Nation in the Popular Imaginary
by A. Banerjee , , pp.,
August 2006, volume 30, No 8

At one level this is a smartly produced coffee table book that features historic photographs of India’s birth to freedom from British rule. The pictures of India’s ‘first dynasty’ the Nehru-Gandhi family dominate the collection. As always, they are attractive to the eye and historic in the moments they capture. The reader ploughs along approvingly as they confirm to every stereotype that an average Indian has internalized about the makings of modern India. Foremost of these impressions are the iconic frames of Pandit Nehru and his family. And there is no dearth of these in the book: Nehru, his sister Vijaylakshmi Pandit, his daughter Indira with her sons Sanjay and Rajiv, rub shoulders here with his elite colleagues—Lord Mountbatten, Patel, Maulana Azad, and Jinnah. Mahatma Gandhi figures most prominently on the occasion of his death!

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