Book Review

Discovery of India

Title of the Book
Discovery of India
Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru
Indian Price
Rs. /-
19 561322 8
First Published in
1946 (by The Signet Press, Calcutta)
Published by
Oxford University Press
(by Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Fund)

About the Author :
Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru (1889-1964)
Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of independent India was born at Allahabad on 14 November 1889. He was the only son of Motilal Nehru and Swarup Rani. From the age of 15 to 23 Jawaharlal studied in England at Harrow, Cambridge and the Inner Temple returning to India in 1912.
Jawaharlal Nehru remained the Prime Minister of India for 17 long years and can rightly be called the architect of modern India. He set India on the path of democracy and nurtured its institution - Parliament, multi-party system, independent judiciary and free press. He encouraged Panjayati Raj institutions.
Education to him was very important for internal freedom and fearlessness. It was Nehru who insisted if the world was to exist at all; it must exist as one. He was generous and gracious. Emotional sensitivity and intellectual passion infused his writings, giving them unusual appeal and topicality even today. He was awarded Bharat Ratna in 1955. He never forgot India's great cultural heritage and liked to combine tradition with modernity.
Jawaharlal was a prolific writer in English and wrote a number of books like ‘The Discovery of India’, ‘Glimpses of World History’, his autobiography, ‘towards Freedom' (1936) ran nine editions in the first year alone. Emotional sensitivity and intellectual passion infused his writings, giving them unusual appeal & topicality even today. He was awarded Bharat Ratna in 1955.
Pandit Nehru loved children and they call him affectionately as Chacha Nehru. Hie birthday is observed as Children's Day. He believed that children are the future of the nation. Nehru passed away in 1964.

About the Book :
This book was written by Swargiya Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru in Ahmadnagar Fort prison during the five months, April to September 1944. Nehru was jailed for his participation in the Quit India movement along with other Indian leaders, and he used this time to write down his thoughts and learning about India’s history. Some of his colleagues in prison were good enough to read the manuscript and make a number of valuable suggestions. On revising the book in prison he took advantage of these suggestions and made some additions.
His eleven companions in Ahmadnagar Fort were an interesting cross-section of India and represented in their several ways not only politics but Indian scholarship, old and new, and various aspects of present-day India. Nearly all the principal living Indian languages, as well as the classical languages which have powerfully influenced India in the past and present, were represented and the standard was often that of high scholarship.
Discovery of India is widely regarded as a classic in India, and provides a concise precise of Indian history, philosophy and culture as viewed from the eyes of a liberal Indian fighting for independence of his country. It was then published in 1946 and has since acquired the status of a classic.
The story of Discovery of India begins from prehistory to the last years of British colonial rule; some of the greatest heroes of India are mentioned. Analyzing texts from the Vedas to the Upanishads, and epics such as the Mahabharata and the Ramayana, and personalities like the Buddha and Mahatma Gandhi, Mr. Nehru brings to life an ancient culture and land that has been the base and headquarters of some of the world’s great traditions of philosophy, science and art, and almost all its major religions.
Jawaharlal Nehru in his work has narrated in this book India’s rich and complex past from the prehistoric times to the final years of colonial rule in India. Nehru begins his account from the beginning of the Indus Valley Civilization and outlines the country’s geography before introducing the native tribes.
The highlights of the book are Nehru’s own readings of the Indian epics, rituals, and scriptures like the Vedas and Arthshastra (economics). Nehru has also explained in detail the growth of new religions and religious sects, such as Buddhism, and Jainism and the changing social structure. The effect of foreign invaders, such as the Aryans, Persians, Greeks, Arabs, Turkish, and Mongols, their rule and the impact on the Indian society can also be understood by reading the book. Since Nehru Himself was part of the Indian independence movement, readers can have a subjective view of the movement from the time it had begun to the time when it gained momentum till the final years of the movement.
The book captures in essence and brings to life one of the world’s ancient culture encompassing all aspects of it - philosophy, art, religion, science, society and social movements. The Discovery of India is a wonderful read for any student of history, who wants to learn about India and its rich past. It is also a wonderful read for anybody who is interested in knowing about the country which holds within its boundaries so many regions, religions, sects, races, languages,cuisines, and sub cultures.