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Posts Tagged ‘modern Indian history’


The World In Our Time: A Memoir
Tapan Raychaudhuri| Harper Collins| Rs 399

One could view Prof Raychaudhuri’s memoir – parts of which have been serialised as ‘Bengal-nama’ in the literary journal, Desh – as a retelling of the modern Indian history. He offers enough anecdotes to relive it, yet what sets this memoir apart is the writer’s commitment to historical accuracy. The horrific mass killings on August 16, 1946 in Calcutta – that led to death of some 50,000 people – says the historian, could well have been orchestrated by the British administration in cohort with provincial government. For the first three days of rioting the police and army stayed away. Sounds chillingly familiar in the context of 1984 and 2002. If only the government would throw open the archives. But would it?

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Pilgrim’s India
Ed by Arundhati Subramaniam| Penguin Ananda|Rs 399

About a decade ago, says the writer of this charming anthology, she felt a need to travel to sacred destinations around the country. The journey, she says, was a shape-shifting experience till she found her guru. But the experience led her to seek answers in the scholarly and the mystical narratives of other travellers – a glimpse of which she offers us in this collection of poems and writings by ancient, medieval and modern wanderers and witnesses. To sum up, the hazards of a voyage are acceptable to some of us more than collective notions of fixity and life insurance. The enduring answers, after all, are perhaps found in the jugular?

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India After The Global Crisis
Shankar Acharya| Orient Black Swan| Rs 399

Written between January 2009 and September 2011, this collection of essays culled from articles written for Business Standard by Acharya, elucidates the Indian government’s stand on the economic crisis facing the country. The writer, former Chief Economic Advisor to the Government of India (1993-2001) was ‘deeply involved’ by his own admission, in the economic reforms of the 1990s. His diagnosis? The world crisis did not destroy us because our banks and PSUs were not unfettered like in the West. But we are making a mistake in rolling out social entitlements and bowing down to environmental lobby. All this is detrimental to investment and growth.

(An edited version of the above reviews appeared in the Sunday edition of the Mail Today, New Delhi, dated 19 February 2012)

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