AADHUNIKA BHARATADESA CHARITRA: Translation of Bipan Chandra's work by V. Vasudeva Dikshitulu and Kommareddi Kesava Reddy; Prajasakthi Book House, MH Bhawan, Plot No. 21/1, Azamabad, Hyderabad-500020. Rs. 150.
This is a translation of historian Bipan Chandra's comprehensive account of what the advent of the British rule had meant for the people of India. The scholar discusses the socio-economic conditions, cultural values, and the way of life that prevailed before the British set foot on the Indian soil and goes on to show how the traditional administrative systems and livelihood patterns of rural India were dismantled and destroyed. Farmers became poorer because of stiff levies. Vocations such as handicrafts, hand-weaving, and leather-craft were badly hit and villages ceased to be self-sufficient. Flourishing trade centres like Dhaka, Murshidabad, and Surat became extinct. On the positive side, the educational institutions started by the rulers enlarged the horizons for the youth.
Well-organised chapters and multiple sections with sub-headings make this work reader-friendly. The story of the Moghul empire's downfall and the valiant struggle of the nationalist forces to secure freedom from the imperialists is ably constructed with an eye on detail. Bipan Chandra's elucidation of the inter-relatedness of the political, economic, and social factors that shaped the course of history is admirable. And the task of translation has been handled competently.