Book Review: India's War- World War II and the Making of Modern South Asia by Srinath Raghavan

  • ISIN: 978-0670086115
  • Genre: Non Fiction / War Stories
  • Publishers: Penguin Random House
  • Price: Rs. 699/- (I got this book from the publisher for a review)
Between 1939 and 1945 India underwent extraordinary and irreversible change. Hundreds of thousands of Indians suddenly found themselves in uniform, fighting in the Middle East, North and East Africa, Europe and—something simply never imagined—against a Japanese army poised to invade eastern India. With the threat of the Axis powers looming, the entire country was pulled into the vortex of wartime mobilization. By the war’s end, the Indian Army had become the largest volunteer force in the conflict, consisting of 2.5 million men, while many millions more had offered their industrial, agricultural, and military labor. It was clear that India would never be same—the only question was: would the war effort push the country toward or away from independence?

In India’s War, historian Srinath Raghavan paints a compelling picture of battles abroad and of life on the home front, arguing that the war is crucial to explaining how and why colonial rule ended in South Asia. World War II forever altered the country’s social landscape, overturning many Indians’ settled assumptions and opening up new opportunities for the nation’s most disadvantaged people. When the dust of war settled, India had emerged as a major Asian power with her feet set firmly on the path toward Independence.

From Gandhi's early urging in support of Britain's war efforts, to the crucial Burma Campaign, where Indian forces broke the siege of Imphal and stemmed the western advance of Imperial Japan, Raghavan brings this under explored theater of WWII to vivid life. The first major account of India during World War II, India’s War chronicles how the war forever transformed India, its economy, its politics, and its people, laying the groundwork for the emergence of modern South Asia and the rise of India as a major power.

Behind the book


About the author  

Srinath Raghavan is Senior Fellow at the Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi. A former infantry officer in the Indian Army, he has studied and taught at King’s College London. He is the author of two highly praised books War and Peace in Modern India: A Strategic History of the Nehru Years (2010) and 1971: A Global History of the Creation of Bangladesh (2013). He is a recipient of the 2015 Infosys Prize (Social Sciences).

Me thinks

Yes I enjoy reading varied genres because of which this book was of mighty interest to me. I had manage to grab an excerpt of this book on internet and had just added it to my never ending TBR when it arrived as a review copy. You can only imagine my joy :)

After reading a book on World war- I this seemed like the most natural book to follow. There were too many things in the book which I wasnt aware of and took me by surprise. 

Do you ever wonder who decided the border during the Partition? Do you know who decided the East Pakistan border? Why is Kashmir divided into Kashmir and POK (Pakistan Occupied Kashmir)? If you have answered in yes to any of these questions then this book is for you.I have always wondered over these things and many more such questions regarding India and Indian military. This book had all those answers for me and that too so much in detail that it felt as if I had gone back to school for I felt like a student. I literally read and re-read some of the portions in the book just to ensure that I had understood them correctly. 

Superbly written and mind-blowing research behind the book makes this book a great addition to any bookshelf purely for the knowledge it holds in those pages of Indian history. Don't miss this one!
Foodie Verdict

This book is like spicy guava ice cream - unique, mind blowing, sweet, cool and an instant energizer!



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