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The Ultimate Bharat Book Binge

This Republic Day, join us for a thoughtful exploration through books unveiling India’s rich history. From tales of strength to political insights, we’re delving into stories that define our nation. Get ready for a reflective reading journey as we celebrate the essence of Republic Day.

Let The Ultimate Bharat Book Binge begin!

1947-57 India Birth of a Republic
1947-57 India Birth of a Republic || Chandrachur Ghose

The first decade after India’s independence, 1947-1957, was probably the most crucial in the nation’s history. Opening a window to this period, this book weaves a story out of the complex ideas and events that have largely remained beneath the surface of public discourse. The transfer of power, the framing of the Constitution and the formation of the governance machinery; the clash of ideas and ideologies among parties and personalities; the beginning of the disintegration of the Congress and the consolidation of political forces in the opposition; Nehru’s grappling with existential problems at home and his quest for global peace; the interplay between democratic ideals and ruthless power play-all these factors impinged on each other and shaped the new republic in its formative decade.


You Must Know Your Constitution
You Must Know Your Constitution || Fali S. Nariman

26 November 1949 marks the date when the longest constitution in the world was formally adopted to guide the largest democracy in the world. It effectively transformed the British Dominion of India into one nation—the independent Republic of India. The supreme law of the land set forth the workings of Indian democracy and polity, and its provisions aimed to secure justice, liberty, equality, and fraternity for the people of India. As drafted and as conceived, the constitution makes provision for a functioning democracy and not an electoral autocracy, and this is how it has to be worked. It is therefore imperative for all citizens to familiarise themselves with its provisions.


Modi and India
Modi and India || Rahul Shivshankar, Siddhartha Talya

In 2014, the BJP, under the leadership of Modi, won a clear majority in the Lok Sabha elections. The National Democratic Alliance’s triumph ended a nearly two-and-a-half-decade run of mostly messy coalition governments. In 2019, the BJP further improved its tally, cementing its parliamentary majority and its ability to ring in transformational laws and policies. Most of the initiatives taken by the Modi-led NDA have been aimed at positioning Bharat as a ‘Vishwa Guru’—an exemplar of moral righteousness, a pluralistic democracy led by dharma and drawing sustenance from the wellspring of an eternal Hindu universalism.


Middle of Diamond India
Middle of Diamond India || Shashank Mani

Middle of Diamond India proposes a revolutionary idea – that India has long ignored its largest and most talented segment, citizens in the Tier 2 and Tier 3 districts, its Middle.

The book reveals the hidden stories of those in its Middle who have been ignored owing to their location and language. By examining India’s revolutionary past, its culture, its citizens, its innovators, and its spirit, the book illuminates this Diamond shaped India.


The Great Flap of 1942
The Great Flap of 1942 || Mukund Padmanabhan

The Great Flap of 1942 is a narrative history of a neglected and scarcely known period—between December 1941 and mid-1942—when all of India was caught in a state of panic. This was largely a result of the British administration’s mistaken belief that Japan was on the verge of launching a full-fledged invasion. It was a time when the Raj became unduly alarmed, when the tongue of rumour wagged wildly about Japanese prowess and British weakness and when there was a huge and largely unmapped exodus (of Indians and Europeans) from both sides of the coastline to ‘safer’ inland regions. This book demonstrates, quite astonishingly, that the Raj cynically encouraged the exodus and contributed to the repeated cycles of rumour, panic and flight. It also reveals how the shadow of the Japanese threat influenced the course of nationalist politics, altered British attitudes towards India and charted the course towards Independence.


Babasaheb || Savita Ambedkar, Nadeem Khan

Born into a middle-class, Sarasvat Brahmin family, Dr Sharada Kabir met and got to know Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar as a patient riddled with life-threatening diseases, and eventually married him on 15 April 1948, getting rechristened as Savita Ambedkar. From the day of their wedding to the death of Dr Ambedkar on 6 December 1956, she aided him in some of his greatest achievements-drafting the Constitution of India, framing the Hindu Code Bill, writing some of his most celebrated books, including The Buddha and His Dhamma, and leading millions of Dalits into Buddhism. Following his death, she was hounded into obscurity by some of Dr Ambedkar’s followers, who saw her as a threat to their political ambitions. She re-emerged into public life in 1970 and got back to working on the mission to which her husband had devoted his life-the welfare of the Dalit community. Her autobiography, Dr Ambedkaraanchya Sahavaasaat, was first published in Marathi in 1990.


