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Makers of Modern India

3.87  ·  Rating Details ·  951 Ratings  ·  46 Reviews
Modern India is the world's largest democracy, a sprawling, polyglot nation containing one-sixth of all humankind. The existence of such a complex and distinctive democratic regime qualifies as one of the world's bona fide political miracles. Furthermore, India's leading political thinkers have often served as its most influential political actors--think of Gandhi, whose c ...more
Paperback, 560 pages
Published March 31st 2011 by Belknap Press (first published October 25th 2010)
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Riku Sayuj
Dec 08, 2015 Riku Sayuj rated it liked it

To make the Indian experience more central to global debates is one aim of this book. Another, and perhaps greater aim, is to make Indians more aware of the richness and relevance of their modern political tradition.

After such bold claims, I was disappointed to find that the book is in fact an anthology of Indian political writing. I strongly feel a commentary would have been better to meet the professed aims of the book and could have been made more impact-full with short relevant extracts

Dec 11, 2015 Sujeet rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: india, history
I could understand the disappointment of some reviewers here for this book.
Most enthusiasts of modern Indian history, had picked this book after reading the brilliant "India after Gandhi" by Ram Chandra Guha, expecting this to be similar in treatment to the works and contributions of the makers of modern India. However, the book turned out to be an anthology of writings of some of the eminent personalities, mostly social reformers and political leaders, of pre- and post independent India.
May 28, 2013 Nikunj rated it really liked it
The book "Makers of Modern India" by "Ramachandra Guha" gives you first-row seat of the India in making through the thoughts and ideologies of such varied personalities. Irrespective of the fact whether they are remembered today or not, it can't be denied that they contributed most of the bricks that laid the foundation of our nation. India which still remains the greatest experiment in democracy ever.

The book has a slow start and I was only left wondering why did I picked it. But, it gradually
Dec 18, 2010 Sandhya rated it liked it
Historian, author and columnist Ramchandra Guha’s recently published book, Makers of Modern India is a sincere effort at profiling some of India’s most prolific thinkers and doers, whose ideas have had a defining influence in the shaping of our republic. The book – through speeches, articles and essays by these great personalities – tracks Indian’s political, social and cultural history over the last two centuries, giving the reader a comprehensive idea of how the country has come to evolve.
Niladri Ghosh
Sep 29, 2013 Niladri Ghosh rated it really liked it
I did not expect that this book will be only a collection of writings penned by the makers of modern India, with very short introductions to each maker. But this aspect gives the book its charm, it gives you the opportunity to read the [translated] original works of the people most influential in shaping the destiny of India. Almost all the articles selected in this book are still relevant in today's Indian society and democracy to a large extent.
Jul 25, 2016 Aditi rated it it was amazing
"I have long believed India to be the most interesting country in the world. This is the impartial judgement of a historian, not the partisan claim of a citizen. India may also be the most exasperating and the most hierarchical and the most degrading country in the world. But whatever qualifier or adjective one uses or prefers, it remains the most interesting, too." truer words couldn't have been said!

I rather liked the fact that it was an anthology of works by the *makers* of modern India. I ha
Anshul Gupta
Sep 18, 2014 Anshul Gupta rated it it was amazing
The book written by Ram Chandra Guha are always detailed and covers the details which have been missed by other political writers, which he mentioned in his books candidly.

It contained the political work done by various personalities in the British India and Independent India. It tells how the former made the foundation for new India. The Gandhi of course shadows other leaders because of his political, spiritual thinking.

The chapter I like the most is one on Tarabhai Shinde, born in Marathi fa
Abhishek Yadav
Jul 22, 2015 Abhishek Yadav rated it it was ok
The author has made a list of personalities who have played an important role in the building of the ideas on which our nation is built. The author has selected 2-3 ( more in case of people like Mahatma Gandhi and Nehru) pieces of writing which gives us an insight into the thoughts of each maker.

