Book Review: Competing Nationalisms By Rajshree Chandra

Rajshree Chandra, through her book, Competing Nationalisms, has tried to tell the wider audience in India about her grandfather, who was a part of the Indian freedom movement. In fact, like the many unsung freedom warriors of Hindustan, Jagat Narain Lal is also not widely known in his own country. But this biography of him didn’t do him justice.


What is Competing Nationalisms by Rajshree Chandra?

Competing Nationalisms, The Sacred and Political Life of Jagat Narain Lal is the political biography of Jagat Narain an Indian freedom fighter from Bihar. In this book, the author—who also happens to be Jagat Narain’s granddaughter—has made an effort to convey Jagat Babu’s perspectives on a number of significant themes, including religion, spirituality, nationalism, free speech, and others.

Rajshree Chandra book Competing Nationalisms

Competing Nationalisms, The Sacred and Political Life of Jagat Narain Lal.

As a reader, I didn’t enjoy the book. The author didn’t include any photographs related to the protagonist of the book. And for me, finishing it became a task in itself. The language is not written from a layman’s point of view. I don’t recommend this book.


Important points

These are some of my thoughts after reading the book.

1. The Indian freedom movement is just like Indian civilization, i.e., unity in diversity. Leftists, centrists, rightists, and revolutionaries were all there for the freedom of the nation.

2. During the independence struggle within the Congress party, there were many Congressmen who held dual membership, i.e., not only that they were members of the Congress, but at the same time they were also associated with parties like the Hindu Mahasabha, the Communist Party of India, the RSS, etc. This approach shows that the Indian freedom struggle was like a rainbow where people of every shade and hue found their respective place.

3. Freedom warriors sacrificed everything for the sake of India’s freedom. And when they were lodged in jail by the British Raj at that time, their mental resolve became more stronger for the freedom of their motherland.


Facts about Jagat Narain Lal

These are some interesting facts about Jagat Babu:

• Jagat Narain Lal wrote his memoir titled, “Light unto a Cell.”

• Jagat Narain Lal College in Khagaul, Patna, Bihar, was founded by him.

• Jagat Babu held master’s degrees in both law and economics.

• Jagat Narain Lal was the founder and editor of the weekly “Mahavir.”

• In 1928, Jagat Babu’s wife passed away while he was being detained for sedition at the Hazaribagh Central Jail. He wasn’t given parole by the British Raj thus he couldn’t participate in or attend his wife’s funeral.

• Jagat Babu looked up to Swami Rama Tirath as his spiritual guide.

• Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya was regarded by Jagat Narain Lal as his political and ideological mentor. 



These are some of the quotations of Jagat Narain Lal that I found worth reading.

• A true karmayogi is not expected to take up saffron-coloured robes of an ascetic and abandon all actions.

• Nothing was to be expected from those who were protecting the political interests of the orthodox.


Why should you read this book?

The reader can consider reading the book for the following reasons:

• A biography of a not widely known Indian Freedom Fighter

• A book that tells the innermost thoughts of a freedom fighter during the Indian freedom movement

• A book about a freedom fighter from Bihar


My Ratings: ⭐⭐ (2/5) 

I hope you like this. Thanks for reading. Jai Hind. 

You can also order your copy of the book from Amazon India- Competing Nationalisms book

Yash Sharma

Namaste reader, My name is Yash, and books for me are like a medicine, which removes my ignorance and also helps me in behaving more like a human.Though I live in the world’s largest democracy, India, but when I look around, I realized that this democratic nation of mine has turned into a kind of feudal oligarchy or kleptocracy, where people from a particular community or I would say particular surname has hijacked this democracy, and the political parties in India has turned itself into a kind of family enterprises where the family members are the only shareholders. And I want to change this, and books are a weapon which is helping me, so that I can help others and my nation.Shukriya for reading this Thought of mine.

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