The Discovery of India was written by India's first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru during his imprisonment in 1942-1946 at Ahmednagar in the Ahmednagar Fort.
Nehru was jailed for his participation in the Quit India movement along with other Indian leaders, and he used this time to write down his thoughts and knowledge about India's history. The book is widely regarded as a classic in India since its first publication in 1946, and provides a broad view of Indian history, philosophy and culture, as viewed from the eyes of a liberal Indian fighting for the independence of his country.
In The Discovery of India, Nehru argued that India was a historic nation with a right to sovereignty. (Calhoun, Craig, Nations Matter: Culture, History and the Cosmopolitan Dream, Routledge.
In this book, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru tries to study the history of India starting from the Indus Valley Civilization, and then covers the country's history from the arrival of the Aryans to government under the British Empire. He says that India in the past was country which lived in harmony and peace, but the entry of society evils had a very bad effect on people. The effect of these various people on Indian culture and their incorporation into Indian society is examined. This book also analyses in depth the philosophy of Indian life.This book was dedicated to the Prisoners of Ahmednagar jail.The book became the basis of the 53-episode Indian television series Bharat Ki Khoj, first broadcast in 1988.
PREFACE OF THE BOOK BY JAWAHARLAL NEHRU:-
This book was written by Jawaharlal Nehru in Ahmadnagar Fort prison during the five months, April to September 1944. Some of his colleagues in prison were good enough to read the manuscript and make a number of valuable suggestions. On revising the book in prison he took advantage of these suggestions and made some additions. No one, he need hardly add, is responsible for what he has written or necessarily agrees with it. But he expresses my deep gratitude to his fellow-prisoners in Ahmadnagar Fort for the innumerable talks and discussions they had, which helped him greatly to clear his own mind about various aspects of Indian history and culture. Prison is not a pleasant place to live in even for a short period, much less for long years. But it was a privilege for me to live in close contact with men of outstanding ability and culture and a wide human outlook which even the passions of the moment did not obscure.His eleven companions in Ahmadnagar Fort were an interesting cross-section of India and represented in their several ways not only politics but Indian scholarship, old and new, and various aspects of present-day India. Nearly all the principal living Indian languages, as well as the classical languages which have powerfully influenced India in the past and present, were represented and the standard was often that of high scholarship. Among the classical languages were Sanskrit and Pali, Arabic and Persian; the modern languages were Hindi, Urdu, Bengali, Gujarati, Marathi, Telugu, Sindhi and Oriya. Jawaharlal Nehru had all this wealth to draw upon and the only limitation was his own capacity to profit by it. Though he was grateful to all his companions, he specially mentioned a few names;Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, whose vast erudition invariably delighted me but sometimes also rather overwhelmed me, Govind Ballabh Pant, Narendra Deva and M. Asaf Ali.
The book remains as written in prison with no additions or changes, except for the postscript at the end.
He does'nt know how other authors feel about their writings, but always he had a strange sensation when he read something that he had written some time previously. That sensation is heightened when the writing had been done in the close and abnormal atmosphere of prison and the subsequent reading has taken place outside. He could recognize it of course, but not wholly; it...