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‘Making India Great Again’: Attempt to analyse India’s constant failures since colonisation misses

India was a great nation once with a strong economy and a vibrant polity, boasting of great achievements in almost every field of learning. How, when, and why did we lose that greatness, and why have we never been able to recover our past glory? This is a very broad, complex question and is difficult to answer.

Meeta Rajivlochan, a bureaucrat currently serving as member-secretary of National Commission for Women, and M Rajivlochan, professor of history, Panjab University, attempt some answers with their expansive book examining historical reasons and offering a future blueprint for success.

How did India lose its greatness is a question which leads to several answers, depending on which class of writers one reads. If it is Marxist historians and scholars, the ancient period was evolutionary, the medieval period was of great achievement when a composite culture bloomed with high GDP, but everything was destroyed by the British. Post-independence, we did not fully become a socialist state and currently we are following neo-liberal economic policies almost as a stooge of the US, which is the cause of most of our problems.

If one reads nationalist scholars with rightward leanings, the ancient period was of great learning where the country excelled in everything, but due to disunity among the Hindus and weakening of the martial spirit, we fell prey to invasions, first by Muslims and then the British. The Muslim period was a dark period and the British, apart from exploiting us economically, also pulled us away from our roots, thus we forgot our ancient heritage. We failed to prosper post-independence also because we aped the western models, forgetting our Hindu way of life.

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