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From being elected as Congress president in 1929 till his death in 1964, Jawaharlal Nehru remained a towering figure in Indian politics, a man who left an indelible stamp on the history of South Asia. As a leading light of the nationalist struggle and as India's first and longest-serving prime minister, his ideas shaped the political contours of the country and left an imprint so deep that his legacy continues to be debated furiously today.
In life, as in afterlife, Nehru was many things to many people. Going beyond the imposed labels of contemporary discourse, this book illuminates four encounters that Nehru had with contemporaries from across the political spectrum - Muhammad Iqbal, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, Sardar Patel and Syama Prasad Mookerjee - that are critical to understanding his ideas, and his long afterlife and impress on the present.
Nehru may no longer be alive to answer his critics today, but there was a time when he pitted himself vigorously against his opponents in the marketplace of ideas, debating the most profound questions in South Asian history and decisively influencing political events. It is this intellectually combative Nehru whom we meet in this book - voicing ideological disagreements, forging political alliances, moulding political opinion, offering visions of the future and staking out the political field - a key figure in the debates that defined India
Adeel Hussain is an assistant professor at Leiden University and a senior research affiliate at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law in Heidelberg. He was born in Sialkot, Pakistan, and holds two degrees in German Law (first and second state examination) as well as a master's and PhD from the University of Cambridge. His next book, Law and Muslim Political Thought in Late Colonial North India, is forthcoming in 2022. He now lives and works in The Hague.
Tripurdaman Singh is a British Academy postdoctoral fellow at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies, University of London. Born in Agra, India, Tripurdaman read politics and international studies at the University of Warwick and earned an MPhil in modern South Asian studies and a PhD in history at the University of Cambridge. He is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, a Fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society and the author of Imperial Sovereignty and Local Politics (2019) as well as the widely acclaimed Sixteen Stormy Days (2020). He lives in Cambridge.