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7 Audiobooks Every Voter Must Listen to for the 2024 Election Season

Informed voting begins with enriched understanding! As we gear up for the 2024 Indian elections, we’ve handpicked seven audiobooks that every voter must have on their radar. From insightful analysis to historical narratives, these audiobooks are your go-to companions for understanding the issues and making your voice heard in the upcoming election season.

 

Ready to cast your vote?

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 centered 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.

The authors offer praise where the Indian establishment has been successful but are clear-eyed in pointing out its weaknesses. They urge India to break free from the shackles of the past and look to the possibilities of the future. Written with unusual candor, and packed with vivid examples and persuasive arguments, this is a book for anyone who has a stake in India’s future.

 

 

The Discovery of India
The Discovery of India || Jawaharlal Nehru

Jawaharlal Nehru wrote The Discovery of India during his imprisonment at Ahmednagar Fort for participating in the Quit India Movement (1942-1946). The book was written during Nehru’s four years of confinement to solitude in prison and is his way of paying an homage to his beloved country and its rich culture.

The work started from ancient history; Nehru wrote at length of Vedas, Upanishads, and textbooks on ancient time and ends during the British raj. The work is a broad view of Indian history, culture, and philosophy; the same can also be seen in the television series. The work is considered as one of the finest writings on Indian history. The television series Bharat Ek Khoj, which was released in 1988, was based on this work.

 

Savarkar: Echoes of a Forgotton Past, Vol. 1: Part 1
Savarkar: Echoes of a Forgotton Past, Vol. 1: Part 1 || Vikram Sampath

An alleged atheist and a staunch rationalist who opposed orthodox Hindu beliefs, encouraged inter-caste marriage and dining, and dismissed cow worship as mere superstition, Savarkar was, arguably, the most vocal political voice for the Hindu community through the entire course of India’s freedom struggle. From the heady days of revolution and generating international support for the cause of India’s freedom as a law student in London, Savarkar found himself arrested, unfairly tried for sedition, transported and incarcerated at the Cellular Jail, in the Andamans, for more than a decade, where he underwent unimaginable torture.

From being an optimistic advocate of Hindu-Muslim unity in his treatise on the 1857 War of Independence, what was it that transformed him in the Cellular Jail to a proponent of “Hindutva”, which viewed Muslims with suspicion?

Drawing from a vast range of original archival documents across India and abroad, this biography in two parts – the first focusing on the years leading up to his incarceration and eventual release from the Kalapani – puts Savarkar, his life, and his philosophy in a new perspective and looks at the man with all his achievements and failings.

 

The Rise of the BJP
The Rise of the BJP || Bhupendar Yadav, Ila Pattnaik

The Bharatiya Janata Party is an idea that was seeded into the minds of nationalist Jana Sangh leaders when they began to envision India after Independence. Much like the very core the freedom struggle was built on, they saw India as a demographically, culturally and historically cohesive and unified nation—as Bharat.

In this book, senior BJP leader and cabinet minister Bhupender Yadav and leading economist Ila Patnaik come together to trace the BJP’s journey from its humble roots, through ups and downs and to eventually getting 303 seats in Lok Sabha in 2019 and becoming the world’s largest political party. While focusing on the larger economics and political story, the book encapsulates many smaller, yet hugely significant stories of individuals and incidents, which brought the BJP to where it stands now.

For the first time ever, The Rise of the BJP, tells us the inside story of how one of the most powerful political parties makes decisions, implements ideas and executes policy. Meticulously researched and immensely compelling, the book shows us how the BJP fought competing ideologies, political assaults and catapulted to the centre stage of national politics.

 

Our Hindu Rashtra
Our Hindu Rashtra || Aakar Patel

India has taken so sharp a turn in recent years that the very center has shifted considerably. What led to this swing? Is it possible to trace the path to this point? Is there a way back to the just, secular, inclusive vision of our Constitution-makers?

