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Nehru: The Invention of India

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  958 ratings  ·  98 reviews
The author of India: From Midnight to the Millennium provides a close-up portrait of Jawaharlal Nehru, India's first prime minister, the influential politician who led his newly independent nation from colonialism into the modern world, and his lasting legacy in terms of India's history and world. ...more
Kindle Edition, 304 pages
Published October 16th 2007 by Penguin (first published January 2003)
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Sukanta Hazra
May 28, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, biography
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. ...more
Riddhi Shah
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 ...more
Jyotsna Batra
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 know more about 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 ...more
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. Not more.
Having 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 read more
Dec 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: best-of-2015

The Pandit

Just how shall we define a Pandit?
It’s not a panda, nor a bandit.
But rather a Pandora’s box
Of sophistry and paradox.
Though Oxford [sic] gave it a degree
It maintains its neutrality
By quietly hating General Clive
As hard as if he were alive.
On weighty international questions
It’s far more Christian than most Christians;
It’s ever eager, being meek
To 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 gerrymandered
Jul 14, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Muthu Raj
Nov 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Anthony Ambruso
Well-written but boring

I thoroughly enjoy history and biography - just not this one. The subject just failed to grab me. Indian history is just not that exciting. It's all about deals and mind-changing and recharging. Got about 20% through it but had to stop.
Mar 08, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Palahalli Rajesh
Jun 04, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Bharath Kumar
Nov 08, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Mar 01, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A quick read, a thoughtful appraisal of Nehru.
Vikas Lather
Oct 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Not very well researched but written with sophisticated style
Razi Shaikh
Oct 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is not so much a biography as a timely reflection on Pandit Nehru, the country's first Prime Minister, indeed the man who made his countrymen realize what it meant to be Indians. Shashi Tharoor does full justice to the man, in his crowning glories, in all his tarnishing flaws. It's a humanistic picture, neither overly critical nor degenerating into flattery. Nehru comes across as a man both bound by destiny and enamoured of it, a man of deep contemplation and a man in perennial hurry, a per ...more
Rimjhim Saxena
May 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a world we live in where appreciating & understanding India’s first prime minister is an unpopular opinion. However, few men have made me think, contemplate and learn as much as JL Nehru has. This is a decent book which captures an overview of JL nehru’s life and legacy. It at times is doting but overall a nice read.
Jawaharlal Nehru has been an important part of me growing up.

In fact, he is part of every child in India, isn’t he?

We as a kid use to wait for his birthday with excitement and furor.

He has also been an integral part of India’s struggle for freedom.

Jawaharlal Nehru was also free India’s first Prime Minister, who laid foundations on which today’s India stands proud.

In Jawaharlal Nehru’s biography ‘Nehru: The Invention of India’, noted critic and columnist and numerous literary award winner Shashi
Nandini Chakravorty
As someone who has little knowledge about Indian history, I found this novel incredibly educational as well as engaging. Though I did read it in installments, the tone throughout the novel kept me from giving up on it. The story took me on a journey that I found both moving and exciting. I also appreciated the analysis of the facts presented throughout which allowed me to gain insight into the existence of the range of perspectives that exist regarding the man's policies and legacy. Definitely g ...more
Parth Agrawal
May 06, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A revelation. A lot is misunderstood, misinformed and misinterpreted as far as the protagonist of the story is concerned. Popular stories that I had heard of Mr Nehru since my childhood includes:

1) He was a freedom fighter
2) He sacrificed a lot for the independence of our country
3) His birthday is celebrated as children's day because he had so many illegitimate children
4) He has had love affairs with plenty of women
5) Edwina Mountbatten was the woman who was responsible for the partition of our
Sneha Bollepalli
Apr 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is a concise and comprehensive account on the life Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru covering almost every major part of his life, right from a small legend related to his birth to the legacy left by him to India after his death. The book was written by Shashi Tharoor, a former Member of Parliament of India and a member of Indian National Congress, the same political party to which Nehru belonged, so I was naturally afraid this might be a biased book glorifying Nehru and being a lesser critique ...more
Saikanth Dacha
Mar 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Much of Nehru, his policies, his socialism, his contribution to building a united India, and even his legacy, is grossly misinterpreted and misunderstood by the politicians, analysts and the general public of today. This book puts into perspective how the best and worst of India as we know it today find their roots in the best and worst of Nehru and his government. Imperfect as he was, few statesmen have had a more dramatic impact on India's international standing than Nehru.

