The Discovery of India – Penguin Random House India


The Discovery of India by Jawaharlal Nehru | History Books

“The Discovery of India” by Jawaharlal Nehru is a significant literary work that offers a comprehensive
exploration of India’s history, culture, and philosophy. Nehru’s personal and political perspectives are interwoven throughout the book, providing readers with valuable insights into the nation’s past, present, and future.
One of the book’s notable strengths lies in Nehru’s eloquent and insightful narration. He delves into India’s rich past, emphasizing its continuity and diversity. Nehru highlights the interactions between Indian civilization and other civilizations across history, illustrating the country’s profound contributions to various fields such as philosophy, religion, science, art, literature, and politics.

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Furthermore, Nehru examines the profound impact of colonialism and imperialism on India’s social, economic, and political development. He explores the rise of nationalism and the freedom movement, shedding light on the challenges and opportunities faced by the nation during that period.

A central theme of the book revolves around Nehru’s personal and political views on India. His vision of a secular, democratic, and modern India shines through his writings, demonstrating his admiration for Mahatma Gandhi and his leadership. Nehru’s reverence for Gandhi’s ideals and his commitment to creating a unified nation are evident throughout the book.

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However, “The Discovery of India” has faced criticism for its selective interpretation of certain historical events and figures. Critics argue that Nehru’s portrayal of M.A. Jinnah and the Muslim League’s role in the partition of India is biased. Additionally, some have accused Nehru of being overly influenced by Western ideas and neglecting the diverse indigenous traditions of India.

In summary, “The Discovery of India” provides readers with a panoramic view of India’s history, culture, and philosophy. Nehru’s personal and political insights, combined with his vision for a secular and democratic India, make this book an important contribution to understanding the nations past and present. However, it is essential to approach the text critically, acknowledging potential biases and
considering alternative perspectives.

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“Long years ago, we made a tryst with destiny, and now the time comes when we shall redeem our pledge, not wholly or in full measure, but very substantially. At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom.”

This quote is from Nehru’s famous speech delivered on the eve of India’s independence, on August 14, 1947. It captures the spirit of hope, determination, and anticipation for a new era of independence and progress in India.

About Jawaharlal Nehru

Jawaharlal Nehru was the first Prime Minister of India and a prominent leader of the Indian independence movement. He was born on November 14, 1889, in Allahabad, to a wealthy and influential family of Kashmiri Brahmins. He received his education in England, where he studied at Harrow, Cambridge, and Inner Temple. He returned to India in 1912 and joined the Indian National Congress, becoming one of the closest associates of Mahatma Gandhi. He participated in various campaigns of civil disobedience against the British rule and was imprisoned several times. He became the president of the Congress in 1929 and declared the goal of complete independence from Britain. He also advocated for secularism, socialism, and democracy in India. He was a key figure in the negotiations for India’s partition and independence in 1947, and became the head of the interim government. He was elected as the Prime Minister of India in 1952 and held the office until his death in 1964. He is widely regarded as the architect of modern India, as he initiated various reforms and policies in the fields of education, science, industry, agriculture, foreign affairs, and defence. He also played an important role in the Non-Aligned Movement and supported the liberation struggles of other Asian and African countries. He was a prolific writer and speaker, and authored several books, such as The Discovery of India, Glimpses of World History, An Autobiography, and Letters from a Father to His Daughter. He was awarded the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian honour, in 1955. He is also known as Pandit Nehru or Chacha Nehru. His birthday is celebrated as Children’s Day in India.

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