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Nehru is a book for today, not heavy and cumbersome, but sharp and witty, and relevant not just to India, but to other countries as well’ This short, beautifully written biography examines a great figure of twentieth-century nationalism from the vantage point of the beginning of the twenty-first. Deftly weaving personal facets with historical events, it tells the fascinatiNehru is a book for today, not heavy and cumbersome, but sharp and witty, and relevant not just to India, but to other countries as well’ This short, beautifully written biography examines a great figure of twentieth-century nationalism from the vantage point of the beginning of the twenty-first. Deftly weaving personal facets with historical events, it tells the fascinating story of Jawaharlal Nehru aristocrat, socialist, anti-imperialist, foremost disciple of Gandhi, with whom he didn’t always see eye to eye, die-hard secularist and prime minister who sought to educate the Indian masses in democracy by his own personal example. Shashi Tharoor also analyses the principal pillars of Nehru’s legacy to India: democratic institution building, staunch pan-Indian secularism, socialist economics at home and a foreign policy of non-alignment, all of which were integral to a vision of Indianness that is fundamentally contested today....

Title : Nehru: The Invention of India
Author :
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ISBN : 9780143419020
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 226 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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Nehru: The Invention of India Reviews

  • Sukanta Hazra
    2019-04-10 06:08

    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.

  • Röhan
    2019-04-20 10:07

    The PanditJust how shall we define a Pandit?It’s not a panda, nor a bandit.But rather a Pandora’s boxOf sophistry and paradox.Though Oxford [sic] gave it a degreeIt maintains its neutralityBy quietly hating General CliveAs hard as if he were alive.On weighty international questionsIt’s far more Christian than most Christians;It’s ever eager, being meekTo 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 gerrymanderedProclaiming its private Pakistandard.The neutral pandit walks alone,And if abroad, it casts a stone,It walks impartial to the last, Ready at home to stone a caste.Abandon I for now the pandit, I fear I do not understand it. -Ogden NashQuite a savage bit of doggerel, but even today, and more notably closer to home, he remains the most grossly misunderstood and perhaps posthumously derided figure in Indian history.

  • S.Ach
    2019-04-19 11:19

    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 about Nehru. A book by the current Congress MP and Nehruvian Sashi Tharoor is not expected to be objective in its assessment. As the author admits himself, "I started the book as divided between admiration and criticism as when I finished it, but the more I delved in Nehru's life, it was the admiration which deepened." And I don't entirely blame the author. The book presents the accounts of Nehru's life chronologically and focuses more on the freedom fighter and revolutionary Nehru than the Statesman Nehru, which I expected to read more about. The well-presented chronicles are pretty informative and definitely presents Nehru in a pretty bright light. It seemed that Tharoor has deliberately omitted the more controversial actions, inactions and interactions. Whether, we appreciate Nehru or call him a villain, but his contributions to the nation, cannot be undermined. In the concluding essay, Tharoor summarizes Nehru's legacy as -Nehru’s impact on India rested on four major pillars — democratic institution-building, staunch pan-Indian secularism, socialist economics at home, and a foreign policy of nonalignment. ……Of the four major pillars of his system, two — democratic institution-building and staunch secularism — were indispensable to the country’s survival as a pluralist land; a third, nonalignment, preserved its self respect and enhanced its international standing without bringing any concrete benefits to the Indian people; the fourth, socialist economics, was disastrous, condemning the Indian people to poverty and stagnation and engendering inefficiency, red-tapism, and corruption on a scale rarely rivaled elsewhere.Despite lacking depth and structural analysis, there is little doubt that it is most beautifully written with "Tharoorian English" and could act as a nice introduction to the life and works of one of the prominent makers of modern India.I need to pick up a thicker biography.

  • Bharath Kumar
    2019-03-27 05:19

    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.

