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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.

Why is 2008 an Unforgettable Year for India?: ‘India at 70’ — An Excerpt

Author Roshen Dalal in her new book, ‘India at 70’, explores the journey of India through its 70 years since Independence in the minutest details. The enthralling read is not just a dive into the rich history of the country, but also a celebration of the major milestones in every aspect and field of society.
In the following excerpt from the book, Roshen Dalal takes a deeper look into why the year 2008 will always be considered unforgettable in the history of modern India.
The year 2008 had some unforgettable moments.
Floods are not uncommon in the monsoon season, but in August that year, the floods in Bihar were exceptionally severe. River Kosi changed course, and over 2.3 million people were affected.
In October, the Indo-US Civil Nuclear Agreement was signed and was considered a landmark treaty. According to this, the US would provide India with nuclear fuel and technology for peaceful use.
On 26 November, disaster struck. Terrorists attacked Mumbai. Over 150 people were killed, and more than 300 were injured. The places attacked were Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Railway Terminus, Oberoi Trident Hotel, Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, Leopold Cafe, Nariman House and Cama Hospital. Showing great bravery, police official Hemant Karkare of the Mumbai Anti-Terrorist Squad, Vijay Salaskar, senior police inspector, and Ashok Kamte, additional commissioner of Mumbai Police, tried to stop the terrorists, but lost their lives in the process. Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan of the National Security Guard was also killed. In response to these attacks, the National Investigation Agency was set up in December as a counterterrorism body.
THE 2008 SUMMER OLYMPICS: In the 2008 Olympics, held in Beijing, Abhinav Bindra won a gold medal in shooting, in the men’s 10 m air rifle event. Vijender Singh won a bronze medal in boxing, in the middleweight category, and Sushil Kumar won a bronze medal in wrestling, in the 66 kg freestyle category.
SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE: Slumdog Millionaire, a 2008 British film directed by Danny Boyle, is based on the novel Q & A (2005) by Vikas Swarup, an Indian diplomat. It tells the story of Jamal Malik, an eighteen-year-old from the Mumbai slums, who wins the Indian version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? by answering every question correctly. He is arrested and accused of cheating, but through flashbacks, he explains how he came to know each answer. The film won eight Academy Awards and seven BAFTA Awards. The lead actors were Dev Patel, Freida Pinto, Madhur Mittal, Anil Kapoor and Irrfan Khan.
The music, by A.R. Rahman, was a great hit, particularly the song ‘Jai Ho’. Rahman won the Golden Globe Award in 2009 for the best original score and two Academy Awards—for the best original score and the best original song (‘Jai Ho’). Resul Pookutty, along with Richard Pryke and Ian Tapp, won the Academy Award for the best sound mixing.
Revisit every significant moment in India’s journey since 1947 with Roshen Dalal’s ‘India at 70’!
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When the Journey Began: ‘India at 70’ — An Excerpt

In 2017, India’s spacecraft Mangalyaan is orbiting Mars, satellites are regularly sent into space, the economy is growing rapidly and India’s diverse art and culture is appreciated globally. And, most importantly, India is the largest democracy in the world.
The story of India as an independent nation began seventy years ago, in 1947, when the country gained independence after almost 200 years of British rule. For the first time, India became a united political entity, a nation with clearly defined boundaries. What type of country would the new India be? Would it remain united and strong?
At this time, the territory known as India consisted of eleven British provinces and some additional areas directly under British rule as well as 565 Indian states (also called princely states) where the British had overall control. The Muslim League, led by Muhammad Ali Jinnah, wanted a separate state of Pakistan, and finally it was decided that this demand would be granted. On 14 and 15 August 1947, two new nations were created, but the boundary lines between them were known only on 17 August. Pakistan was in two parts; West Pakistan was formed in the western half of Punjab while East Pakistan was created from the province of Bengal. As the lines for dividing the area were drawn on a map, districts, canals and even villages were divided.
This partition of one country into two created many problems. In the west, 10 million migrated across the new borders, and as anger arose between Muslims on one side and Hindus and Sikhs on the other, about 1 million were killed. There were other issues too, as the entire administration and all its possessions—including tables, chairs, books, musical instruments, cars, pencils and pens as well as the army, police, railways, postal services, money and other items—had to be divided.
The process of integrating the different states to form one India began before Independence. While some of the states were in the region of Pakistan, 554 states were in Indian territory. These states had different kinds of rulers. Some controlled huge areas and had vast quantities of wealth, land, buildings, money, gold, jewels, cars and elephants; others had small territories of just a few square kilometres. There were actually 425 small states. By 31 July, two types of agreements had been worked out for the Indian states to sign, by which they agreed to join India and give up some of their powers. At the time of Independence, the Constitution of India was being prepared. A constitution consists of the rules and ideas according to which a nation is governed. The Constituent Assembly, a group of people who would discuss and write India’s constitution, first met on 9 December 1946. The Constitution was ready by the end of 1949, after which India became a republic in 1950. Two years later, the first elections were held and India’s Parliament began to function. Thus, though India’s complex history dates back to the Stone Age, the year 1947 brought in great change.
This is an excerpt from the introductory chapter of Roshen Dalal’s ‘India at 70’. Get your copy here today!
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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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