general election.”
“If India is roughly 50% democratic, it is approximately 80% united.”
“[India] has sustained a diversity of religions and languages – precisely what Howard, Huntingdon, and some others deem inimical to national survival and national solidarity. India has resisted pressures to go in the other direction, to follow Israel and Pakistan by favoring citizens who adhere to a certain faith or speak a particular language.”
“As a modern nation, India is simply sui generis. It stands on its own, different and distinct from alternative political models such as Anglo-Saxon liberalism, French republicanism, atheistic communism, and Islamic theocracy.”
(hide spoiler)] (hide spoiler)]
Ramachandra Guha (1958- ) is an Indian historian and writer whose research interests include environmental, social, political and cricket history. For the year 2011–2012, he held a visiting position at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).
He was appointed to BCCI's panel of administrators by the Supreme Court of India on 30 January 2017.
Guha was born at Dehra Dun, Uttar Pradesh. He graduated from St. Stephen's College, Delhi with a Bachelor's in Economics in 1977 and completed his Master's in Economics from the Delhi School of Economics.
Between 1985 and 2000, he taught at UC-Berkeley, Yale, Stanford, the University of Oslo University, and the Indian Institute of Science.
Guha then moved to Bangalore, and began writing full-time. He served as Sundaraja Visiting Professor in the Humanities at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, in 2003.
Guha, not yet sixty, continues writing, books, articles, tweets – you name it. His web site is http://ramachandraguha.in/ - an interesting site where articles and essays by Guha are posted in five categories: History, Politics and current affairs, Biography, Culture, and “Longer essays”. Recent posts are mostly from The Telegraph and the Hindustan Times. The longer essays appear to come from a variety of sources, such as The Hindu, the New Republic, and Economic and Political Weekly. The site has archives going back to 2002, and a search engine.
From what I’ve read in this book and on his web site, Guha, though certainly a realist, exudes optimism about India. He loves the country, has claimed, very possibly correctly, that it’s the “most interesting” country in the world, and seems enthusiastically surprised and genuinely proud that India since Independence has time and again proved the Western doomsayers wrong about the impossibility of India’s continuous march down the path they chose decades ago: of being a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, multi-religious (though sectarian), and multi-linguistic state – the world’s largest democracy.
We Indians mostly read history, reluctantly though, only in school. After that, the next dose of history comes from media in the form of debates and analysis. "Reading History" as an hobby comes to negligible percentage of people. This is mainly because of the aversion we develop during our history classes in school, courtesy the insipid and tedious nature of the school curriculum focusing on &aposwhen and what&apos rather than &aposwhy and how&apos.
When I was in school, in the mid-90s, our history lesson on I We Indians mostly read history, reluctantly though, only in school. After that, the next dose of history comes from media in the form of debates and analysis. "Reading History" as an hobby comes to negligible percentage of people. This is mainly because of the aversion we develop during our history classes in school, courtesy the insipid and tedious nature of the school curriculum focusing on 'when and what' rather than 'why and how'.
When I was in school, in the mid-90s, our history lesson on India ended with British leaving our country. What happened after that was never mentioned or discussed. So I was completely ignorant of the names like "Sheikh Abdullah", "Jai Prakash Narayan" or events of 'emergency' and 'Operation Blue Star' or the wars India fought with her neighbours. So there has been a huge gap of almost 50 years in my knowledge about my own country from the time of independence to the time when I started reading newspapers zealously.
This book fills that void.
Having read this mammoth of book on the political history of post-independent India, I find myself much more informed about the present state of country than before. So, as far as knowledge on India is concerned, there is now two Mes. Me before "India after Gandhi" and Me after "India after Gandhi"
This book recounts the events in the post-Independent India till the late 80s in chronological fashion as those unfold in a completely unbiased or un-opinionated tone, making it read like a political thriller than a scholarly work on History. The only other history book that had such pacy readability was "Freedom at Midnight".
After the 80s the remaining events of the last three decades have taken shapes of essays or as the author calls those 'historically informed journalism'. The author believes that thirty-years is probably the right amount of time to pass before concluding any event to be an historical account.
This book should be a mandatory reading in our high-school curriculum, if India is serious about building an informed generation to take her forward. . more
I was least interested/aware about Indian politics before picking this book.
Now, I want to explore so much more. Such is the way IAG draws you in.
Not just politics, albeit formation of India. Starting from drawing the constitution to uniting the states, origin and ideologies of emerging political parties.
Insights about partition, roots of Kashmir issue, Tibet, relations with Pak and China, picking a national language, Hindu Act, reservations, Naxalites, Maoists, Mizoram and Nagaland revolt 4+
I was least interested/aware about Indian politics before picking this book.
Now, I want to explore so much more. Such is the way IAG draws you in.
Not just politics, albeit formation of India. Starting from drawing the constitution to uniting the states, origin and ideologies of emerging political parties.
Insights about partition, roots of Kashmir issue, Tibet, relations with Pak and China, picking a national language, Hindu Act, reservations, Naxalites, Maoists, Mizoram and Nagaland revolts.
In spite of India being centre stage, felt this book was about two protagonists - Nehru and Indira.
And many parts didn't feel like history, rather current events and future predictions :)
Why not 5?
1. Diplomatic. Highly diplomatic stance on many issues. Quite understandable, but would have loved it more if it was not.
2. Editing could have been crispier. Especially in the last part. Last 3 chapters were like gossiping with a friend. Slightly disappointed.
Loved reading this gem. Thanks Aparna for reco and Arpit for BR and insightful discussions.
Overall: Thank you so much Guha ji for infusing this knowledge about my country. I have become a fan and will follow more works by you. . more
My own view – speaking as a historian rather than citizen – is that as long as Pakistan exists there will be Hindu fundamentalists in India. In times of stability, or when the political leadership is firm, they will be marginal or on the defensive. In times of change, or when the political leadership is irresolute, they will be influential and assertive.
This sweeping history was a revelation. I feel as if I was simultaneously dazzled and lost. My chief response was a desire to read more both by My own view – speaking as a historian rather than citizen – is that as long as Pakistan exists there will be Hindu fundamentalists in India. In times of stability, or when the political leadership is firm, they will be marginal or on the defensive. In times of change, or when the political leadership is irresolute, they will be influential and assertive.
This sweeping history was a revelation. I feel as if I was simultaneously dazzled and lost. My chief response was a desire to read more both by Nehru as well as about him. I pondered concepts like communalism all week and made comparisons with other places, other history. Nehru apparently once confessed to Andre Malraux that his greatest challenge was creating and maintaining a secular state in a religious country. It was interesting how in the Nixon biography I recently read much was made about how Nixon felt Nehru and Indira Gandhi looked down upon him, a grocer's son. Little of that surfaced here--which is appropriate when considering the grand grievances of Nixon.
People have been predicating the doom of India since its Independence, some are now predicating that half of the nation is becoming California, the other half Chad. The resilient Indian embrace of democracy is the most encouraging, especially as across the world the institution appears to be falling from fashion. . more
It&aposs a slightly strange genre, these giant histories of the present. Comparing to the other two i&aposve read - The Fate of Africa: A History of Fifty Years of Independence and Postwar: A History of Europe Since 1945 - this one takes the cake for sheer human scope: India just has more people than either Europe or Africa. This kind of thing is inevitably always only a skimming of the surface, even if it is 900 pages long. The point would have to be to find some shape to that surface, some grasping to It's a slightly strange genre, these giant histories of the present. Comparing to the other two i've read - The Fate of Africa: A History of Fifty Years of Independence and Postwar: A History of Europe Since 1945 - this one takes the cake for sheer human scope: India just has more people than either Europe or Africa. This kind of thing is inevitably always only a skimming of the surface, even if it is 900 pages long. The point would have to be to find some shape to that surface, some grasping towards a unified theory of the thing.
Guha, however, has the benefit here of working with a continent-sized place which is a single country, so theres an order of magnitude more detail about Indian political history than about any single government in Europe or Africa. This is also kind of the book's downfall though. A political history of modern Indian is - seemingly inevitably - focused on the Congress Party. The Party is inevitably focused on the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty. Despite the massive scope, the book feels a little thin at times. The cast of characters, so to speak, remains relatively limited.
Figures like Ambedkar or Vajpayee show up. kind of around the edges. I think - as someone totally unfamiliar with the issues - I would have appreciated more of a follow through of those ideologies and political currents, understanding more of how they interacted with and influenced rule, than another political shenanigan pulled off by Nehru et all. Theres just so much here that merely summing it all up is too much information already, but I still felt that somethng of the grand shape of things, even on the most superficial level, was still out of my sight. Regionalism, communalism, populism, language, caste, religon. they're all brought up and addressed often, but always circling around the straightforward linear narrative.
As a total aside, in a chapter about entertainment at the end, he mentions that the Independece movement always had a puritanical streak (and that Gandhi apparently never saw a movie all the way through!) That's fascinating to me. What happened to that? Where did it meet Indian society? How do these things carry through? Not that there isn't a solid effort to get at social history- there is, as well as technological, cultural and economic. All of it is fascinating and none of it is quite enough.
Maybe it's because I couldn't help comparing it to Israel at times. The scale is so ridiculously different, and yet there are familiar beats to the broad outline. The dates kind of line up (independence in 47/8, strong socialist centralization, first time opposition taking power in 1977, shifts into capitalism in the 90's along with rises of identity politics and hardening of secterian positions, etc.) and of course the usual questions of religion, communalism, democracy, identity, etc as issues. On the one hand, it kind of makes me feel a little more normal, to think that this is just the way these things play out. On the other hand, it's probably not a very good comparison and sent me looking for patterns that might not exist.
