The Definitive History

D. R. SarDesai

First Edition • August 1, 2007 • 512 pages

Print ISBN: 9780813343525 • $65.00 USD$53.99 CAN

Ebook ISBN: 9780786733118 • $39.99 USD$45.99 CAN

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For several years now, India has been receiving considerable global attention thanks to its spectacular economic growth at over seven percent for a decade. Along with China, these two ancient civilizations, responsible for one-third of the human race, are poised to become the third and fourth largest economies in the world. With apprehensions about China’s growing military strength, democratic India is regarded by the West as a likely counterbalance to the Communist giant.

D. R. SarDesai presents the history of India in its entire civilizational depth. Using an Indiacentric approach (as opposed to the Eurocentric or Anglocentric), the book covers the process of change in India through the centuries affecting different segments of the society, including the subalterns. He deals with the sweep of traditional Indian history as well as with the postindependence events, judicially balancing narrative and analysis in the conceptual framework of postcolonial and postmodernist approaches. This is the first major survey which deals with the entire Indian history along the lines of tradition and modernity instead of the old and largely inapplicable divisions of ancient, medieval, and modern timeframes. In adopting such a periodization, the book supports what is followed by most instructors in their courses on India.

D. R. SarDesai is former Chairperson of South and Southeast Asian Studies and the first holder of the Doshi Chair in Indian History at the University of California, Los Angeles. He is the author of Southeast Asia: Past and Present 5th Edition (Westview Press, 2003). He is also the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Yadunandan Center for India Studies for his caring and distinguished work in South and Southeast Asian studies.

Introduction: Approaches to Indian History
I: The Cultural Heritage
1.Indus Valley Civilization and the Question of the Aryans
2.Evolution of Hinduism
3.The Heterodox Religions
4.Hindu Literature and Philosophy
5.Formation of Kingdoms and Republics
6.Advent of Islam
7.Islam and the Subcontinent
8.Rise and Fall of the Mughals
II: The Colonial Experience
9.The Early Trading Contacts with the Europeans
10.From Trade to Territory
11.Agents of Change
12.Indian Props of British Empire
13.British-Indian Encounters
14.Balance Sheet of British Imperialism
III: The Nationalist Movement
15.India Finds Itself
16.Beginnings of Indian Nationalism
17.Gandhi and the Key Landmarks in the Indian Freedom Movement
18.Nehru, Swaraj, and Socialism
19.Bose, the Indian National Army, and World War II
20.Jinnah’s Two-Nation Theory and the Partition
IV: Fruits of Freedom
21.Postcolonial Problems
22.The Political Process
23.The Center-State Relations
24.Planning and Economic Development
25.India and the World
26.India and Global Concerns

“This comprehensive history of India does it all, covering geography, religion, politics, economics, times of Mughal rule and British colonialism, as well a chronicle of India since independence up to the present. SarDesai has created an indispensable resource for understanding the complexity of India, past, present, and future.”
—Christopher Key Chapple, Doshi Professor of Indic and Comparative Theology, Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles

“SarDesai offers a comprehensive history of India based on a lifetime of intimate and deep study … An authoritative guide backed by SarDesai’s deep and exhaustive knowledge of the sources … the volume’s great strength is its comprehensiveness, its readability, and … it goes the extra step of explaining concepts and terms that make it a very valuable guide to those coming to this rich subject for the first time … This book is the most sophisticated and erudite history of India penned by an Indian scholar.”
—Roger D. Long, Professor of History, Eastern Michigan University

“This book is not just a history of India – although quite comprehensive in coverage of that subject – from one scholar’s point of view. Nor is it just a chronology of events like most other books on Indian history. It is much more. . . . If you want to read a good book about India, not just about its past . . . but also its present and future, I urge you to get a copy of this book and read it.” —BIZ INDIA Magazine

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