Foreward from Devika Cariapa's India Through People: 25 Game Changers
India as a country is something of a wonder. Think about it. So many ethnic groups, religions and cultures, and hundreds of languages. One-sixth of humanity squeezed into an area best described as a subcontinent! In recent history, this vast nation has been buffeted by revolutionary change – shaking off 200 years of colonial rule, examining and shedding age-old social customs, absorbing influences from a fast changing and more connected world, to emerge as an independent, modern nation. Shaping all of this have been some extraordinary people.
We call them the gamechangers. Men and women who, with their ideas and actions, left a radical imprint on the course of the country. They broke taboos, set trends and forged new paths, often at personal cost and against impossible odds. Any time of transformation typically brings to the fore outstanding achievers, and to pick some over others is naturally difficult. Twenty-five of them are in this book. They were all born after 1850, and represent diverse fields and parts of the country. You will recognise some of them at once, some may be unfamiliar. Names of other great contemporaries appear along the way, giving a wider picture
of the age.
of the age.
It is useful to remember that many of these people lived in very different times, with different kinds of issues to deal with. They should be seen through that viewpoint, and not from our present outlook. For their time, they were bold and visionary. They were iconic achievers, not perfect human beings as we often expect our idols to be. They made mistakes and changed their minds. Some are criticised today for things they said or did, their ideas challenged – but we can thank them for creating the space that makes it possible for us to do that!
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Devika Cariapa is a Delhi based author with a lifelong passion for archaeology, travel and unearthing stories from the past. She graduated from the Deccan College, Pune, and was a research fellow studying prehistoric art at IGNCA, Delhi. Her earlier book with Tulika, India Through Archaeology: Excavating History has been awarded The Hindu Young World–Goodbooks Award 2018 and the Sahitya Akademi’s Bal Sahitya Puraskar 2019.