History of Modern India is one of the famous books of Bipin Chandra. This book was published by Orient Blackswan in 2009. This book is a journey mapping the path of colonial India in from the eighteenth century to the twentieth century. It traces the timeline of British rule which majorly coincides with the modern Indian history. However, this is not a political narrative of the British rule, the freedom struggle and the Independence. Rather, this book is a social understanding of the factors that allowed British rulers to rule over India for such a long span of time. It tries to understand what the social effects of the rule were. How the small villages and corners of India was affected by a power that was controlled from Europe. What did this rule bring for the Indians to make their lives better? How did the colonized people perceived, behaved and reacted to the foreign rule? These are some of the questions famous Historian and Former JNU faculty, Late Bipin Chandra have tried to answer through his own understanding on the matter combined with oral and written references.
This book is a product of Chandra’s own research on nationalism and colonialism in India. So here you will not only find all that had happened politically, but also socio-economic aspects like what did the general people understood and did about this rule? He uses an innovative chronology; he deals with causes as well as the effects of this reign over India. While you read the book, nationalist movement certainly becomes the main storyline, but the anecdotes and parallel stories of what was going through the lives that just wanted to get by each day without any trouble are interesting. You can easily understand what and how the social hidden narratives went during that time. This is not the only accurate description of Modern Indian history, but this is much closer to the everyday reality of those who lived between 1700s-1947 in India. This book is a recommended read for the students who are preparing for civil services with “history” as an optional paper. It is also recommended for other History enthusiasts and academies.