If there is a connecting thread that he attempts to follow through, it's the question of democracy on this vast - and varied - a scale. It's amazing to see some of the disdain the very notion of democracy in India was held in at the beginning. Could this many people, unconnected, uneducated, make meaningful political decisions? It jumped out at me, the occassional mentions of groups of people mired in poverty, still, as the years go by, into the 21st century, and I wonder if everything just went over them or if it mattered there. Well, they end up voting for populists and demagogues and sons-of and movie stars. So, they're pretty normal, really. I think the ultimate conclusion, despite Guha's final fairly complex and not unpessimistic assessment of the state of Indian democracy, is that it really, really matters.
Very recommended, even if it mostly raised more questions than it answered, for me.
An excellent, thorough history of modern India, post-independence.
The first half, covering the decades under PM Nehru and the drafting of the Indian Constitution, is really inspiring. Nehru was an idealist who believed in social change he worked with B.R. Ambedkar, an Untouchable who was the primary draftsman of the constitution, to keep India as a secular state and to overturn the caste system. Nehru also worked to protect minority groups such as women and Muslims, to create an economic and so An excellent, thorough history of modern India, post-independence.
The first half, covering the decades under PM Nehru and the drafting of the Indian Constitution, is really inspiring. Nehru was an idealist who believed in social change he worked with B.R. Ambedkar, an Untouchable who was the primary draftsman of the constitution, to keep India as a secular state and to overturn the caste system. Nehru also worked to protect minority groups such as women and Muslims, to create an economic and social system that would enable the poor and underprivileged to improve their circumstances, and to create a truly democratic and united country. He and his home minister, Vallabhbhai Patel, were able to merge diverse people of many languages, religions, and cultures into one democratic nation.
In the second half, things begin to crumble. It is ironic that Nehru's own daughter, Indira Gandhi, was able to unravel much of his accomplishments. After her dictatorial reign as PM, India was ensconced in cronyism, nepotism, and identity politics that still plague it today. India now has many political parties, but they focus on simply furthering one group's agenda, based on their caste, religion, province, or otherwise. It is said that in India one doesn't cast a vote, one votes their caste. (My husband says Indians love their pithy puns, but he's one to talk.)
Idealism and visionary thinking have been eroded with corruption and single-minded politics. Rather than taking grievances to the courts, or to the paralyzed government system, citizens take to the streets in riots that quickly turn violent. There have been cases where the government has stood by, or even encouraged, mob violence against a particular minority group.
Still, India remains a democracy, and for that we must give it credit. One of Guha's central themes is how it has survived as such.
Recently a man named Anna Hezare has been in the Indian news. He has been fasting and attracting many followers with his call for the Parliament to pass his proposed anti-corruption bill. He had enough support that Parliament is currently in the process of passing his bill calling for stricter watchdogs on the government. Obviously, such a bill is clearly needed on the other hand, when will Indians learn to rely on the courts rather than showmanship and mob rioting for desired change? And when will the institutions become something the citizens can rely on? . more
A good compilation of post independence Indian history by Ramachandra Guha. It also gives a good perspective to understand present day India. The book is rich in detail and the writing style of Guha is brilliant and makes the book a very interesting read. But at a few places Guha does compromise objectivity in favour of Nehru, especially in his telling about Nehru&aposs grand centralized socialist economy and his foreign policy of Non-Aligned movement( India and the Non-Aligned Movement.) both of wh A good compilation of post independence Indian history by Ramachandra Guha. It also gives a good perspective to understand present day India. The book is rich in detail and the writing style of Guha is brilliant and makes the book a very interesting read. But at a few places Guha does compromise objectivity in favour of Nehru, especially in his telling about Nehru's grand centralized socialist economy and his foreign policy of Non-Aligned movement( India and the Non-Aligned Movement.) both of which are more or less proven wrong in retrospect(NAM is debatable).
In short, the pros of the book –
The period between 1947 and 1950, the making of the constitution and the consolidation of the princely states was very well covered. It could have been made better by covering in more detail Ambedkar's contribution,and his story and how he came to be in the Constituent Assembly in the first place. This part of the book makes the whole book worth reading.
The reordering of the states on linguistic lines and Potti Sriramulu's battle.
The author has hardly written about Indian politics since Rajiv Gandhi's time. Guha goes off on a tangent about the role of cricket, Bollywood and other cultural events. Nothing gets spoken about the liberalization of 1991, the effect of the collapse of the Berlin Wall on India, Pokhran nuclear tests, the Bofors scam etc.. The events that take place after 1985 have been given very little space in the book.( I personally think that this was done because it becomes impossible to tell India's tale beyond 1985 without pointing out the many mistakes made by Nehru-Gandhi dynasty, which the author seems very reluctant to do)
Should have covered the period of emergency and the Janata Party's first non-congress government that followed in more detail.
A certain amount of objectivity would have been good while discussing Nehru's policies and his five year plans in the 1950s and the events that led up to the Indo-China war.
Another similar book which I have not read but intend to is Bipin Chandra's India Since Independence. I hear the book covers post 1990 events in more detail, should check it out.
But overall the book is well written and definitely worth a read( a couple of reads actually). . more
As I set to type this review, I also seriously consider not doing so, on account of my naivete. In all fairness, I am new to this genre and this book had been lying around for more than a year in my shelf, till I started reading it after I had finished some 100 odd pages in a friend&aposs copy.
I have not read any other book that was so dense as this and yet so well-paced. The amount of information in each page is staggering. The only book I know that has more footnotes than this is, perhaps, the Inf As I set to type this review, I also seriously consider not doing so, on account of my naivete. In all fairness, I am new to this genre and this book had been lying around for more than a year in my shelf, till I started reading it after I had finished some 100 odd pages in a friend's copy.
I have not read any other book that was so dense as this and yet so well-paced. The amount of information in each page is staggering. The only book I know that has more footnotes than this is, perhaps, the Infinite Jest.
I started off by watching a TEDx video my Mr.Guha. He was so articulate in his views that I was compelled to read the book immediately. And in his book, he is more articulate, more evocative than I had imagined a writer of history can be.
India, is in it's own right, an exception in the world, as a nation. It had not satisfied any condition that major historians and theorists of the day mandated to the formation of a successful, lasting nation. There was no unifying language, no unifying way of life, no absolute majority of a religion. There was only the common theme of being at the receiving end of European colonialism. And that was not enough to forge a united nation, many historians and journalists predicted, at the time, of which Guha is generous to include many samples.
One cannot blame those people who predicted the downfall of India as a nation soon after the British left. The Indian populace was illiterate, yet granted adult franchise. A wave of nationalism dominated the first election. It was famously said that 'even a lamp post can win if it contested under Congress auspices'. In essence, India was the first modern complete democracy. It started off as a constitutional one, and has morphed into a populist one.
India had its share of wounds too. It was deeply hurting from the communal riots incited as a result of the partition. In fact, the communal violence would continue to dog the country well into the twenty first century, initially condemned by the government and sometimes condoned and actively aided by it, episodically.
There was no scarcity for secessionist claims either. It seems like throughout the second half of the century, after the Indian Union came into being, almost every corner of the country wanted a separate nation, every province harbored a desire to be declared a sovereign nation. Domestic terrorism had its share, for good(!) measure.
There was the issue of neighbours, their aggression, non pragmatic foreign policies and internal economic policies, all product of the nationalist sentiment that ran high when these were enacted and enforced. And they have all come to pass, with better versions replacing them, albeit slowly, often obstructed by recalcitrant politicians with vested interests and policy makers with Anchor bias and tunneled visions.
It is to be noted that, as an (unfortunate) consequence of adopting a democracy, India had to tolerate its politicians. That the literacy rates were below the average of similar democracies / freshly liberated colonies didn't help. India was gifted with great statesmen, who seeded the revolution, nurtured it and lived long enough to see it mature. In the initial decades things were decidedly better than they are now.
Since then, India has come a long way. And this book tells you the story of this country. Ramachandra Guha has done an excellent job of chronicling it, without even a hint of distaste towards the politicians or the policy makers or its executives. This is a remarkable achievement in itself.
India is the seventh largest country in the world. It is no mean task to select issues that need to be covered, in order to be representative of the government, the nation, and ultimately the populace. However, Mr.Guha proves to be just the man for this task. Nowhere does one feel that some issues were left out, or downplayed, or exaggerated. It must have been very hard to resist those temptations and be non-partisan. Too many historians have claimed to be authoritative re-tellers of the great Indian History. And Mr.Guha shames them all, and not through attacks, but through sheer scholarship.
I do not claim that I am enlightened now, even as far as the subject that has been covered in this book. But it is because of my own inability to retain and evaluate all the facts objectively. That I may have to re-read it multiple times to assimilate even the outline of the book is in no doubt.
The book is one giant story, sometimes titillating, sometimes depressing and sometimes neither. I made reading this book a ritual, covering a hundred pages in the morning every day. And it has paid off, richly. In part, it also subjected me to much chagrin, at the knowledge of just how much I didn't know about my own country. But Mr.Guha himself vindicates the great nation through his book. For all its imperfections and shortcomings, India has survived this long, and shall survive long enough that it will come to be seen as a country that has always been a democracy.
Near the end of the book, the author points out the lamenting of Isaiah Berlin, who pointed out that countries like India shouldn't be seen only as liberated subjects of European colonialism. They have their own distinct history, character, she says. And Mr.Guha's book does justice to that claim. No doubt this will go down as a classic, for it already has become a standard and authoritative text on the subject.
I never liked history. All through school it was a mechanical exercise is fact mugging, presented in the driest form possible, an experience that had convinced me to be never be interested in knowing the trivial matters of the past, as compared to the thriving present. The same feelings were reciprocated towards civics and economics.
As I turned 18, and became part of the Universal Adult Franchise, and earned this all glorified right to vote, my initial feeling was of confusion. Whom do I vote f I never liked history. All through school it was a mechanical exercise is fact mugging, presented in the driest form possible, an experience that had convinced me to be never be interested in knowing the trivial matters of the past, as compared to the thriving present. The same feelings were reciprocated towards civics and economics.
