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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Eloquent, marvellous and refreshing
Khilnani has written a history that looks at the concepts that have shaped India in the human imagination over the last 500 years. The fact that it is not a plodding chronology is precisely its strength. His analysis - as it moves back and forth through history - and anecdotes reflect the variety and diversity that is India / Indian-ness. A mesmerising book.
Published on 23 Aug 2000

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7 of 17 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Un-illuminating basic work of Indian History
Sunil Khilnani has written a book that will interest only the amateur reader of Indian history. There is not one shred of primary data presented and the book is not structured around an argument. One almost wonders why Dr Khilnani wasted his and our time in writing a work that simply could not please an intelligent reader, let alone a historian of South Asia.
Published on 14 July 2000


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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Eloquent, marvellous and refreshing, 23 Aug 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: The Idea of India (Paperback)
Khilnani has written a history that looks at the concepts that have shaped India in the human imagination over the last 500 years. The fact that it is not a plodding chronology is precisely its strength. His analysis - as it moves back and forth through history - and anecdotes reflect the variety and diversity that is India / Indian-ness. A mesmerising book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a good all around introduction to makes India ... India!, 21 Dec 2011
This review is from: The Idea of India (Paperback)
The author tries to encapsulate the idea of India in five chapters:

Democracy (how this was possible in India, and in fact how democracy made India possible!);

Temples of the future (on growth after WW II);

Cities (and the role they play in changing India);

Who is an Indian (the most complicated of all chapters!)

The Garb of Modernity (on ongoing change)

A useful bibliographical essay completes this articulate book.

These are important aspects of what makes India, of course, but hardly the only ones and perhaps not the main ones. Most people in India still live in the countryside.

In my view the main drawback of the book is its excessive praise of Nehru. Yes he did keep India united after partition and preserved democracy but his autocratic economic planning delayed India's development, which really took off after the Nehru/Gandhi dynasty came to an end with Rajiv's resignation in 1989 and assassination in 1991.

In any case, there can hardly be any such thing as "the" idea of India. A better title might have been "One Idea of India".
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7 of 17 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Un-illuminating basic work of Indian History, 14 July 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: The Idea of India (Paperback)
Sunil Khilnani has written a book that will interest only the amateur reader of Indian history. There is not one shred of primary data presented and the book is not structured around an argument. One almost wonders why Dr Khilnani wasted his and our time in writing a work that simply could not please an intelligent reader, let alone a historian of South Asia.
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0 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Khilnani on India, 15 Oct 2008
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Dr Gautam Sen "Tilak" (London, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Idea of India (Paperback)
Pseudo-radicals have long dominated the market for Indian history and seem determined to force Indians to live all their crass, pipe-dreams though from the safe distance of a tenured job in America, the home of India's leading (allegedly) anti-imperialist Leftists! This offering is pure confetti about a India alleged to be engaged in 'military adventurism and belligerence towards Pakistan'. Amen!!
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The Idea of India
The Idea of India by Sunil Khilnani
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