This country has long been an outlier in its South Asian neighborhood, with its inclusive Constitution and functioning democracy. The growth of Hindutva, in some sense, brings India in line with the other polities here. In Our Hindu Rashtra, writer and activist Aakar Patel peels back layer after layer of cause and effect through independent India’s history to understand how Hindutva came to gain such a hold on the country. He examines what it means for India that its laws and judiciary have been permeated by prejudice and bigotry, what the breach of fundamental rights portends in these circumstances, and what the all-round institutional collapse signifies for the future of Indians.

Most importantly, Patel asks and answers that most important of questions: What possibilities exist for a return? Thought-provoking and pulling no punches, this book is an essential listen for anyone who wishes to understand the nature of politics in India and, indeed, South Asia.

 

 

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.

How were groups eligible for reservations identified and defined? How were the terms ‘depressed classes’ and ‘backward classes’ used in British India and how have they evolved into the constitutional concepts of ‘Scheduled Castes’, ‘Scheduled Tribes’, and ‘Other Backward Classes’ in the present day?

The book delves into the intellectual debates that took place on this matter in the Constituent Assembly, the Supreme Court and Parliament. Several contentious issues are examined dispassionately: are reservations an exception to the principle of equality of opportunity? Do quotas in government service undermine efficiency? Can ‘merit’ really be defined neutrally? What is the thinking behind the rule that no more than 50 per cent of the available seats or positions can be reserved?

Deeply researched and ably narrated, this volume is a compelling addition to every thinking individual’s library.

 

 

1971
1971 || Anam Zakaria

The year 1971 exists everywhere in Bangladesh—on its roads, in sculptures, in its museums and oral history projects, in its curriculum, in people’s homes and their stories, and in political discourse. It marks the birth of the nation, it’s liberation. More than 1000 miles away, in Pakistan too, 1971 marks a watershed moment, its memories sitting uncomfortably in public imagination. It is remembered as the ‘Fall of Dacca’, the dismemberment of Pakistan or the third Indo-Pak war. In India, 1971 represents something else—the story of humanitarian intervention, of triumph and valor that paved the way for India’s rise as a military power, the beginning of its journey to becoming a regional superpower.

Navigating the widely varied terrain that is 1971 across Pakistan, Bangladesh and India, Anam Zakaria sifts through three distinct state narratives, and studies the institutionalization of the memory of the year and its events. Through a personal journey, she juxtaposes state narratives with people’s history on the ground, bringing forth the nuanced experiences of those who lived through the war. Using intergenerational interviews, textbook analyses, visits to schools and travels to museums and sites commemorating 1971, Zakaria explores the ways in which 1971 is remembered and forgotten across countries, generations and communities.

What was it like to be a child during India’s freedom struggle?

From our school history textbooks to historical fiction and non-fiction, we have been exposed to the history of our country’s past quite often. But whether we were reading factual accounts of the people who fought for our country’s independence, or it was authors reimagining what it might have been to be alive in that reality, the one thing common amongst all these books was adult protagonists.

Nobody really thought what it would be like to be a child during the time when our country was on the brink of its freedom!  

Until Lubaina Bandukwala and Aditi Krishnakumar came up with similar ideas and wrote two beautiful books talking about exactly that!  

 

The Chowpatty Cooking Club by Lubaina Bandukwala
The Chowpatty Cooking Club || Lubaina Bandukwala

 

The Chowpatty Cooking Club 

Lubaina Bandukwala

 

With Mahatma Gandhi’s call to the British to Quit India, the city has become a hotbed of revolutionary activity-student protests, secret magazines and even an underground People’s Radio which broadcasts news that the British want concealed.Sakina and her friends Zenobia and Mehul desperately want to be part of this struggle for freedom. But there is little that they are permitted to do. But at least, they are trying to do something useful, while their mothers are only running a cooking club …

 

 

 

 

That Year at Manikoil 

Aditi Krishnakumar

 

While World War II rages in Europe and the Japanese army draws closer to India, Raji and her sisters are sent off with their mother to stay in Manikoil, her mother’s family village. But with her brother now a soldier in the British Indian Army and refugees fleeing from Malaya, Burma and other eastern countries back to India, Manikoil is no longer the peaceful haven it once was.  And while there is hope of Independence in the air, Raji is uncertain whether it will come to pass-and what it will truly mean for her and her family.