As I turned 18, and became part of the Universal Adult Franchise, and earned this all glorified right to vote, my initial feeling was of confusion. Whom do I vote for? And why? Who are these people? Aren't they all corrupt? Should I even vote? What does it all mean anyway.
These questions are shared by a lot of my contemporaries, and is usually the driving argument for our disinterest towards anything to do with politics. We all thought that "Government" and "Politics" meant the same thing. And since all of us educated young people had no interest in politics, we had no interest therefore, in the government, in democracy, how India came to be, and what it really means to be Indian. No, seriously, what does it mean to be Indian anyway? What is India? Moreover, why was this government so bad? Why is India not as great as the US of A?
Having been born towards the end of the 20th century, the only picture of politics that I saw when I was old enough to understand anything, was that of abject corruption, sever mismanagement, which was followed by a rising wave of hindu nationalism. Through all this, there was one question that I hadn't asked, and that was, "What really happened after independence?" followed by a more prudent "What events have led India to the point that we live in today?". For some time now, we have ridden on the knowledge provided to us by propaganda, from all parties, and no one really has had time to gain a comprehensive knowledge of the history of our democracy.
What did I know of the history of Independent India? We were all asked to mug up the list of Indian Prime Minister's, Presidents and Vice Presidents, but beyond that I don't think a lot of educated young people like me really knew much about India as a whole. And honestly I didn't even remember the list beyond the first and second names.
Before I began this book, I had the following thoughts:
How can a book on the history of India ever be interesting? A relentless pandering of facts, of a time far gone, how can I really hold my interest through a colossal book of over 700 pages that talks about topics as uninteresting as politics, caste, religion, language, riots, rulers, the economy and so on? Wasn't I done with history at school? I'm not interested in more academic preaching!
All of those complaints were decimated within the first few passages of this book. Guha constructively lays down the shortcomings of our own study of history, and Indian history in particular. And that was it. From then on, I DEVOURED this book. There have been very few books at the end of which I have felt truly humbled by the knowledge that I acquired. After having read "India After Gandhi", I feel that at age 23, this has been my real coming of age.
Guha covers all of the major turning points in Indian history post independence, laying it down chronologically, in a prose that keeps the pages turning. I especially liked the chapters on the linguistic reorganization of states, the aftermath of the emergency, the initial chapters on the events following independence and partition, and emerged with a new found respect and appreciation for the our founding fathers who laid down the foundations of our country in times as turbulent as then.
I found the book overall extremely well researched and mostly unbiased. Guha clearly was a fan of Nehru and it shows, but evidently it seems like the respect is not wholly misplaced. There has been a cry of "bias" in the book. As for me, the opinions are for me to form after more thorough reading, but if you give this book a pass for shallow reasons as those, you really are missing out on a lot of enlightening information which is independent of any of the things you might have a conflicted interest in. Every page taught me something new, you tuly begin to appreciate the diversity of India, and the breadth of issues surrounding it. It is a rich history, and is much more than the communal angle that we have been prone to in recent times.
Particularly unknown to me were the issues in the Naga hills, the problems faced by tribals, and how India's foreign policy was shaped over the years.
If anything, Guha has inspired in me a penchant for more knowledge about some of the titular characters and events described in the book. History has never been so exciting!
If you, like me, are another millennial trying to figure out what this whole politics thing really means, I have one advise. Pick up this book the first chance you get, and devour it. You'll thank yourself for it. . more
A very comprehensive history of modern India, and it&aposs surprisingly interesting and gripping given that it is a historical record. A must read for any one who wants to know how modern India came to be, esp. for those of us who were not born when we were not the fast developing nation we are today. Some of the descriptions and narratives are very transcending. They make you fell nostalgic of an event even when you never were there in the first place. It makes you proud and sad and excited and ash A very comprehensive history of modern India, and it's surprisingly interesting and gripping given that it is a historical record. A must read for any one who wants to know how modern India came to be, esp. for those of us who were not born when we were not the fast developing nation we are today. Some of the descriptions and narratives are very transcending. They make you fell nostalgic of an event even when you never were there in the first place. It makes you proud and sad and excited and ashamed all in the same book. In short, it tells you about India, why it is unique and what is good and bad about it, and also what we need to do to improve.
It has it's shortcoming and there are points where the author's personal views have influenced what should otherwise have been an objective record (Nehru's regime and later BJP's hindutva) but the sheer length and breadth of the content that Guha has presented here, is just so humbling and detailed. The minor flaws are actually minuscule in the larger picture. . more
3years to read this mammoth of a book. I was attracted to the book hoping to read about the history of post independence India. Growing up in India, you are taught a lot about the history of India leading to the freedom struggle but nothing after.
I was amused initially as I felt I am learning a lot about the developments post independence, how the princely states were brought into Índian union etc. What I wasn’t as affected by was the slow pace. The book keeps dragging on and on So, it took me
3years to read this mammoth of a book. I was attracted to the book hoping to read about the history of post independence India. Growing up in India, you are taught a lot about the history of India leading to the freedom struggle but nothing after.
I was amused initially as I felt I am learning a lot about the developments post independence, how the princely states were brought into Índian union etc. What I wasn’t as affected by was the slow pace. The book keeps dragging on and on pages after pages to communicate what could have been shared in one sentence. It doesn’t get to you as much till almost halfway through the book but after that it’s almost annoying.
Here’s are very honest and unfiltered comments/reactions:
+ It is basically a compendium of what foreign authors/media wrote about India all these years. It almost feels like the author has no opinion of his own and Índian media/authors never said anything worth quoting in 50+ years.
- I have nothing against foreign media/authors, just that having lived outside India for 7+ years, I know how distant people’s views here are about what’s going on in India despite us being in the age of internet
+ Depressing account of all that went wrong in India in the last 50+ years. If someone knew nothing about India he/she would think nothing was ever done right e.g., lots of print about the China war we lost while mere mentions about the 72’ war that we won
+ He did a great job in the last chapter and epilogue where it is synthesized and author has his own views for a change
+ Way too much print is spent on the two decades after independence while the last 30-40 years are a wash
+ Learning about Indira Gandhi’s dictatorship was eye opening. I wish the author spent time on non Congress leadership like Atal Bihari Vajpayee
+ I wish there was more coverage of Rajiv Gandhi’s rein and murder
+ The author could have really benefited from ‘brevity and synthesis’ [yes, that also applies to my review to drive home the point )] . more
I don&apost know what qualities a good history book should possess, I&aposm no expert. Despite this, this book remains one of the most entertaining reads that I&aposve had a chance to indulge in.
My respect for some of the founding members has grown manifold, independent of whether I agree with their policies. Indian TV and cinema (which by the way, is also touched upon in the book!) has a reputation for dramatisation and sensationalism. I&aposm pretty sure that they are influenced by some of the amazing gift-o I don't know what qualities a good history book should possess, I'm no expert. Despite this, this book remains one of the most entertaining reads that I've had a chance to indulge in.
My respect for some of the founding members has grown manifold, independent of whether I agree with their policies. Indian TV and cinema (which by the way, is also touched upon in the book!) has a reputation for dramatisation and sensationalism. I'm pretty sure that they are influenced by some of the amazing gift-of-gab orators that the country seems to produce, without fail.
‘Lathi goli khayenge, phir bhi Bambai layenge’ - Samyukt Maharashtra Movement
‘Wo kehte hain Indira Hatao, hum kehte hain Garibi Hatao’
'All my father's works have been written in prison. I recommend prison life not only for aspiring writers but for aspiring politicians too. - Indira Gandhi
'In India, you do not cast your vote, you vote your caste.' - V.N. Gadgil, Congress Politician
These are some of the many gems you can find in this book.
Another amazing aspect of this book is the sources cited. I read this book on my kindle, which showed 66% completed after I was done with the epilogue. The rest of the book is just the sources. Although I haven't had a chance to go down the rabbit hole, just the fact that I can reinforces my belief in the quality of the research that went into it.
As the author rightfully points out, no version of history is untainted by the writer's opinion. In spite of, or even with that warning, I think this book has helped me gain great insight into the country that is India, today.
Never has history been told in such colour and with such emotion. Rightly deserves to be called Guha&aposs masterpiece.
A book that takes you through the fight of a young nation against the veritable elements threatening secularism, its dangerous but nevertheless great gamble with democracy, its idealist argument against the more realist one for alignment, its parenthood falling from that of great men of integrity to mortals with vanity, and the rise of populism on the price of constitutional democr Never has history been told in such colour and with such emotion. Rightly deserves to be called Guha's masterpiece.
A book that takes you through the fight of a young nation against the veritable elements threatening secularism, its dangerous but nevertheless great gamble with democracy, its idealist argument against the more realist one for alignment, its parenthood falling from that of great men of integrity to mortals with vanity, and the rise of populism on the price of constitutional democracy. Selflessness and foresight of some, pettiness and fanaticism of some more, revolts for secession, linguist processions, theocratic and socialist movements, poverty and hunger, rights of minorities, even the strange cinema and much more, all find their due description in one volume.
With every other statement referenced, one wonders the pain undergone and diligence shown with every book or magazine the author refers, each document that he dusted and each letter that he unearthed.
The unnatural idea of an Indian Nation opening the book, and the appreciation of that strange idea being successfully conceived and perpetuated ending it, is sure to fill every democrat's heart with admiration for India, and every nationalist's eyes with tears.
Half way through the book - one thing that is very clear for me is the admiration and towering love that the author and historian, Ramachandra Guha, bestows upon India’s first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru.. If not for a history genre, this book would have earned 5 stars from me, at least, on the biased leftist construction of Indian History as this book could easily happen to be.. Any event, good, bad, success or failure, described only from a position of ‘Nehru’s good and divine intention’ Half way through the book - one thing that is very clear for me is the admiration and towering love that the author and historian, Ramachandra Guha, bestows upon India’s first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru.. If not for a history genre, this book would have earned 5 stars from me, at least, on the biased leftist construction of Indian History as this book could easily happen to be.. Any event, good, bad, success or failure, described only from a position of ‘Nehru’s good and divine intention’ .. Alas, how terrible and contrived a supposed history book becomes to be!
