As we are in the month of August, the conversations in India often turn towards Independence Day coming up on August 15. We talk of the Freedom Struggle; of Jawaharlal Nehru, Mahatma Gandhi, Mohammed Ali Jinnah, and Sardar Patel; of Lord and Lady Mountbatten; and the horrors of Partition. I recently re-read ” Freedom At Night” by Dominque Lapierre & Larry Collins, which I had read decades ago. You may recall that this book was first published in 1975, less than twenty years after Independence. I re-read the same book in 2019, by which time so much had changed in the world around us. Yet, the haunting memories of Partition continued in the minds of thousands of families affected by that tumultuous event. The conflict over Kashmir which continues till today is an old wound from that time which still festers. Continue reading ““Freedom At Midnight” by Dominique Lapierre & Larry Collins”
The title is arresting and I had to read this book though I had never till now heard even remotely of the author, Dr Koenraad Elst. I am glad that Rupa Publications have published, “Why I Killed The Mahatma: Uncovering Godse’s Defence” in 2018. It is a balanced account of what motivated Nathuram Vinayak Godse to assassinate Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, the Father of the Nation. On that January evening in Delhi in 1948, barely a few months after India became an independent nation, Godse shot Gandhiji at point blank range. You may agree with Nathuram Godse or you may not, but this book makes you consider issues from his point of view and explains why he opposed the Mahatma, going so far as to kill him in cold blood and make no effort to escape. Continue reading ““Why I Killed The Mahatma: Uncovering Godse’s Defence” by Koenraad Elst”
In case you are wondering why I have not mentioned any author for the book “Ambedkar: An Overview” I must clarify that the book (published by Rupa Publications in 2018) is a collection of essays/writings of Bharat Ratna Dr Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar ( 1891-1956). To that extent I think the title of the book itself is somewhat misleading. It suggests that someone has written about Dr Ambedkar but in reality is a collection of his own writings! Even “Essays by Dr. B.R. Ambedkar” or ” Selected Writings of Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar” would have been more apt as a title, in my opinion.
In 1947, a few parts of undivided India, primarily Punjab and Bengal, were torn asunder and a new nation came into being: Pakistan. This event, directly or indirectly, affected millions of people in India and is still talked about although nearly 70 years have gone by since then. The turmoil of those times and the events that led up to these epoch-making events are captured in Dr. Madhav Godbole’s book, “The Holocaust of Indian Partition: An Inquest” . Continue reading “” The Holocaust of Indian Partition: An Inquest” by Madhav Godbole”
“Little Man From The East: Marching Through Tumultuous Decades” is , in my view, a “must read” for anyone interested in 20 th century Indian history. It also happens to be the story of a soldier engineer commissioned into one of the oldest Regiments in the Indian Army, the famous Madras Engineer Group. This outfit, more commonly called The Madras Sappers, and more fondly as ‘The Thambis’ was raised in 1780. Major General M K Paul (retd), the author, served with distinction in the Indian Army for nearly 37 years before retiring in 1991.
Thanks to Jaswant Singh, former External Affairs Minister of India for writing ” Jinnah: India-Partition-Independence” a scholarly treatise on what actually happened before the calamity of the Partition of India way back in 1947. The publication of the book ( Rupa & Co 2009) stirred up a great deal of controversy. Singh was expelled from the BJP- in which party he had grown to be an admired leader. There was a school of thought that he did wrong in praising Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan. Actually that makes for an interesting debate which is the central theme of the book.