Book Review: India after Gandhi by Ramachandra Guha

Just finished reading India after Gandhi. It is a book written by Ramachandra Guha, an Indian historian and economist. I must say it carries intricate details of the post-independence era. One thing, however, needs a mention that the book completely and absolutely revolves around Nehruism.

Someone has rightly said that people are trapped in history and history is trapped in them. This book made me realize how true that is and how ignorant we are of the factual reality. Our academic books did not cover any of these and we have no good reason to distil the facts. We were made to study the Akbars and Aurangzebs, however, never was there a clear picture of what happened post-independence.

The book unveils all the challenges, disturbances and also on various occasions reinstates, how none other than Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru could run the country, shattered in pieces. Quote unquote, Pandit Nehru followed and directed Gandhi Ji’s dreams and principles. Both wanted a secular country—one not divided by religion, caste, creed, ideologies, and language. I believe, this became the base for all irrelevant measures taken or important actions not taken, during the period after Gandhi.

Little did it talk about Lal Bahadur Shastri. Where we all until date, speculate and debate reasons of his death, Guha in one line has simply presented saying, he died of a heart attack. Period!

The era of Indira Gandhi’s regime is then described very meticulously in full length and breadth. Guha is known to have his loyalties towards Nehru dynasty and the Left-wing. Time and again he has also been criticized to distort facts and truths, however, I’m not the right person to comment on that as I, and rather all of us have been kept aloof of the real facts.

What we have is the Left version of facts and the Right version. Till date, we do not know what’s the actual version of ‘India After Gandhi’. The best thing about the book is, if you are not thoroughly aware of the flow of incidents or the background, you will get ample of information and knowledge here. The book covers a lot of chronological details wherein, you’ll not just refresh your memory but also fill the gaps of historical events.

My advice would be to chew this book, but do not digest it. This 900 pages book is addictive, interesting and at least worth a read. You must always know all sides of the version to make the right choice. The ball is in your court!

Please leave in comments, your opinion about the book review or the book, if you have read it.

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Jallianwala Bagh Through My Lens

Jallianwala Bagh, a place that witnessed the worst massacre on April 13, 1919. If you’ll visit the place you will realise the agony which the masses had undergone with no escape at all.

They were shot dead by the British Indian Army on the orders of Acting Brigadier-General Reginald Dyer.

Pic 1 – The only entrance and exit the place has, which led to thousands of people entering the garden for a gathering. Who knew they would never exit the place

Pic 2 – The narrow lane of the corridor which could not allow people in such large numbers to exit and save their lives

Pic 3 – Windows of rot iron where the army men climbed to point their guns towards the unarmed Indian public

Pic 4 – Now, there’s a pyramid like stone, kept to depict the spot from where gunmen shot thousands of bullets in all directions. They horrifically killed masses which included men, women and kids

Pic 5 – The wall which has many bullet marks safeguarded till date

Pic 6 – The well which engulfed many bodies of people who jumped in it as an only option to save themselves, but unfortunately could not

Pic 7 – Granite stones mounted on a wall with history etched on them in golden ink in languages – English, Gurmukhi, Hindi

Pic 8 – Flame shaped memorial in the memory of the tragic incident and those who lost lives

Winston Churchill called the 1919 massacre of Indian protesters “monstrous.” Queen Elizabeth said it was “distressing.” Prime Minister David Cameron went with “deeply shameful.”

However, none of the Britain officially ever apologised for the grave mishap.

I’m deeply touched with the incident and whenever I think of it, the flash of incident appears before my eyes as if I was present there.

On this day, I take the opportunity to pay my tribute to thousands of families who lost their loved ones and the souls who battled till their last breath for survival. Jai Hind!!

Ugrasen ki Baoli History - Travel - Anupriya Mishra

Agrasen ki Baoli: Place in Delhi Belly

Do you wish to explore something magnanimous, yet hidden; serene, yet unexplored by many? Enjoy the tranquility of this place, giving away some time from the maddening city crowd.  

Ugrasen ki Baoli History - Travel - Anupriya Mishra

Photo Credit – Anupriya Mishra

One fine  day on a weekend, when the scorching sun bid adieu for a while and Delhi got some relief from the soaring high temperature, I picked up my camera and the car keys, with a hope to explore a few not so popular but spectacular places. I don’t even remember how many times I have visited India Gate, Connaught Place and the places nearby. Plenty of times that I’ve lost the count.

Surprisingly, I learned about this place called Agrasen ki Baoli (also known as Ugrasen ki Baoli) just within the proximity of Connaught Place, of which I wasn’t aware of. With my GPS on, it wasn’t that difficult to locate the spot. When I took the left turn from the main road towards Hailey Road, which ended in a narrow lane; towards the right, I found this silent monument. Ugrasen ki Baoli is one of the protected monuments by the Archaeological Survey of India.

Ugrasen ki Baoli History - Travel - Anupriya Mishra

Photo Credit – Anupriya Mishra

As soon as I parked my car and got down, I forgot chasing the history of the monument. The silence somehow seemed welcoming me with both its arms wide open. A huge banyan tree on the left of the entrance was artistic in its own way with entwined branches and hanging roots, which looked marvelous especially under the bright sky.

Ugrasen ki Baoli History - Travel - Anupriya Mishra

Photo Credit – Anupriya Mishra

Without wasting a moment to this exciting place, even more exciting because it’s hardly known by masses unlike all the popular ones, which are over populated. After few steps away from the main gate were some ascending stairs. Besides the stair case, I could see an engraved stone, enough for my notes on the history of Baoli.

Are you wondering what this Baoli is? Well, this Baoli is a historical steps well, 60 meter long and 15 meter wide, since the times of Maharaja Ugrasen.  It is believed that the Baoli was built during the great Mahabharat epic era and is one of its kinds in Delhi.

Ugrasen ki Baoli History - Travel - Anupriya Mishra

Photo Credit – Ashish

With some background of the place in mind, I moved up the stairs and saw huge steps on the right, beautifully descending into a gorge like area. At the time of my visit, there was no water probably because of the peak summer time, but it is believed that some parts of the well, about 103 steps, are permanently immersed in water. The steps are uniquely divided into three levels and each level is lined with domed forte on both sides. The gurgling of pigeons and fluttering bats add to the ancient appeal to this magnificent structure. On both sides of the steps well are the narrow stairs connecting second and the third level for the complete view.

Ugrasen ki Baoli History - Travel - Anupriya Mishra

Photo Credit – Anupriya Mishra

As you move down the stairs, the strange silence engulfs you parting you from the skyline and view of the gigantic city buildings. A clear demarcation of contemporary with traditional is noticeable in a splendid manner. The beauty of silence takes you to the glory of ancient times and you are forced to spend some time sitting on one of those steps, thinking about the charm of historical period.

The serenity of this place is remarkable. It’s good to see that the place is not losing its charm even midst the skyscrapers and is drawing the attention of more and more people, including the tourists and officials. The place is kept clean and maintained well.

Quick Facts

Where: Hailey Road, near KG Marg, Connaught Place

VisitingTime: 9 AM – 5 PM

Nearest Metro Station: Barakhamba

Entry Fees: No ticket / Free entry

Nearest Spot: Don’t miss a walk to the Jantar Mantar just a few kilometers away