Nehru: The Invention of India



Nehru Is A Book For Today, Not Heavy And Cumbersome, But Sharp And Witty, And Relevant Not Just To India, But To Other Countries As Well This Short, Beautifully Written Biography Examines A Great Figure Of Twentieth Century Nationalism From The Vantage Point Of The Beginning Of The Twenty First Deftly Weaving Personal Facets With Historical Events, It Tells The Fascinating Story Of Jawaharlal Nehru Aristocrat, Socialist, Anti Imperialist, Foremost Disciple Of Gandhi, With Whom He Didn T Always See Eye To Eye, Die Hard Secularist And Prime Minister Who Sought To Educate The Indian Masses In Democracy By His Own Personal Example Shashi Tharoor Also Analyses The Principal Pillars Of Nehru S Legacy To India Democratic Institution Building, Staunch Pan Indian Secularism, Socialist Economics At Home And A Foreign Policy Of Non Alignment, All Of Which Were Integral To A Vision Of Indianness That Is Fundamentally Contested TodayNehru: The Invention of India

Shashi Tharoor is a member of the Indian Parliament from the Thiruvananthapuram constituency in Kerala He previously served as the United Nations Under Secretary General for Communications and Public Information and as the Indian Minister of State for External Affairs.He is also a prolific author, columnist, journalist and a human rights advocate.He has served on the Board of Overseers of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University He is also an adviser to the International Committee of the Red Cross in Geneva and a Fellow of the New York Institute of the Humanities at New York University He has also served as a trustee of the Aspen Institute, and the Advisory of the Indo American Arts Council, the American India Foundation, the World Policy Journal, the Virtue Foundation and the human rights organization Breakthrough He is also a Patron of the Dubai Modern High School and the managing trustee of the Chandran Tharoor Foundation which he founded with his family and friends in the name of his late father, Chandran Tharoor.Tharoor has written numerous books in English Most of his literary creations are centred on Indian themes and they are markedly Indo nostalgic Perhaps his most famous work is The Great Indian Novel, published in 1989, in which he uses the narrative and theme of the famous Indian epic Mahabharata to weave a satirical story of Indian life in a non linear mode with the characters drawn from the Indian Independence Movement His novel Show Business 1992 was made into the film Bollywood 1994 The late Ismail Merchant had announced his wish to make a film of Tharoor s novel Riot shortly before Merchant s death in 2005.Tharoor has been a highly regarded columnist in each of India s three best known English language newspapers, most recently for The Hindu newspaper 2001 2008 and in a weekly column, Shashi on Sunday, in the Times of India January 2007 December 2008 Following his resignation as Minister of State for External Affairs, he began a fortnightly column on foreign policy issues in the Deccan Chronicle Previously he was a columnist for the Gentleman magazine and the Indian Express newspaper, as well as a frequent contributor to Newsweek International and the International Herald Tribune His Op Eds and book reviews have appeared in the Washington Post, the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times, amongst other papers.Tharoor began writing at the age of 6 and his first published story appeared in the Bharat Jyoti , the Sunday edition of the Free press Journal , in Mumbai at age 10 His World War II adventure novel Operation Bellows, inspired by the Biggles books, was serialized in the Junior Statesman starting a week before his 11th birthday Each of his books has been a best seller in India The Great Indian Novel is currently in its 28th edition in India and his newest volume The Elephant, the Tiger and the Cellphone has undergone seven hardback re printings there.Tharoor has lectured widely on India, and is often quoted for his observations, including, India is not, as people keep calling it, an underdeveloped country, but rather, in the context of its history and cultural heritage, a highly developed one in an advanced state of decay He has also coined a memorable comparison of India s thali to the American melting pot If America is a melting pot, then to me India is a thali a selection of sumptuous dishes in different bowls Each tastes different, and does not necessarily mix with the next, but they belong together on the same plate, and they complement each other in making the meal a satisfying repast.

[Epub] Nehru: The Invention of India By Shashi Tharoor – E17streets4all.co.uk
  • Paperback
  • 226 pages
  • Nehru: The Invention of India
  • Shashi Tharoor
  • English
  • 07 July 2019
  • 0143419021

10 thoughts on “Nehru: The Invention of India

  1. says:

    Another well written book on Nehru A man about whom there is much misunderstanding in India, or at least an attempt is being made unfairly at present to show him in worse light than he deserves Surely he made some blunders, but his passion and achievements to keep India united and to modernise it can t and shouldn t be overlooked.