  • Raghu
    2019-03-23 11:28

    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 failures. I see this book as another perspective on Nehru and a well-written one. Nowadays, in India and particularly in the Indian diaspora, it is fashionable to denounce Nehru as the 'lotus-eater' from Kashmir and as one who ruined India's economic development and also as one who encouraged a pseudo-secular culture in India. Tharoor challenges this well in his book and shows the legacy of Nehru and the India that he tried to build on the pillars of democratic institution-building, staunch pan-Indian secularism, socialist economics at home and a foreign policy of non-alignment. In addition, I found that Tharoor brings out certain aspects of the past which are generally not highlighted in the teaching of history in our schools in India. For example, it was his father Motilal Nehru whose liberal and rationalist temperament that gave the son his scientific inclinations and agnosticism. Motilal had no time for the self-appointed guardians of any faith, abhorred bigotry and had contempt for Hindu communalism which mirrored the Muslim League. Motilal was also moderate and believed in compromise to find common ground. One can see that Jawaharlal Nehru imbibed all these qualities. I had never known that Motilal was such a significant personality. For all those Indians who talk ill of Nehru's independent thought process, Tharoor gives some interesting snippets. Nehru wrote in 1927, "England, in order to save herself from extinction, will become a satellite of the US and incite American imperialism to fight by her side". On China in the 1940s, he writes that a communist victory would not necessarily mean a rule by the principles of Marx; the role of the 'small peasant' would ensure a departure from 'pure communism'. He also speculates in the 1940s that Britain and the US will join together to create a powerful Anglo-Saxon bloc to dominate the world. Tharoor writes about another little-known and interesting snippet about Nehru's democratic instincts. Nehru himself penned an pseudonymous essay in the Modern Review in the late 1930s, warning the countrymen to put a check on Nehru and stop him from becoming a Caesar as he has all the makings of a dictator in him! This was because he was conscious of the risk that power, and in particular mass adulation, could turn one's head.There have been many who denounce on his conduct of foreign policy. Still, I am in agreement with Shashi Tharoor when he says: " Nehru projected a different ideal for India on the world stage. The force of example, the nobility of aspiration and the articulation of India's interests as those of a humanistic universalism, all served to give Nehru's India stature. India did not speak in terms of nation-state rivalry or patriotic chauvinism ; Nehru sought a loftier place for India on the world stage. For all its flaws, this credibility was not easily achieved.". Such idealism obviously does not pay much dividends nor is it possible for any nation to sustain it consistently. But it shows Nehru's vision of an India, inspired by his tutelage under Gandhi and at the dawn of India's independence in the late 1940s, there was a case for such idealism. The book brings out Tharoor's passion for India through Nehru. Tharoor himself is a citizen of the world and was an UN official and through his literary abilities, he paints a composite picture of Jawaharlal Nehru. With the rising middle-class in India, which like elsewhere, tends to be more right-wing, sectarian and parochial, this book is a good balancer for the young of India to understand the ideals of the 'Nehru-Gandhi' vision of India.

  • Muthu Raj
    2019-04-21 06:26

    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, to provide any unbiased summary of the man and what he stood for. However, at the end of the book, this is what I told myself, Nehru ji was a great idealist, nationalist, and a statesman. A very good writer, a true secularist, wannabe socialist and a terrible politician, and a terrible judge of people. Shashi Tharoor has become my most favorite author right now, in this genre at least. The book is genuine attempt at distilling the great and varied life of Nehru. The book in the first half, portrays Nehru as someone beyond repudiation by mere mortals. One even suspects that this is a hagiography at a point. But the doubt is easily dispelled, once we get to the second half. The author is unapologetic when portraying the faults of the great man, and doesn't try to deify him at any point. He draws from a variety of sources, is critical of some nehruvian policies and makes a very good case when he says that Nehru put political horse before the economic cart. The Author laments reservations, stagnant economic policies, and the non pragmatism of Nehruvian foreign policies including non alignment.The Author's analysis of some of the policies as well as habits of Nehru, shows his depth of knowledge. Throughout the book, the author doesn't hide the fact that he admires Nehru, but doesn't allow that to compromise the work in any sort. The shortcomings of the book, can be safely ignored, since this kind of distillation very much warrants such negligible side effects. The book is really dense at some points, but I suspect it is due to the subject of the book and not the Author's fault.The exploration of the relationship between Motilal and his son, as well as Gandhi and Nehru, though cursorial, is a very important constituent of the book. The fact that Sardar replaced Gandhi as a father figure albeit for a short time and that Nehru desperately needed someone to keep him in check, is telling in Nehru's some later spectacular failures in policy issues. For some reason, I am unable to shake the feeling that Modern Review attack on Nehru by himself was nothing short of a premonition that proved to be true after departing of Sardar and sidelining of Rajaji. The author doesn't lean on condescension towards readers and is very content to present just the facts at important junctures and leaves the reader to draw his conclusions. The "show, don't tell" has been meticulously followed by the Author. He is incisive in his refutation of unfounded vilification of Nehru. Though primarily about Nehru, the author explores in sufficient detail the mood of the country, whenever Nehru is in jail, or otherwise incapable of being physically present for the Nationalist movement. The focus on Jinnah is most welcome. The fact that he started learning Urdu only in late 1938 disillusions even the most stubborn Muslim loyalist to see that Jinnah was not a saint without any vested interests. Similarly, throughout the book, the author marks important happenings and doesn't fail to follow to link them to Nehru, even if the connection isn't apparent to the layman reader easily. Highly recommended.

