Cover: Makers of Modern India, from Harvard University PressCover: Makers of Modern India in PAPERBACK

Makers of Modern India

Edited by Ramachandra Guha

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$29.00 • £25.95 • €26.95

ISBN 9780674725966

Publication Date: 10/14/2013

Academic Trade

512 pages

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

Belknap Press

Not for sale in Indian subcontinent

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India has been fortunate in the abundance of thinkers who wrote extensively, and often evocatively, on the fundamental issues raised by the task of forging a modern nation from a severely fragmented and backward colony. Guha presents well-chosen excerpts, expertly contextualized by insightful introductions, from the writings and speeches of nineteen such thinker-activists who reflected, often in conflict with each other, on the critical dilemmas of their time: colonialism, religion, language, caste and Untouchability, the status of women, grass-roots governance, electoral systems, regional discord and India’s engagement with the world… Makers of Modern India is not meant to be closed-ended, but it effectively brings together the great arguers, fiercely independent in thought and action, from whose disputatious but educated debate emerged the political traditions and compromises that underpin India’s complex reality.—Navtej Sarna, Times Literary Supplement

Readers in the west will find some familiar personalities here, including Gandhi himself, Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s secular and liberal-minded first prime minister, and Rabindranath Tagore, the Bengali poet and Nobel laureate. But they will also encounter much less well-known and equally distinguished figures, such as BR Ambedkar, the articulate spokesman of formerly untouchable Hindus, or Dalits, and the main architect of India’s extraordinary constitution that in 1949 bestowed equal rights upon all its citizens. As an anthology of Indian political debates, Makers of Modern India makes for instructive reading.—Pankaj Mishra, Financial Times

Guha’s prose is compelling. He has collected the writings and speeches of a range of influential personalities in the struggle to free India from its colonial yoke and set it on a new path as a modern nation. His introductory remarks are short, informative and enlightening without being intrusive or overwhelming. The result is a skillfully edited collection that will serve as an erudite introduction to the foundations of modern India.—Ramesh Thakur, The Australian

One of the aims of the book, as Guha points out, is to ‘make the Indian experience more central to global debates.’ Another is to acquaint Indians with the rich political tradition of their comparative recent past. Makers of Modern India does both of these very well.Times of India

A treasure for every thinking Indian and for the world which is increasingly curious about this country and its people.The Tribune

[A]n extremely readable and accessible collection.India Today

In Makers of Modern India, the first major anthology of Indian social and political thought, Ramachandra Guha, an established historian, brings together writings and speeches from 19 key political figures of the 19th and 20th centuries to highlight the range and diversity of ideas about the forming nation… Makers of Modern India begins with an extensive introduction and includes biographical sketches of each figure and guides for further reading. Guha is a learned historian whose writing and subject matter do not fail to captivate.—Visi Tilak, Indian American

[A] stimulating work… Incisive and informative.New Indian Express

A highly readable volume… [A] perfect bedside book.The Telegraph

Makers of Modern India will be a valuable resource for all who seek to understand modern India.—R. N. Sharma, Choice

One of the first major anthologies of Indian political writing, impressively annotated by Guha. The book recovers and elucidates obscure political writings that ‘had a defining impact on the formation of the Indian Republic’ and demonstrate the diversity of India. A variety of rhetorical styles adds to the complexity and liveliness of the collection: Syed Ahmad Kahn’s blunt political rhetoric on Muslim separatism abuts Rammohan Roy’s elegant articulations on gender inequality… An engaging and illuminating read, and brings to the fore both the diversity of India and the relevance of its modern political origins.Publishers Weekly

Guha has produced a pioneering anthology that provides an indispensable introduction to the rich diversity of Indian political argument and a testament to the intellectual ferment out of which India emerged. While interest in the contours of India’s democracy grows, there is little high-quality material available on the political traditions that have constituted it. Makers of Modern India admirably fills this gap and goes further, offering a map of modern Indian political debate.—Sunil Khilnani, Johns Hopkins University

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