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The Discovery of India

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  7,140 ratings  ·  344 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, 642 pages
Published November 1st 2004 by Penguin Group (first published 1991)
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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 thi…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 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 forge
Riku Sayuj
Still the best history book I have read in my life. Ah, the wonders we lose when geniuses go into politics.
Aug 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Is there a world leader today who could write like Pandit Nehru? The Discovery of India is the unedited prison notes that Nehru wrote while imprisoned by the British in Ahmadnagar Fort in 1944. His cellmate was none other than the nationalist intellectual Abul Kalam Azad. In a sense the book is rambling and unedited, as Nehru himself acknowledges. Somehow it still manages to be brilliant. Nehru reflects on the origins of the Indian people, their current predicament under the British, the world s ...more
Alok Mishra
Jun 29, 2018 rated it liked it
This is a good attempt at presenting a picture of India. Good for the students of history but yes, there are facts which might be disputed. Well, history (and of India) is full of points of conjecture because the historians' attempt at making things tilt towards a particular side. ...more
Dec 23, 2007 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 thi
Malavika Jagannathan
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
Sumukh Shankar Pande
When I was a boy, I liked to discuss what I was learning at school with my grandfather. Not one to mince words, my grandfather grimaced when I asked about Jawaharlal Nehru. "Saala Nehru. Jinnah ko Pakistan de diya. Hindi Chini bhai bhai bolke India ki badnami kardi". I found this surprising and confusing, but I admired my grandfather more than anyone else, hence made his opinion my own without any question. As the years passed, I began to question this opinion. Did he really deserve such hatred ...more
Jerry Jose
Mar 02, 2017 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
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. ...more
Sanjay Gautam
Dec 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
It was so moving that I am at a loss of words to tell how majestic the experience has been.
Jan 06, 2013 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
Vipin Goyal
Jun 21, 2016 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?
Dhara Mehta
Jan 16, 2011 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
Dipa Sanatani
Mar 26, 2012 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
Palahalli Rajesh
Jun 09, 2009 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
Jul 10, 2007 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 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
Mar 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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
Dr Pia Tripathi
Jan 13, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: india
It is a very hyped book in India, especially because of a TV series made after the book. The series called Bharat ek khoj captured the imagination of DD watching Indians. But the book is a disappointment. A meandering self-conscious treatise by India's first prime minister. ...more
Jul 06, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A must read for every Indian.....
Frank Ashe
Jul 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
Much more enjoyable than I expected.
Pradeep T
Sep 30, 2016 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
Tony Sheldon
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
Feb 24, 2012 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
Oct 19, 2012 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 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. ...more
Dec 29, 2018 rated it did not like it
The best thing in this book was that Nehru ran out of paper while writing in jail.
Kumar Ayush
Mar 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
It took me an awful amount of time to finish reading this. That is partly because this is a long book, partly because I am running hectic this spring, and partly because a lot of sections distracted me into daydreams and long emotional rides on the thought train.

Every Indian should read it. This book did make me realise that India, the way we know it, in its present form, with our complete southern and northeastern frontiers was envisioned by this man. He indeed did discover India. To be comple
Ragavendra Natarajan
Sep 29, 2013 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
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First prime minister of independent India (1947 – 64), 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 president, presiding over the historic Lahore session that proclaimed ...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” 29 likes
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