Thursday, April 26, 2007

Ramachandra Guha's India after Gandhi

Amit Chaudhuri reviews Ram Guha's India after Gandhi: The history of the world's largest democracy. Unfortunately, the book comes out only in August in the United States. An excerpt from the review:

"It's in the nature of nations to be addicted to their own histories. Older, pre- national communities, one imagines, occupied themselves with mythology. The secular nation, agog, rehearses its history, the very reasons and outcomes of its existence, to itself. What's common to both activities is the endless familiarity of the subject-matter to the audience. It's safe to assume that very few people in a group of devotees listening to, say, the Indian epic Ramayana being read out would not have heard it before. It's equally prudent to assume that almost all the Indian readers of Ramachandra Guha's capacious history of democratic India would be familiar with a great deal of the story. What is it, then, that gives myths and national histories their appeal?"

The complete review is here.

And here's my own review of the book.

1 comment:

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