 

Pick up one of these books today and let your child step back into British India!

Delve deep into what India’s 72nd Republic Day truly represents with these books

The Constitution of India came into effect on 26th January, 1950. As we celebrate India’s 72nd Republic Day, let’s dig deeper to understand the journey till this day in 1950, and our journey since then.

Here is a list of books from various authors, including Abhinav Chandrachud, Ramachandra Guha, Khushwant Singh, Sagarika Ghosh, K.R. Narayanan and many more! What’s more, there are titles for the little ones as well!

 

Republic of Rhetoric
Republic of Rhetoric || Abhinav Chandrachud

Exploring socio-political as well as legal history of India, from the British period to the present, this book brings to light the idea of ‘free speech’ or what is popularly known as the freedom expression in the country. Analysing the present law relating to obscenity and free speech, this book will evaluate whether the enactment of the Constitution made a significant difference to the right to free speech in India. Deeply researched, authoritative and anecdotal, this book offers arguments that have not been substantially advanced before.

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How India Became Democratic
How India Became Democratic || Ornit Shani

How India Became Democratic explores the greatest experiment in democratic human history. It tells the untold story of the preparation of the electoral roll on the basis of universal adult franchise in the world’s largest democracy. Ornit Shani offers a new view of the institutionalisation of democracy in India, and of the way democracy captured the political imagination of its diverse peoples.

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Makers Of Modern India
Makers of Modern India || Ramachandra Guha

Makers of Modern India is a detailed source for information about the country’s political traditions. The republic of India had a very tumultuous beginning and the author shows you how 19 political activists were instrumental in the evolution of this country. The author goes beyond a description of the people by including extracts of the speeches they have written. Each phase of the freedom movement and the following years of independent India are shown through the written works produced by these 19 individuals.

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Democrats and Dissenters
Democrats and Dissenters || Ramachandra Guha

A major new collection of essays by Ramachandra Guha, Democrats and Dissenters is a work of rigorous scholarship on topics of compelling contemporary interest, written with elegance and wit.

The book covers a wide range of themes: from the varying national projects of India’s neighbours to political debates within India itself, from the responsibilities of writers to the complex relationship between democracy and violence.

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The Idea Of India
The Idea Of India || Sunil Khilnani

This long essay makes an eloquent and persuasive argument for Nehru’s idea of nationhood in India. At a time when the relevance of Nehru’s vision is under scrutiny, this book assumes a special significance.

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The Discovery of India
The Discovery of India || Jawaharlal Nehru

Jawaharlal Nehru wrote the book The Discovery of India, during his imprisonment at Ahmednagar fort for participating in the Quit India Movement (1942 – 1946). The book was written during Nehru’s four years of confinement to solitude in prison and is his way of paying an homage to his beloved country and its rich culture.

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India’s Legal System
India’s Legal System || Fali S Nariman

India has the second-largest legal profession in the world, but the systemic delays and chronic impediments of its judicial system inspire little confidence in the common person. In India’s Legal System, renowned constitutional expert and senior Supreme Court lawyer Fali S. Nariman looks for possible reasons. While realistically appraising the criminal justice system and the performance of legal practitioners, he elaborates aspects of contemporary practice, such as public interest litigation, judicial review and activism.

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The Case That Shook India
The Case That Shook India || Prashant Bhushan

On 12 June 1975, for the first time in independent India’s history, the election of a prime minister was set aside by a high court judgment. The watershed case, Indira Gandhi v. Raj Narain, acted as the catalyst for the imposition of the Emergency. Based on detailed notes of the court proceedings, The Case That Shook India is both a significant legal and a historical document.

