Modern South Asia is a comprehensive and well-researched book that provides a detailed overview of the history of the Indian subcontinent from the mid-eighteenth century to the present day. The authors, Sugata Bose and Ayesha Jalal, both prominent historians in their own right, bring their expertise and insights to bear on this fascinating and complex subject.
The Strength of the Book
One of the strengths of Modern South Asia is the authors’ use of the latest research. And scholarship in the field. The first edition was publish in 2004, and the second edition was release in 2010. Reflecting the significant developments in South Asian historiography during this time. The book incorporates the newest and most sophisticated historical research. Particularly on the formation of religious, regional, and national identities in South Asia.
The authors also provide a nuanced understanding of the place of religion in the public sphere. Moving beyond the dichotomy between statist, ‘secular’ histories and communitarian, ‘subaltern’ histories. This subtler understanding is reflect throughout the book, and it is one of the book’s greatest strengths.
The first edition of Modern South Asia narrated the subcontinent’s history up to 1997. The second edition brings the story up to date in purely chronological terms. The book covers key developments since 1997. Including the 1998 nuclear tests, the rise of the BJP to power in India. Yet another military regime in Pakistan, and new twists and turns in India-Pakistan relations.
Chapter by Chapter Revision
The authors have also had occasion to rethink some of the key issues discussed in the first edition. And have received sufficient feedback from colleagues and students to engage in a chapter-by-chapter revision. For example, the introduction has been rewritten. He more difficult discussion of historiography has been shifted to the beginning of the bibliography. The authors have also sought to restore the balance somewhat in the second edition on the relationship between region and religion. Particularly in Chapter 5 on the eighteenth century.
Accessibility One of the most significant achievements of Modern South Asia is that it is accessible to a general readership, including students and non-specialists with an interest in South Asia. The authors have succeeded in conveying to a general readership the current and cutting-edge state-of-the-art in South Asian historiography.
Overall, Modern South Asia is a valuable resource for anyone interest in the history of the Indian subcontinent. The book’s strengths lie in its use of the latest research and scholarship. Its nuanced understanding of the place of religion in the public sphere. Its chronological coverage up to the present day, and its accessibility to a general readership. The book is highly recommend for students, scholars. And anyone interested in the rich and complex history of this fascinating and important region.