It ain’t no surprising, even with such support and dedication from the author, one can easily see through how immature, naive and often failure of a leader Nehru was and how others such as Sardar Vallabhai Patel dominated and excelled in their service and politics of their time! . more
India After Gandhi: The History of the World&aposs Largest Democracy, by Ramachandra Guha, is a deep and fascinating examination of the world&aposs most populous democracy from the death of Gandhi to 2008. The book begins by examining the fracturing of the Indian National Congress, with Pakistan and India splitting into two nation states. This led to a massive influx of internal refugee movements, and widespread violence between Muslim, Hindu and Sikh communities. It is estimated more than one million p India After Gandhi: The History of the World's Largest Democracy, by Ramachandra Guha, is a deep and fascinating examination of the world's most populous democracy from the death of Gandhi to 2008. The book begins by examining the fracturing of the Indian National Congress, with Pakistan and India splitting into two nation states. This led to a massive influx of internal refugee movements, and widespread violence between Muslim, Hindu and Sikh communities. It is estimated more than one million people died in this communal violence throughout India and Pakistan.
Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated during this split by a Hindu extremist. Gandhi sorely wished to see India and Pakistan unite as one nation, but his wish was ultimately dashed. His successor in the Congress, Jawaharlal Nehru strove to keep Gandhi's vision going. Nehru was an extremely adept politician, and one of the most widely respected characters in post-independence India. What he inherited were some issues, however. The British had left, but a collection of over 500 Princely States in India remained. It was the Indian governments goal to incorporate these states (and Pakistan's too).
Many of these states were small collections of villages, but some were massive, and yearned for independence. Hyperbad was a large state in south central India. It had long existed as a vassal to the Mughal Empire, and this treaty was inherited by the British Raj. After independence, the Maharaja of Hyperbad sought to keep his state independent. He set up armed forces to try and resist Indian occupation, and sought international support for his cause. India sent in thousands of troops and annexed Hyperbad soon after independence. Tranvacore was another valuable Princely state. Situated on the Indian coast, it had an efficient government, contained resources to construct nuclear devices, and had the backing of the British. The leader of Tranvacore also sought independence, but was attacked by Indian nationalists, and in hospital, gave his approval to join India. Kashmir, however, was the sore spot. Kashmir was a strategically important state touching Himalaya mountains. It was largely Muslim, but its ruling class were anti-Pakistan for political reasons. During the trouble of Partition and the subsequent refugee crisis, Kashmir was a bastion of stability. All this changed when tribal groups from Pakistan entered Kashmir to try and force its annexation to Pakistan. India retaliated with troops of its own, and general conflict began. When the dust settled, the area was split between Pakistan and India - the situation that largely exists today. This conflict has yet to be resolved, at the time of writing.
Nehru's India was chaotic, and many predicted it would fall to military rule after his death. The internal situation in India was fractured, due to the multitude of religious, ethnic, cultural, language, caste groups, ideologies and so on. The system of regional states within India was difficult, as many individual groups vied for their own independent states. Tribal groups in eastern India, like the Naga and Mizo fought pitched insurgencies (the Naga) for independence, or created political groups to try and create their own states (Jharakand, Mizoram etc.). Gujarati speakers did not want the city of Bombay to join the state of Maharashtra. Sikhs in the Punjab region also wanted their own state. The language of India was also contentious. What should be the language of the political centre and its courts? Some in the southern states cried foul when Hindi was proposed, and wanted the main language to remain English. On top of this, the complex caste system of India created situations of intolerance and favouritism. Those from the untouchable Caste struggled to find employment, and were discriminated against in every day life. Tensions existed between various castes and often flared up into violence. Hindu extremism, characterized by the RSS party, sought to end Indian secularism and create a Hindu state. This too resulted in violence between Hindu and Muslim communities.
Nehru balanced all of these issues fairly well, while keeping India on its democratic course. Nehru had little real political challengers during his tenure, as he was Gandhi's chosen successor. Nehru's Congress Party dominated India's political sphere for his 15 years in office. He deftly sidestepped challengers, and was able to hold his own during periods of strife and conflict. He fought hard to keep India from succumbing to Communalism on one had, and Communism on the other. He faced challenges from Hindu Nationalists. He supported state-led developmentalism, moving toward a more Soviet style economy. This had mixed results in India for a number of reasons, but did successfully start India down the road to Industrialization.
Nehru's foreign policy situation was also tricky. Originally, Nehru sought warm ties with China, but these ties soured over territorial disputes in the Himalaya's, resulting in war between India and China in the 1960's, which led to the loss of territory in both Eastern India and in Kashmir. China then sought relations with Pakistan. India also had frosty relations with the United States. On the surface, India and the US have much in common. Both are large and successful democracies. Both secularist. However, India's experiments with socialist economics and policies, and the USA's prioritization of relations with Pakistan, and subsequent arms deals soured all attempts. India turned to the Soviet block for support. The falling out between China and the USSR was a key moment for India to modernize its economy and armed forces, and India and the USSR signed treaties of cooperation and friendship. Even still, Nehru sought a middle road, and promoted non-alignment in Asia.
Nehru passed away during the Sino-Indian conflict, and was succeeded briefly by another Prime Minister, who also died soon after. His daughter, Indira Gandhi, succeeded to lead the Congress, and would dominat Indian politics for the next 16 years. She saw the annexation of Goa from Portugal, the incorporation of French remnants on the Indian subcontinent, the incorporation of Sikkim, but most importantly, a smashing victory over Pakistan. In 1971, East Pakistan rose up in revolt against West Pakistan. The Bengali's of East Pakistan did not have political representation, and were long abused by Islamabad. India supported Bengali independence with a direct invasion, and helped proclaim the independence of Bangladesh after a brief occupation. These victories were strategically used by Gandhi to stay in power.
Indira Gandhi's political and economic moves were more autocratic than her fathers. Gandhi supported a centralization of economics, and derided free trade or liberalization. She sought closer ties still with the Soviets, and helped build up the armed forces of India to become a regional player, and a direct challenge to China. On the political front, she struggled with political representation, and after protests and communal violence erupted throughout the nation, she proclaimed a state of emergency, jailing all political opponents and stifling the press. This state of emergency led to an easing of economic and social tensions, but was deeply unpopular for obvious reasons. Indira seemed set to create a dictatorship in India, and had been promoting her son, Sanjay Gandhi, as her successor. Thankfully, after a year of emergency rule, she suddenly released all political prisoners, and held fresh elections, which she lost to a coalition of Hindu nationalist parties, regional parties, and a defection of older Congress politicians.
This coalition would only last three years in power, as it succumbed to internal political tensions, and Indira Gandhi was reelected to power once more. This time in office saw her son Sanjay die in a plane accident, and she promoted her other son Rajiv Gandhi. However, she moved away from her authoritarian past, as she required coalition support to ensure an electoral majority. She chose the communists as a political partner - this cementing her state-run economic ideals. She also went on a charm offensive in the west to promote India's image. During this time, ethnic and religious tensions again flared, resulting in conflicts across the country, and violent communal violence. The worst hit Punjab, the Sikh region of India, where tensions between Sikhs and Hindus - unheard of in the past, flared into extreme violence. An armed uprising of Sikhs looking for political autonomy/independence for their state, was violently put down. In retaliation, two of Gandhi's Sikh bodyguard assassinated her.
Her son, Rajiv, was next in line. He saw to an opening of the Indian economy, movement toward liberalization of trade and economics, and to soothe tensions between India's communities. He successfully ended the Sikh insurrection, and the issues with the Mizo and Naga tribes. He sent troops overseas to Sri Lanka to assist that governments conflict with Tamil rebels. He also saw India move toward a more Parliamentary style democracy, with frequent elections, coalition politics and a strengthening of democratic practices - which led to his electoral defeat. In the subsequent election campaign, Rajiv was assassinated by a Tamil extremist.
The time after Rajiv is a blur of names and figures. The BJP (as of writing the ruling party in India) took prominence as a collective of Hindu nationalist parties. This party successfully competed with Congress in elections post Rajiv - by this time the Congress had split many times under the Gandhi/Neru political clan. This period (1980's forward) saw many wonderful things happen in India, and many terrible ones too. Literacy, economic well being, women's rights, caste rights, and so on increased markedly. The Indian economy began to open up to more neo-liberal policies, moving away from its experiments in socialism and centralized economic planning. This led to both an increase in GDP per capita and average income, and saw a massive shift in poverty levels toward the middle class. It also saw rising tensions between minority groups, unequal distribution of income, massive environmental damage (ie. Bhopal disaster) and so on.
I won't go on any further. But what did I think of the book? India After Gandhi was highly engaging, and offered a deeply analytical look at India's history. It maps the political, internal and external pressures the Indian state has faced during its history. Ethnic tensions and violence continue to be the norm in this massive and varied state, but India continues to be a democracy - defying many Western analysis throughout history. It is slowly building itself to be a powerhouse economy, and is widely thought to be on its way to Great Power status in the future. India is a nation that is not often written about in Western literature, and is often overshadowed by China's economic dominance. Even so, is is with great pride that India remains a stable democracy. It suffers from internal strife, poverty, nepotism (as clearly shown above), corruption and environmental degradation. However, it has strong democratic institutions, and is making great strides in all its endeavors. Guha's book examines all aspects of this nation with a critical eye, offering facts and analysis, and avoids glowing prose in favour of realistic analysis. Highly recommended for those looking to read about India and its incredible journey from colony to colossus. . more
Gandhi was the youngest child of his father’s fourth wife. His father—Karamchand Gandhi, who was the dewan (chief minister) of Porbandar, the capital of a small principality in western India (in what is now Gujarat state) under British suzerainty—did not have much in the way of a formal education. He was, however, an able administrator who knew how to steer his way between the capricious princes, their long-suffering subjects, and the headstrong British political officers in power.
