Libmonster ID: IN-1296
Author(s) of the publication: G. I. CHUFRIN

The monograph of famous Russian indologists F. N. Yurlov and E. S. Yurlova "History of India. XX century" (Moscow, Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, 2010, 920 p.). In this fundamental work, the authors conducted a thorough and in-depth scientific analysis of the most important socio-political and economic processes taking place in modern India. It was, without exaggeration, a very noticeable and significant event in the long-term study of this great country by Russian Orientalists.

This monograph is a very voluminous and multi-faceted study, the first part of which examines the most important political processes in colonial India and the history of the anti-colonial movement, including such landmark events as the movement in support of local goods (swadeshi) and civil disobedience campaigns. The second part of the work is devoted to a detailed analysis of the formation and implementation of the socio-political and economic course of India in the years of its independent development. In the third part of the study, the authors consider the main directions of the foreign policy of independent India, as well as analyze its military doctrine and the construction of the armed forces.

The authors have undoubtedly made a thorough analysis of the activities of the main political parties in the country, primarily the Indian National Congress (INC) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), as well as religious and community organizations at various stages of India's history from the end of the XIX century to the present day. The analysis of the reasons for the achievements and failures of left-wing Indian political parties, including the Communist Party of India (CPI) and the CPI (m), is noteworthy. Finally, an organic part of the study of the internal political processes taking place in India was the study of the role of castes in them. At the same time, the authors note the growing importance of backward castes in the socio-political life of the country, which account for more than 50% of the population, and analyze in detail the consequences of this phenomenon in various states of India.

It seems that the Russian reader may be particularly interested in those chapters and sections of the monograph (for example, chapters 22 and 27), where the authors consider the formation and implementation of the economic strategy of modern India, related to the period when the governments of J. R. R. Tolkien were in power.Nehru and Indira Gandhi, and by the 1990s, when the country underwent a significant revision of its previous economic policy. Offering their assessment of the economic reforms of the 1990s, the authors note that although they were aimed at liberalizing entrepreneurial activity (p. 434-437), especially small and medium - sized businesses, India did not abandon indiscriminately, as was the case in our country, the achievements of the previous period, in particular, state planning of the economy (p. 439-440). In this regard, the opinions of Indian scientists cited in the work deserve attention, according to which "planning is quite amenable to decentralization and de-bureaucratization and can serve as a tool for directing resources in the right direction, and not necessarily for making a profit" (emphasis added-G. Ch.) (p. 550). And then another important point: "A complete departure from state planning is fraught with economic and political instability in the country. At the same time, the market can and should be used as an indicator of the needs and needs of the population" (p.550).

Considering and analyzing various factors that have contributed to India's economic progress, the authors of the monograph draw attention to the positive role played by the Indian diaspora of more than 25 million people, whose members annually make money transfers to their homeland in amounts comparable to India's income from software exports (p.558). Thus, migrant remittances undoubtedly play an important role in the country's balance of payments. However, the role of the Indian diaspora in the development of the national economy is not limited to this indicator, the monograph notes. Another aspect of the relations of foreign Indians with their historical homeland, which has clearly grown in importance in recent years, is that they actively and successfully lobby for India's interests in trade, economy and politics of their countries of residence. Finally, due to the change in the vector of movement of Indian migration at the beginning of this century, characterized, among other things, by the return to their homeland of a significant part of highly qualified Indian emigrants from developed countries, in particular from the United States, where they either received higher education or were employed in industries where the latest technologies are used, India was able to knowledge in the development of one's own economy and its modernization (pp. 572-573).

Summing up the experience of social development of India during the years of its independence, the authors conclude that the success achieved by it on this path was ensured by the choice of a nationally oriented approach to social development.-

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a new model of socio-economic and political development. "India has been searching for ways to develop," it says on page 539, " largely on the basis of its own historical traditions. In its political practice, state and social construction, this country has used methods based on the traditional features of Indian society." This did not mean, however, creating or following a certain autarkic model: "The Indians took the best from others (for example, the democratic system) and carefully, without forcing, built this best into their system of values, giving it a national identity" (p.540).

And more. "Having chosen a certain model of development, the spiritual and political elite of India has never stopped further searching for ways to solve both the problems inherited from the past and the new challenges of the time. The main thing in these searches was not the commitment to any ideology, but the ability of a particular model to solve them " (p. 548).

