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

4.35 avg rating
( 11,613 ratings by Goodreads )
 
9780060958589: India After Gandhi: The History of the World's Largest Democracy
View all copies of this ISBN edition:
 
 

Amagisterial account of the pains, the struggles, the humiliations, and the glories of the world's largest and least likely democracy, Ramachandra Guha's India After Gandhi is a breathtaking chronicle of the brutal conflicts that have rocked a giant nation and the extraordinary factors that have held it together. An intricately researched and elegantly written epic history peopled with larger-than-life characters, it is the work of a major scholar at the peak of his abilities.

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

About the Author:

Ramachandra Guha has taught at the University of Oslo, Stanford, Yale, and the Indian Institute of Science. His books and essays have been translated into more than twenty languages, and his prizes include the UK Cricket Society's Literary Award and the Leopold-Hidy Prize of the American Society of Environmental History.

From The Washington Post:

Reviewed by George Perkovich

A toast to India on its 60th birthday: No country has more heroically pursued the promise of democracy. Against the odds of staggering poverty, conflicting religious passions, linguistic pluralism, regional separatism, caste injustice and natural resource scarcity, Indians have lifted themselves largely by their own sandal straps to become a stalwart democracy and emerging global power. India has risen with epic drama -- a nonviolent struggle for independence followed by mass mayhem and bloodletting, dynastic succession and assassination, military victory and defeat, starvation succeeded by green revolution, political leaders as saints, sinners and sexual ascetics. And yet, the Indian story rarely has been told and is practically unknown to Americans.

India After Gandhi masterfully fills the void. India needs a wise and judicious narrator to convey its scale, diversity and chaos -- to describe the whirlwind without getting lost in it. It needs a biographer neither besotted by love nor enraged by disappointment. Ramachandra Guha, a historian who has taught at Stanford and Yale and now lives in Bangalore, has given democratic India the rich, well-paced history it deserves.

Much will be new to American readers. Large-scale conflicts in India's northeast between tribal groups and the center have been as enduring, and in some ways as important, as the more familiar violence in Kashmir. The framing of India's constitution from 1946 through 1949 should induce awe, especially in light of Iraq's post-Saddam experience.

In the midst of Hindu-Muslim bloodshed, a flood of 8 million refugees, starvation, and other profound conflicts, Indian representatives worked out constitutional provisions to protect minorities, keep religion out of state power, correct thousands of years of caste discrimination and redistribute power and wealth accumulated by still-regnant princely states. This was done with no external guidance or pressure. The drafting committee was chaired by an "untouchable," B.R. Ambedkar -- analogies are inexact, but imagine if James Madison at the Philadelphia Constitutional Convention had been a freed slave.

Specialists will quicken over insights from the private papers of Indira Gandhi's confidant, P.N. Haksar, who gave his papers to Guha. These documents reveal, among other things, that it was the Soviet Union that proposed the 1971 treaty of cooperation and friendship between the two countries, and that suspicion of China motivated both nations more than was appreciated at the time.

Miniature biographies of grassroots leaders and movements also enliven Guha's storytelling. Jay Aprakash Narayan -- "JP" -- plays a leading role. A onetime friend of Nehru who became the bête noir of his daughter, Indira Gandhi, JP led a massive movement for radical governmental reform in 1974-75, which moved Indira Gandhi to declare a national emergency and suspend democracy.

Some themes go under-explored: For example, why has the Indian Army abstained from interfering in politics, unlike the military in many other developing countries? And why has India given short shrift to primary education, even as it has developed technological institutes that rival M.I.T?

Many chapters begin or end with India's future in doubt. "India is almost infinitely depressing," Aldous Huxley wrote in 1961, "for there seems to be no solution to its problems in any way that any of us [in the West] regard as acceptable." He predicted that "when Nehru goes, the government will become a military dictatorship." Guha records that "ever since the country was formed there have also been many Indians who have seen the survival of India as being on the line, some (the patriots) speaking or writing in fear, others (the secessionists or revolutionaries) with anticipation."

