india after gandhi

anonymous asked:

I'm writing a supernatural story about a team of vampire hunters in the 1850's and one of the members of the team is from China and another is from India. The other two are Scottish and French respectively. How do I make both the Indian and Chinese characters display a point of view accurate to that culture? I don't want them to just seem like western characters, since obviously they are from different cultures and thus would have different mindsets. What sort of sources should I look into?

Chinese and Indian Vampire Hunters

Look into the Qing Dynasty (since that’s the corresponding era), and consume works that take place in it—that should give you a good idea for viewpoints.

Also, I think there were Taoist exorcists, who might have been vampire hunters? if any Chinese followers want to provide suggestions?

—mod Jess

1850 was right in the middle of British colonialism in India, two years after Gandhi was assassinated, so definitely do some research into that. There would be freedom fighters and lots of revolutionary acts and anti-British sentiments. This pdf might help with that, but look for primary sources from Indians living then especially. 

-Mod Satvika

Edit: Gandhi was assassinated in 1948.

~Mod Colette

Edit: Fixed link!

-Mod Satvika

If, for Indian children, history comes to an end with independence and partition, this is because Indian adults have mandated it that way. In the academy, the discipline of history deals with the past, while the disciplines of political science and sociology deal with the present. This is a conventional and in many ways logical division. The difficulty is that in the Indian academy the past is defined as a single, immovable date: 15 August 1947. Thus, when the clock struck midnight and India became independent, history ended, and political science and sociology began.
—  Ramachandra Guha, India After Gandhi: The History of the World’s Largest Democracy
"India After Gandhi"

The size of “India After Gandhi” made the task of reading it seem rather daunting. However, after spending some quality time with this book, holing up in the corners of coffee shops, I came to realize it was a fantastic read and a great eye-opener.

I think one of the things I really gained from the reading was just how diverse India is. The population of India is approximately 1,189,172,906 currently, according to the CIA World Factbook. Despite such an immense population, India has maintained the democracy that was put into place after they gained their independence in 1947. I think this passage was particularly interesting:

“A recent statistical analysis of the relationship between democracy and development in 135 countries found that ‘the odds against democracy in India were extremely high.’ Given its low levels of income and literacy, and its high levels of social conflict, India was ‘predicted as [a] dictatorship during the entire period’ of the study. Since, in fact, it was a democracy for that entire period (barring two years) there was only one way to characterize India: as ‘a major outlier.’”

And I truly believe India is an outlier, and a fascinating one at that. Despite the many variations in religion, language and beliefs, it is sometimes difficult to believe that India has maintained a sense of unity, especially when we compare their country to our own-I know I have my days when it feels like America doesn’t seem united.

Something I gained from the reading however is that Indians remain united in their own unique ways. One example was India’s efforts to become an independent nation.

“Certainly, it was the movement against British rule that first united men and women from different parts of the subcontinent in a shared endeavour.”

Another thing I have come to notice is that Indians absolutely love their cinema. And cricket. These two forms of entertainment have a way of bonding fellow Indians. I remember reading this quote in the book from poet Khadar Mohiuddin: “Cricket matches weigh and measure my patriotism.”

Then there’s the influence of Indian cinema.

“For ‘an Indian world full of strife, tension and misery,’ writes one critic, popular film provides ‘just the right escapism the country needed.’”

It’s these little aspects that hold the country together that I’d like to experience and learn more about, because despite the many conflicts and riots that have plagued India, and despite the wide variations amongst the population, the people have remained united and have worked their way up in the world, with a now booming economy.

Maybe that’s why one of the last passages of the book resonates with me, when it describes the thoughts of poet Mirza Asadullah Khan Ghalib:

“Conflict and privation were all around him, but doomsday had not yet come. ‘Why does not the Last Trumpet sound?’”

I believe it’s because India shines brighter than other nations, because it has the audacity to prove to the world that there can be unity within chaos.

On 12 October the deputy prime minister of Jammu and Kashmir said in Delhi that “We intend to keep on friendly relations with both India and Pakistan. Despite constant rumours, we have no intention of joining either India or Pakistan…The only thing that will change our mind is if on side or the other decides to use force against us…The Maharaja told me that his ambition is to make Kashmir the Switzerland of the East - a State that is completely neutral.”


The only thing that will change our mind is if one side or the other decides to use force against us. Two weeks after these words were spoken a force of several thousand armed men invaded the State from the north. On 22 October they crossed the border that seperated the North-West Frontier Provinces from Kashmir and briskly made their way to the capital, Srinagar.

Most of these raiders were Pathans from what was now a province of Pakistan. This much is undisputed; what is not so certain is why they came and who was helping them. These two questions lie at the heart of the Kashmir dispute; sixty years later, historians still cannot provide definitive answers to them.

—  pp 64. India After Gandhi, Ramachandra Guha, Picador, 2008