Makers of Modern India – Prologue – Review

I have started reading ‘Makers of Modern India’ by Ramachandra Guha. In a way, the title of the book is a misnomer. The title could be ‘thinker-activists who influenced modern india’. He has chosen 19 thinkers. He has chosen those ‘politicians who were also writers’. So, Subhas Chandra Bose and Vallabhbhai Patel do not make it. The author says,

In each case, the decision to leave them out was taken owing to the paucity of original ideas contained in their published work. Both were out-and-out doers, whose writings were either insubstantial or humdrum.

The author has not mentioned what does he mean by ‘modern india’. Does ‘modern india’ implies India since independence?

He feels India is the most interesting country in the world, especially because 5 revolutions are taking place simultaneously – the urban revolution, the industrial revolution, the national revolution, the democratic revolution and the social revolution.

Some interesting historical facts
Bengal was the first province to come under the control of East India Company, around 1765.
In 1793 the British instituted a ‘Permanent Settlement‘ in eastern India, following what they had done in Ireland, they promoted a class of large landlords responsible for collecting revenue.
Another major impact was import of printing press from the British into Bengal. This led to publishing boom. and the author says – ‘Through their reading, educated Indians became acquainted with their own sacred texts as well as with the most recent rends in Western science and philosophy‘.
One group of CPI(M), in 1960’s started armed struggle – The Indian Maoists are commonly knows as ‘Naxalites‘, after the north Bengal village of Naxalbari where their struggle began.


The most convincing argument for unschooling

Why should children be not sent to school and learn on their own at home? In, this article, the author says –

Unschoolers learn just like you or I learn as adults: based on what interests them, figuring out how to learn it on their own, changing as they change, using whatever resources and learning materials they find, driven by curiosity and practical application rather than because someone says it’s important.

In last 2-3 years, I have explored stuff which has interested me, on my own – whether it is history, philosophy, world music or maths. Even when it comes to programming, I learned most of the agile related stuff – due to intrinsic motivation of wanting to know how to do deliver working software in better and efficient way.


Where to find free e-books?

Project Gutenberg
List of sites