ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Charan Singh's Early Politics

An Indian Political Life: Charan Singh and Congress Politics, 1937-1961 by Paul R Brass (New Delhi: Sage), 2011; p xxx + 575, Rs 895.

Of all the six short biographies of Lal Bahadur Shastri, Vallabhbhai Patel, Jaiprakash Narayan, Indira Gandhi, Rafi Ahmed Kidwai and Charan Singh by Paul Brass for the New Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, the one on former prime minister Chaudhary Charan Singh has finally culmin­ated in a three volume set, of which the present book is the first one. When Brass wrote Factional Politics in an Indian State: the Congress Party in Uttar Pradesh in 1966, he talked empathetically about him. He even wrote an article on ­Charan Singh in the EPW about 20 years back (EPW, 25 September 1993).

This book is an outcome of the author’s long association with Chaudhary Charan Singh and his family spanning several decades. Brass could access personal files meticulously maintained by Charan Singh enabling him to produce not just a politico-historical narrative of the period, but a critical reading that informs us about the political-cultural dynamics of transition from colonial rule to self-rule in ­Uttar Pradesh (UP).

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