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First Draft: Witness to the Making of Modern India

B G Verghese (Author)
Synopsis Journalism constitutes the first draft of history, recording snapshots of events as they flit past the stage. B.G. Verghese has been a mainline journalist for over 60 years and was privileged to watch the creation of modern India from a ringside seat as a political and development correspondent, editor and columnist in the country’s leading newspapers and journals. In between he had two stints in Government and was a member of committees and commissions that inquired into a number of seminal issues.

The narrative of family and youth tell us something of the India that was. Thereafter, his ‘worm’s eye view’ takes us through the unpacking of the Constitution through legislation and planning, the efforts to build ‘socialism’ under a permit-licence raj and control of the commanding heights of the economy, the end of singleparty Congress dominance leading to a new coalition era with the rise of subaltern classes, the transition from famine to green revolution, the reform era and the unshackling of the economy to usher in a new growth path and an Emerging and Incredible India, both shining and, alas, still grievously suffering. Statesmen, heroes, villains and upstarts walk through the pages. There is the story of non-alignment and security concerns, of war and peace, the reshaping of foreign relations and security parameters and efforts at domestic reconciliation in J&K, the North-east and, now, coping with the discontents and inequities that have led to Maoism. Verghese spent five years outside the mainstream with the Gandhi Peace Foundation to experience how the other half lives. His is not an armchair view but a truly hands-on story. He believes that an inclusive social base of Fraternity and equal opportunity holds the key to winning the future. Though not a history of India as such, the sweep of this volume, written with zest and humour, fills a gap in India’s post-Independence history.
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About the author

B G Verghese

B.G. Verghese read economics at St Stephen's College (1944-46) and is a columnist and author, writing on water resources, the North-East, current affairs and the media. He is currently Visiting Professor at the Centre for Policy Research in Delhi and Chair of the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative and of the Media Foundation. He served as editor of the Hindustan Times and Indian Express and received the Magsaysay Award for Journalism in 1975. He was Information Adviser to the Prime Minister (1966-68), has served on numerous official and non-official bodies and is associated with a number of NGOs. He is the author of many books, including Waters of Hope, India's Northeast Resurgent, Reorienting India: The New Geo-Politics of Asia, Warrior of the Fourth Estate: Ramnath Goenka of the 'Express', and editor of Breaking the Big Story, published by Penguin.

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Bibliographic information

Title First Draft: Witness to the Making of Modern India
Author B G Verghese
Format Hardcover
Date published: 07.12.2010
Edition 1st ed.
Publisher Tranquebar Press
Language: English
isbn 9789380283760
length xiv+573p., 16p. of Plates; Illustrations; 25cm.