Book Review: Ramchandra Guha, ed., Patriots and Partisans

Date01 December 2013
Published date01 December 2013
Subject MatterBook Review
Book Review
Ramchandra Guha, ed., Patriots and Partisans. New Delhi: Allen Lane,
2012, pp. 334, `699.
The book under review runs through 334 pages—plus index 16 pages—
divided into two distinct parts. Part One has been titled as ‘Debating
Democracy’, which incorporates nine chapters and Part Two has been
titled as ‘The Word and the World’ divided into six chapters. On the
whole, preface apart there are 15 chapters, followed by three sections
namely, ‘Sources’, ‘Acknowledgements’, and ‘Index’.
The history of postcolonial India is one of an unstable democratic
regime which faces challenges from the absolutist ideologies of the left
and right. One is the idea of Hindutva, promoted by the Bharatiya Janata
Party, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad,
the Bajrang Dal, and other associated organizations. Then there is the
threat from extreme leftist organization, the Naxalite/Maoist movement.
The third challenge to the idea of India goes back to the founding of the
nation. There is the notion that the Indian Union is an artificial cobbling
together of many rival nationalities that must, in time, break up into its
constituent parts.
India, in fact, faces three conceptual and ideological challenges—
Hindu fundamentalism, Communist dictatorship, and ethnic separatism.
All challenges date back to the founding of the nation. To these have more
recently been added three mundane and materialist challenges: ‘inequal-
ity’, ‘corruption’, and ‘environmental degradation’. There are growing
inequalities of income, wealth, consumption, property, access to quality
education and health care, and of avenues of dignified employment.
Jadavpur Journal of
International Relations
17(2) 253–257
2013 Jadavpur University
SAGE Publications
Los Angeles, London,
New Delhi, Singapore,
Washington DC
DOI: 10.1177/0973598414535063

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