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A Nation Flawed: Lessons From Indian History
P.N. Chopra A Nation Flawed: Lessons From Indian History : P.N. Chopra : Vision Books : Book (ISBN: 8170942977)
Pages: 188
Price: Rs. 280
Format: Hardcover
ISBN13/10: / 8170942977
Availability: Yes
Published in 1997
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"A nation is condemned if it forgets its past and does not learn lessons from it," warns the distinguished author of this book which provides a distinctive, critical look at why India repeatedly faltered and stumbled in the past. The book is not another narration of the rise and fall of kingdoms and dynasties. It is an analysis of India’s shortcomings and weaknesses since the dawn of history and the lessons that need to be learnt in order for India to emerge as a strong, proud and modern nation.

The book highlights certain habits and tendencies of the Indian people which have time and again held India back; a spirit of self-righteousness, a blind belief in fate or destiny, general passivity and timidity, self-imposed isolation from the outside world, an inability to keep pace with the advancement in strategy and technology made in other countries, particularly in warfare. From the time of Porus to the Sino-Indian war of 1962, India repeatedly fought its adversaries with outmoded weapons and faced debacle. Even Indira Gandhi, one of the country’s strongest Prime Ministers after independence, failed to negotiate a favourable settlement on Kashmir despite an overwhelming victory in the 1971 war against Pakistan — underlining a long history of compromises at the cost of national interests.

Despite all the efforts made by some of India’s great rulers, saints and scholars, Indians have yet to develop a sense of shared pride in their civilisation. There is, in fact, a tendency to repudiate the past worsened by a notion of secularism which has come to mean the giving up of India’s spiritual values and heritage. Instead of making efforts to integrate Indian society, contemporary politicians continue to exploit the distortions spread earlier by foreign rulers about racial divisions, linguistic and regional differences and religious incompatibility in order to win elections. They also appear oblivious to the vital historical lesson that this vast country has always faced disintegration whenever its central leadership grew weak.

"It is a sad fact that all through their history, Indians never developed a sense of nationhood," cautions the author. "Indians also lack a sense of history, and have failed to learn from it." It is a caution worth heeding in order to build India’s political unity and cultural solidarity.

P.N. Chopra

Dr. P.N. Chopra, Chief Editor of the Collected Works of Sardar Patel was the Chief Editor, Indian Gazetteers and Who’s Who of Indian Martyrs of the Ministry of Education, Government of India. He was also the Chief Editor, Towards Freedom project of the Indian Council of Historical Research. In addition, he has written and edited more than forty authoritative works on Indian history and culture. These include History of South India, Quit India Movement of 1942, India — An Encyclopaedic Survey, A Century of Indian National Congress, biographies of Maulana Azad and Sardar Patel and A Nation Flawed: Lessons from Indian History, published by Vision Books in 1997.

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