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The Great Repression
The Great Repression || Chitranshul Sinha

The Indian Penal Code was formulated in 1860, three years after the first Indian revolt for independence. Where did this law come from? How did it evolve? And what place does it have in a mature democracy? Concise, incisive and thoughtful, The Great Repression by Chitranshul Sinha, an advocate on record of the Supreme Court of India, tells the story of this outdated colonial-era law.

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The Burden Of Democracy
The Burden Of Democracy || Pratap Bhanu Mehta

After nearly seven decades of its existence, there is a pervasive feeling that India’s democracy is in crisis. But what is the nature of this threat? In this essay, republished now with a new foreword from the author, Pratap Bhanu Mehtare minds us what a bold experiment bringing democracy to a largely illiterate and unpropertied India was.

Optimistic, lively and closely argued, The Burden of Democracy offers a new ideological imagination that throws light on our discontents. By returning to the basics of democracy it serves to illuminate our predicament, even while perceiving the broad contours for change.

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The End Of India
The End Of India || Khushwant Singh

Analysing the communal violence in Gujarat in 2002, the anti-Sikh riots of 1984, the burning of Graham Staines and his children, the targeted killings by terrorists in Punjab and Kashmir, Khushwant Singh forces us to confront the absolute corruption of religion that has made us among the most brutal people on earth. He also points out that fundamentalism has less to do with religion than with politics. And communal politics, he reminds us, is only the most visible of the demons we have nurtured and let loose upon ourselves.

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India’s Struggle For Independence
India’s Struggle For Independence || Bipin Chandra & Others

India’s Struggle for Independence by Bipin Chandra is your go to book for an in-depth and detailed overview on Indian independence movement . Indian freedom struggle is one of the most important parts of its history. A lot has been written and said about it, but there still remains a gap. Rarely do we get to hear accounts of the independence from the entire country and not just one region at one place. This book fits in perfectly in this gap and also provides a narration on the impact this movement had on the people.

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Why I Am a Liberal
Why I Am a Liberal || Sagarika Ghose 

 

The stamping out of difference, the quelling of diversity and the burial of argument is, in fact, most un-Indian. Anyone who seeks to end that dialogue process is ignoring Indianness and patriotism. The liberal Indian argues for the rights of the marginalized in the tradition of Gandhi for trust, mutual understanding and bridge-building. Real patriotism lies in old-fashioned ideas of accommodation, friendship and generosity; not in force, muscle flexing and dominance. Why I Am a Liberal is Sagarika Ghose’s impassioned meditation on why India needs to be liberal.

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In The Name Of The People
In The Name Of The People || K R Narayanan

In the Name of the People brings together K.R.Narayanan’s most important writings spanning five decades, from his first published article in 1954 to the Republic Day speech of 2000. In these pieces, he covers a diverse range of topics, from Indo–US ties and India–China relations to human development, Islam in India and women in politics; from the benefits of the parliamentary system and the need to build democracy from the grassroots to the role of education and technology in development and the importance of a sustainable environment.

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Vichhoda
Vichhoda || Harinder Sikka

Bibi Amrit Kaur’s life is literally torn apart in the 1947 riots. She’s now in a different country with a different identity. She accepts this new life gracefully and begins a new chapter. She gets married and has two children. Life, however, has something else in store for her. It breaks her apart. Again.

This time the pain is unbearable.

But the hope that she will reunite with her children and be whole again keeps her alive. And she doesn’t let the bitterness cloud her days, becoming a beacon of hope and courage for all.

From the bestselling author of Calling Sehmat comes another hitherto untold story of strength, sacrifice and resilience.

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Sixteen Stormy Days
Sixteen Stormy Days || Tripurdaman Singh

Sixteen Stormy Days narrates the riveting story of the First Amendment to the Constitution of India-one of the pivotal events in Indian political and constitutional history, and its first great battle of ideas. Drawing on parliamentary debates, press reports, judicial pronouncements, official correspondence and existing scholarship, Sixteen Stormy Days challenges conventional wisdom on iconic figures such as Jawaharlal Nehru, B.R. Ambedkar, Rajendra Prasad, Sardar Patel and Shyama Prasad Mookerji, and lays bare the vast gulf between the liberal promise of India’s Constitution and the authoritarian impulses of her first government.