Madam President
Madam President || Sandeep Sahu


Madam President is the first-ever comprehensive and authentic biography of Droupadi Murmu, the fifteenth President of India, by senior journalist Sandeep Sahu. Murmu’s long and eventful political journey is a story of true perseverance and inspiration. Having battled early years of struggle in securing quality education, being struck by a series of personal tragedies such as the loss of her husband and two sons in quick succession,
and suffering electoral victories and losses, Murmu has risen through her circumstances with grace, fortitude and resilience that make her the well-revered leader she is today.

These Seats are Reserved
These Seats are Reserved || Abhinav Chandrachud

Reservation or affirmative action is a hugely controversial policy in India. While constitutionally mandated and with historians, political scientists and social activists convinced of its need, many resist it and consider it as compromising ‘merit’ and against the principle of equality of opportunity.

In These Seats Are Reserved, Abhinav traces the history and making of the reservation policy.


M.K.Nambyar || K.K. Venugopal

It is rare to see a lawyer from a district court occupy centre stage in the Supreme Court but M.K. Nambyar achieved this remarkable feat. Starting his practice in a district court in Mangalore, M.K. Nambyar rose to become an eminent constitutional lawyer. Written by his son K.K. Venugopal, a legal luminary himself, this biography provides a fascinating account of Nambyar’s life. It not only describes the man but also recapitulates India’s legal history from the pre-Independence era. The book includes some landmark cases argued by Nambyar that have significantly contributed to the development of constitutional law in India such as A.K. Gopalan v. State of Madras and I.C. Golak Nath v. State of Punjab, where he sowed the seeds of the ‘basic structure’ doctrine. These cases continue to guide and inspire lawyers and judges today.

Court on Trial
Court on Trial || Aparna Chandra, Sital Kalantry, William H.J. Hubbard

The Indian Supreme Court was established nearly seventy-five years ago as a core part of India’s constitutional project. Does the Court live up to the ideals of justice imagined by the framers of the Indian Constitution? Critics of the Supreme Court point out that it takes too long to adjudicate cases, a select group of senior advocates exercise disproportionate influence on the outcome of cases, the Chief Justice of India strategically assigns cases with an eye to outcome, and the self-appointments process-known as the collegium-is just another ‘old boy’s network’. Building on nearly a decade of original empirical research, Court on Trail examines these and other controversies plaguing the Supreme Court today. The authors provide an overview of the Supreme Court and its processes which are often shrouded in mystery, and present data-driven suggestions for improving the effectiveness and integrity of the Court.


Breaking the Mould
Breaking the Mould || Raghuram Rajan, Rohit Lamba

In Breaking the Mould, the authors explain how we can accelerate economic development by investing in our people’s human capital, expanding opportunities in high-skilled services and manufacturing centred on innovative new products, and making India a ferment of ideas and creativity. India’s democratic traditions will support this path, helped further by governance reforms, including strengthening our democratic institutions and greater decentralization.

Forces: consolidation of a rajasic India

Thought leaders from twenty diverse fields, ranging from politics, economics and foreign policy to health care and energy, predict what 2030 will look like for India and how the nation will evolve in this decade.


Editor Gautam Chikermane has masterfully weaved together essays by Abhijit Iyer-Mitra, Ajay Shah, Amish Tripathi, Amrita Narlikar, Bibek Debroy, David Frawley, Devdip Ganguli, Justice B.N. Srikrishna, Kirit S. Parikh, Manish Sabharwal, Monika Halan, Parth J. Shah, Raghunath Anant Mashelkar, Rajesh Parikh, Ram Madhav, Reuben Abraham, Samir Saran, Sandipan Deb and Vikram Sood into a single volume that looks towards India’s future.


