Thursday, June 21, 2007

Reading India After Gandhi

I am presently reading (more like devouring) Ram Guha's magnificent new tome, India After Gandhi. The book is a fascinating and accessible telling of our country's post-independent history from the assassination of the Mahatma to present times. With copious research, Ram Guha has highlighted several previously unknown or relatively obscure historical vignettes. It is amazing how he has packed information about so many events without giving the impression of being hurried or pedantic.

The book is noteworthy for its clear and accurate discussion of several constitutional and legal developments. That, by itself, is a big achievement. Most contemporary Indian writers and historians fail to either acknowledge or reflect upon the role and influence of the Constitution, the Supreme Court, and the system of laws on the life of our Republic. Ram Guha is an important exception. For that reason and more, I believe his book is essential reading for the Indian legal community. After all, as Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes put it: "A page of history is worth a volume of logic." The pages of India After Gandhi are worth an entire bookshelf of materials, and I am very glad it now adorns mine.
Post a Comment