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Open Minds 2016: Public Square

Srinath Raghavan: War of Words

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In his new book, the historian shows how modern South Asia remains a product of the World War II


Those who have served in the Army often have the best stories, but are seldom the best storytellers. Srinath Raghavan, who served as an infantry officer, is one of the exceptions. In his latest book, India’s War: The Making of Modern South Asia, 1939-1945, he shows how modern South Asia remains a product of the World War II. But does this in the most accessible and reader-friendly way. He also highlights how not all the consequences of India’s war were harmful. ‘Ideas of freedom and democracy, social and individual rights seeped into the discourse— not just of the elite but also the marginalized,’ he writes. Raghavan’s unique skill lies in that he makes complex historic ideas easy to absorb. He uses a range of sources—from the popular to the academic—to bring alive his stories.

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