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on December 17, 2002
This is an eighth grade level account of India's history written in a high-sounding English. Also, this book assumes some familiarity by the reader with the past of India, but I think that if you already know that much, you do not need this book.
Perhaps, and only perhaps, the books suffers from mediocrity because the two authors, one of Indian and the other of Pakistani origin, had to make compromises in the emphasis they could jointly place on the aspects of modern India's history which are interesting to the younger generation. One such aspect is the causes and consequences of the partition of India, the role of three parties - the British, Indian National Congress and the Muslim League. The book seems to shy away in taking a hard and penetrating look at this. There are hardly any citations to original sources where one could look for more detail.
There are so many other good books where you can find modern Indian history covered at greater depth and width. If you have limited amount of money to spend to buy a good introductory book, then find another one.
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on September 20, 1999
"Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past" said George Orwell. Modern South Asia represents another attempt by Sugata Bose and Ayesha Jalal to wrest control of the past from those who control the present. Cutting right through the lies published in official history text books, Bose and Jalal make a clear, convincing and appealing argument: Partition was the result of misplaced assumptions and opportunism on the part of both Hindu and Muslim leadership. Classification of Muslims as a nation instead of a minority was initially only a tactic to ensure equal representation at the center. It is a great irony of history that it led to the disintegration of the same center. The book is generally well written although the poetry translations could be improved. It should, however, not be treated as a first introduction to the history of the region but as a commentary on partition which created the identities: indian and pakistani, and subsequent events which led to their objectification. A must-read.
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on January 1, 2000
Although this book may serve to guide people through South Asia, it doesn't really explain or go into the complexities of the region. In the case of Pakistan we do not get a complete picture of its varied past as western Pakistan isn't South Asia, but is instead more Middle Eastern as it is populated by speakers of Iranian languages (as opposed to the Indic tongues spoken in eastern Pakistan) Pashtuns and Baluchis. Also the Hindu-Muslim struggles are reduced to religion rather than adding the linguistic and cultural divisions prevalent to this day. For being tauted as revisionist there seems to be little revisionism just different wording.
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on October 13, 2003
The book lacks originality and boldness, that is required for a post-colonial understanding of the past 300 years of Indian history.
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on March 30, 2001
I enjoyed reading this book, it is a concise and easy reading. It makes few but strong points--political economy of colonialism, freedom movement and also describes, what is known as the 'People's history' of South Asia. More focus has been given to Bengal, Punjab and Tamil Nadu. I wish there was some on more stuff on Sindh, NWFP, Nepal and so on.
A must read for those who are inteested in South Asia.
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on October 8, 2001
This book will disappoint anybody with a decent knowledge of the history of India. While this book provides is a good general review of the events in the subcontinent over the last 300 years, it is not rigorous in its treatment of various events that have occured.
However, the authors have admirably condensed 300 years of history in a small text and thus the book merits three stars.
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on April 30, 1998
This book is one of the best introductory books to the history of modern South Asia. Well written by two revisionist historians, it gives an impressive overview of the partition of India. Although it is detailed enough to understand the complexities of South Asian history, it lacks depth. Good bibliography.
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