  • Palahalli Rajesh
    2019-04-13 08:32

    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 religious fanatics; a fact testament, months earlier, in India as his grandson's Italian born, Christian, widow lead her party to a tremendous victory, giving them second straight term in office, against staunch Hindu party.Shashi Tharoor has exhaled readers with vivid picture of India’s freedom struggle to its earlier days. The narrations at time not so impressive; this one should expect while reading History!

  • Abhishek
    2019-03-31 12:09

    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 in a crisp & concise manner without leaving out any facts or being judgmental about it. It is this objectivity in his writing which differs from the other writers & their work on Jawaharlal Nehru.If you have any interest in History or politics of India, you might be missing an angle if you haven't read this book.

  • Mariana
    2019-03-22 12:35

    A quick read, a thoughtful appraisal of Nehru.

  • Darshan Markandaiah
    2019-04-21 12:37

    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.

  • Razi Shaikh
    2019-04-07 05:27

    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 person who decorated the past while aligning it with the future. Poetic, picturesque, this is a recommended reading for all those who would like to know what Jawaharlal Nehru was, of the nation that made him and the nation he made.

  • Anil Saini
    2019-04-03 07:25

    The book is a short biography on Jawaharlal Nehru. It is not a scholarly work, just the reinterpretation of everything available about Nehru. It is both the mixture of admiration and criticism of the towering figure of twentieth century India; admiration of the qualities possessed by Nehru and criticism of his policies.In the earlier years of his life, Nehru showed no signs of potential greatness. After studying for seven years in England, he was almost a half-Englishman when returned to India. During his participation in the struggle for independence, he had the guidance of his father Motilal Nehru and after his death, Mahatma Gandhi. He was an idealist, and hence many of his decisions were not connected to the ground reality. He was often corrected by the Mahatma, but after latter’s death, there was no one to correct him, nor was there anybody to challenge him (especially after the death of Patel). The book mainly throws light on the contribution made by Nehru in national politics during and after the struggle for independence; it also makes clear how his policies in post-independence India were largely ineffective. Of the four pillars of his system, two- democratic institution building and staunch secularism- were indispensable to the country’s survival as a pluralist land; a third, non-alignment, preserved its self-respect and enhanced its international standing without bringing any concrete benefits to the Indian people; the fourth socialist economics, was disastrous, condemning the Indian people to poverty and stagnation and engendering inefficiency, red-tapism and corruption on a scale rarely rivalled elsewhere.He created the technological institutes that have positioned India for leadership in the computer age, but he did not understand that software and spirituality could go hand in hand, that India in the twenty-first century would be a land of both programming and prayers.

  • Naveen Sivadasan
    2019-03-30 08:36

    A concise yet comprehensive Biography on Jawaharlal Nehru is the first impression on completing this work.It essentially makes the reader enamoured to the charisma & conviction of Nehru.Tharoor, the author attempts to explain the logic behind many critical decisions by Nehru Eg. Internationalization of J&K issue.Lookout for the last chapter where Tharoor puts up a brilliant analysis of the Nehruvian Legacy, especially his four pillars to discern how far they have lived up to Panditji's expectations.Tharoor's prolific writing & deftness in weaving Nehru's life & freedom struggle together makes 'Nehru:The Invention of India', a reinvention of Nehru's legacy in contemporary times.

  • Saju
    2019-03-28 09:24

    Nice read!!!Tharoor gives a simple insight into the man who defined India's gestation and made bold strides in providing direction for her to achieve greatness. Tharoor gives a non-biased review of the outcomes of Nehru's actions. There is no doubt that he was one of the great men of whom every Indian should be proud of, yet Tharoor also lays out the unintended consequences of Nehru's ideologies and actions as a result of it.Recommended for all proud Indians!!

