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The Discovery of India

3.98  ·  Rating Details ·  4,774 Ratings  ·  183 Reviews

In conjunction with the Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Fund in New Delhi, Oxford proudly announces the reissue of Glimpses of World History and The Discovery of India, two famous works by Jawaharlal Nehru. One of modern day's most articulate statesmen, Jawaharlal Nehru wrote a on a wide variety of subjects. Describing himself as "a dabbler in many things," he committed his life

Paperback, 656 pages
Published February 1st 2008 by Penguin India (first published 1946)
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Raghavendra H Honestly, Nehru was not a historian!, I wonder if he did any original research or original reading to write this book. There's no authenticity for…moreHonestly, Nehru was not a historian!, I wonder if he did any original research or original reading to write this book. There's no authenticity for this book - he's just read some books written by British and wrote his understanding.

Please read the originals - and travel through India, in case you really want to understand India's history. (less)
Nadia Petrova I believe it all depends on your vision restore in my opinion. Otherwise, its pretty much a good read though.
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Riku Sayuj
Apr 20, 2013 Riku Sayuj rated it it was amazing

It is but folly for me to attempt to review a book so close to my heart. But, on my third reading of this book, it is time to finally go beyond the beauty of the prose and the elegance of Nehru’s presentation. It is time to see if the book achieves the objectives it sets out to achieve and judge it thus. I will let my earlier one-line review stand. Here goes…

The following passage reflects the objective of the book.

To know and understand India one has to travel far in time and space, to forget
Riku Sayuj
Still the best history book I have read in my life. Ah, the wonders we lose when geniuses go into politics.
Dec 23, 2007 Adam rated it it was amazing
A number of reviewers have noted that Discovery of India and Glimpses of World History were written during the years Nehru languished in British custody for sedition and civil disobedience. What none of them, nor the publisher, have pointed out is that these books were culled from hundreds of letters that Nehru wrote to his daughter, Indira (Gandhi), then in her teens and early twenties. As a forcibly absentee father, Nehru wanted both to explain his absences and play a role in her life and upbr ...more
Nevertheless, we cannot just disrupt and hope for something better without having some vision of the future we are working for, however vague that vision may be. We cannot just create a vacuum, or else that vacuum will fill itself up in a way that we may have to deplore. In the constructive schemes that we make, we have to pay attention to the human material we have to deal with, to the background of its thought and urges, and to the environment in which we have to function. To ignore all this
Aug 25, 2011 Malavika rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The only history book about India I recommend to anyone who asks for one. For one, it's beautifully written, and, though Nehru comes from his own perspective about India, it's a perspective well-worth noting. Nehru, who was India's first Prime Minister, wrote most of it while imprisoned by the British between 1942 and 1945, so the book's history is tied intimately to the subject matter. If you know nothing about India or even if you think you know everything, this is a history book that deserves ...more
Undoubtedly one of the finest pieces of non-fiction I've ever read. If not for the author's vivid knowledge of India's heritage, culture, social life, history and a first-hand account of events constituting our freedom movement, this must be read for the literary richness of Nehru's writing style.
Jerry Jose
Mar 02, 2017 Jerry Jose rated it it was amazing
My lousy reading is non professional to such extends that the only historical quote I remember of, is by Captain America(probably not originally by him even) – 'Those who ignore the past are bound to repeat the same mistakes in future'. The point is, this seemingly political history book, had me(the local yokel here) baffled, with amusement and admiration, towards its concise and stylized prose, excellent research, catholic views and humility in presentation.

Discovery of India, starts and ends i
Jan 06, 2013 kaśyap rated it really liked it
This is a very beautiful nationalistic treatise written by Jawaharlal Nehru while he was imprisoned in Ahmednagar fort. An impressionistic and romanticised work. The title “Discovery of India” reveals the orientalist nature of the work. Nehru approaches India’s past like an outsider. He wrote this book as his own attempt to “discover” India. What Nehru here was trying to do is to romanticise some part of the past as “the quintessential India”. To determine a cultural identity and identify himsel ...more
Dhara Mehta
Jan 16, 2011 Dhara Mehta rated it liked it
Jawaharlal Nehru’s Discovery of India is his perspective of Indian history from primitive times. The time course of the novel is from the Indus valley civilization to the brink of Independence. India ancient wealth is extolled, yet he describes modern India with a bit more trepidation. Overall is an amazing work, written mostly when he was in prison without the luxury of a research library. It almost seems that the forefathers of the Indian nation were apt to be history professors than president ...more
Jul 10, 2007 Radhika rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Indophiles
I loved reading this book when I was a teenager. I am hoping to re-read it again to experience it again. Nehru has a very engaging style and he was a very intelligent man who felt quite passionately about India. He was a freedom-fighter before India gained its independence from the British empire. He eventually became the first Prime Minister of independent India. This tome was written when he was in prison for fighting the British Raj before India was independent.

