The striking thing about modern India is that the men and women who made its history also wrote more authoritatively about it. In this context, highlight the literary contributions of B.R. Ambedkar, Jawaharlal Nehru and M.K. Gandhi.

Mentor’s Comment:
Introductory part should sketch these leaders as towering intellectuals, thus building up the next stage of analysis by indicating wide corpus of their writings.
The Second part should take each of them specifically mention their writings and at least provide on example of a work that brings to the fore some of their key ideas.
Conclude by observing the impact of their ideas on contemporary India through their corpus of writings.


The trinity of M.K. Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and B.R. Ambedkar represent leading figures in modern
history of India who also were leading thinkers reflecting on state of affairs in the country at the time.
Even as these personalities fought and struggled, led and governed, they wrote at great length about the
world they saw and shaped. This can be seen in the fact that;

 Gandhi’s Collected Works, run into more than ninety volumes.
 More than fifty volumes of Nehru’s selected works have so far been published
 Dr Ambedkar’s works are published in sixteen volume many of them exceeding a thousand pages.

Their literary contribution is highlighted not only in the prolific nature of their writings but also in the ideas they engaged with:
Gandhi founded his own Journal the Indian opinion in 1903, much of it he wrote himself. On his
return to India he edited a journal called Young India and then another called Harijan, Gandhi also
extensively wrote in his Mother tongue Gujarati and published several books, among them two
volumes of autobiography. An example of his enduring idea, non-violence, comes in his critique of
colonialism and Western civilization called Hind Swaraj where he also talked about ideas such as soul
force or truth force.
Nehru founded and edited a daily newspaper, the National Herald. He published three major books
Glimpses of World History (1934), An Autobiography (1936), and The Discovery of India (1946).
Nehru as prime minister wrote Letters to Chief Ministers, published in five volumes. In these letters
the range of topics covered by Nehru includes economic development, linguistic and religious
politics, the ethics of governance, the Cold War and the passing away of literary Giants. These letters
represent valuable insights in to contemporary history of the country in the initial years.
Dr. Ambedakar published several books on many topics such as federalism, theology, philosophy,
finance, language, constitutionalism and most importantly on sociology, politics and history of the
Caste system. Through the 1930s and 1940s, Dr. Ambedakar wrote a series of tracts excoriating
Gandhi and Gandhism an example of which is “What the Congress and Gandhi have done to the
Untouchables”. Dr. Ambedkars speeches in the constituent assembly also point to his valuable
literary contribution to public life. The “Annihilation of Caste”, published by Dr. Ambedkar on his
own cost, is a brilliant and withering indictment of the caste system.

From routine letters and speeches to extended essays on subjects such as national identity, democracy,
religious culture and social justice these stalwarts engaged each other and the wider world, thus, having
a profound impact on contemporary India through their ideas.

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Kim Tae
Kim Tae
3 years ago

The British India saw a multitude of great leaders who were well educated individuals who were constantly in touch with the events happening at the global stage and also influenced with ideas and philosophies of other countries for eg. Liberty, Fraternity, Equality, Socialism, etc. They also were well read and thoughts of Voltaire, Montesquieu, Karl Marx, Adam Smith, Tolstoy and many more also had an impact on their psyche.

Leaders like Jawaharlal Nehru, BR Ambedkar and Mahatama Gandhi studied abroad, pursued career as a lawyer and meanwhile also got to witness different kinds of discrimination in their lives.

Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru wrote Glimpses of World History to describe the ongoing global events and their causes which also described India and her situation during World Wars, Russian Revolution, Global Depression etc. He also wrote about the concept of socialism and its birth and expansion in India in his book India’s Independence and Social Revolution. His letters to his daughter and his chief ministers have been published widely.

Mahatma Gandhi was a prolific writer, along with books his writings are also in the form of articles, essays, journals. He also founded and edited several newpapers/ journals including Opinion. Young India and Harijan. But his first well known writing is Hind Swaraj in 1909 in which he described his approach and guide to Indian Independence and scathing critiques of Western Civilization. He then wrote Satyagraha in Africa in 1924 which put forward his ideas about the power of “passive resistance, non violence” and literally “holding firmly to the truth” as the most effective weapon to gain Swaraj. His journal “Harijan” focused on upliftment of the lower caste people and their importance in society.

Dr. B R Ambedkar is still one of the most sought writer of the present era. He also had a personal library “Rajgrah” which was considered as the world’s largest private library. He wrote on many subjects and issues of India like Economy, Social issues, caste system, minorities, Buddhism, etc. Books like “Buddha and his Dhamma”, “Manu and Shudras”, “Riddles in Hinduism”, “The Annihilation of Caste” and “Bahishkrit Bharat” depicted the unjust division of society in Hinduism, the deplorable situation of lower caste people, causes for prevalent differentiation and how he found Buddhism more pragmatic religion. He was a proficient economist too and wrote books like “The problem of the Rupee: its origin and its solution” which highlights deep seated issues in the economy of India and its currency.

The people of Modern India still find these writings relevant and inspirational. The thoughts and ideas of these leaders will continue to live on as their names.

Kim Tae
Kim Tae
3 years ago
Reply to  Kim Tae