Yet, marvelously, India's survival as a democracy seems more assured than ever. Less clear is the nature of its relationship with America. Since 2005, the U.S. and Indian governments have moved toward nuclear cooperation, reversing 30 years of U.S. policy against nuclear assistance to countries that refuse to sign the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.

Washington clearly views India as a counterbalance to China's strategic power. But Guha records an important historical parallel.

In 1962, China crossed disputed boundaries in the northwest and northeast of India. A shocked Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru abandoned nonalignment and pleaded for emergency U.S. military assistance. Ambassador John Kenneth Galbraith wrote to President Kennedy: "The only Asian country which really stands in [China's] way is India and pari passu the only Western country that is assuming responsibility is the United States. . . . We should expect to make use of India's political position, geographical position, political power and manpower or anyhow ask."

Four decades later, another Harvard professor-cum-American ambassador to India, Robert Blackwill, championed the proposed nuclear deal with similar reasoning. As different as the presidents they served, Blackwill and Galbraith were tempted by strategic abstraction and a desire to raise "their" country -- India -- in American priorities. Yet supplying arms to India in 1962 did not make India any more deferential to U.S. foreign policy. Washington will delude itself again if it thinks that nuclear India will be a pliant instrument in its geostrategy. As long as India is a democracy, it will go its own way.

To comprehend India's achievement, imagine if Mexico became the 51st of the United States, followed by Brazil, Argentina and the rest of Central and South America. Add Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain to give this union the Sunni-Shia mix of India. The population then represented in Congress would still be smaller and less diverse linguistically, religiously, culturally and economically than India's. If such a state could democratically manage the interests and conflicts swirling within it, and not threaten its neighbors, the world should ask little else from it. If we were such a state, we would feel that our humane progress contributes so much to global well-being that smaller, richer, easier-to-manage states should not presume to tell us what to do.

Sixty years after Gandhi, India has earned greater appreciation than we give it.

Copyright 2007, The Washington Post. All Rights Reserved.

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9781447281887: India After Gandhi: The History of the World's Largest Democracy

Featured Edition

ISBN 10:  1447281888 ISBN 13:  9781447281887
Publisher: Macmillan, 2017
Softcover

9789382616993: India After Gandhi: The History of the World's Largest Democracy

PAN MA..., 2017
Hardcover

9780060198817: India After Gandhi: The History of the World's Largest Democracy

Ecco, 2007
Hardcover

9789382616979: India After Gandhi: The History of the World's Largest Democracy

Pan Ma..., 2017
Softcover

9780330396110: India After Gandhi: The History of the World's Largest Democracy

Pan Books, 2008
Softcover

Top Search Results from the AbeBooks Marketplace

1.

Ramachandra Guha
Published by Ecco (2008)
ISBN 10: 0060958588 ISBN 13: 9780060958589
New Soft cover Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Carolina Books
(Central, SC, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Ecco, 2008. Soft cover. Condition: New. A magisterial account of the pains, the struggles, the humiliations, and the glories of the world's largest and least likely democracy, Ramachandra Guha's India After Gandhi is a breathtaking chronicle of the brutal conflicts that have rocked a giant nation and the extraordinary factors that have held it together. An intricately researched and elegantly written epic history peopled with larger-than-life characters, it is the work of a major scholar at the peak of his abilities. Paperback: 944 pages Publisher: Ecco; Reprint edition (August 12, 2008) Language: English ISBN-10: 0060958588 ISBN-13: 978-0060958589 Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.9 x 9 inches Shipping Weight: 2 pounds. Seller Inventory # ABE-1531674015003

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 7.39
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 3.75
Within U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds

2.

Guha, Ramachandra
ISBN 10: 0060958588 ISBN 13: 9780060958589
New Quantity Available: > 20
Seller:
Paperbackshop-US
(Wood Dale, IL, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description 2008. PAP. Condition: New. New Book. Shipped from US within 10 to 14 business days. Established seller since 2000. Seller Inventory # VC-9780060958589

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 10.59
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 3.99
Within U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds

3.

