John Gossman told me about this book “In Spite of The Gods: The Rise of Modern India“. I got this Wednesday and read through about 80% of it so far. Being sick with Flue kind of helped too :). The author Edward Luce, has lived in India for years and has really good grasp of what is happening. There is a great analysis of politics of religion/caste, influence on modern India of 3 of the big leaders, of masses namely Gandhi, Nehru and Ambedkar on various aspects of India (Economy, politics, foreign policy etc).
In one of the chapters he mentions that as the war for independency was taking more and more hold, British had choice of quashing it using military or leave and they chose to leave. Maybe that is the simplification he was looking for in the chapter but certainly there are other reasons why British left India. E.g. Post WWII Britain was in different place than Britain in the era of “Sun never set on British Empire”.
He talks about how books get banned if certain things tend to make certain people angry in India. Calling Shivaji ‘Maratha General’ instead of ‘Maratha King’, certainly has that potential :).
Comparison of Chinese Economic Growth patterns (labor intensive) and Indian Economic Growth pattern (Capital Intensive) is really good. Analysis of Nuclear capabilities between India and Pakistan and its implication is also great.
Bottom line, But this is one of the best book I have read about India and One of the best books I have read in last few months. Good way to start new year.