What I missed is an in-depth treatment of each maker. My expectation from the author is very high and definitely a more analytical treatment would have made me happier.
May 23, 2016 Nikhil rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
excellent book. I'm in love with tarabai shinde and hamid dalwai. maharashtra had a disproportionate number of cool people. or maybe guha's selection is biased. either way, excellent book.
Murali Neelakantan
May 24, 2014 Murali Neelakantan rated it liked it
Having just finished reading India after Gandhi, an excellent book by Guha, it may have been a touch too soon to read this one without involuntarily comparing the two. The prologue which was excellent in the way it laid out the framework for the book was in stark contrast to the language used. Ironically, while he comments on the "eccentricities of syntax and grammar of the Makers", it seemed like he was trying to follow them - Size of its territory plus the diversity of its people when the cock ...more
Dec 13, 2010 Raghu rated it really liked it
This is the author's next contribution to modern Indian history after his brilliant work titled 'India after Gandhi'. Here, Dr.Guha presents a selection of the contributions of nineteen eminent Indians who have shaped and made a defining impact on our country's outlook through their ideas, vision and expositions on the diverse subjects of caste, class, religion, nationalism, colonialism, democracy and secularism. The approach is somewhat different in this book because Dr. Guha simply introduces ...more
Nov 01, 2016 Chandan rated it it was amazing
This was my third book of historian Ramchandra Guha which I was reading and like previous two books, it was worth reading. Makers of modern India one of among best books which I have read. This book. This book gives a detailed account of Political and social thinkers of India.
It has contained the political works done by various political thinkers in British India. This book gives a short introduction to that political thinkers and contains his speeches and writing. This book has covered Nineteen
Adarsh Vasista
Dec 30, 2016 Adarsh Vasista rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very apt collection of essays. It represents views of people whose views were keys to the present "form" of India. Ram Guha did choose the 'makers' smartly. Very nice intro to every thinker makes the collection even more near to the eyes and ears of the reader. The selection of writings are also good. This book is a sort of nice starter to anyone who wish to understand views of some of the greatest thinker-politicians of the country.
Nafis Faizi
Jul 31, 2013 Nafis Faizi rated it really liked it
Clearly, a typical book of R. Guha, though a tad bit lower than the expectations I had with it. Though the title 'Makers of Modern India' is itself a difficult title, if all you are doing is mentioning only 19 people & only a few of their speeches without a detailed background of their biography in many cases.

Having said that, it is indeed a humble attempt to begin with & the best part is that the book is a quick read and does speak about the shape of India that was carved finally in 19
Abhishek Sahoo
Jan 07, 2016 Abhishek Sahoo rated it it was ok
Still midway through the book, but a big disappointment after the expectations set by India after Gandhi. Sheer laziness on the part of the author to fill the book with reams of other people's writing. What he tries to pass off as excerpts actually fills up 80-90% of the text of this book, leaving only a few pages for his own, original commentary and contribution. While one might argue that he has taken pain to pick out the relevant excerpts from tomes of writing by these 'Makers', it makes the ...more
Masen Production
“"WOW !!!! What a book.... I am glad that I read this book and it shall always be amongst my most treasured possessions. The book looks into the radical thoughts of eminent political leaders of modern India that nurtured the growth of the miraculous diverse democracy called India. The reason I use radical is that some of these fighters, thinkers, political activists were very forward thinking for the era they lived in. It brings to light the speeches, writings, essays of these stalwarts of India ...more
Sep 16, 2013 Arvind rated it liked it
Was particularly impressed with Dr.Ambedkar on untouchability.

It amazed me to see how relevant (or prophetic) Rajaji's thoughts were on Indian democracy. On elections, on leftist economics of Congress, on lack of internal democracy, on need of a balanced opposition party. Unfortunately most of these are still true after 50 years. It was also interesting to read the first manifesto of the Swatantra party.

But the best thing was reading the relatively unknown Hamid Dalwai who to my mind is the fir
Vaarun Dhingra
Jun 24, 2011 Vaarun Dhingra rated it really liked it
Makers of Modern India was an eye opener for me as I had heard of these people but never had a chance to actually read what they wrote or spoke about. Out of the 19 the ones that stuck with me are M.K. Gandhi, Rabindranath Tagore, B.R. Ambedkar, E.V. Ramaswami, Jawaharlal Nehru, Jayaprakash Narayan, C. Rajagopalchari, Verrier Elwin and Hamid Dalwai. Reading excerpts of articles and books that these men have published makes me realise how the state of Indian politics has deteriorated over the yea ...more
Anant Mittal
Feb 22, 2012 Anant Mittal rated it really liked it
Enlightening. The various individuals mentioned in the book are certainly the bigger pieces of the jigsaw that is Modern India, yet somehow the book seems incomplete because of a lack of an analysis by the author why these are considered so valuable as to be the special ones desrving mention in the book. His reproductions of extracts from books, speeches and letters is comendable yet that touch of Guha, which shows his insight into Indian history and understanding is missing which takes away som ...more
Ram Kaushik
Oct 25, 2013 Ram Kaushik rated it really liked it
One of my favorite Indian historians! This is a superb anthology of writing by India's rich intellectual political figures through the 19th and 20th centuries. Spirited debate of ideas by sometimes vehemently opposed opinions but always patriotic and passionately looking to improve society - from RamMohan Roy, Nehru, Gandhi, Tilak, Rajaji and the polarizing fascist leaning Golwalkar - this book is fascinating and a must-read for any Indian history enthusiast. I learnt a lot about one of my favor ...more
Karan Kamble
Apr 06, 2012 Karan Kamble rated it really liked it
A pretty good book if one wants to put the Indian history - from pre-independence to post-independence - into a large framework and have a big picture. It also gives a great sense of direction towards independence and beyond, including all that which the Indian thinker-political activists stood for in the society in their respective times.