  2. says:

    A very very biased biography trying to paint the character of Nehru with the whitest and brightest colours From the very first chapter, you can see the author s support to the centre left Indian national Congress And at certain stages it s hypocritic as well For example, motilal is shown to be this advanced and modern man who encourages Nehru to bring out the best of him but at the same time he believes that his daughters belong in the house The two stars are only for the eloquent language a A very very biased biography trying to paint the character of Nehru with the whitest and brightest colours From the very first chapter, you can see the author s support to the centre left Indian national Congress And at certain stages it s hypocritic as well For example, motilal is shown to be this advanced and modern man who encourages Nehru to bring out the best of him but at the same time he believes that his daughters belong in the house The two stars are only for the eloquent language and poetic description The author builds a vivid storyline which makes it easier to imagine the era and the characters But it s a disappointment when it comes to actually knowing the character of Nehru or the personality that Nehru was

  3. says:

    The PanditJust how shall we define a Pandit It s not a panda, nor a bandit.But rather a Pandora s boxOf sophistry and paradox.Though Oxford sic gave it a degreeIt maintains its neutralityBy quietly hating General CliveAs hard as if he were alive.On weighty international questionsIt s farChristian than most Christians It s ever eager, being meekTo turn someone else s cheek.Oft has it said all men are brothers,And set that standard up for others,Yet as it spoke it gerrymanderedProclaiming The PanditJust how shall we define a Pandit It s not a panda, nor a bandit.But rather a Pandora s boxOf sophistry and paradox.Though Oxford sic gave it a degreeIt maintains its neutralityBy quietly hating General CliveAs hard as if he were alive.On weighty international questionsIt s farChristian than most Christians It s ever eager, being meekTo turn someone else s cheek.Oft has it said all men are brothers,And set that standard up for others,Yet as it spoke it gerrymanderedProclaiming its private Pakistandard.The neutral pandit walks alone,And if abroad, it casts a stone,It walks impartial to the last, Ready at home to stone a caste.Abandon I for now the pandit, I fear I do not understand it Ogden NashQuite a savage bit of doggerel, but even today, andnotably closer to home, he remains the most grossly misunderstood and perhaps posthumously derided figure in Indian history

  4. says:

    5 stars A third entry to the classy shelf TLDR A must read that puts the people involved in Nationalist movement and Nehru s role in it as well as the feelings and ideals of Nehru in perspective Excellent language This is a magisterial work on Nehru I was squirming in shame at some points in the book that I didn t know some very basic things about the architects of my country I am not going to attempt to comment about Nehru himself I know too little and have too much adulation for him, t 5 stars A third entry to the classy shelf TLDR A must read that puts the people involved in Nationalist movement and Nehru s role in it as well as the feelings and ideals of Nehru in perspective Excellent language This is a magisterial work on Nehru I was squirming in shame at some points in the book that I didn t know some very basic things about the architects of my country I am not going to attempt to comment about Nehru himself I know too little and have too much adulation for him, to provide any unbiased summary of the man and what he stood for However, at the end of the book, this is what I told myself, Nehru ji was a great idealist, nationalist, and a statesman A very good writer, a true secularist, wannabe socialist and a terrible politician, and a terrible judge of people Shashi Tharoor has become my most favorite author right now, in this genre at least The book is genuine attempt at distilling the great and varied life of Nehru The book in the first half, portrays Nehru as someone beyond repudiation by mere mortals One even suspects that this is a hagiography at a point But the doubt is easily dispelled, once we get to the second half The author is unapologetic when portraying the faults of the great man, and doesn t try to deify him at any point He draws from a variety of sources, is critical of some nehruvian policies and makes a very good case when he says that Nehru put political horse before the economic cart The Author laments reservations, stagnant economic policies, and the non pragmatism of Nehruvian foreign policies including non alignment.The Author s analysis of some of the policies as well as habits of Nehru, shows his depth of knowledge Throughout the book, the author doesn t hide the fact that he admires Nehru, but doesn t allow that to compromise the work in any sort The shortcomings of the book, can be safely ignored, since this kind of distillation very much warrants such negligible side effects The book is really dense at some points, but I suspect it is due to the subject of the book and not the Author s fault.The exploration of the relationship between Motilal and his son, as well as Gandhi and Nehru, though cursorial, is a very important constituent of the book The fact that Sardar replaced Gandhi as a father figure albeit for a short time and that Nehru desperately needed someone to keep him in check, is telling in Nehru s some later spectacular failures in policy issues For some reason, I am unable to shake the feeling that Modern Review attack on Nehru by himself was nothing short of a premonition that proved to be true after departing of Sardar and sidelining of Rajaji The author doesn t lean on condescension towards readers and is very content to present just the facts at important junctures and leaves the reader to draw his conclusions The show, don t tell has been meticulously followed by the Author He is incisive in his refutation of unfounded vilification of Nehru Though primarily about Nehru, the author explores in sufficient detail the mood of the country, whenever Nehru is in jail, or otherwise incapable of being physically present for the Nationalist movement The focus on Jinnah is most welcome The fact that he started learning Urdu only in late 1938 disillusions even the most stubborn Muslim loyalist to see that Jinnah was not a saint without any vested interests Similarly, throughout the book, the author marks important happenings and doesn t fail to follow to link them to Nehru, even if the connection isn t apparent to the layman reader easily Highly recommended

