There was no figure who played a bigger role in shaping India’s post independence journey than Jawaharlal Nehru. And there is no better biography of India’s first prime minister than the three-volume set authored by historian S Gopal and published by Oxford University Press. The second and third volumes deal with Nehru’s post-1947 life and offer an unparalleled look at his decision making and dilemmas.
One of Independent India’s first challenges was the integration of princely states into the Union. The effort was led by Sardar Patel, but in this task, his most important aide was VP Menon. In this extraordinarily significant work, Menon, who served as secretary to states ministry, recounts the story of integration, including of Junagadh, Hyderabad and Kashmir, and tells the story of how the Union came to be.
India’s Constituent Assembly had the challenging task of drawing up a social contract for the newly independent nation, stung by centuries of colonialism, struck by Partition, and staring at an unequal, diverse political and social landscape. Political theorist Madhav Khosla dives into the philosophical and political underpinnings of India’s constitutional project and what motivated the drafters.
This forthcoming book by London School of Economics scholar Taylor C Sherman promises to break through the partisan debates that have come to dominate the debate on Nehru. Do read her accompanying essay for the Hindustan Times to go beyond the myths around Nehru and examine his ideas and leadership afresh.
Under Jawaharlal Nehru, India fought two wars — in 1948 with Pakistan, and in 1962 with China. While there are a range of opinions about Nehru’s handling of these relationships, they are often divorced from facts and context. Historian Srinath Raghavan’s work on Nehru’s handling of multiple crises, both in terms of foreign policy and internal security, is the best book on the theme.