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Small bites of history

Book review of The Courtesan, the Mahatma & the Italian Brahmin

Cover of The Courtesan, the Mahatma and the Italian Brahmin: Tales from Indian History. Credits: Amazon.in
Cover of The Courtesan, the Mahatma and the Italian Brahmin: Tales from Indian History. Credits: Amazon.in

In this book’s afterword, simply titled “An Essay for Our Times”, young historian Manu S Pillai quotes a wide range of freedom fighters and intellectuals of pre-Independence India and the debates on nationalism, and arrives at the following conclusion: “Whether or not India’s diversity was an asset or a dangerous weakness depended on which of these visions was allowed to prevail and gain moral influence over the vast majority of the country’s people.” He warns that any attempt to “reengineer” the unity-in-diversity narrative, which has ...