While most students- are familiar with India’s history up to Independence, they do not know much about the period after 1947. In this book I have tried to provide an outline of India’s history politics and economic and social development after Independence, in a clear and readable way.
I have consulted various sources, too many to list here, but among the main books are:
Bipan Chandra et al, India after Independence; D.G. Tendulkar, Mahatma, Life of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, 8 vols; Jawaharlal Nehru, Speeches, 5 vols; Patrick French, Liberty or Death: India’s journey to Independence and Division; Durga Das, India from Curzon to Nehru and After; S. Gopal, Jawaharlal Nehru, A Biography, vols 1-3; Jean Alphonse Bernard, Frorn Raj to the Republic; S.S. Gill, The Dynasty: A Political Biography if the Premier Ruling Family of Modern India; VP Menon, Integration of the Indian States; Penderel Moon, Divide and Quit; Mushirul Hasan, India’s Partition; Alok Bhalla, ed., Stories about the Partition of India; Urvashi Butalia, The Other Side if Silence; B.N. Mullik, My years with Nehru: The Chinese Betrayal; C.P. Srivastava, Lal Bahadur Shastri; Indira Gandhi, Speeches; Inder Malhotra, Indira Gandhi, A Biography; Rajiv Gandhi, Speeches; Ranbir Vohra, The Making of India; J.N. Dixit, India-Pakistan in War and Peace; Prakash Singh, Kohima to Kashmir; Paul R. Brass, The Politics if India since Independence; C.P. Bhambhri, Indian Politics since Independence, 2 vols; V.P. Dutt, Indians Foreign Policy; D.D. Basu, Introduction to the Constitution of India.
Newspapers and magazines consulted include The Hindustan Times, the Times of India, the Hindu, India Today Outlook and Frontline. I have also consulted official web sites of government departments and political parties. Statistics and details on development vary in different sources; I have mainly used the reference annuals of the Publications Division of the Government of India, beginning with India 1953, up to India 2003; the 'Tata Statistical Outline; the 1991 and 2001 census; and the USA Statistical Abstracts.
I would like to thank the people who have contributed to this book in various ways.
Paul Vinay Kumar of Penguin India urged me to write this book for several years until I agreed. Nandini Mehta read through the manuscript and provided valuable suggestions and advice; my mother Nergis Dalal improved the language and expression; many of my Friends helped with information and sources, particularly Ardeshir Dalal, Brajadulal Chattopadhyaya, Chanda Rani Akhouri, Ela Trivedi, Kapil Malhotra, Novy Kapadia, Rita Vohra and Shahnaz Arni Udayan Mitra of Penguin India consistently and patiently provided encouragement and advice through the various stages of writing this book.
In addition I would like to thank the Jawaharlal Nehru University Library and the Indian Council of Historical Research Library, as well as Ajanta Guhathakurta for the cover and design, Arun Pottirayil for the illustrations and Shivanand for preparing the final maps.
From the Flap
The companion volume to the best-selling The Puffin History of India for Children: 3000 BC- AD 1947, Roshen Dalal’s new history of post-Independence India tells the story of the making of the nation that we live in, and the events and personalities that have shaped it in recent times.
The Puffin History of India for Children; 1947 to the Present beings at a turning point of Indian history, as India attains independence and the British withdraw from the subcontinent.. Independent India’s first few years are eventful and epoch-making: before the traumas of Partition and of the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi have fully subsided, the focus must shift to laying the blueprint of the new nation, with the making of the Constitution, the integration of the 565 princely states, the setting-up of the administrative, legislative and judiciary systems, and the establishment of an infrastructure for industry and agriculture. The author follows this key period in Indian history closely, from the first Republic Day celebrations in 1950 to the first general elections in 1952, and the implementation of the subsequent agendas for social and economic development envisaged by Jawaharlal Nehru.
In a lucid and informal style, the book then tells the fascinating story of India over the next fifty years, beginning with the premierships of Nehru, Lal Bahadur Shastri and Indira Gandhi and proceeding to Jayaprakash Narayan and the Emergency, the ousting of the Congress party and the rule of the Janata government headed by Morarji Desai. The author describes the dramatic turnarounds of the 1980s and 90s, from Indira Gandhi’s return to power to her subsequent assassination, Rajiv Gandhi’s prime ministership, the governments of V.P. Singh and P.V. Narasimha Rao, and the Bharatiya Janata Party’s rise to power, with Atal Bihari Vajpayee heading a National Democratic Alliance government. Along with periods of growth, the book looks closely at times of turbulence: the Indo-China War of 1962, the war with Pakistan in 1965, the 1971 Bangladesh War, and the demolition of the Babri Masjid in 1992. it also analyses some issues that are key to the recent history of the nation: economic liberalization, the harmful effects of terrorism and sectarian movements on the national fabric, the Kargil conflict, India’s attainment of nuclear capability and its progress into the new millennium as the world’s largest democracy.
This is not merely a political history of India. It tells the story of India’s people-from an account of the social and economic changes that have taken place since independence, to art and culture in independent India. Colourful descriptions, informative nuggets and lively analyses make the book immensely readable. An attractive layout, profuse illustrations, detailed maps and a thorough index add to its value. A long chapter outlines the history of each individual state and union territory, full of information that will be invaluable to the student as well as the casual browser.
Well-researched, concise, unbiased and engaging this is a contemporary history of India that should be essential reading for children of all ages.
Roshen Dalal was born in Mussoorie in 1952 and studied in various schools. after a BA (Hons.) in History she completed an MA and PhD in Ancient Indian History from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. She has worked on various research projects in History, and has taught for two years at Jawaharlal Nehru University and for four years at Rishi Valley School in Andhra Pradesh. The author of the best-selling The Puffin History of India for Children Volume 1, Roshen Dalal lives in New Delhi.
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