Book review: Shashi Bhushan Kumar, Indian Prime Ministers: Nehru to Modi

AuthorMahendra Prasad Singh
Published date01 March 2023
Date01 March 2023
Subject MatterBook Reviews
244 Book Reviews
with the study of the role of business chambers in prompting the creation of
federalism in India. It was the Bengal National Chambers of Commerce and Industry
or such chambers in dierent linguistic regions of India that had persuaded the
Congress to accept federalism as the principle of governance in 1916. The emergence
of such new chambers in the new sub-regions has prompted the existing governments
to concede to the demands of the creation of new states, Tribal Councils and Union
Territories. The two major omissions, notwithstanding, the book is useful to readers
who are interested in the history of constitutional federalism in India.
Himanshu Roy
Nehru Memorial Museum and Library,
New Delhi, India
Shashi Bhushan Kumar,
Indian Prime Ministers: Nehru to Modi
. Delhi:
Ankur Book Distributors, 2022, `1,495.
DOI: 10.1177/00195561221120941
This book is compiled as ‘A tribute to Late Prof. L. N. Sharma’, a former Head of
the Department of Political Science, Patna University, with some known writings
on the PMs of India by his able research student Dr Sharma. It comprises twenty
chapters. Five of the chapters are authored by Prof. Sharma himself, one by James
Manor, one by this reviewer and the rest by other Indian scholars. The editor has
briefly introduced the structure and arguments of the book in the Preface.
James Manor in the opening chapter signicantly remarks:
May 2014, India witnessed the emergence of a leader/Prime Minister, who had hith-
erto been largely conned to state politics. There is not much precedence of this sort
in Indian political history where a leader with state-demeanour had risen to the zenith
of political leadership…ultimately becoming the prime minister. This journey was not
easy, particularly for a man who [had] always remained at the hot spot both from within
and outside the party he belonged to, the BJP. Interestingly though, if at all he was
nationally and internationally known, outside his party and country, it was more for
the so-called blemishes and bemoans, than anything else. Narendra Modi’s rise to the
prime ministership, thus, presents an interesting set of paradoxes, burdening students of
Indian politics to discern and demystify some of them. (pp. 1–2)
In the next two chapters, L. N. Sharma formulates an ‘Analytical/Institutional
Approach’ to the study of prime ministers (PMs) of India and the leadership style
of the rst PM Jawaharlal Nehru. A glimpse of this approach may be gleaned from
the dierent phases of the Indian PMship outlined as follows:
1. Consultative Prime Ministerialism: Nehru-Patel Duumvirate (1946–1950),
2. Dominant Prime Ministerialism: Nehru (1951–1964)
3. Weak Prime Ministerialism (Shastri, early Indira Gandhi period,

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