  • Athul Pramod
    2019-04-08 04:15

    A book briefly explaining about the life of Nehru. Nothing new. Just the known facts in fewest words possible with Shashi Tharoor's personal insights.

  • Jasmeet Dang
    2019-03-31 07:16

    My view of Nehru has been changed, of course there are issues like that of Kashmir and 1962 Indo- China war which tarnish his image, but if we look at his entire characteristics, we will see the intentions of the man were never bad. 4 Pillars that constituted his style were Socialism, Democracy, Secularism and Non Alignment.His abhorrence to imperialism and love for Self Reliance kept him at bay with FDI which is understandable for he was the product of British Colonialism days of his youth.

  • Stephen
    2019-03-23 09:23

    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 biography of Nehru, India’s first prime minister, Nehru emerges from this book as an iconic figure for Indians: their Thomas Paine, George Washington, and Abraham Lincoln all converge under his mantle. Nehru defined the necessity of independence, participated in the movement, and attempted to steer the ship of state around sectarianism and political subordination to the world’s superpowers. Nehru is in ways more western than eastern: largely nonreligious, educated in England, and valuing western political theory more than eastern religious principles. Interestingly, he and Gandhi come to the same conclusions from different approaches on various subjects. For instance, Gandhi believes in self-sufficiency as a spiritual value while Nehru sees it as a Marxist necessity: without economic independence Indians are doomed to political bondage of one form or another. Tharoor presents an easily digestible narrative here that is sympathetic but not protective of Nehru. Tharoor clearly admires him for his pragmatic idealism, integrity, and internationalism, but sees Nehru’s political leadership as flawed, particularly in the realm of economics and foreign affairs. The ending chapter – following Nehru’s death – attempts to summarize Nehru’s influence on the stated he helped create and dominated for so long. Regardless of Nehru’s administrative shortcomings, he is for me as interesting a politician as I’ve never encountered. He reminds me of Marcus Aurelius: thrust into the spotlight unwillingly, wary of the power he possesses, daunted by the responsibility, and yet determined to make his character prove worthy of the challenge. Most remarkable for me was the way he checked himself: at a time when no one would criticize him, he wrote to a newspapers anonymously warning that “Nehru has all the makings of a dictator in him”.

  • Jyotsna Batra
    2019-04-20 04:33

    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 policy approach along with the course of India's independence struggle and thereafter has been discussed well. However, the book falls a bit short in providing a truly objective view. It seems so appreciative of him that it fails to provide any sort of criticism when required. To a questioning mind, this book increases the eagerness to know the flip side of Nehru. It is a good read to know about his life events but it doesn't provide a sound analysis for shaping an objective opinion.

  • Elisa
    2019-04-21 10:29

    Un tanto a la sombre de Gandhi (y no por culpa suya, sino de la historia), Jawaharlal Nehru es una figura sorprendente por las cualidades tan humanas que influyeron en su quehacer político. Y cuando digo cualidades humanas, me refiero a que no fue perfecto pero tenía un auto conocimiento que le impidió convertirse en un dictador en un país que tiene todas las características para la instauración de una tiranía y que incluso pedían al mismo Nehru convertirse en un dios político (situación a la que nunca accedió). Tuvo tantos errores como aciertos y la India actual, según este libro, se ha apartado de su modelo, pero fue un hombre de carne y hueso que mantuvo un balance excepcional para su época y su país.

  • Ridhav
    2019-04-17 06:34

    This book is more like an essay based on what the author thinks about Nehru, though a 250 page odd essay. Its more like reading the author's opinion (based on the historical facts to be fair) , which is not completely biased towards Nehru but enough to be noticed even by a novice like me. Well, personally I would like to be presented with the historical facts and prefer to build my own opinion towards the subject. That said, the author has done a brilliant job to capture all the major events related to Pandit Nehru and presented it in a engaging way. Recommended for people who are well read on this topic and would like to read another prospective on the great man's life.

  • Sharath Chandra Darsha
    2019-04-03 08:32

    Nehru was a great leader who left a great remark of his own on Indian history. Usually now a days, I see many social media links where his mistakes are magnified while his achievements are belittled(with frequent repetition any falsehood can be believed, because familiarity is not easily distinguished from truth). I too was a victim of it and after reading few books on Nehru got rid off my prejudices. And coming to this book by shashi tharoor, it does not cover every incident but tries to present many historical events and gives his unbiased opinions. Recommended for people who want to know both good and bad of Nehru.

