Monday, July 19, 2010

Review of "Words of Freedom: Ideas of A Nation" - Collection of Speeches by Pundit Jawaharlal Nehru

I mentioned in my previous post that I am reading “Words of Freedom: Ideas of A Nation” by Pundit Jawaharlal Nehru, independent India’s First Prime minister till 1964, until his death. I have just finished reading that book. Here is my close review on that.

The Book is a very small one, having only around 100 pages and the size of paper itself is so small that a regular reader can read it within few hours.
The Book is published by Penguin Books India and you can find the details here:

You can buy book from this link:

I had finished reading this book within few sittings many days earlier but because of the lack of time, I could write only now.

You are aware that this book is a collection of Punditji’s speeches during the independence of India and after that when matters were being deliberated in ‘Constituent Assembly’. As the time from where the speeches are taken, it gives us a kind of symbol that the speeches collected here are among the best. I am sure the publishers picked up those speeches which tried to spread the ideas of a united nation and after reading this book, every citizen should feel proud, and motivated.

However, the speeches contained in the book did not sound so inspiring to me. They were not that much able to generate thoughts and ideas and I doubt, if reading them, if anyone gets so much inspired. The book at the end, in my view, fails to evoke thoughts on readers and nor is able to picture the situation and history of India at that time. On this way, book fails to do justice to the title and to the readers.

May be we have seen many wars, terrorism, and violence that we need to hear or read stronger words to get inspired. I am sure people must have obviously got inspired at those days when they read these words and definitely when Punditji delivered these words but in the absence of Punditji’s voice today, only the words cannot comfort us. I felt we needed stronger words, more appeals and more closeness to get inspired. Therefore, the book does not figure in my best.

It is not Punditji’s fault that he cannot evoke or deliver message to our generation from his words which were uttered by him in that great time when the landscape of India was changing; when the most sought freedom were given to us by those heard and unheard martyr’s hard works and when Punditji along with Ambedkar and Rajendra Prasad were busy to institutionalize the most cherished freedom and democracy. Definitely, it cannot be Punditji’s fault. There is something wrong with us. Must be!

But, there is one fault that I find fault with the publishers is that there is virtually no background against which the speeches were delivered except a small one or two paragraphs. That is not enough. The book is not a big historical document analyzing the time. It is definitely targeted to our Macdonald’s and SMS and MMS generation which no nothing about our glorious history which was built by those great fighters. If that is the intention, then, there was a strong need of giving backgrounds to events that Punditji was narrating.

There, I see the fault of not having an editor. Punditji refers to so many world events that we are completely unaware of. Many times, I tried to relate and guess some events that I thought might be referred by the orator. Therefore, in the absence of such historical backgrounds, sometimes readers cannot fully grasp with the ideas that Punditji is trying to deliver. Here, I see the fault of Publishers. I think that the book could be more informative having an editor who gives in detail the background of the historical events and make readers aware about the various incidents referred by Punditji. This could have been done a commentary before or after each speech or by way of footnotes, but I would not have preferred lengthy footnotes.

Overall, the book is just Okay, much less than my expectation. You can read once and pay homage to Punditji. I am sure next edition will be an improved one.

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