Since its inception in 2017, livehistoryindia.com has emerged as the pre-eminent digital destination for all things history—ancient, medieval and modern. It has done so by throwing light on the many layers that make up the subcontinent’s history through its articles and films. Reaching over 3 million people across India and 200 countries across the world, each month Live History India is the country’s fastest-growing platform on history. Today it works with as many as 150 historians, archaeologists and contributors across India.
We are now delighted to share with you a first of its kind multimedia initiative, The Making of Modern India, to bridge the gap between the past and the present.
It has been said that the more you know about the past the better prepared you are to deal with the future. That is where history steps in—it helps to make sense of the present so that we are able to chart the road ahead.
Today India stands at a crossroads balancing age-old issues with new age aspirations. It is gearing up to becoming the third-largest economy in the world and, yet, many of its third-world problems stubbornly persist. India is home to several bewildering contradictions.
Consider this. Few believed that the ‘idea’ of India, a country that brought together over 500 different princely states and the British dominion in the subcontinent, would survive even for a few years. But India has survived—and thrived. A land stripped off its riches, wracked by famines and disease and divided along communal lines even in 1900, nearly a half-century before Partition, is today a proud nation riding on ambition and aspiration.
India has gone from dealing with famines at the turn of the 20th century to imagining futures at the turn of the 21st. From a wrecked economy to an Asian powerhouse. From a colonial construct to staking its claim at the global roundtable. From the impression of a global refugee to the imprint of global human resource—from construction to management to leading-edge software solutions. From the world’s largest ocean of the subjugated to the world’s largest democracy of constitutionally mandated free will. From a fractured nation of several hundred principalities and identities to a working experiment that, against all odds, has coalesced into a nation of more than 1.3 billion people.
And, yet, poverty, the erosion of Constitutional ethos and respect for democracy, regional instability, and other concerns in a lamentable list of inherited and manufactured ills continue to undermine this can-do country. In the many Indias that exist today, the cutting edge of innovation and ‘growth’ coexists with squalor and malnutrition. The progression of society, gender empowerment and multiculturalism go hand-in-hand with the worst caste, gender and religious atrocities.
Why do such contradictions exist in India? How did we get here? And, what does all this mean for the road ahead? These are some of the questions our pathbreaking series, The Making of Modern India will ask, to redefine recent history and address issues as it attempts to make sense of the India we live in.
Moreover, from politics to geopolitics, the economy to ecology, from the availability of information to information technology, and from wealth to wellness, every aspect of India today—and the India of tomorrow—is rooted in its often little known, often misunderstood past. All too often this past is passed over by the need for instant news and views. Questions remain either unanswered or answered without clarity, or answers remain largely unknown. All too often, questions are simply not asked.
The Making of Modern India seeks to redress this imbalance by bringing clarity with the help of top-of-the-line information through state-of-the-art platforms.
We will interrogate the very idea of India, the root of its ideologies and identities, matters of caste and politics, India’s interaction with the world, the story of Indian enterprise (with a special focus on information technology, finance, pharmaceuticals and well-loved brands), the debates that have shaped India, the dissents—and the diminishing of people and aspirations—in this ‘othered’ India that have tripped our journey, aspects of diaspora, the arts and culture, the environment, and our very future.
We will revisit history to bring you the best perspectives on what brought us here. We will deploy our network of some of the country’s finest writers and journalists to bring you a ground-up picture of issues India faces and their root causes, offer a fresh perspective by reaching out to the brightest young minds across disciplines, source insights from leading practitioners across key sectors, and bring together the perspective of thought leaders to help you understand issues and get a sharper picture of what lies ahead.
This will be done with a comprehensive multimedia approach: through ground-breaking interviews, articles, documentaries, short films and incisive conversations, beginning February 2021 as we count down to the 75th Anniversary of India’s Freedom in 2022.
This milestone offers us an opportunity to take stock of the Making of Modern India to understand the remarkable trajectory of India—exactly how far India has journeyed as a nation from the time independence began to seriously be considered as a possibility. And, to create a one-of-its-kind repository, offer the understanding and context for productively navigating this century.
The Making of Modern India seeks to be a mirror to India—but a mirror without distortion and distraction.
It will be a celebration with introspection.
It will create a priceless archive.
It will be a reservoir of living history—Live History.
Deep in the Punjab heartland is a royal desperately in need of help. A widow of the last Nawab of Malerkotla, her family once presided over a town whose inspiring story is so apt for our times. Will the Punjab Government come forward to give the 97-year-old Begum what she needs most – comfort, care and, most of all, her dignity?
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