01 August, 2021

The Same Old Story

Abbreviated, potted history—with undue focus on 'great' leaders

The Same Old Story
IN this era of post-modernism, literary deconstruction and subalterneity, it is almost quaint to come across a book like this. B.R. Nanda is an outstanding historian who has made important contributions to the history of the national movement. His meticulous biographical accounts of important leaders of the freedom struggle have become source books for students of contemporary history and his no-nonsense style of writing straight accounts of events and personalities a model for aspiring historians.

And yet, this book, published on the occasion of the celebration of the golden jubilee of India's Independence, is something of a disappointment. Much water has flown under the bridges over which Clio, the goddess of history, rules since the time Nanda engaged in his Herculean efforts. New facts, new theories, new interpretations have been advanced and indeed new ways of looking at history itself have been developed. In an era when the theory of relativity spans more than physics, there are no longer absolutes in terms of 'facts'. The prescription of Ranke regarding...

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