23 January, 2021

Nehru, Reinvented

In this exceedingly well-informed, passionately conceived and elegantly written 'Nehru Charit', Tharoor has produced an important tract for our times.

Nehru, Reinvented
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53
"Jawaharlal Nehru’s impact on India is too great not to be re-examined periodically," writes Shashi Tharoor at the beginning of this lyrically nationalist biography. He picks through the details of the nationalist movement, pegging it to the career of a rather unremarkable young man who rose in later life to shape the very contours of the Indian nation-state. We may continue to deify Gandhi, and seek to bury Nehru’s Idea of India, but much like the daubing of fingernails with long-lasting electoral ink to prevent bogus voting, it is Nehru’s modernist legacy that has marked the life of our democracy. In this exceedingly well-informed, passionately conceived and elegantly written ‘Nehru Charit’, Tharoor, a late midnight child himself, has produced an important tract for our times, both historical-national and the virtual global.

The meatier portion of the book is a fast-paced yet sure-footed journey through nationalist north India, as it coalesced with Jawaharlal’s own life. While framing the colonial mai-baaps, Tharoor is engagingly irreverent: Lord Irwin,...

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