Book Review: The Nation and Its Citizens by Sukumar Muralidharan

A new paradigm to understand India's unique political trajectory

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Book Title: The Nation and Its Citizens: Tales of Bondage and Belonging 
Author: Sukumar Muralidharan
Published: Rupa Publications

Book Review:

The Nation and Its Citizens by Sukumar Muralidharan
The Nation and Its Citizens by Sukumar Muralidharan

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This book by author Sukumar Muralidharan details moments in the life of the Indian nation after Independence. After Independence, the life of Indians took a drastic turn with events that will be enlisted in world history for a very long time. The partition times and the right and left-wing politics that took most of the timeline of independent India are well explained in the book. The right-wing authoritarian regime with deeper dark times, fanatic forms of nationalism, and its consequences are explained well.

Author Muralidharan tells us of the consolidation of the project of resurrecting the temple of Somnath. The restoration of temples sacked by Islamic rulers sends powerful messages. The results of majoritarian assertions are more than visible today, the consolidation of a religious majority as a democratic majority.

People are engrossed in watching Instagram reels and busy buying the best car or house. It is often forgotten that the majority principle is workable and not morally just. But who cares about inequality, hunger, and deep-rooted poverty when temples are restored?

This book reminds us of the warnings of historians. The Nation and Its Citizens: Tales of Bondage and Belonging is about nationalism as a uniquely modern political doctrine shaped by the lived experience of citizens. Nationalism has changed in its appeal through history, as have its manifestations. Getting to know these may be part of the challenge of negotiating the nation’s ongoing internal and external turmoil.

This blurb makes the book more readable. The language is straightforward and extremely penetrating. The font and tone of the book will make the readers understand what is to be given importance for the better future of the country and our coming generations.


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