His presentation of India's pa
Jan 01, 2013 Apoorva rated it it was amazing
Shelves: did-not-complete
If I had to name the most beautifully written book that I've ever read, I would choose this book in a second. When a man gifted with such intelligence and a writing style so eloquent and romantic that it enchants both the young and the old writes a book on a topic that is extensively over analyzed but barely understood, you have The Discovery of India. Unburdened with facts and figures, it offers a perspective of the history, culture and philosophy of India that, even after half a century, is re ...more
About her there is the elusive quality of a legend long ago; some enchantment seems to have held her mind. She is a myth and an idea, a dream and a vision, and yet very real and present and pervasive. There are terrifying glimpses of dark corridors which lead back to primeval night, but also the fullness and warmth of the day about her. Shameful and repellent she is occasionally, perverse and obstinate, sometimes even a little hysteric, this lady with a past. But she is very lovable, and none of ...more
Mar 26, 2012 Dipa rated it it was amazing
Shelves: indian
I cannot think of anyone more romantic than Nehru. The way he writes about India, you'd think he was having his biggest love affair of all with her. I loved this book. For anyone who'd like to have a historical tour of India by an Indian man who loves India, this book is it. He doesn't make apologies for aspects of India's history that are less than palatable, nor does he try to deny them. Nehru's book gives us an insight into the ideologies that were prevalent in pre-independence India. I highl ...more
Vipin Goyal
Jun 21, 2016 Vipin Goyal rated it it was ok
Nehru, Gandhi and Jinna were not original thinkers. They were highly qualified. They knew how to market themselves. They used best politicians like Patel and Munshi for their own advantage. The discovery of India is good compilation. What is original in it?
Jul 06, 2011 shreya rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A must read for every Indian.....
Frank Ashe
Jul 21, 2014 Frank Ashe rated it really liked it
Much more enjoyable than I expected.
Pradeep T
Sep 30, 2016 Pradeep T rated it really liked it
After re-reading it for the nth time, I have come to a conclusion that, this is by far the best book to understand the length and breadth of India from its days of "Aryadesha" to the days of "Colonized India". I must emphasize the very fact that, most of the contents or ideas of this book are not relevant in today's India. Despite that, this is a highly matured way of putting the things in perspective. We all might have had a second opinion on Mr. Nehru and his policies on India, but we must agr ...more
Palahalli Rajesh
Jun 09, 2009 Palahalli Rajesh rated it it was amazing
India’s past; her glory, her victory, her shock, her reminiscence, her philosophy, her geography, her fate, and her everything… This is a compelling read from the man who lead India in her darkest hour; the man who was chosen by destiny to enlighten the Indians, proves himself to be an enlighten soul when it comes to know her. The history is nothing like a research material as it was intended to, primarily; ignite curiosity in a nine year old girl to know about her motherland. If you find the bo ...more
Feb 24, 2012 Jaya rated it really liked it
gave a good insight into some ideas... I quite find it interesting that he is so much for internationalism and he gave a good insight on india ... though take the history with a pinch of salt ... the flow of events may be right but the history is tainted with a liberal level of optimisim...

Otherwise it is a knowledgable view of India and gives a very good insight into british raj, the political atmosphere of the 1940s and why India is as impoverished as it is now...