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Ambedkar’s Preamble
Ambedkar’s Preamble || Aakash Singh Rathore

 

Although Dr Ambedkar is universally regarded as the chief architect of the Constitution, the specifics of his role as chairman of the Drafting Committee are not widely discussed. Totally neglected is his almost single-handed authorship of the Constitution’s Preamble, which is frequently and mistakenly attributed to B.N. Rau rather than to Ambedkar.
This book establishes how and why the Preamble to the Constitution of India is essentially an Ambedkarite preamble.

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Vision for a Nation
Vision For A Nation || Ashish Nandy, Aakash Singh Rathore

What is the nation? What is the idea of India? Whose India is it, anyway?
This inaugural volume in the series titled Rethinking India aims to kickstart a national dialogue on the key questions of our times. It brings together India’s foremost intellectuals, academics, activists, technocrats, professionals and policymakers to offer an in-depth exploration of these issues, deriving from their long-standing work, experience and unflinching commitment to the collective idea of India, of who we can and ought to be. Vision for a Nation: Paths and Perspectives champions a plural, inclusive, just, equitable and prosperous India, committed to individual dignity as the foundation of the unity and vibrancy of the nation.

Let’s not leave the children out! Here is a list of books for your children.

We, The Children Of India
We The Children Of India || LeIla Seth 

Former Chief Justice Leila Seth makes the words of the Preamble to the Constitution understandable to even the youngest reader. What is a democratic republic, why are we secular, what is sovereignty? Believing that it is never too early for young people to learn about the Constitution, she tackles these concepts and explains them in a manner everyone can grasp and enjoy. Accompanied by numerous photographs, captivating and inspiring illustrations by acclaimed illustrator Bindia Thapar, and delightful bits of trivia, We, the Children of India is essential reading for every young citizen.

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The Constitution of India for Children
The Constitution Of India For Children || Subhadra Sen Gupta

Every 26th January, people gather on New Delhi’s Rajpath amidst a colourful jamboree of fluttering flags, marching soldiers and dancing children. What is celebrated on this day is at the heart of our democracy-the magnificent Constitution of India.

The document didn’t only lay down the law but united India with a vision that took two years, eleven months and seventeen days to realise. Subhadra Sen Gupta captures the many momentous occasions in Indian history that led to its making in The Constitution of India for Children. Populated with facts and dotted with cheerful illustrations, this book provides answers to innumerable questions asked over the years.

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The Puffin History Of India (Vol.1)
The Puffin History Of India (Vol.1) || Roshen Dalal
The Puffin History Of India (Vol. 2)
The Puffin History Of India (Vol. 2) || Roshen Dalal

These books trace the fascinating story of the social, political, cultural and economic development across the high points of Indian history-from the earliest times to the British conquest, the Nationalist movement and, finally, the triumph of Independence. The informal, engaging style and the colourful descriptions of people, events and cultures provide a comprehensive picture of what life was like in India up to 1947. Informative, well researched and containing a host of illustrations and maps, this amazing reference guide helps bring the past to life for students and young readers like never before.

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India A To Z
India A To Z

What was India’s very own desi dino called? How did India’s currency come to be named the rupee? Which Indian glacier is the highest battleground in the world? Who wrote the world’s first grammar book? If questions like these make you curious about incredible India, here is a bumper info-pedia packed with fascinating facts, terrific trivia and colourful cartoons on just about everything in India, this book encourages interest in a wide range of subjects.

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My India
My India || A.P.J Abdul Kalam

My India: Ideas for the Future is a collection of excerpts from Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam’s speeches in his post presidency years. Drawn from Dr Kalam’s addresses to parliaments, universities, schools and other institutions in India and abroad, they include his ideas on science, nation-building, poverty, compassion and self-confidence.

