Nehru: 2the Making of India

M. J. Akbar, Author Viking Books $27.5 (624p) ISBN 978-0-670-81699-6
Published in the centennial year of Jawaharlal Nehru's birth, this massive, semi-adulatory, stodgy biography of India's first prime minister limns Nehru as a highly emotional idealist who transcended Hindu nationalism and Muslim revivalism to crystallize the cause of national unity. Critics have charged Nehru with a loss of nerve in 1947, when he rejected Gandhi's stance of ``no freedom without unity,'' but Indian journalist Akbar contends Nehru agreed to the partition of India and Pakistan because he was convinced that Muhammad Ali Jinnah, chief Muslim separatist, was capable of setting a torch to the whole subcontinent. Akbar, an Indian Muslim, offers a scathing portrayal of Jinnah, whom he accuses of pushing for partition in order to further his own political ambitions. We also get revealing glimpses of Churchill's vicious hatred of Indians, his unholy alliance with Jinnah and the famine the British did little to alleviate in the early 1940s. Though he minutely chronicles political affairs, Akbar ( India: The Siege Within ) says little about how Nehru addressed the vast task of rebuilding India. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 04/01/1989
Release date: 04/01/1989
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 624 pages - 978-0-14-010083-9
Hardcover - 978-81-7436-205-6
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