In a period where po
Sulav Jung
Tharoor ascribes four pillaring Legacy of Nehru to India viz, Democratic institution building, Pan Indian Secualrism, Peculiar Socialist economy and contribution in Indian Foreign Policy and Non-Aligned Ideology. Among the four first two flourished successfully ( Both of them are under onslaught by ruling government of India), the socialist economy failed whereas the NAM which was reaction to Cold War era is no more relevant. Tharoor being member of INC might have hyperbolized it (even though he ...more
Darshan Markandaiah
Shashi Tharoor is well articulated and here, he writes coherently about Nehru's life in an easy to follow along manner. He gives an objective view of his successes, his shortcomings and also touches on the relationship that he shared with Gandhi. This books acts as a good backbone to understanding how the Gandhi family continues in Indian politics. ...more
Mar 12, 2018 rated it liked it
A short essay on the life of India's first Prime Minister would be the perfect way to describe this book. ...more
Rajdeep Chauhan
Jun 29, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked up this book with a slight sense of scepticism and a natural fear of it being adulatory, like most biographies authored by people belonging to the same ideological sect as their subject (here the biographer being one of the frontline leaders of the party led by Nehru's descendants) tend to be. But, to my surprise it was far from being the case.
In this short biography running about 250 pages, Tharoor tries and to a large extent succeeds in maintaining his reverence for Nehru while retai
Ritika Bajaj
Aug 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shashi Tharoor has attempted to give us a glimpse of one of the most complex leaders in our History- Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru.
My favourite quote from Pandit Nehru:-

“ Religion was a terrible burden, India has to get rid of if it was to breathe freely or do anything useful”

His dream of a secular and democratic India is what we are today(somewhat). I believe we have the right to critique his policies but at the same time we should not forget that he was doing his best after independence. He changed
Jan 14, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Having read and heard so much about Nehru growing up, it was time to revisit his life and times in a well written Biography. Tharoor does not hold back his criticisms of Nehru and his policies that still affect and perhaps will always affect India and Indians, as long as we exist as a democracy. An easy, fast paced read!
Deepu George
Jun 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is a commentary on the life and works of Nehru, from Shashi Tharoor before he joined the congress party. So he gives a somewhat unbiased description putting forward the pros and cons of the nehruvian thoughts. This one is a good study on Nehru and his legacies . ( If any of the congress top bras reads this book they might throw the author out of the party... thank god that there is non who care to read in there)
Shraddha Barke
Apr 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An unbiased and heartwarming portrayal of Nehru's unparalleled contributions in shaping the future of modern India. ...more
Arun Pandiyan
Dec 03, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There are many great men and women who have left deep impact and marked improvement on my thinking and there are fewer men who I look up to and go back to re-reading their works whenever I direly need a stimulus to refresh my mind. That would be Dr. B.R. Ambedkar and Jawaharlal Nehru. Dichotomous, as it may sound, but the sheer intellectualism and the grasp of subject they exhibit in their writings have not only made their work a pastime read, but also as an object of analysis in relation to the ...more
The movie Gandhi introduced me to many of the key figures in India’s independence movement and early political leadership, and beyond Gandhi no man interested me more than the Mahatma’s right hand, Jawaharlal Nehru. Gandhi’s commitment to nonviolence stemmed from his near-mystic religious beliefs, but Nehru held fast to those convictions without religious training. The close relationship between the two men in light of their differing religious convictions fascinated me, so I decided to read a b ...more
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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 Fle

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