The Idea of India

Penguin UK
5

THE IDEA OF INDIA was originally published to mark the 50th anniversary of India's independence and has since established itself as a uniquely valuable and authoritative book on a key subject. At the heart of India's self-image since independence has been 'the idea of India' - modern, technocratic, egalitarian, secular - but the tensions between the idea and the reality have become almost intolerable. With the legacy of Nehru and Gandhi everywhere under attack and ferociously religious and militant politicians in power has the idea of India lost all meaning?
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About the author

Sunil Khilnani was born in Delhi and educated at Cambridge. He was a fellow at Christ's College, Cambridge, has taught politics at Birkbeck College, University of London and is now based at Johns Hopkins University in Washington, DC. He is writing a biography of Nehru for Penguin.
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Reviews

4.4
5 total
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Additional Information

Publisher
Penguin UK
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Published on
Aug 7, 2003
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Pages
304
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ISBN
9780141937243
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Asia / General
History / Asia / India & South Asia
History / Modern / 20th Century
History / Modern / 21st Century
Political Science / Political Ideologies / General
Political Science / Political Process / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Sunil Khilnani
An entertaining and provocative account of India’s past, written by one of the country’s leading thinkers

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.

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