India 2030 | Gautam Chikermane



Here is an excerpt from the book India 2030-


Beyond all other transformations in India, the 2020s will see a rajasic reawakening of the nation. This dynamic surge in the country’s soul will be driven individually, one citizen at a time; it will articulate its self-becoming as a coming together of India’s collective soul. Its manifestations will be physical and mental, its driving force spiritual. Supported by a political leadership that is in tune with the soul of India, Bharat, this change began in the 2010s. It will consolidate in the 2020s and reset the material destiny of India in the 21st century.


It will create a new balance between two forces. First, a centripetal force that will concentrate the energies of India to the principles of its nationhood, be informed by its own intellectual traditions and expressed through a modernity rooted in its soul. And second, a centrifugal force that will expand its footprint outwards, through a deeper and stronger engagement with civilised nations going hand in hand with a self-assured confidence that will keep a check on barbaric powers on its borders.


The 2020s will be a decade of transition. The transition will impact every aspect of India – its psychological approach, its democratic institutions, its diverse people, its global engagements. The shift will impact individuals, bind them, it will be powered by them and will simultaneously serve them as a collective. It will be a time when the very life force of India will be in constant motion towards a new equilibrium that will take inspiration from the nation’s swabhawa (essential character or spiritual temperament) in order to follow its swadharma (express its true essence).


In Conversation with the Nation: We The People

Over the last decade, conversations around constitutional rights and state directives have taken precedence. Facts and opinions ebb and flow into each other, and in some instances, it becomes difficult to separate their boundaries and compartmentalise. Public perception and our understanding of our own locations within structures of the state and state power have shifted to a great extent, and how we understand the nation and nationhood has also been coloured by communal differences, identity politics and an onslaught of conservative discourse around human rights and minority communities.

We The People, the fourth volume in the series Rethinking India, does the difficult work of trudging through this quagmire. It agglomerates the most visionary thinkers and the sharpest minds in the political and sociolegal sphere and brings us a volume packed with indispensable insights into the construction and mechanism behind the functioning of the nation, and our relationship with it.

In their essay ‘Fighting Inequality: Rights and Entitlements’, Amitabh Behar and Savvy Soumya Misra write about how even someone like Manmohan Singh, who was pro-liberalisation of the market, had highlighted the necessity to consider carefully the status of inequality in the country. He elaborated on his warning, explaining how despite being one of the fastest growing economies of the world, some groups have been marginalised and remain divested of access to social and economic reform. In fact, he also links this fast growth to this very inequality, stating that its speed and scope is actually achieved at the expense of peripheral groups who are left behind.

India is a country where 63 billionaires own more wealth than the union budget for 2018-19, and the wealth of the nine richest people equals the wealth collectively owned by the poorest 50% of the population. Behar and Misra explore how India, due to its population, is a major factor in the global development and inequality trends. The writers also highlight social inequalities, no doubt a key agent in economic inequalities. Citing the work of Jean Drèze and Amartya Sen, they discuss how caste hierarchies have created deep seated roots of inequality, breeding discrimination through the fabric of our society.

Prashant Bhushan and Anjali Bharadwaj take up another extremely important strand of discussion around the structures of the nation in their essay, ‘The Role of Independent Institutions in Protecting and Promoting Constitutional Rights’. They discuss how an effective rule of law can only be guaranteed by independent and efficient institutions, and how this is the primary safeguard of democracy. The Indian judiciary has passed some landmark judgements in the recent past, securing the rights of citizens in the process. But, the writers note, it is not enough to merely have the skeletal promise of these rights. There is a need for independent and reliable networks that ensure at ground level that these rights are secured, and that theory is indeed translated into practice. Delving into the judiciary as one such system, Bhushan and Bharadwaj discuss fault lines that have been exposed in the system, and how despite the Right To Information Act being applicable to courts as well, courts have resisted making their workings in certain cases transparent. The writers also give a clear picture of the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act of 2013, and pick up many more tensions in the conversation around the institutions which are supposed to be the guarantors of rights, like the Central Bureau of Investigation.

We The People spans crucial ideas like economic rights, social democracy, right to education and health, and the MGNREGA among others, bringing into sharp focus important discussions that too often do not engage the public. But the public is the most crucial aspect of these constitutional directives; after all, these conversations affect us and our positions as citizens directly. This volume breaks down these important concepts into accessible essays, and is a much-required reading.


[To delve deeper, get your copy of We The People today.]

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