Saturday, January 31, 2009

Thoughts about India After Gandhi - Ramachandra Guha

India After Gandhi.

Its fat book when you pick up but cant keep down until last page. I read it straight through one day while I was on plane. School or colleges never showed Indian history after 1947. India won independence.. Tryst with destiny... Partition. Chapter finished. Social Sciences (History is over).

I think our parent's generation is responsible for not progressing this part of history to us. On the other hand I think they are not entirely to be blamed. People tend not to think of their life as history. Same for that generation.
Generation which was born in 1940's or very early 1950 for them these events are non-historical. Its part of their lives. They saw 50's,60's, 70's politics and India. They shaped the country with the events. For them, it is continuation of their present in reverse direction. History teaches lesson but in present you keep acting. The politics (I wont go in details), they have seen it all. Controversies, dramas, headlines, rise and fall, movements have been part of their life, so they are not perturbed as much with today's happening and today's youth commotion.

But what fears me most is the following: With this generation gone, do we have good historians who have captured 50,60, 70 times so that our generation and coming one will understand what India was and how it transformed rather than looking through microscopic lens of some media sensational headlines. I feel remorse that our parents haven't shared deeply with us about the issues of their childhood, youth at (country/state/city level) with us in details to make us feel valued of progress or changes in last 50 - 60 years. They have remained engrossed in our upbringing and making everything right for us. But in that upbringing they forgot to teach us how that time was. What were major turning events? etc. My father gives my tidbits by throwing some names when he was kid or young. I search on wikipedia and get shocked that what I think is today a major issue has large shaded of something as controversial and dynamic some 30 - 40 years ago.

I dont think our generation will ever count Mandal commission/babri masjid/economic liberalization as history. They are major events of our life and we will keep moving with them. Generation after 20 - 30 years may think of these events as history. How many kids who were in colleges or schools in north india during 1989 - 1993 remember the agitation, self immolation, banning of india-today issue for mandal commission. We'll say "it was the time".

I am not commenting if events are good or bad, but their impact. Like in the book, fight of indian classical music and film inspired music is so fascinating. People who helped migrants after partition had the strength which makes me bow my head to those nameless servants of my country. Single person who reshaped map of india (Linguistic), first CEC, countless other people, concept to create of big state enterprises to make social impact of unity and integrity. IAS exam is big thing today but what about people who competed in it during those years and got rejected in final interviews, which is very less today.

IIMA, who remembers in general public about first GM of HLL (now unilever), who brought that concept or other numerous industry leaders. Its not only Tatas or Ambanis or Nirma or Birla. There are many countless industry leaders and philosophisies which have been implemented in India and reshaped the country.

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