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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.