Gandhi’s mother, Putlibai, was completely absorbed in religion, did not care much for finery or jewelry, divided her time between her home and the temple, fasted frequently, and wore herself out in days and nights of nursing whenever there was sickness in the family. Mohandas grew up in a home steeped in Vaishnavism—worship of the Hindu god Vishnu—with a strong tinge of Jainism, a morally rigorous Indian religion whose chief tenets are nonviolence and the belief that everything in the universe is eternal. Thus, he took for granted ahimsa (noninjury to all living beings), vegetarianism, fasting for self-purification, and mutual tolerance between adherents of various creeds and sects.
The educational facilities at Porbandar were rudimentary in the primary school that Mohandas attended, the children wrote the alphabet in the dust with their fingers. Luckily for him, his father became dewan of Rajkot, another princely state. Though Mohandas occasionally won prizes and scholarships at the local schools, his record was on the whole mediocre. One of the terminal reports rated him as “good at English, fair in Arithmetic and weak in Geography conduct very good, bad handwriting.” He was married at the age of 13 and thus lost a year at school. A diffident child, he shone neither in the classroom nor on the playing field. He loved to go out on long solitary walks when he was not nursing his by then ailing father (who died soon thereafter) or helping his mother with her household chores.
He had learned, in his words, “to carry out the orders of the elders, not to scan them.” With such extreme passivity, it is not surprising that he should have gone through a phase of adolescent rebellion, marked by secret atheism, petty thefts, furtive smoking, and—most shocking of all for a boy born in a Vaishnava family—meat eating. His adolescence was probably no stormier than that of most children of his age and class. What was extraordinary was the way his youthful transgressions ended.
“Never again” was his promise to himself after each escapade. And he kept his promise. Beneath an unprepossessing exterior, he concealed a burning passion for self-improvement that led him to take even the heroes of Hindu mythology, such as Prahlada and Harishcandra—legendary embodiments of truthfulness and sacrifice—as living models.
In 1887 Mohandas scraped through the matriculation examination of the University of Bombay (now University of Mumbai) and joined Samaldas College in Bhavnagar (Bhaunagar). As he had to suddenly switch from his native language—Gujarati—to English, he found it rather difficult to follow the lectures.
Meanwhile, his family was debating his future. Left to himself, he would have liked to have been a doctor. But, besides the Vaishnava prejudice against vivisection, it was clear that, if he was to keep up the family tradition of holding high office in one of the states in Gujarat, he would have to qualify as a barrister. That meant a visit to England, and Mohandas, who was not too happy at Samaldas College, jumped at the proposal. His youthful imagination conceived England as “a land of philosophers and poets, the very centre of civilization.” But there were several hurdles to be crossed before the visit to England could be realized. His father had left the family little property moreover, his mother was reluctant to expose her youngest child to unknown temptations and dangers in a distant land. But Mohandas was determined to visit England. One of his brothers raised the necessary money, and his mother’s doubts were allayed when he took a vow that, while away from home, he would not touch wine, women, or meat. Mohandas disregarded the last obstacle—the decree of the leaders of the Modh Bania subcaste (Vaishya caste), to which the Gandhis belonged, who forbade his trip to England as a violation of the Hindu religion—and sailed in September 1888. Ten days after his arrival, he joined the Inner Temple, one of the four London law colleges (The Temple).
India After Gandhi : The History of the World's Largest Democracy
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 into the lives and public careers of those long-serving 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. This tenth anniversary edition, published to coincide with seventy years of India’s independence, is revised and expanded to bring the narrative up to the present.
India After Gandhi: The History of the World's Largest Democracy
Ramachandra Guha’s India after Gandhi is a magisterial account of the pains, struggles, humiliations and glories of the world’s largest and least likely democracy. A riveting chronicle of the often brutal conflicts that have rocked a giant nation, and of the extraordinary individuals and institutions who held it together, it established itself as a classic when it was first published in 2007.
In the last decade, India has witnessed, among other things, two general elections the fall of the Congress and the rise of Narendra Modi a major anti-corruption movement more violence against women, Dalits, and religious minorities a wave of prosperity for some but the persistence of poverty for others comparative peace in Nagaland but greater discontent in Kashmir than ever before. This tenth anniversary edition, updated and expanded, brings the narrative up to the present.
Published to coincide with seventy years of the country’s independence, this definitive history of modern India is the work of one of the world’s finest scholars at the height of his powers.
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A massive work, well deserving of the "magisterial" tag given by the Financial Times review. The great blessing is that it doesn't try to be cryptic, doesn't use over-long sentences with multiple . Читать весь отзыв
This is a massive work, covering the immensity of India between 1947 and 2015 or 16. When I realized how much territory Dr. Guha had to cover, I was dubious, but this history of India since just . Читать весь отзыв
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Ramachandra Guha was born in Dehradun in 1958, and educated in Delhi and Calcutta. He has taught at the universities of Oslo, Stanford and Yale, and at the Indian Institute of Science. He has been a Fellow of the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin, and also served as the Indo-American Community Chair Visiting Professor at the University of California at Berkeley.
After a peripatetic academic career, with five jobs in ten years in three continents, Guha settled down to become a full-time writer, based in Bengaluru. His books cover a wide range of themes: they include a global history of environmentalism, a biography of an anthropologist-activist, a social history of Indian cricket, and a social history of Himalayan peasants. His entire career, he says, seems in retrospect to have been an extended (and painful) preparation for the writing of India After Gandhi.
Guha’s books and essays have been translated into more than twenty languages. The prizes they have won include the UK Cricket Society’s Literary Award and the Leopold-Hidy Prize of the American Society of Environmental History. In 2008, Prospect and Foreign Policy magazines nominated Guha as one of the world’s one hundred most influential intellectuals. In 2009, he was awarded the Padma Bhushan for services to literature and education. In 2015, he was awarded the Fukuoka Prize for contributions to Asian culture and scholarship.
Mahatma Gandhi: A Life From Beginning to End (History of India) Kindle Edition
Learned not all about Gandhi, but some points worth knowing..
Wondering why kindle doesn't want to take the short review.
I was reading about Tagore and his visits to Europe and developing a Universal vision of humanity
I downloaded Mahatma Gandhi who also visited London and South Africa and how a few bad incidents changed him into a warrior without weapons
BRITISH empire was the supreme and Gandhi single handedly fraught against them with non violence
It is interesting to learn about Gandhi from his childhood days and his personal struggles with his education and career at the Bar
God had chosen a different destiny for him than just be a great lawyer and a teacher
I now down my head to the great soul
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Man erhält ca. 20 (!) Seiten zusammengeheftetes Papier mit einer kurzen Zusammenfassung des Lebens von Gandhi. Wer auf ein Buch hofft wird enttäuscht!
Frechheit für den Preis. Lieber Wikipedia lesen.
Die Ware ging dementsprechend umgehend zurück.
This was a concise, but well written account of the life of Gandhi. I hadn't known too much about him other than that he was a key figure in India obtaining independence and promoted living by peaceful and nonviolent means.
It was interesting in that he gave no foreshadowing of being an influential leader throughout his childhood. He wasn't a particularly bright student at all and after studying law he started his own law practice which ended up as a failure. It was when he took a job in.South Africa and experienced racial injustice because of the color of his skin that he found his true calling.
Gandhi was a central figure in obtaining equal rights for Indians living in South Africa, but it took over 20 years of efforts and an 8 year campaign as the leader of an official organization. He endured beatings and narrowly escaped being killed in one incident. However, he always adamantly encouraged his followers to conduct protests and defiance of the law in a non-violent manner.
When he returned home to India after more than 20 years in South Africa, he was determined to gain independence for India from the rule of Great Britain. During World War I, many Indians became actively involved in aiding the British, but after the war little changed for them under British rule. It took many years of winning small victories including many arrests and imprisonments to finally achieve independence for India. In one incident, over 400 Indians were slaughtered when British troops opened fire into a crowd. The end result of independence however, did not come as Gandhi had wished. Animosities between the Hindus and the Muslims were never healed and independence came with the division of the country into India and the Muslim country of Pakistan.
In the last years of the quest for independence, there were significant incidents of riots and violence between the Hindus and Muslims that resulted in many deaths during the partition into India and Pakistan. One Hindu nationalist, who blamed Gandhi for much of the violence, assassinated him a few years afterward. The entire country mourned his loss with his funeral procession being over 5 miles long. The inspiration of his legacy of non-violent protests lived on and was adopted in later years by leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr. and Nelson Mandela.
Although it was a condensed biography, it did cover or at least touch upon the important events throughout Gandhi’s life as well as the criteria that led to the Indian rights in South Africa and India’s independence from Great Britain. I’d recommend the book to people who have limited knowledge of Gandhi and wish to learn more.
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was an eminent freedom activist and an influential political leader who played a dominant role in India's struggle for independence. Gandhi is known by different names, such as Mahatma (a great soul), Bapuji (endearment for father in Gujarati) and Father of the Nation. Every year, his birthday is celebrated as Gandhi Jayanti, a national holiday in India, and also observed as the International Day of Nonviolence. Mahatma Gandhi, as he is most commonly referred to, was instrumental in liberating India from the clutches of the British. With his unusual yet powerful political tools of Satyagraha and non-violence, he inspired several other political leaders all over the world including the likes of Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King Jr and Aung San Suu Kyi. Gandhi, apart from helping India triumph in its fight for independence against the English, also led a simple and righteous life, for which he is often revered. Gandhi's early life was pretty much ordinary, and he became a great man during the course of his life. This is one of the main reasons why Gandhi is followed by millions, for he proved that one can become a great soul during the course of one’s life, should they possess the will to do so.