  5. says:

    Nehru has been an exceptionally important figure in Indian History, and he has been seen as a controversial figure as well I had the curiosity to knowabout his life and thoughts that I began reading this book It is a well written insight into the life of Nehru The description of his father s influence on him, his relationship with his daughter, Indira, and his reverence towards Mahatma Gandhi are quite interesting Also, his moderation, handling of differences of opinions, his foreign p Nehru has been an exceptionally important figure in Indian History, and he has been seen as a controversial figure as well I had the curiosity to knowabout his life and thoughts that I began reading this book It is a well written insight into the life of Nehru The description of his father s influence on him, his relationship with his daughter, Indira, and his reverence towards Mahatma Gandhi are quite interesting Also, his moderation, handling of differences of opinions, his foreign policy approach along with the course of India s independence struggle and thereafter has been discussed well However, the book falls a bit short in providing a truly objective view It seems so appreciative of him that it fails to provide any sort of criticism when required To a questioning mind, this book increases the eagerness to know the flip side of Nehru It is a good read to know about his life events but it doesn t provide a sound analysis for shaping an objective opinion

  6. says:

    Even the harshest critic has to admit that Dr Tharoor in spite of his fair share of controversies is an impeccable painter with words The short witty biography of literally a legacy is by no means an easy task There is always a risk of misrepresentation or even worst omission of certain facts But, this book like a river once starts flowing, only gains speed In our country almost everyone has an opinion about chacha nehru, but the way Dr Tharoor has articulated his entire journey of life Even the harshest critic has to admit that Dr Tharoor in spite of his fair share of controversies is an impeccable painter with words The short witty biography of literally a legacy is by no means an easy task There is always a risk of misrepresentation or even worst omission of certain facts But, this book like a river once starts flowing, only gains speed In our country almost everyone has an opinion about chacha nehru, but the way Dr Tharoor has articulated his entire journey of life in a crisp concise manner without leaving out any facts or being judgmental about it It is this objectivity in his writing which differs from the other writers their work on Jawaharlal Nehru.If you have any interest in History or politics of India, you might be missing an angle if you haven t read this book

  7. says:

    My knowledge on the life and contributions of Nehru as the architect of modern India, could be just sufficient for me to probably participate in Class 5 debate competition NotHaving read before Nehru s The Discovery of India and parts of Glimpses of World History , I had huge appreciation for the learning and culture of Nehru However, in the present times, the amount of dirt that has been hurled at Nehru and his legacy interesting essay in Outlook that, it prompted me to readMy knowledge on the life and contributions of Nehru as the architect of modern India, could be just sufficient for me to probably participate in Class 5 debate competition NotHaving read before Nehru s The Discovery of India and parts of Glimpses of World History , I had huge appreciation for the learning and culture of Nehru However, in the present times, the amount of dirt that has been hurled at Nehru and his legacy interesting essay in Outlook that, it prompted me to readabout Nehru A book by the current Congress MP and Nehruvian Sashi Tharoor is not expected to be objective in its assessment As the author admits himself, I started the book as divided between admiration and criticism as when I finished it, but theI delved in Nehru s life, it was the admiration which deepened And I don t entirely blame the author The book presents the accounts of Nehru s life chronologically and focuseson the freedom fighter and revolutionary Nehru than the Statesman Nehru, which I expected to readabout The well presented chronicles are pretty informative and definitely presents Nehru in a pretty bright light It seemed that Tharoor has deliberately omitted thecontroversial actions, inactions and interactions Whether, we appreciate Nehru or call him a villain, but his contributions to the nation, cannot be undermined In the concluding essay, Tharoor summarizes Nehru s legacy as Nehru s impact on India rested on four major pillars democratic institution building, staunch pan Indian secularism, socialist economics at home, and a foreign policy of nonalignment Of the four major pillars of his system, two democratic institution building and staunch secularism were indispensable to the country s survival as a pluralist land a third, nonalignment, preserved its self respect and enhanced its international standing without bringing any concrete benefits to the Indian people the fourth, socialist economics, was disastrous, condemning the Indian people to poverty and stagnation and engendering inefficiency, red tapism, and corruption on a scale rarely rivaled elsewhere Despite lacking depth and structural analysis, there is little doubt that it is most beautifully written with Tharoorian English and could act as a nice introduction to the life and works of one of the prominent makers of modern India.I need to pick up a thicker biography

  8. says:

    It is not easy to write a biography of a towering and complex personality like Nehru and not end up short Everyone interested in India and its history has an opinion on Nehru and often they are diametrically opposite to one another Tharoor, like me, is an admirer of Nehru and believes that his contribution to India is immense This naturally, has its effect on his portrayal of Nehru and so this book should not be viewed as a comprehensive study of the man or of all his achievements and failure It is not easy to write a biography of a towering and complex personality like Nehru and not end up short Everyone interested in India and its history has an opinion on Nehru and often they are diametrically opposite to one another Tharoor, like me, is an admirer of Nehru and believes that his contribution to India is immense This naturally, has its effect on his portrayal of Nehru and so this book should not be viewed as a comprehensive study of the man or of all his achievements and failures I see this book as another perspective on Nehru and a well written one Nowadays, in India and particularly in the Indian diaspora, it is fashionable to denounce Nehru as the lotus eater from Kashmir and as one who ruined India s economic development and also as one who encouraged a pseudo secular culture in India Tharoor challenges this well in his book and shows the legacy of Nehru and the India that he tried to build on the pillars of democratic institution building, staunch pan Indian secularism, socialist economics at home and a foreign policy of non alignment In addition, I found that Tharoor brings out certain aspects of the past which are generally not highlighted in the teaching of history in our schools in India For example, it was his father Motilal Nehru whose liberal and rationalist temperament that gave the son his scientific inclinations and agnosticism Motilal had no time for the self appointed guardians of any faith, abhorred bigotry and had contempt for Hindu communalism which mirrored the Muslim League Motilal was also moderate and believed in compromise to find common ground One can see that Jawaharlal Nehru imbibed all these qualities I had never known that Motilal was such a significant personality For all those Indians who talk ill of Nehru s independent thought process, Tharoor gives some interesting snippets Nehru wrote in 1927, England, in order to save herself from extinction, will become a satellite of the US and incite American imperialism to fight by her side On China in the 1940s, he writes that a communist victory would not necessarily mean a rule by the principles of Marx the role of the small peasant would ensure a departure from pure communism He also speculates in the 1940s that Britain and the US will join together to create a powerful Anglo Saxon bloc to dominate the world Tharoor writes about another little known and interesting snippet about Nehru s democratic instincts Nehru himself penned an pseudonymous essay in the Modern Review in the late 1930s, warning the countrymen to put a check on Nehru and stop him from becoming a Caesar as he has all the makings of a dictator in him This was because he was conscious of the risk that power, and in particular mass adulation, could turn one s head.There have been many who denounce on his conduct of foreign policy Still, I am in agreement with Shashi Tharoor when he says Nehru projected a different ideal for India on the world stage The force of example, the nobility of aspiration and the articulation of India s interests as those of a humanistic universalism, all served to give Nehru s India stature India did not speak in terms of nation state rivalry or patriotic chauvinism Nehru sought a loftier place for India on the world stage For all its flaws, this credibility was not easily achieved Such idealism obviously does not pay much dividends nor is it possible for any nation to sustain it consistently But it shows Nehru s vision of an India, inspired by his tutelage under Gandhi and at the dawn of India s independence in the late 1940s, there was a case for such idealism The book brings out Tharoor s passion for India through Nehru Tharoor himself is a citizen of the world and was an UN official and through his literary abilities, he paints a composite picture of Jawaharlal Nehru With the rising middle class in India, which like elsewhere, tends to beright wing, sectarian and parochial, this book is a good balancer for the young of India to understand the ideals of the Nehru Gandhi vision of India

  9. says:

    The book is a fascinating journey through the life of Pt Nehru, without being in any sort of biased bigots It is an honest approach to bring into light Nehru s legacies there are good, bad, and ugly sides of it One needs to accept Nehru with all his glaring failures, which will no doubt torment his soul, not only till his death but continues even today Along with it comes his stupendous success too In a Hindu majority India he established a secular state which stood the storms of religiou The book is a fascinating journey through the life of Pt Nehru, without being in any sort of biased bigots It is an honest approach to bring into light Nehru s legacies there are good, bad, and ugly sides of it One needs to accept Nehru with all his glaring failures, which will no doubt torment his soul, not only till his death but continues even today Along with it comes his stupendous success too In a Hindu majority India he established a secular state which stood the storms of religious fanatics a fact testament, months earlier, in India as his grandson s Italian born, Christian, widow lead her party to a tremendous victory, giving them second straight term in office, against staunch Hindu party.Shashi Tharoor has exhaled readers with vivid picture of India s freedom struggle to its earlier days The narrations at time not so impressive this one should expect while reading History

  10. says:

    A Great book which takes you through the life of a person known for his diplomacy written by an equally matched diplomat,who writes a sentence as long as a page and still you will be able to read it with excellent fluency.

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