Of independent interest is the extensive section of the monograph devoted to the analysis of the foreign policy of independent India, including its participation in the Non - Aligned Movement and the nature of its relations with its main partners in the international arena - the Soviet Union (and after its collapse-with Russia), the United States of America and China. The authors pay considerable attention to the analysis of India's policy in South Asia and the Asia-Pacific region, armed conflicts and wars with China and Pakistan.

The monograph notes that at all stages of India's independent development, its foreign policy served as an important tool for ensuring national interests based on equality and justice, and democratizing international relations, both economic and political. At the same time, of course, India has always sought to respond flexibly to the changes taking place in the world, making the necessary tactical adjustments to its actions, while at the same time consistently and persistently adhering to the fundamental principles of its foreign policy, laid down in the first years of its independent existence.

As an example, we can refer to the evolution of the nature of India's participation in the Non-Aligned Movement in modern conditions, when, as the authors note, "issues of economic development and cooperation both between developing countries that are members of this movement and with developed countries have come to the fore instead of political ones. For India, participation in the essentially new Non-Aligned Movement means that it can act as a link between these two groups of countries and use this opportunity to increase its economic and political influence in the world" (p.583).

Analyzing India's foreign policy and changes in its foreign policy course in the years after the end of the Cold War, the authors could not, of course, but dwell on the extremely important issue of India's transformation into a nuclear power.

When analyzing the initial incentives for its movement along this path, the monograph notes (p. 734) that its confrontation with Pakistan, in particular, the Indian-Pakistani war of 1965, as well as the nuclear program of China, with which India had an armed conflict in 1962, played an important role in this.

However, the movement towards India's acquisition of independent nuclear status cannot be called simple, and even more so hasty. The monograph examines in detail the reasons why India, which has repeatedly taken initiatives to create a nuclear-weapon-free world, refused, nevertheless, to sign the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), which entered into force in 1970. In 1974, it conducted a peaceful test of a nuclear device, which, apparently, was intended as a warning its rivals in the international arena regarding the technical capabilities of India. And finally, 24 years later, in May 1998, it conducted a nuclear weapons test.

It should be emphasized that the Chinese "nuclear threat" and strained relations with Pakistan were officially named in Delhi as the immediate reasons that forced India to cross the "nuclear threshold". However, India's subsequent actions showed that they were not the only ones that determined its "nuclear choice". First of all, after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the disappearance of the bipolar world, India was faced with the task of independently and effectively ensuring national security, including by nuclear forces. India's reaction to the use of force by the United States and its allies against a sovereign Yugoslavia was significant in this regard. The monograph quotes Prime Minister Vajpayee as saying in March 1999: "Weakness is an invitation to attack. Now that India has nuclear weapons, any country will think twice before attacking us " (p. 749). Secondly, India's acquisition of military nuclear status also served its prestigious interests, namely, the desire to establish itself in the status of a world power comparable in importance to the five permanent members of the Council of Europe The United Nations Security Council, which simultaneously form an elite "nuclear club".

Summing up the analysis of India's policy of becoming a nuclear power, the authors of the monograph write: "India has taken the path of creating nuclear weapons and choosing the level of nuclear deterrence, taking into account the changing situation in the world. Its leaders have repeatedly stated that India will not give up its nuclear status" (p. 762).

The reviewed monograph is deeply fundamental in nature, and the research results obtained by its authors are based on a broad source base. The undoubted advantage of the work of F. N. and E. S. Yurlov is that along with the use of official documents, works of domestic and foreign indologists and specialists of a broader profile, as well as materials of the periodical press of various countries, it widely presents personal observations and assessments of the authors, which became the result of many years of their work in India.

Noting the important advantages of this major work, I want to express my confidence that due to the wealth of information contained in it, non-standard assessments and instructive conclusions, it is of interest not only for specialists in Oriental studies, but also for a much wider range of readers.


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G. I. CHUFRIN, India: THE AGE OF STRUGGLE AND THE EMERGENCE OF A GREAT POWER // Delhi: India (ELIB.ORG.IN). Updated: 05.06.2024. URL: (date of access: 21.07.2024).

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