I have refered to independent India as the most interesting country in the world. This is the impartial judgement of a historian, not the partisan claim of a citizen.
There were, and are, four revolutions occuring simultaneoulsy in India; the urban revolution, the industrial revolution, the national revolution, and the democratic revolution. The key word here is simultanelously.
The size of its territory plus the diversity of its people plus the simultaneity of these four great social revolutions — that is what makes India the most interesting country in the world.
There is also some advice as to how a historian can approach the process of writing a comtemporary history of some aspect of Indian life:
Two maxims might be useful here. The first is from F. W. Maitland; “What is now in the past was once in the future”. The second is from George Orwell: “The writer musty not be a loyal member of a political party”. Maitland’s maxim warns us against using the privilege of hindsight. Orwell’s warns us against imposing the political preferences today on our renditions of the past.
A nice piece; Take a look!
A digression: Guha’s seventh footnote of the article reads as follows:
My use of the conventional “he” to denote “he” or “she” should not be taken as a manifenstation of male bias. It is just that I find the alternatives– “s/he” or “he or she” –clumsy and cumbersome.
I am not very happy with Guha’s choice or solution; I have noticed lot of work arounds that people have come up with; Guha’s is neither original nor satisfactory; I find the suggestion offered by Mary Claire vanLeunen to be the best–for every such sentence, toss a coin and choose he or she. In fact, it might be helpful to come up with an add-on for the usual word processing programs which would automate this process.