Guha, Ramachandra
ISBN 10: 0060958588 ISBN 13: 9780060958589
New Quantity Available: 16
Seller:
Pbshop
(Wood Dale, IL, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description 2008. PAP. Condition: New. New Book.Shipped from US within 10 to 14 business days. Established seller since 2000. Seller Inventory # IB-9780060958589

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 11.15
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 3.99
Within U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds

4.

Guha, Ramachandra
Published by Harper Collins 2008-08-01 (2008)
ISBN 10: 0060958588 ISBN 13: 9780060958589
New Softcover Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
BookOutlet
(Thorold, ON, Canada)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Harper Collins 2008-08-01, 2008. Softcover. Condition: New. Softcover. Publisher overstock, may contain remainder mark on edge. Seller Inventory # 9780060958589B

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 9.15
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 6.00
From Canada to U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds

5.

Guha, Ramachandra
Published by Harper Perennial 8/12/2008 (2008)
ISBN 10: 0060958588 ISBN 13: 9780060958589
New Paperback or Softback Quantity Available: 5
Seller:
BargainBookStores
(Grand Rapids, MI, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Harper Perennial 8/12/2008, 2008. Paperback or Softback. Condition: New. India After Gandhi: The History of the World's Largest Democracy. Book. Seller Inventory # BBS-9780060958589

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 16.49
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds

6.

Guha, Ramachandra
Published by Harper Perennial
ISBN 10: 0060958588 ISBN 13: 9780060958589
New PAPERBACK Quantity Available: > 20
Seller:
Mediaoutlet12345
(Springfield, VA, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Harper Perennial. PAPERBACK. Condition: New. 0060958588 *BRAND NEW* Ships Same Day or Next!. Seller Inventory # SWATI2132262266

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 12.58
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 3.99
Within U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds

7.

Guha, Ramachandra
ISBN 10: 0060958588 ISBN 13: 9780060958589
New Softcover Quantity Available: 3
Seller:
VNHM SHOP
(Pompano Beach, FL, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Softcover. Condition: New. Amagisterial account of the pains, the struggles, the humiliations, and the glories of the world's largest and least likely democracy, Ramachandra Guha'sIndia After Gandhi is a breathtaking chronicle of the brutal conflicts that have rocked a giant nation and the extraordinary factors that have held it together. An intricately researched and elegantly written epic history peopled with larger-than-life characters, it is the work of a major scholar at the peak of his abilities. Seller Inventory # 1633234

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 16.67
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds

8.

Guha, Ramachandra
Published by Harper Perennial (2008)
ISBN 10: 0060958588 ISBN 13: 9780060958589
New Paperback Quantity Available: 4
Seller:
Murray Media
(North Miami Beach, FL, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Harper Perennial, 2008. Paperback. Condition: New. Never used!. Seller Inventory # 0060958588

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 16.68
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds

9.

Guha, Ramachandra
Published by Harper Perennial
ISBN 10: 0060958588 ISBN 13: 9780060958589
New PAPERBACK Quantity Available: 6
Seller:
Lakeside Books
(Benton Harbor, MI, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Harper Perennial. PAPERBACK. Condition: New. 0060958588 BRAND NEW, GIFT QUALITY! NOT OVERSTOCKS OR MARKED UP REMAINDERS! DIRECT FROM THE PUBLISHER!|2.16. Seller Inventory # OTF-S-9780060958589

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 13.11
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 3.99
Within U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds

10.

Guha, Ramachandra
Published by Harper Perennial (2008)
ISBN 10: 0060958588 ISBN 13: 9780060958589
New Paperback Quantity Available: 4
Seller:
Save With Sam
(North Miami, FL, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Harper Perennial, 2008. Paperback. Condition: New. Brand New!. Seller Inventory # 0060958588

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 14.23
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 3.00
Within U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds

There are more copies of this book

View all search results for this book