  • Deepanker Kaul
    2019-04-04 07:21

    Absolutely loved the book and the fact that it's short crisp and brutally honest. Shashi Tharoor paints a picture of Nehru that was known to us all in parts but not in totality. His praises his virtues as generously as he denounces his vices. The book shows you how Nehru is not all that great the Congress party would like to show you but not as bad as the others would like you to think of him. His one virtue with more than once becomes his and nation's undoing is his unshakable idealism, and while the losses suffered due to that are regularly reminded to all, we should also remember that it was his idealism that gave us most of the democratic institutions that we are proud of today.

  • Aviral
    2019-04-13 12:07

    It's always a delight to read Tharoor. His style of prose is remarkably old school- elaborate, self-admonishing, slowly building up towards a punchline.The narrative is remarkably unbiased and well-researched, considering Tharoor has fallen out of favour many times with the Congress leadership. The book doesn't gloss over embarrassing aspects of Nehru's lives or shirk from comparing him to Vallabhai Patel. Yet, Tharoor uses every excuse to display Nehru's exquisite talent with words (one writer appreciating another).A good short read, even if just to relish some good writing of both Nehru and Tharoor.

  • Akshat Solanki
    2019-04-07 08:32

    It's one of the biographies written on the India's first prime minister Mr. Nehru and his life.Shashi Tharoor has written down a lot of things about Nehru, his experiences with the freedom movement, his fellowship to Mahatma Gandhi and a detail speculation about India's independence.I, personally, don't respect this person but the author and his narration/writing skill.It's a short, good read and must for political/history readers.The book will give you a base to the then political ideas and nationwide view.For more review follow BookRature Blog.

  • Krishnanand Khambadkone
    2019-04-16 11:29

    Another well written piece from this author. Provides some detailed insights into the life of this great man. A truly international figure who left an indelible mark on both the Gloabal and National scenes. His enduring legacies that he has left this country are the democratic and secular fabric and ethos, his love for science and technology that resulted in the creation of the IITs, the space and nuclear programs and of course one we could have lived without, a moribund and anemic economy that limped along with a 3% growth rate.

  • Rama
    2019-03-29 07:12

    A nice coverage of Nehru's life and legacy that occasionally reaches lofty heights but ultimately gets into predictable evaluations of the heritage, at least by today's standards. And all this from a man remarkably similar to Jawaharlal, very possibly even smarter, who got to study and get a doctoral degree out of what Jawaharlal regarded as his favourite subject, and to work in the real world of vested interests.Key observation: Long jail terms as part of freedom-fighting engender an inclination to theorize and idealize that expresses itself later in power.

  • Haaris Mateen
    2019-04-10 11:32

    A riveting account of a great statesman and a unique public intellectual. I would recommend the book to anyone who would want to have a crisp idea of the principles that governed the life of Nehru, his vast intellectual breadth and the conflicts that his idealistic vision of India had with reality, and the compromises that had to be conceded by a truly great man. Tharoor may not have written anything which is not already out there in the public domain but his analysis and presentation is fresh and interesting.

  • Alexander Mattam
    2019-03-26 08:12

    Well written book by Shashi Tharoor. Gave real insights into one of India's greatest statesman and possibly the leader who took Asia into the international centre stage during the peak of Cold war.The book brings out the secular principle and outlook of my country's leaders which indeed should be an eye opener and leading light for the present generation politicians and countrymen.

  • Ishan Raj
    2019-04-06 05:32

    As the architect of modern India, Jawaharlal Nehru, independent India's first prime minister, is a towering figure who became one of the most powerful and respected leaders in the 20th-century Asia. Born in Allahabad, UP, India on November 14 ,1889 and he loved children allot so his birthday is celebrated as Children's Day. that's all I got from the main section of the Book

  • Prajakta Shikarkhane
    2019-03-24 10:23

    Before I started this book my views on Nehru were largely critical. After having completed this highly readable and humorous account of one of the most prominent forces that shaped independent India, I look forward to exploring Nehru's many works. Highly recommended for a general understanding of Indian politics since the time of British imperialism and Nehru's relevance in India today.