[Assam] Guha's Book

Ram Sarangapani assamrs at gmail.com
Wed May 9 10:07:58 PDT 2007

I haven't read the book. However, over the last few years, there have been
writeups to books that have essentially captured what both Nilekani & Guha
suggest. Tom Friedman got a lot his ideas from Nilekani for the"World is
Both Guha, Nilekani are others are correct in saying that though the Indian
Democracy has problems, it has sustained itself, and will do so in the
future and in the end succeed.

Yesterday's Sentinel also had another editorial - ie. about Pakistan, and
why, having started at the same time has failed in 'Democracy'.

These are my feelings though:

As far as Assam/NE are concerned, the need to benefit or percolate from any
successes of democracy in B'lore or Pune, major roles have to played by both
the Center and the NE states.
It often seems that some success or the other happens in B'lore or Mumbai -
it almost seems 'foreign' and so far removed.

While IT has affected many states, the NE states have by and large have not
been able to capitalize on it and that gravy train is fast pulling away.

The insurgency has had a profound affect on the pyche of the people in the
NE - and I mean negative. There are those who feel that they have a better
shot (alone) than India in this experiment, and there are others who feel
the insurgency has bogged them down.

The people who feel they can develop Assam/NE independently don't take ever
take ground realities.

The NE states are still fighting double-digit unemployment, poor
infrastructure, power shortage etc etc. Corruption and mismanagement of
funds are yarns by themself. Today's AT reports that the DONER ministry
coughed-up Rs 275 Crs or something. Assam was expected to put up its share
of 25%. When that didn't happen, it was lowered to 15% - even that did not
It is very difficult to imagine, that the state cannot even garner its share
- why? because its tax-base is weak, and most of what is collected is stolen
with impunity.

In the end - India should be able to boast of a true democracy, when even
remote NE areas can also claim, that they too have benefitted.  For that to
happen - the leaders and thinkers in the NE must involve the states in all
facets of the greater Indian successes as opposed to finding weak areas to
whittle away at the behemoth. That does NOT help the NE, its people and nor
does it help India as it moves forward.


On 5/9/07, Dilip/Dil Deka <dilipdeka at yahoo.com> wrote:
> A little more on Guha and Guha's book from the TOI. Apparently the book is
> brand new.
> =====================================================
> *Guha hails Indian democracy
> *[9 May, 2007 l 0333 hrs ISTlTIMES NEWS NETWORK]
>  BANGALORE: Two people from entirely different quarters of life upheld and
> appreciated India's liberal democratic credentials despite the numerous
> divisions that characterise it. Ramachandra Guha, and Nandan Nilekani, who
> launched Guha's book, India After Gandhi on Tuesday, said if there was
> anything to admire about India, it was its rumbling and robust democracy.
> Nandan said India's democracy was the foundational basis for its current
> progress. He said India's strength lay in an institutional framework of
> democracy, in its adoption of English as a global language, in its capacity
> to adopt technological change and in its gradual movement from a limited
> access system to an open access system.
> Nandan, describing Guha's book as lucid, detailed and highly readable,
> saluted the pioneering efforts of Ambedkar, Gandhiji, Nehru and Sardar
> Patel. He said the book exhibited extraordinary scholarship on India's
> political foundations and was a non-ideological, non-partisan must read.
> Guha recalled the history of India's democracy from the 50s to the current
> times and described the nation as an "unnatural nation and an unlikely
> democracy". He hailed India's success in managing myriad castes, religions,
> classes and communities and of course its capacity to hold and organise
> regular elections.
> Guha also recalled the efforts of one of India's finest civil servants, C
> S Venkatachar, who, he said, played a major role in the conceptualisation of
> the book, a result of eight years of research. He narrated how he compiled
> the book beginning from a "mythical history book".
> Guha described the pioneering efforts of Gandhiji, Nehru and Sardar Patel.
> He said it was necessary to write biographies of some of the greatest
> personalities of Indian democracy.
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