Review Essay

India and Ideology

Why Western Thinkers Struggle With the Subcontinent

In This Review

The Indian Ideology

The Indian Ideology
By Perry Anderson
Three Essays Collective, 2012, 194 pp. $49.75 Purchase

The Indian Ideology. By Perry Anderson. Verso, 2013, 192 pp. $19.95. 

According to Perry Anderson’s new book, The Indian Ideology, India’s democracy -- routinely celebrated as the world’s largest -- is actually a sham. It is fatally compromised by its origins in an anticolonial struggle led by the “monolithically Hindu” Congress party, which Anderson holds largely responsible for the bloodiness of the partition of the British-ruled subcontinent in 1947. Anderson describes India’s most famous leader, Mahatma (“Great Soul”) Gandhi, as a crank and a “stranger” to “real intellectual exchange.” Jawaharlal Nehru, Gandhi’s political disciple and India’s first prime minister, was a mediocrity. And both of these upper-caste maladroits were considerably inferior to their sharpest critic, B. R. Ambedkar, the leader of the Dalits (low-caste Hindus) and the main framer of India’s constitution. 

In Anderson’s telling, Nehru, who inherited the colonial “machinery of administration and coercion,” entrenched

Loading, please wait...

This article is a part of our premium archives.

To continue reading and get full access to our entire archive, please subscribe.

Related Articles

This site uses cookies to improve your user experience. Click here to learn more.