M. K. Gandhi was born in the princely state of Porbandar, which is located in modern-day Gujarat. He was born into a Hindu merchant caste family to Karamchand Gandhi, diwan of Porbandar and his fourth wife, Putlibai. Gandhi’s mother belonged to an affluent Pranami Vaishnava family. As a child, Gandhi was a very naughty and mischievous kid. In fact, his sister Raliat had once revealed that hurting dogs by twisting their ears was among Maohandas’ favorite pastime. During the course of his childhood, Gandhi befriended Sheikh Mehtab, who was introduced to him by his older brother. Gandhi, who was raised by a vegetarian family, started eating meat. It is also said that a young Gandhi accompanied Sheikh to a brothel, but left the place after finding it uncomfortable. Gandhi, along with one of his relatives, also cultivated the habit of smoking after watching his uncle smoke. After smoking the leftover cigarettes, thrown away by his uncle, Gandhi started stealing copper coins from his servants in order to buy Indian cigarettes. When he could no longer steal, he even decided to commit suicide such was Gandhi’s addiction to cigarettes. At the age of fifteen, after stealing a bit of gold from his friend Sheikh’s armlet, Gandhi felt remorseful and confessed to his father about his stealing habit and vowed to him that he would never commit such mistakes again.
In his early years, Gandhi was deeply influenced by the stories of Shravana and Harishchandra that reflected the importance of truth. Through these stories and from his personal experiences, he realized that truth and love are among the supreme values. Mohandas married Kasturba Makhanji at the age of 13. Gandhi later went on to reveal that the marriage didn’t mean anything to him at that age and that he was happy and excited only about wearing new set of clothes. But then as days passed by, his feelings for her turned lustful, which he later confessed with regret in his autobiography. Gandhi had also confessed that he could no more concentrate in school because of his mind wavering towards his new and young wife.
After his family moved to Rajkot, a nine year old Gandhi was enrolled at a local school, where he studied the basics of arithmetic, history, geography and languages. When he was 11 years old, he attended a high school in Rajkot. He lost an academic year in between because of his wedding but later rejoined the school and eventually completed his schooling. He then dropped out of Samaldas College in Bhavnagar State after joining it in the year 1888. Later Gandhi was advised by a family friend Mavji Dave Joshiji to pursue law in London. Excited by the idea, Gandhi managed to convince his mother and wife by vowing before them that he would abstain from eating meat and from having sex in London. Supported by his brother, Gandhi left to London and attended the Inner Temple and practiced law. During his stay in London, Gandhi joined a Vegetarian Society and was soon introduced to Bhagavad Gita by some of his vegetarian friends. The contents of Bhagavad Gita would later have a massive influence on his life. He came back to India after being called to the bar by Inner Temple.
Gandhi in South Africa
After returning to India, Gandhi struggled to find work as a lawyer. In 1893, Dada Abdullah, a merchant who owned a shipping business in South Africa asked if he would be interested to serve as his cousin’s lawyer in South Africa. Gandhi gladly accepted the offer and left to South Africa, which would serve as a turning point in his political career.
In South Africa, he faced racial discrimination directed towards blacks and Indians. He faced humiliation on many occasions but made up his mind to fight for his rights. This turned him into an activist and he took upon him many cases that would benefit the Indians and other minorities living in South Africa. Indians were not allowed to vote or walk on footpaths as those privileges were limited strictly to the Europeans. Gandhi questioned this unfair treatment and eventually managed to establish an organization named ‘Natal Indian Congress’ in 1894. After he came across an ancient Indian literature known as ‘Tirukkural’, which was originally written in Tamil and later translated into many languages, Gandhi was influenced by the idea of Satyagraha (devotion to the truth) and implemented non-violent protests around 1906. After spending 21 years in South Africa, where he fought for civil rights, he had transformed into a new person and he returned to India in 1915.
Gandhi and the Indian National Congress
After his long stay in South Africa and his activism against the racist policy of the British, Gandhi had earned the reputation as a nationalist, theorist and organiser. Gopal Krishna Gokhale, a senior leader of the Indian National Congress, invited Gandhi to join India’s struggle for independence against the British Rule. Gokhale thoroughly guided Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi about the prevailing political situation in India and also the social issues of the time. He then joined the Indian National Congress and before taking over the leadership in 1920, headed many agitations which he named Satyagraha.
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The Champaran agitation in 1917 was the first major success of Gandhi after his arrival in India. The peasants of the area were forced by the British landlords to grow Indigo, which was a cash crop, but its demand had been declining. To make the matters worse, they were forced to sell their crops to the planters at a fixed price. The farmers turned to Gandhiji for help. Pursuing a strategy of nonviolent agitation, Gandhi took the administration by surprise and was successful in getting concessions from the authorities. This campaign marked Gandhi’s arrival in India!
Farmers asked the British to relax the payment of taxes as Kheda was hit by floods in 1918. When the British failed to pay heed to the requests, Gandhi took the case of the farmers and led the protests. He instructed them to refrain from paying revenues no matter what. Later, the British gave in and accepted to relax the revenue collection and gave its word to Vallabhbhai Patel, who had represented the farmers.
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Khilafat Movement Post World War I
Gandhi had agreed to support the British during their fight in World War I. But the British failed to grant independence post the war, as promised earlier, and as a result of this Khilafat Movement was launched. Gandhi realized that Hindus and Muslims must unite to fight the British and urged both the communities to show solidarity and unity. But his move was questioned by many Hindu leaders. Despite the opposition from many leaders, Gandhi managed to amass the support of Muslims. But as the Khilafat Movement ended abruptly, all his efforts evaporated into thin air.
Non-cooperation Movement and Gandhi
Non-cooperation Movement was one of Gandhi’s most important movements against the British. Gandhi’s urged his fellow countrymen to stop co-operation with the British. He believed that the British succeeded in India only because of the co-operation of the Indians. He had cautioned the British not to pass the Rowlatt Act, but they did not pay any attention to his words and passed the Act. As announced, Gandhiji asked everyone to start civil disobedience against the British. The British began suppressing the civil disobedience movement by force and opened fire on a peaceful crowd in Delhi. The British asked Gandhiji to not enter Delhi which he defied as a result of which he was arrested and this further enraged people and they rioted. He urged people to show unity, non-violence and respect for human life. But the British responded aggressively to this and arrested many protesters.
On 13 April 1919, a British officer, Dyer, ordered his forces to open fire on a peaceful gathering, including women and children, in Amritsar’s Jallianwala Bagh. As a result of this, hundreds of innocent Hindu and Sikh civilians were killed. The incident is known as ‘Jallianwala Bagh Massacre’. But Gandhi criticized the protesters instead of blaming the English and asked Indians to use love while dealing with the hatred of British. He urged the Indians to refrain from all kinds of non-violence and went on fast-to-death to pressure Indians to stop their rioting.
Image source: Wikimedia.org
The concept of non-cooperation became very popular and started spreading through the length and breadth of India. Gandhi extended this movement and focused on Swaraj. He urged people to stop using British goods. He also asked people to resign from government employment, quit studying in British institutions and stop practicing in law courts. However, the violent clash in Chauri Chaura town of Uttar Pradesh, in February 1922, forced Gandhiji to call-off the movement all of a sudden. Gandhi was arrested on 10th March 1922 and was tried for sedition. He was sentenced to six years imprisonment, but served only two years in prison.
Simon Commission & Salt Satyagraha (Dandi March)
During the period of 1920s, Mahatma Gandhi concentrated on resolving the wedge between the Swaraj Party and the Indian National Congress. In 1927, British had appointed Sir John Simon as the head of a new constitutional reform commission, popularly known as ‘Simon Commission’. There was not even a single Indian in the commission. Agitated by this, Gandhi passed a resolution at the Calcutta Congress in December 1928, calling on the British government to grant India dominion status. In case of non-compliance with this demand, the British were to face a new campaign of non-violence, having its goal as complete independence for the country. The resolution was rejected by the British. The flag of India was unfurled by the Indian national Congress on 31st December 1929 at its Lahore session. January 26, 1930 was celebrated as the Independence Day of India.
But the British failed to recognize it and soon they levied a tax on salt and Salt Satyagraha was launched in March 1930, as an opposition to this move. Gandhi started the Dandi March with his followers in March, going from Ahmedabad to Dandi on foot. The protest was successful and resulted in the Gandhi-Irwin Pact in March 1931.
Negotiations over Round Table Conferences
Post the Gandhi-Irwin Pact, Gandhi was invited to round table conferences by the British. While Gandhi pressed for the Indian independence, British questioned Gandhi’s motives and asked him not to speak for the entire nation. They invited many religious leaders and B. R. Ambedkar to represent the untouchables. The British promised many rights to various religious groups as well as the untouchables. Fearing this move would divide India further, Gandhi protested against this by fasting. After learning about the true intentions of the British during the second conference, he came up with another Satyagraha, for which he was once again arrested.
Quit India Movement
As the World War II progressed, Mahatma Gandhi intensified his protests for the complete independence of India. He drafted a resolution calling for the British to Quit India. The 'Quit India Movement' or the 'Bharat Chhodo Andolan' was the most aggressive movement launched by the Indian national Congrees under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi. Gandhi was arrested on 9th August 1942 and was held for two years in the Aga Khan Palace in Pune, where he lost his secretary, Mahadev Desai and his wife, Kasturba. The Quit India Movement came to an end by the end of 1943, when the British gave hints that complete power would be transferred to the people of India. Gandhi called off the movement which resulted in the release of 100,000 political prisoners.
Freedom and Partition of India
The independence cum partition proposal offered by the British Cabinet Mission in 1946 was accepted by the Congress, despite being advised otherwise by Mahatma Gandhi. Sardar Patel convinced Gandhi that it was the only way to avoid civil war and he reluctantly gave his consent. After India's independence, Gandhi focused on peace and unity of Hindus and Muslims. He launched his last fast-unto-death in Delhi, and asked people to stop communal violence and emphasized that the payment of Rs. 55 crores, as per the Partition Council agreement, be made to Pakistan. Ultimately, all political leaders conceded to his wishes and he broke his fast.