Addressing Nellie, An Excerpt from Derek O’Brien’s Essay in ‘Left, Right, and Centre’

Nidhi Razdan’s ‘Left, Right and Centre: The Idea of India’ celebrates the diverse cultural and political terrains that India comprises of. The book is a collection of essays from distinguished voices from various walks of life, upholding aspects of the nation lesser explored, and even lesser heard of.
In Derek O’Brien’s essay, ‘Addressing Nellie’, the politician and television personality revisits the memories of his grandmother and his ancestors who had been through the horrors of the Partition. As a part of the Anglo-Indian community, O’Brien brings forth the voices of those who have rarely been spoken about in the popular discourse of the subcontinent’s traumatic history.
Here’s an excerpt from his essay.
Each year, on 15 August, I find myself thinking of my great grandmother—my father’s paternal grandmother. Nellie Bella Biswas, as she was named when born to a Bengali-Christian family with homes in Jalpaiguri in north Bengal and Maniktala in north Kolkata, formed part of my earliest memories. She died in 1969, when I was just a schoolboy. Even by then she had come to represent an influential figure for me—the familiar matriarch, caring but firm, who taught the three of us, my brothers and me, to speak Bengali.
To my young mind, Nellie Bella Biswas—or Nellie Bella O’Brien as she became on marrying the descendant of an Irish settler in India—symbolized history. She was a walking, talking monument of history. To my innocent eyes, she seemed to stand for Mother India: a venerable and iconic figure who shed a silent tear in August 1947 as one country became two nations, and a composite society was split forever.
Nellie cried in August 1947, she cried every day from 1947 to 1969. She cried for the line in the sand that Partition drew. She cried for Patrick, her firstborn, her beloved son, who stayed on in Lahore . . .
For obvious reasons, the narrative of Partition has been written in terms of the subcontinent’s Hindus and Muslims. Christians have had only a small role in this drama. Anglo Indians—the community I belong to and which makes up a minuscule section of India’s Christians—have not even had a walk-on part.
Yet Partition had a dramatic impact on my extended family. My paternal grandfather, Amos, was one of the three brothers. The eldest of them, Patrick, was a civil servant who worked in Lahore and Peshawar, and served as a private secretary to Sir Olaf Caroe and later Sir George Cunningham, governors of the North-West Frontier Province in the tumultuous days leading up to August 1947. Much of the rest of the family, including my father and grandfather, were in Kolkata (or Calcutta, as it was then called).
One day, without quite realizing the implications, these members of the O’Brien family became citizens of separate countries. Patrick, the brother who had stayed on in Pakistan, had a large family. Two of his daughters were married to fighter pilots of what was at the time the Royal Indian Air Force. In 1947, they were either alotted or chose different nations.
Within months India and Pakistan were at war. It was a conflict that tore apart my father’s cousins, daughters of Patrick. One of them was with her father in Pakistan. Her husband was a fighter pilot in the Pakistan Air Force, her sister’s husband a fighter pilot in the Indian Air Force.
Night after night she stayed up, wondering if her husband would come home or if her brother-in-law in India was safe, or if these two men so dear to her, comrades and friends in the same air force till only a few weeks earlier, would aim for each other in the eerie anonymity of the skies. Her sister in India went through the same trauma. Patrick comforted his daughter. In another country, Nellie comforted her granddaughter.
Thankfully, neither man died in that war, but a distance emerged. Father and daughter, sister and sister, cousin and cousin, my Indian grandfather and his Pakistani brother—they lost touch with each other.

7 Quotes by Famous Authors That Will Make You Cherish Freedom

What do we understand by the term ‘freedom’? The liberty to make our choices, the liberty to lead the life we want, the liberty to speak the language we choose. But does freedom mean the same thing to everyone?
Here are 7 quotes by famous writers with different meanings to ‘freedom’.
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Tell us which idea of freedom do you agree with!

