With analysis of events dating to the 1920s and the establishment of Muslim separatism and Hindu fundamentalism, extending to the 1990s when the Sangh Parivar's narrative of national history' reached its pinnacle with the demolition of the Babri Masjid and the attainment of state power, and terminating in 2004 when the BJP lost power and prominence at the center, this illuminating discourse is readily accessible to students and scholars of contemporary Indian politics and society.
Reinventing India offers an analytical account of the history of modern India and of its contemporary reinvention. Part One traces India's transformation under colonial rule, and the ideas and social forces which underlay the deliberations of the Constituent Assembly in 1946 to consider the shaping of the post-colonial state. Part Two then narrates the story of the making and unmaking of this modern India in the period from 1950 to the present day. It pays attention to both economic and political developments, and engages with the interpretations of India's recent history through key writers such as Francine Frankel, Sudipta Kaviraj and Partha Chatterjee. Part Three consists of chapters on the dialectics of economic reform, religion, the politics of Hindu nationalism, and on popular democracy. These chapters articulate a distinct position on the state and society in India at the end of the century, and they allow the authors to engage with the key debates which concern public intellectuals in contemporary India.
Reinventing India is a lucid and eminently readable account of the transformations which are shaking India more than fifty years after Independence. It will be welcomed by all students of South Asia, and will be of interest to students of comparative politics and development studies.
The author raises several key questions relevant to Indian politics, including:
• Why has India succeeded in making a relatively peaceful transition from colonial rule to a resilient, multi-party democracy in contrast to her neighbours?
• How has the interaction of modern politics and traditional society contributed to the resilience of post-colonial democracy?
• How did India’s economy – moribund for several decades following independence – make a breakthrough into rapid growth, and, can India sustain it?
• And finally, why have collective identity and nationhood emerge as the core issue of India in the 21st century?
Introducing the novice to India, this accessible, genuinely comparative account of India’s political evolution also engages the expert in a deep contemplation of the nature of strategic manoeuvring within India’s domestic and international context. In addition to pedagogical features such as text boxes, a set of further readings is provided as a to guide readers who wish to go beyond the remit of this text.
A New Yorker Contributors' Pick 2012
A portrait of incredible change and economic development, of social and national transformation told through individual lives
The son of an Indian father and an American mother, Akash Kapur spent his formative years in India and his early adulthood in the United States. In 2003, he returned to his birth country for good, eager to be part of its exciting growth and modernization. What he found was a nation even more transformed than he had imagined, where the changes were fundamentally altering Indian society, for better and sometimes for worse.
To further understand these changes, he sought out the Indians experiencing them firsthand. The result is a rich tapestry of lives being altered by economic development, and a fascinating insider's look at many of the most important forces shaping our world today. Much has been written about the rise of Asia and a rebalancing of the global economy, but rarely does one encounter these big stories with the level of nuance and detail that Kapur gives us in India Becoming.
Among the characters we meet are a broker of cows who must adapt his trade to a modernizing economy; a female call center employee whose relatives worry about her values in the city; a feudal landowner who must accept that he will not pass his way of life down to his children; and a career woman who wishes she could "outsource" having a baby.
Through these stories and many others, Kapur provides a fuller understanding of the complexity and often contradictory nature of modern India. India Becoming is particularly noteworthy for its emphasis on rural India-a region often neglected in writing about the country, though 70 percent of the population still lives there. In scenes reminiscent of R. K. Narayan's classic works on the Indian countryside, Kapur builds intimate portraits of farmers, fishermen, and entire villages whose ancient ways of life are crumbling, giving way to an uncertain future that is at once frightening and full of promise. Kapur himself grew up in rural India; his descriptions of change and modernization are infused with a profound-at times deeply poignant- firsthand understanding of the loss that must accompany all development and progress.
India Becoming is essential reading for anyone interested in our changing world and the newly emerging global order. It is a riveting narrative that puts the personal into a broad, relevant and revelational context.
In his authoritative and highly readable account, author Hassan Abbas examines how the Taliban not only survived but adapted to their situation in order to regain power and political advantage. Abbas traces the roots of religious extremism in the area and analyzes the Taliban’s support base within Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas. In addition, he explores the roles that Western policies and military decision making—not to mention corruption and incompetence in Kabul—have played in enabling the Taliban’s return to power.
For all India’s myths, its sea of stories and moral epics, Indian history remains a curiously unpeopled place. In Incarnations, Sunil Khilnani fills that space, bringing to life fifty extraordinary men and women who changed both India and the world. Journeying across India in pursuit of their stories—visiting slum temples, ayurvedic call centers, Bollywood studios, textile mills, and Mughal fortresses—Khilnani offers trenchant portraits of emperors, warriors, philosophers, artists, iconoclasts, and entrepreneurs. Some of these historical figures are famous. Some are unjustly forgotten. And all, Khilnani convinces us, are deeply relevant today. As their rich and surprising lives take the reader through twenty-five hundred winding years of Indian and world history, Khilnani brings wit, feeling, historical rigor, and uncommon insight to dilemmas that extend from ancient times to our own.
We encounter the Buddha not as the usual beatific icon but as a radical young social critic. We meet the ancient Sanskrit linguist who inspires computer programmers today. We hear the medieval poets, ribald and profound, who mocked rituals and caste and whose voices resonate in contemporary poetry. And we see giants of the twentieth-century Independence movement—among them Mohandas Gandhi; Ambedkar, the Untouchable lawyer turned constitution maker; and the legendary singer M. S. Subbulakshmi—not as cardboard cutouts but as complex and striving human beings. At once a provocative and sophisticated reinterpretation of India’s history and an incisive commentary on its present-day conflicts and struggles, Incarnations is an authoritative, sweeping, and often moving account of a nation coming into its own.