When the first edition of this book appeared, India's independence from British rule was still a relatively recent event. This fifth edition coincides with the return of the Congress Party to political power as the leading party in a new government in India. The book gives a clear and comprehensive account of the complex factors which led to the rise and eventual success of Indian nationalism in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries until recent times. It presents the story of what was involved in the freedom struggle -- the nationalist demands brought together by clearly formulated, underlying tions of cultural and national identity which convinced the British politicians that their withdrawal was t only a necessity but an imperative that could t be, r should be, long denied. The analysis begins with the groups and individuals responsible for Western-style political organisations, examining their social background and the part played by the Indian National Congress in the struggle for independence. The narration traces the developments from Nehru and Indira Gandhi through to Rajiv Gandhi as prime ministers of India, the coming of VP Singh, the demolition of Babri Masjid in Ayodhya in 1992, and its aftermath, the coming of the National Democratic Alliance to power with BJP at the head in 1999 up to its defeat in the 2004 elections, and the comeback of the Congress.
Jim Masselos is an honorary reader in history at the University of Sydney.