Interesting to know he does n
Nazmi Yaakub
Feb 02, 2017 Nazmi Yaakub marked it as to-read
Hampir-hampir membiarkan buku ini kerana menyangka ia adalah auotobiografi Nehru tetapi rupa-rupanya ia adalah sejarah ketamadunan di Lembah Indus dengan kedatangan kaum Aryan, Hindu, Buddha dan tentunya Islam termasuk Sultan Mahmud Ghaznawi (yang dikenali awalnya melalui Maulana Rumi) serta sintesis dan asimilasi kebudayaan termasuk sastera. Buku ini mungkin dibaca berdasarkan bab terpilih.
Ragavendra Natarajan
Sep 29, 2013 Ragavendra Natarajan rated it it was amazing
Some time ago there was a trend of asking people to post a list of five books that changed their lives. If I had to prepare a similar list of my own at this point in my life, I might just list Nehru’s ‘Discovery of India’ five times. Never before has a book made me ponder and introspect as much, and subtly yet palpably change the way I think and understand the world around me. Never before have I felt the persona of an author shine so strongly through a book. While I might not have learnt any ne ...more
Tony Sheldon
May 09, 2017 Tony Sheldon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
To read this book in its entirety was an overwhelming task. To get the larger image which it formed of India's past and identity was the most intricate of works.To acknowledge the shortcomings of a book written by a patriot and still looking beyond it to know the value it provided is important for this book.In long chapters and through some of the boring periods of Indian history, one can still love this book.Nehru writes with optimism and a pinch of rationalism.He did have at those moments and ...more
Oct 19, 2012 Mattias rated it really liked it
Jawaharlal Nehru's analysis on India. The story of Discovery of India begins from prehistory to the last years of British colonial rule; some of the greatest heroes of India are mentioned. Analyzing texts from the Vedas to the Upanishads, and epics such as the Mahabharata and the Ramayana, and personalities like the Buddha and Mahatma Gandhi, Mr. Nehru brings to life an ancient culture and land that has been the base and headquarters of some of the world’s great traditions of philosophy, science ...more
Yashawanth Ramaswamy
Aug 18, 2014 Yashawanth Ramaswamy rated it really liked it
great book about India. Nehru looks impressive in his writing. But doubts arises about his pre independence thoughts and work he done after becoming the first pm of india.. In this book we can get an idea about old India and British India through Nehru's view.
May 14, 2017 Mohita rated it really liked it
I like to read the first person account of things to gain perspectives of stuff that I have not seen before and I picked up this book on the same pursuit, and honestly it did not disappoint.

Written during his time in prison, the book starts out with Nehru asking some fellow countrymen who they are extolling as they chant out "Bharat Mata Ki Jai" during a campaign rally — a question that very persistently peeps its head out today decades later. He then goes on to articulate who or what constitute
Dec 16, 2015 Jeganlal rated it really liked it
This book got into my hands at the onset of Jan 2015. It followed me unconditionally since then demanding my receptiveness as it unfolded the panoramic past, the then present and future, going back and forth in time, of the country known as India... thereby presenting its position in the world of different ages. Helpless I was as my thoughts kept branching out as I went with the undercurrents of the narration, sometimes making it difficult to go back to the nearest converging point. Nevertheless ...more
Rahul Khatri
Jun 12, 2016 Rahul Khatri rated it it was amazing
An Interesting Saga of a Nation from being 'The Aryadesha' to 'Colonial India'

The Discovery Of India is the biography of India penned by the Nation's first Prime Minister, Jawahar Lal Nehru. Written over 5 months when Nehru was imprisoned in the Ahmadnagar Fort, The Discovery of India turned out to be the magnum opus since it was first published in 1946. And it can rightly be put in the category of 'Classics' 'cause even after more than 69 years, the books seems an elegant work of yesterday.
Abhishek Kumar
Jan 04, 2014 Abhishek Kumar rated it it was amazing
As an Indian, I consider myself fortunate to be born in a country with a long and illustrious history (Harappan civilization started at around 3300 BC) and it would be sad not to know that history. I read somewhere "Knowing our history frees us from its bonds and enables us to think freely". So be it.

Jawahar Lal Nehru begins by explaining his value system and philosophical leanings and how he derives them(this can be boring for some). He comments on India's history right from the Harappan Civili
Bandar  Alsaeed
Sep 08, 2015 Bandar Alsaeed rated it really liked it
"Which of these two Englands came to India? The England of Shakespeare and Milton, of noble speech and writing and brave deed, of political revolution and the struggle for freedom, of science and technical progress, or the England of the savage penal code and brutal behavior, of entrenched feudalism and reaction? For there were two Englands, just as in every country there are these two aspects of national character and civilization.

The two Englands live side by side, influencing each other, and
Harsh Dutta
May 01, 2014 Harsh Dutta rated it liked it
The Discovery of India, despite its phases of random exhilaration, left me disappointed, and I think I know the reasons. The book was never really supposed to be a book, but random thoughts put together in a series and order best known to Mr Nehru. Secondly, I found it hard to connect, though I feel that I am well-acquainted with Indian history, is that Nehru's personal views and contemporary/regional politics take away quite a few leaves in the magnum opus. The shift from UP to Turkey, from Tur ...more
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First prime minister of independent India (1947 – 64). Son of the independence advocate Motilal Nehru (1861 – 1931), Nehru was educated at home and in Britain and became a lawyer in 1912. More interested in politics than law, he was impressed by Mohandas K. Gandhi's approach to Indian independence. His close association with the Indian National Congress began in 1919; in 1929 he became its preside ...more
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“India has known the innocence and insouciance of childhood, the passion
and abandon of youth, and the ripe wisdom of maturity that comes from long experience of pain and pleasure; and over and over a gain she has renewed her childhood and youth and age”
“A language is something infinitely greater than grammar and philology. It is the poetic testament of the genius of a race and a culture, and the living embodiment of the thoughts and fancies
that have moulded them”
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