India: 70 Years of Independence

By Roshen Dalal
India celebrates 70 years of independence on 15 August, and we may wonder why this date is so important. A simple answer is that on this date in 1947, India gained freedom from almost 200 years of British rule. But further questions follow. What was wrong with British rule? How was it different from that of earlier invaders and settlers? Through the narrow passes and river valleys in the high mountains, India had seen many invasions from ancient times. Darius I (522-486 BCE)of Persia (Iran) included part of north-west India in his territories. Alexander, the Macedonian conquerer, too, came to the north-west in 336 BCE, but could not stay long. The Bactrian Greeks (from 200 BCE), the Parthians (1st century CE), Kushanas (1st to 3rd centuries CE), Indo-Sasanians (3rd -4th centuries CE), and Hunas (5th century CE), and were among other invaders. All of them set up kingdoms for short periods of time, and many were absorbed into Indian society. Later there were invasions from Ghazni and Ghur in the region of present Afghanistan, which led to the rule of the sultans. The sultans defended India against the invasions of the Mongols. The Mughal dynasty was then founded by Babur in 1526, who originated in the small kingdom of Farghana in Central Asia. There were other dynasties such as the Ahoms, who invaded the north-east of today’s India. But most of these who were once invaders, ruled parts of India much like other kings of the country. They collected and spent taxes here, constructed buildings, provided justice, and encouraged the arts. British rule was different, in that they used India as a source for money and raw materials that were transmitted to their own country. Dadabhai Naoroji (1825-1917), an Indian political leader and the first Asian to become a member of Parliament in Britain, explained this as ‘the drain of wealth’, in his book Poverty and and Un-British Rule in India.  He estimated that the British were taking money away from India at the rate of 30,000,000 to 40,000,000 pounds a year. Railways had been constructed, but the money earned from them belonged to Britain. In addition, railways were used to transport raw materials, which were later sent out of India. It seemed as if there were some good points, as law and order were maintained, but Naoroji said that under the British, ‘the Indian starves in peace and perishes in peace, with law and order’.  Artisans lost their livelihood. There was inequality, as only the British were given high posts. India was a ‘colony’ of Britain, but neither India nor Britain were unique. Across the world, other European nations, the including France, Portugal and Germany, had their own colonies, and similarly exploited those they colonized.
It was a long struggle to gain freedom from the British. The Revolt of 1857 was the first widespread expression of protest. After the founding of the Indian National Congress in 1885, the movement became more organized, and finally, though many groups had participated, it was Mahatama Gandhi who led India to freedom through satyagraha, his policy of peaceful protest, combining non-violence and truth. There were around 565 Indian states, which the British did not directly rule, though they controlled them through their agents. Many people in these states also participated in the freedom movement.
These peaceful protests brought about gradual changes, and an involvement of Indians in the government in the British provinces.
India became free at one minute past midnight on the of 14th August, that is, the first minute of the 15th. Though many celebrated and rejoiced, some, like Mahatma Gandhi, were sad–firstly because two countries of India and Pakistan were created instead of one, and secondly because there were riots and killings between Hindus and Sikhs on one side, and Muslims on the other.
But the new country of India overcame these problems. With the adoption of the Constitution on 26 January 1950, India became fully independent. It became a democracy, a Republic with two houses of Parliament, the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha, headed by the president, with real power in the hands of the prime minister, the other ministers, and Parliament.
What we must celebrate after 70 years, is that this democracy is still functioning. As I see it, this has been India’s greatest achievement. Pakistan gained independence at the same time as India, but could not provide a stable government. Many more countries gained Independence after India, both in Asia and Africa. Most of them have faced problems, in governance and otherwise.
As we celebrate India’s freedom, we must guard and protect its greatest treasure–that of being a democracy, with a Constitution that guarantees certain freedoms, and provides equal rights to people of all communities, castes and religions.
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The Woman Jinnah Fell in Love With

The news of Mohammad Ali Jinnah’s marriage to Ruttie Petit in 1918 shook pre-partitioned India. Everyone wondered about this woman who had  made the serene yet strait-laced national leader  fall in love with her.
Sheela Reddy in her exhaustive Mr. and Mrs. Jinnah  paints an interesting portrait of the enchanting Ruttie Petit Jinnah.
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Wasn’t she enigmatic? Tell us how you perceive Ruttie Jinnah.
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