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Makers of Modern India

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  1,363 ratings  ·  63 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 ...more
Paperback, 560 pages
Published March 31st 2011 by Belknap Press (first published October 25th 2010)
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Riku Sayuj
May 04, 2013 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

Nov 01, 2015 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.
Dec 18, 2010 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.
Sarah Ali
Nov 02, 2019 rated it really liked it

This book is an excellent introduction to modern Indian intellectual history through the writings of nineteen thinker-activists who have shaped the idea of India over the past nearly 150 years. Carefully chosen excerpts from their most important and insightful writings are preceded by thoughtfully written introductions situating each individual in his or her social, political, and intellectual contexts. These writers are further divided into five chronologically arranged sections, with each
Mar 14, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
1/5 stars

The problem with this book wasn’t the quality, it was the info-dumping. There should have been some warning on this book that you need to have an in-depth understanding of Indian history before delving into the inspirational makers. Not to mention the biographies of each person was very short and stunted. Instead of the author taking time to explain the person, we are given what feels like a rushed wiki-page, followed by a block of their essays translated into English. So, along with
Apr 18, 2013 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
Apr 17, 2015 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
Nishant Bhagat
Jul 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A classic collection of essays and speeches of 19 brilliant thinkers of India. With the wealth of such writing available, I still wonder how come we still teach our children the mundane history script. Why not allow them to read what the Mahatma or Nehru themselves had to say. Let the children form their own opinion about these great people.

I cannot think of one modern day politician who can write and articulate as well as these great men did. Fact was that all were voracious readers and of
Abhishek Yadav
Jul 04, 2015 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.
Niladri Ghosh
Jul 22, 2013 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.
Abhishek Sahoo
Dec 30, 2014 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
Jun 07, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2018
The problem with Guha is that he tries to justifies his history and makes it a point again and again that his history is objective. Guha picks up 21 thinkers of modern India and tries to avoid any criticism by adding a disclaimer that he might have missed few deserving ones. Some of the thinkers, without disregarding their contributions, find a place in the book because Guha thinks so; and just to remind you he is objective with his writing :). The author always positions himself as a leftist ...more
Anshul Gupta
Sep 18, 2014 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
May 14, 2016 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.
Dec 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history, 2019, politics
As the author says, Indian political thought has much to offer to the world. People read western political history but Indian political thought & history is much more important and relevant today because the Indian journey is unique...apart from its size and diversity, India is underwent / is undergoing FIVE transformations simultaneously- urban revolution, the industrial revolution, the national revolution, the democratic revolution and the social revolution.

Thus book that brings together
Dhruv Bhandula
A really nice collection of thoughts and essays of a pantheon of great Indian thinkers in the 19th and 2oth Century. The thing which I liked the most about the book is how the author has included the thoughts of political adversaries in subsequent chapters and have tried to be completely impartial. This is a true sign of a historian who presents the facts to the audience as it is without bringing his subjectivity into the matter and let the readers decide which point of view they agree with or ...more
Yash Sharma
Nov 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A classic book by Ramchandra Guha (Buy it)

1)This book is basically a biography (or biographies) of some great historical personalities of their times,some of whom we know through our history books and some are very unknown names which makes the book more interesting.

2)The book included these famous persons-
*Rammohan roy
*Syed ahmad khan
*Jotirao Phule
*Gopal Krishna Gokhale
*Bal Gangadhar Tilak
*Tarabai shinde
*M.K gandhi
*Rabindranath Tagore
*B.R ambedkar
*muhammad ali Jinnah
*E.V ramaswami
*Kamala Devi
Roopa Prabhu
Jan 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
For me this book was an exhilarating experience. Reading excerpts from famous speeches or essays on ideologies and beliefs of key leaders who shaped the history of modern India was just fabulous. The thoughts expressed are still relevant to a great extent and it's pity that we no more have such leaders amongst us. It's a pity that our generation have no opportunity to get exposed to such a rich and inspiring leadership. It's a pity that we have such less regard and take things for granted, which ...more
Abhishek Malik
This book introduces you to the most influential ideas of the modern India as their proponents had put them. From Ram Mohan Roy to Hamid Dalwai, its a nice book to start the adventure of exploring these ideas and the problems that they seek to solve.
I was actually unaware of some of the people featured in the book like Kamla devi Chattopadhyay and Hamid Dalwai, but all the speeches & writings of these people have it a compelling read.
But, it's only a preliminary book and coukd prove
Abhishek Paul
Aug 21, 2018 rated it liked it
In my opinion this would have worked better if he had chosen the narrative route instead of taking excerpts from the makers themselves. Apart from that it is a highly informative book which perhaps every (liberal) Indian should read.
Raging Bull
Nov 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
The list of persons chosen is still debatable. Nevertheless the author did justice by shedding light on the contributions of those chosen by himself.
Bala Krishna
Feb 20, 2017 rated it liked it
Ramachandra Guha compiles a very apt list of Modern India makers. Filled with simple descriptions and some welcoming facts.
Vipin Singh
Jan 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Interesting and insightful. The thinking of our leaders of bygone eras was far superior than anyone today. Motivates one to further research the works of these great men nd women.
Kishor Dhere
Oct 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Nice book
Murali Neelakantan
May 17, 2014 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 ...more
Dec 12, 2010 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 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
Biju P.R.
Will get an idea about those who contributed immensely to making of modern Indian nation. Good book.
Nafis Faizi
Jun 09, 2013 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
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 ...more
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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
“என்னைக் கொல்வதன் மூலம் ஒரு தீயவனை ஒழித்துவிட்டதாக நினைப்பாரென்றால் அவர் உண்மையான காந்தியை அல்ல அவருக்குத் தீயவனாகத் தோன்றிய காந்தியைத்தான் கொன்றிருப்பார். என்னைக்” 1 likes
“மனித உழைப்பை இடம்பெயர்க்கும் இயந்திரங்களுக்கு அங்கு இடம் கிடையாது. அது அதிகாரத்தை ஒரு சிலரின் கைகளில் குவித்துவிடும். நாகரிக மனித சமூகத்தில் உழைப்புக்கென்று ஒரு விசேஷ இடம் உண்டு. மனிதர்களுக்கு உதவும் ஒவ்வொரு இயந்திரங்களுக்கும் இடம் உண்டு. ஆனால், அப்படியான இயந்திரம் என்னவாக இருக்க முடியும் என்று உட்கார்ந்து யோசித்துத்தான் பார்க்கவேண்டும். இப்போது” 1 likes
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