When I read through the book, I found the writings of many a thinkers extremely thought-provoking. In fact, I was amazed at their ability to not only think th
Jun 04, 2015 Satyasmrti rated it it was amazing
Excellent book of extracts from speeches and writings of makers of modern India. I particularly enjoyed the writings of C Rajagopalachari on economic liberalism, Tarabai Shinde on feminism, Ambedkar on the annihilation of caste and the deep failure of 25 years of satyagraha for the betterment of the Harijans and Jayaprakash Narayan on Kashmir.

This book is worth buying just to read the few pages of Hamid Dalwai with which the book ends - a person I was completely unfamiliar with and whose words
Jinesh Parakh
Jan 31, 2016 Jinesh Parakh rated it really liked it
Well the title is mis-leading with many "makers" which Mr Guha mentioned in the book didn't have significant impact on the society.It wold be better titled with "Thinkers of modern India"
However,the book is a marvelous compilation of some of the greatest thinkers ranging from 18th century to present day.One will be amazed while sneaking into the minds of 18th century thinkers and writers with their clarity of thoughts and broad view.
Tarabai Shinde,Hamid Dalwai, EV Swamy and other less popular In
Feb 27, 2013 Srinath rated it really liked it
Makers of Modern India is a highly readable and informative book on the politics in India from the time of Rammohan Roy to the time of independence and beyond.

The author Ramachandra Guha says in the book that one of his aims was "to make Indians more aware of the richness and relevance of their modern political tradition". He really succeeds in that aim. It was fascinating to read about the thoughts and ideas of the makers of modern india. The ideas of these men and women have played and contin
Samrat Ashok
Jun 12, 2012 Samrat Ashok rated it really liked it
This book is a fantastic collection of writings from people who shaped the destiny of India in the modern world . It was fascinating to see people debating and discussing their view points to steer the nation . From a larger context the book also provides how the nation came this far , what was the discourses which dominated the brightest of this nation over the years .

Its like seeing the highlights of a football match we see the topics dominating this nation . From the days of early reformers
Samrat Sen
Apr 19, 2015 Samrat Sen rated it really liked it
Extremely well researched. What makes it all the more credible is its choice of portrayal of these thinkers in their own words. While I was familiar with writings / speeches of some of them, it was an eye opener reading about views of E.V. Ramaswamy, Tarabai Shinde, & Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay. Far ahead of their times. Sadly, today's India, even after 68 years of independence, still has very very few of such thinkers.
Mar 23, 2013 Soumitra rated it really liked it
A great book to learn about the various social and political currents that assumed importance at some point of time or another, in modern India.
The personalities featured in the book were thinking politicians/activists of their times; the ones who have written extensively, besides being active in the social or political sphere. A brief introduction is provided for each of the personalities,followed by their letters and speeches.
Ramesh Prabhu
Feb 12, 2012 Ramesh Prabhu rated it really liked it
Highly readable, this book gives us an insight into the thought processes of the men and women whose contribution to the making of modern India is immeasurable. I am especially in awe of Tarabai Shinde, of whom I had not heard before. Her pamphlet, "A comparison between women and men", reproduced in this book, will make you ponder the treatment of women in our country.
Ramachandra Guha is to be commended for introducing these great Indians to us.
Kamal Kannan
Dec 15, 2011 Kamal Kannan rated it liked it
Kamala Kannan This book shows glimpse of 'out of box' thinking by our great leaders....Good mixture of leaders ranging from Rammohan roy to Tarabai Shinde and topics ranging from aboliyion of Sati to Protection of Tribal people.
Adhip Amin
May 29, 2014 Adhip Amin rated it really liked it
I have read most of the essays in this book, not all. Guha has an eye for eminent personalities, and has a passion to represent them, well- in as much detail and vibrancy he can muster. Perfect qualities for a biographer.
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Ramachandra Guha was born in Dehradun in 1958, and educated in Delhi and Calcutta. He has taught at the University of Oslo, Stanford, and Yale, and at the Indian Institute of Science. He has been a Fellow of the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin, and also served as the Indo-American Community Chair Visiting Professor at the University of California at Berkeley.

After a peripatetic academic career, with
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