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The Discovery of India

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The Discovery of India
First US edition
AuthorJawaharlal Nehru
LanguageEnglish, Hindi
SubjectIndian history, Indian culture, Politics of India, Religion in India, Indian philosophy
PublisherJohn Day (US)
Meridian Books (UK)
Publication date
14 November 1946; 76 years ago (at Signet Press, Kolkata, India)
Publication placeIndia
Media typePrint (Paperback)
LC ClassDS436 .N42 1989

The Discovery of India was written by the Indian freedom fighter Jawaharlal Nehru (later India's first Prime Minister) during his incarceration in 1942–1945 at Ahmednagar Fort in present-day Indian state of Maharashtra by British colonial authorities before the independence of India.[1] The book was written in 1944 but published in 1946.[2]


The journey in The Discovery of India begins from ancient history, leading up to the last years of the British Raj. Nehru uses his knowledge of the Upanishads, Vedas, and textbooks on ancient history to introduce to the reader the development of India from the Indus Valley civilization, through the changes in socio-political scenario every foreign invader brought, to the present day conditions. 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 provides a broad view of Indian history, philosophy, and culture as viewed from the eyes of an Indian fighting for the independence of his country. He wrote the book during his imprisonment.[3]

Other contributors[edit]

Jawaharlal Nehru's room at Ahmednagar Fort during his incarceration

Nehru attributes some of the content of the book to his fellow prisoners at Ahmednagar jail. He gives special mention to four of them namely Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, Govind Ballabh Pant, Narendra Deva and Asaf Ali. All his fellow prisoners (eleven of them) were political prisoners from various parts of the country, having deep knowledge about the various aspects of India which the book discusses. They also participated in proofreading Nehru's work and providing him with creative suggestions.


The book was first published from Signet Press at Calcutta (now Kolkata), India on 16 November 1946. The book is presently published by the 'Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Fund' and the copyright for the book is held by his grand daughter-in-law Sonia Gandhi.[5]



The book became the basis of the 53-episode Indian television series Bharat Ek Khoj (1988), directed by Shyam Benegal, first broadcast in 1988 on state-run Doordarshan channel.[7] A modified version of this book is taught as a Hindi supplement[8] in 8th grade.[citation needed][clarification needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Nehru's 'Discovery of India' remains a bestseller 50 years after his death | Mumbai News - Times of India". The Times of India. 30 May 2014.
  2. ^ "Bharat Mata Ki Jai: How Jawaharlal Nehru's Discovery of India offers a peek into the soul of India". Firstpost. 29 October 2016.
  3. ^ Das, Taraknath (June 1947). "India--Past, Present and the Future". Political Science Quarterly. 62 (2): 295–304. doi:10.2307/2144210. JSTOR 2144210.(subscription required)
  4. ^ The Discovery of India by Jawaharlal Nehru (paperback, thirteenth edition), ISBN 0-19-562359-2, Preface
  5. ^ Bhatnagar, Gaurav Vivek (17 November 2013). "Criticism of Nehru not based on critical enquiry: Sonia". The Hindu – via www.thehindu.com.
  6. ^ Bharat Ki Khoj, NCERT Class 8. "NCERT Bharat Ki Khoj". NCERT. Retrieved 12 March 2024.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  7. ^ "What makes Shyam special..." The Hindu. 17 January 2003. Archived from the original on 27 June 2003. Retrieved 6 June 2013.
  8. ^ Bharat Ki Khoj, NCERT Class 8. "NCERT Bharat Ki Khoj". NCERT. Retrieved 12 March 2024.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)

External links[edit]