Author: Shashi Joshi
Publisher: Roli Books
ISBN/UPC (if available): 9788174365835
The existing histories of the Partition of British India have very little chance of capturing the moods and mindsets, the helplessness and the frustration of those who steered the course. The histories written thus far have either focused on political narratives or on the ideological analysis. More recently, the spotlight has turned towards the madness and pathology of hatred and mass murders.
The Last Durebar tells it as it was – without the epic quality of conventional writing filled with the rhetoric of freedom and greatness, and without the legalese and constitution-making vocabulary of the Transfer of Power. The personal and political meet and separate at the last durbar, with Louis Mountbatten on the throne, and the modern, constitutional ‘durbaris’ hail the advent of freedom and bid farewell to each other.
The play is based on private papers of Mountbatten, including verbatim records, testimonies, and discussions of the leading political figures. It is a nuanced and multilayered account of the months and days the eventually led to the independent nations of India and Pakistan.
Drama is the only genre of written history that allows us to fully portray the complexity of such a process and frame the atmosphere of the concentrated moment. The history of Partition has never before been told in this way.
‘There is library full of literature on the Partition. But for the first time, a celebrated scholar of contemporary Indian history has tried to dramatize the event.’
-Khushwant Singh, Telegraph
‘It is not dry history. One fervently hopes this book is prescribed in every University of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.’
-Rajinder Puri, Statesman
History in Dialogue: An Introductory Note
List of characters
Acronyms and Glossary
The Last Durbar