Makers of Modern India by Ramachandra Guha
Dissecting the continuity and diversity of a country is difficult. We study it in schools: the fabric of an empire interspersed with the anxiety and necessity of remembering names, dates, and contributions. It's an essential subject. And one that often drapes our consciousness long after our papers have been graded and stamped with approval. However, what does it mean? To read about the various social, economic, religious, and political contributions of scholars, activists, liberals, conservatives, and leaders when the soul of the matter is left behind. Perhaps, my quest to answer this perplexing question led me to read this book. What does it mean to question the lines that separate 'us' and 'them'? When in fact those divisions done not in numbers but on beliefs and ideologies is nothing but one's psychological thinking and feeling. The model of a country is built on cultivating the core of one's inner fabric. And inversely, one's inner judgment cultivates the fabric of the country. So if tomorrow you stand in a crowd, are you a part of it, or are you a solitary consciousness in the midst of hundreds of others? If that is easy to digest, wouldn't a consciousness based on truth and not belief thrive and multiply? And if so, what happens when you pit belief against belief? Do you shatter into a million pieces, does your soul, or do you still breathe and believe in something?
Believing is a solitary act. Some may call it enlightening and necessary. But when you're the one looking into that crowd of hundreds, it quickly becomes dangerous. So why don't we ask ourselves what side are we on?