Assassination of Mahatma Gandhi
The inspiring life of Mahatma Gandhi came to an end on 30th January 1948, when he was shot by a fanatic, Nathuram Godse, at point-blank range. Nathuram was a Hindu radical, who held Gandhi responsible for weakening India by ensuring the partition payment to Pakistan. Godse and his co-conspirator, Narayan Apte, were later tried and convicted. They were executed on 15th November 1949.
Mahatma Gandhi’s Legacy
Mahatma Gandhi proposed the acceptance and practice of truth, peace, non-violence, vegetarianism, Brahmacharya (celibacy), simplicity and faith in God. Though he would be remembered forever for his great contribution to the Indian freedom movement, his greatest legacies are the tools of peace and non-iolence that he preached and used in India's struggle for freedom against the British. He was for peace and non-violence all over the world, as he truly believed that only these virtues can save the mankind. Mahatma Gandhi once wrote a letter to Hitler, before the World War II, pleading him to avoid war. These methods inspired several other world leaders in their struggle against injustice. His statues are installed all over the world and he is considered the most prominent personality in Indian history.
Gandhi in Popular Culture
The word Mahatma is often mistaken in the West as Gandhi’s first name. His extraordinary life inspired innumerable works of art in the field of literature, art and showbiz. Many movies and documentaries have been made on the life of the Mahatma. Post the Independence, Gandhi’s image became the mainstay of Indian paper currency.
Sanjay was born in New Delhi, on 14 December 1946, as the younger son of Indira Gandhi and Feroze Gandhi. Like his elder brother Rajiv Gandhi, Sanjay was educated at St. Columba's School, Delhi, Welham Boys' School, Dehra Dun and then at the Doon School, Dehra Dun. Sanjay was also educated at the Ecole D'Humanité, an international boarding school in Switzerland.  Sanjay did not attend university, but took up automotive engineering as a career and underwent an apprenticeship with Rolls-Royce in Crewe, England for three years.   He was very interested in sports cars, and also obtained a pilot's licence in 1976. He was interested in aircraft acrobatics and won several prizes in that sport.  His elder brother Rajiv Gandhi was however a Captain in Indian Airlines flying the Boeing 737-200ADV aircraft. Sanjay was also close to his mother. [ citation needed ]
In 1971, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi's Cabinet proposed the production of a "People's car": an efficient indigenous car that middle-class Indians could afford. In June 1971, a company known as Maruti Motors Limited (now Maruti Suzuki) was incorporated under the Companies Act and Sanjay Gandhi became its Managing Director.  While Sanjay had no previous experience, design proposals or links with any corporation, he was awarded the contract to build the car and the exclusive production licence. The criticism that followed this decision was mostly directed at Indira, but the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War and victory over Pakistan muted the critical voices. The company did not produce any vehicles during his lifetime. A test model put out as a showpiece to demonstrate progress was criticised. Public perception turned against Sanjay, and many began to speculate growing corruption. Sanjay then contacted Volkswagen AG from West Germany for a possible collaboration, transfer of technology and joint production of the Indian version of the "People's Car", to emulate Volkswagen's worldwide success with the Beetle. During the Emergency, Sanjay became active in politics and the Maruti project went on a back burner. There were accusations of nepotism and corruption. Finally, the Janata Government came to power in 1977 and "Maruti Limited" was liquidated.  A commission was set up by the new government headed by Justice Alak Chandra Gupta which gave very critical report of the Maruti affair.  A year after his death in 1980, and at the behest of Indira, the Union government salvaged Maruti Limited and started looking for an active collaborator for a new company. Maruti Udyog Ltd. was incorporated in the same year through the efforts of Nehru Gandhi family friend and industrial doyen V. Krishnamurthy.  The Japanese company Suzuki was also contacted to present the design and feasibility of their car to be manufactured in India. When Suzuki learned that the Government of India had contacted Volkswagen as well, it did everything to pip the German company in the race to produce India's first People's Car (Maruti 800). [ citation needed ] It provided the government a feasible Design of their 'Model 796', which was also successful in Japan and East Asian countries.
In 1974, the opposition-led protests and strikes had caused a widespread disturbance in many parts of the country and badly affected the government and the economy. On 25 June 1975 following an adverse court decision against her, Indira Gandhi declared a national emergency, delayed elections, censored the press and suspended some constitutional freedoms in the name of national security. Non-Congress governments throughout the country were dismissed. Thousands of people, including several freedom fighters like Jaya Prakash Narayan and Jivatram Kripalani who were against the Emergency were arrested.
In the extremely hostile political environment just before and soon after the Emergency, Sanjay Gandhi rose in importance as Indira's adviser. With the defections of former loyalists, Sanjay's influence with Indira and the government increased dramatically, although he was never in an official or elected position. According to Mark Tully, "His inexperience did not stop him from using the Draconian powers his mother, Indira Gandhi, had taken to terrorise the administration, setting up what was in effect a police state." 
It was said that during the Emergency, he virtually ran India along with his friends, especially Bansi Lal.  It was also quipped that Sanjay Gandhi had total control over his mother and that the government was run by the PMH (Prime Minister House) rather than the PMO (Prime Minister Office).    He "recruited into the party thousands of younger people, many of them hooligans and ruffians, who used threats and force to intimidate rivals and those who opposed Mrs Gandhi's authority or his own." 
During the emergency, Indira Gandhi declared a 20-point economic programme for development. Sanjay also declared his own much shorter five points program promoting
Later during the emergency Sanjay's programme was merged with Indira's 20-point programme to make a combined twenty-five point programme. 
Out of the five points, Sanjay is now chiefly remembered for the family planning initiative that attracted much notoriety and caused longterm harm to population control in India.  
Involvement in politics and government Edit
Although he had not been elected and held no office, Sanjay began exercising his new-found influence with Cabinet ministers, high-level government officials and police officers. While many Cabinet ministers and officials resigned in protest,  Sanjay reportedly appointed their successors.
In one famous example, Inder Kumar Gujral resigned from the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting when Sanjay attempted to direct the affairs of his ministry and give him orders. Gujral is reported to have angrily rebuked Sanjay and refused to take orders from an unelected person.  Gujral was replaced by Vidya Charan Shukla, a Sanjay Gandhi acolyte. In another incident, after popular Bollywood singer Kishore Kumar refused to sing at a function of the Indian Youth Congress, his songs were banned on All India Radio upon Gandhi's insistence. 
Sanjay stood for his first election to the Indian parliament following the lifting of the Emergency in March 1977. This election saw the crushing defeat of not only Sanjay in his constituency of Amethi but also the wiping out of Indira's Congress party throughout Northern India. However, Sanjay won Amethi for the Congress(I) in the next general election held in January 1980.
Just one month before his death, he was appointed secretary general of the Congress Party in May 1980. 
Jama Masjid beautification and slum demolition Edit
Sanjay Gandhi and Brij Vardhan, accompanied by Jagmohan the vice-chairman of Delhi Development Authority (DDA), was reportedly irked during his visit to Turkman Gate in old Delhi area that he couldn't see the grand old Jama Masjid because of the maze of tenements. On 13 April 1976, the DDA team bulldozed the tenements. Police resorted to firing to quell the demonstrations opposing the destruction. The firing resulted in at least 150 deaths. Over 70,000 people were displaced during this episode. The displaced inhabitants were moved to a new undeveloped housing site across the Yamuna river. 
Compulsory sterilization program Edit
In September 1976, Sanjay Gandhi initiated a widespread compulsory sterilization program to limit population growth. The exact extent of Sanjay Gandhi's role in the implementation of the program is somewhat disputed, with some writers     holding Gandhi directly responsible for his authoritarianism, and other writers  blaming the officials who implemented the program rather than Gandhi himself.
David Frum and Vinod Mehta state that the sterilization programmes were initiated at the behest of the IMF and the World Bank:
"Forced sterilisation was by far the most calamitous exercise undertaken during the Emergency. The IMF and World Bank had periodically shared their fears with New Delhi about the uncontrolled rise in population levels. India’s democracy was a hurdle: no government could possibly enact laws limiting the number of children a couple could have without incurring punishment at the ballot box. But with democracy suspended, the IMF and World Bank encouraged Indira to pursue the programme with renewed vigour. Indira and Sanjay, the self-styled socialists, inflicting on Indians the humiliation of forced sterilisation in order to appease western loan sharks: the irony was lost on them. Socialism, like much else, had been reduced to a slogan."
Attempted assassination Edit
Sanjay Gandhi escaped an assassination attempt in March 1977.  Unknown gunmen fired at his car about 300 miles south-east of New Delhi during his election campaign. 
After losing the 1977 general election, the Congress party split again with Indira Gandhi floating her own Congress(I) faction. She won a by-election from the Chikmagalur Constituency to the Lok Sabha in November 1978    However, the Janata government's Home Minister, Charan Singh, ordered her and Sanjay arrested on several charges, none of which would be easy to prove in an Indian court. The arrest meant that Indira Gandhi was automatically expelled from Parliament.However, this strategy backfired disastrously. Her arrest and long-running trial gained her great sympathy from many people.
Kissa Kursi Ka case Edit
Kissa Kursi Ka is a satirical film directed by Amrit Nahata that lampooned Indira Gandhi and Sanjay Gandhi. The film was submitted to the Censor Board for certification in April 1975. The film had lampooned Sanjay Gandhi's car manufacturing plans, besides Congress supporters like Swami Dhirendra Brahmachari, private secretary to Indira Gandhi R.K. Dhawan, and Rukhsana Sultana. The board sent the film to a seven-member revising committee, which further sent it to the Government. Subsequently, a show-cause notice raising 51 objections was sent to the producer by the Information and Broadcasting ministry. In his reply submitted on 11 July 1975, Nahata stated that the characters were "imaginary and do not refer to any political party or persons". By the time, the Emergency had already been declared. 
Subsequently, all the prints and the master-print of the film at Censor Board office were picked up, and brought to Maruti factory in Gurgaon where they were burned. The subsequent Shah Commission, established in 1977 by the Janata party led Government of India, to enquire into excesses committed in the Indian Emergency found Sanjay guilty of burning the negative, along with V. C. Shukla, Information and Broadcasting minister during the emergency.   The legal case ran for 11 months, and the court gave its judgment on 27 February 1979. Both Sanjay Gandhi and Shukla were sentenced to a two-year plus a month prison sentence. Sanjay Gandhi was denied bail. In his judgment, District Judge, O. N. Vohra at Tis Hazari in Delhi, found the accused guilty of "criminal conspiracy, breach of trust, mischief by fire, dishonestly receiving criminal property, concealing stolen property and disappearance of evidence".  The verdict was later overturned.  
Support for Charan Singh Edit
The Janata coalition under prime minister Morarji Desai was only united by its hatred of Indira Gandhi.The party included right wing Hindu Nationalists, Socialists and former Congress party members. With little in common, the Morarji Desai government was bogged down by infighting. In 1979, the government started to unravel over the issue of dual loyalties of some members to Janata and the RSS. The ambitious Union Finance minister, Charan Singh, who as the Union Home Minister during the previous year had ordered arrest of Gandhi, took advantage of this and started courting different Congress factions including Congress (I). After a significant exodus from Janata party to Charan Singh faction, Morarji Desai resigned as prime minister in July 1979. Charan Singh was appointed Prime Minister, by President Reddy, after Indira and Sanjay promised Singh that Congress(I) would support his government from outside on certain conditions.   The conditions included dropping all charges against Indira and Sanjay. Since Charan Singh refused to drop the charges, Congress withdrew its support and President Reddy dissolved Parliament in August 1979.
Before the 1980 elections Gandhi approached the then Shahi Imam of Jama Masjid, Syed Abdullah Bukhari and entered into an agreement with him on the basis of 10-point programme to secure the support of the Muslim votes.  In the elections held in January, Congress returned to power with a landslide majority. [ citation needed ]
The Congress(I) under Gandhi swept to power in January 1980.  Elections soon after to legislative assemblies in States ruled by opposition parties brought back Congress ministries to those states. Sanjay Gandhi at that time selected his own loyalists to head the governments in these states. 
Sanjay Gandhi married Maneka Anand, who was 10 years his junior, in New Delhi in September 1974.  Their son, Varun Gandhi, was born shortly before Sanjay's death.  Maneka and Varun Gandhi represent the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the Lok Sabha.
A hitherto unknown chapter of his personal life was revealed in January 2017, when Priya Singh Paul claimed that Sanjay Gandhi was her biological father,  and that she was given away by her biological family for adoption. In June 2017, she gave a legal notice in her capacity as his daughter to stop the release of a film on Sanjay Gandhi. 
Sanjay Gandhi died instantly from head wounds in an air crash on 23 June 1980 near Safdarjung Airport in New Delhi. He was flying a new aircraft of the Delhi Flying club, and, while performing an aerobatic manoeuvre over his office, lost control and crashed. Sanjay was a novice pilot but given to flashy daredevilry and dangerous low-flying. His elder brother Rajiv Gandhi had repeatedly warned Sanjay to wear proper shoes and not Kolhapuri chappals in the cockpit. Sanjay chose to ignore his advice. He was clad in kurta-pyjama and Kolhapuri chappals when he got into the advanced Pitts S-2A aircraft. He flew low and indulged in some reckless manoeuvres before crashing. Sanjay died instantly. It took eight surgeons four hours to stitch up his mutilated body. 
The only passenger in the plane, Captain Subhash Saxena, also died in the crash.  WikiLeaks has revealed that three attempts were made on Sanjay's life before he died in the plane crash. 
According to Maneka Gandhi, Sanjay wanted to raise his children in the Zoroastrian faith of his family. 
Sanjay's death led his mother to induct her other son Rajiv Gandhi into Indian politics. After the assassination of Indira Gandhi, Rajiv succeeded her as Prime Minister of India. Sanjay's widow Maneka fell out with her in-laws soon after Sanjay's death and started her own party named Sanjay Vichar Manch in Hyderabad. Maneka served in a number of non-Congress opposition-led governments over the years. Currently, she and her son Varun are members of the BJP, which is the current ruling party in India. Maneka was appointed to the cabinet as Minister of Women and Child Development by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in May 2014, she currently represents BJP from Sultanpur (Lok Sabha constituency) in Uttar Pradesh. Varun is a BJP member of Parliament from Pilibhit Constituency in Uttar Pradesh. 
The Little Known Dark Side of Gandhi
After posting the final address of Nathuram Godse to the court earlier I received a few too many crude and abusive comments/messages. There is no denying that Gandhi contributed a lot in the freedom of India but we cannot just brush away his negative approach towards the Nation in spirit of so called “patriotism”, especially when most of us only know the half-baked “truth”. Have we become so closed minded and coward that we don’t even dare to question the popular belief? Are we so illiterate, fanatic and hardcore that if someone put facts ahead then all we can do is retaliate to counter with all available force!? Well it is a shame that a Nation which gave so much to the World is deprived of all that makes a Nation and society strong and sane! I am neither a Gandhi bhagat and nor against him, but facts are facts – no one can deny them. So, going forward I decided to put up some very unknown facts and statements made by Gandhi.
Though Gandhi was an orthodox Hindu even he went against the sentiments or the feelings of the Hindus in order to maintain communal harmony. The famous Vande Mataram’ song had proved an inspiration during those days. Bengali community almost worshipped the song. But when Jinnah, the president of Muslim League and a handful of his follower Muslims objected, disregarding the nationalist sentiment of the song, Gandhi put a ban on it and forced the whole nation to abandon it. In 1940, Congress announced a decision that the words Vande Mataram’ should not be used by Congress members in any public speeches and announcements.
Gandhi also put a ban on Shiv Banvani. Shiv Banvani is a small inspiring poem by poet Bhushan. The poet had written that if Shivaji had not been born, entire India would have been converted to Islam. The poet had used exact words to correctly depict the fierce fanaticism and intolerance preached within Islam. Gandhi imposed a ban on this poem to keep the sentiments of his Muslim brothers’.
Khilafat movement was an attempt by the Indian Muslim community to unite together in support of the Turkish Empire ruled by the Khalifa. The Muslims considered the Khalifa as the custodian of Islam. Under the leadership of prominent Muslim leaders, the Khilafat movement was launched in most parts of North India. Gandhi suggested the Muslims:
“If the peaceful non-cooperation movement does not succeed in getting justice, then, they have the right to follow the path shown in the Holy Books of Islam and I whole-heartedly support this path.”
Gandhi whole-heartedly supported the Khilafat Movement in order to bring Hindu-Muslim unity. When the Indian Muslims invited the Amir of Afghanistan to attack India and to convert this Darul Harb into Darul Islam, Gandhi supported this move also. Once, when he went to Delhi he held his prayer meetings in a Hindu temple in the sweeper’s colony. Ignoring the strong protests of the priests he adamantly read few passages from the Koran as part of the prayer meeting inside the Hindu temple.
In 1947, millions celebrated the independence that they had won through decades of struggle. But the year was also marked by a holocaust of violence and ethnic cleansing that accompanied Partition. Seventeen million people were forced to migrate and 1 million people were killed. Hundreds of thousands of corpses littered the streets of cities like Calcutta and Delhi. There are descriptions of train cars arriving full only of dead people.
While riots raged in Punjab, Gandhi told a leader of the Muslim League: “I want to fight it out with my life. I would not allow the Muslims to crawl on the streets in India. They must walk with self-respect.”
At the time of India-Pakistan partition violent Hindu-Muslim riot took place. Millions were uprooted from their ancestor’s territory and massive violence and slaughter occurred on both sides of the border. At the lowest estimate, one million people perished and fourteen million became homeless. When hundreds of thousand Hindu and Sikh refugees entered India, Gandhi showed utmost sympathy for them. Gandhi said:
“I am grieved to learn that people are running away from the West Punjab and I am told that Lahore is being evacuated by the non-Muslims. I must say that this is what it should not be. If you think Lahore is dead or is dying, do not run away from it, but die with what you think is the dying Lahore. When you suffer from fear you die before death comes to you. That is not glorious. I will not feel sorry if I hear that people in the Punjab have died not as cowards but as brave men.”
Gandhi presented an Ahimsa formula to the Hindu refugees. He advised the Hindus: “The Hindus not to die helplessly. But they are to die without a murmur. Only then the riots will stop.”
In another incident, Gandhi addressed the homeless Hindus at the end of one of his Prayer Meetings and said, “After all, who are the killers ? They are our Muslim Brethren, none other. Does a converting into another religion break the bond of brotherhood ?”
In a speech on April 6, 1947 Gandhi again advised the destitute Hindus, “Even if Muslims decide to wipe out the Hindu race, there is no point in Hindus getting angry on Muslims.Even if they slit our throats, we should be patient and accept death. Let them rule the world, we will pervade the world and merge with it. At least we should not be afraid of death. The providence is made of life and death. Why feel unhappy about it ? We will enter a new life if we face death with a smile. We will create a new Hindustan [India].”
On September 23, 1947, during a prayer speech, Gandhi said, “[Even if Muslims] killed our relatives, our people, why should we be angry with anyone ? Those who got killed met with a proper end. We should know that they attained heaven. Let this happen with Gods’ wish with each one of us. God should grant us this kind of death. If you want to ask God for anything, let it be this.”
On Muslim slaughter of Hindus and Sikhs, Gandhi elsewhere said. “I would tell the Hindus to face death cheerfully if the Muslims are out to kill them. I would be a real sinner if after being stabbed I wished in my last moment that my son should seek revenge. I must die without rancor. … You may turn round and ask whether all Hindus and all Sikhs should die. Yes, I would say. Such martyrdom will not be in vain.”
Gandhi died for upholding Muslim equality, assassinated in 1948 by Nathuram Godse.