Author: Dominique Lapierre
Larry Collins/Several Contributors
Publisher: Hind Pocket Books
ISBN/UPC (if available): 9788121613569
In his Hindi translation of a popular book "Freedom at Midnight", the authors Larry Collins and Dominique Lapierre describes events in the Indian independence movement in 1947/8, beginning with Lord Mountbatten of Burma's appointment as last viceroy of India, ending with Gandhi's death & funeral.
The authors, having interviewed many of those who were there, give a detailed account of the last year of British India, the princely states' reactions to independence (including descriptions of the Indian princes' extravagant lifestyles), the partition of the subcontinent on religious grounds & the following bloodshed. It also details events leading to the assassination of Gandhi, as well as the life & motives of British-educated Jawaharlal Nehru & Pakistani leader Muhammad Ali Jinnah.
The book is a result of well researched events, which often are left out by other historians. F.i., the crucial maps setting the boundary separating India & Pakistan were drawn that year by Cyril Radcliffe. Radcliffe had never visited India before being appointed as Boundary Commission chair. The description of the very British-style summertime capital Shimla in the Himalayas & how supplies were carried up steep mountains by porters is interesting.
The book also explains the fury of both Hindus & Muslims, misled by communal leaders, during the partition, & the biggest mass slaughter in the history of India as millions were uprooted & tried to migrate laboriously by train, oxcart & on foot to new places designated for their particular religious group. Many fell victim to bandits & bloodthirsty religious extremists.
One incident is particularly terrifying: it describes a Lahore canal that ran with blood & floating bodies. A tragedy that befell a poor interfaith peasant couple is heartrending.
Controversial for its portrayal of British expatriates, native Indian rulers & members of India's 1st cabinet, it's told in casual style similar to the authors' previous Is Paris Burning? & O Jerusalem! Collins & Lapierre also wrote about their research with respect to Mountbatten, titled Mountbatten & the Partition of India. This book contains interviews with Mountbatten & a selection of papers he possessed.
A Race Destined to Govern and Subdue
Walk Alone, Walk Alone
Leave India to God
A Last Tattoo for the Dying Raj
An Old Man and his Shattered Dream
A Precious Little Place
Palaces and Tigers, Elephants and Jewels
A Day Cursed by the Stars
The Most Complex Divorce in History
We Will Always Remain Brothers
While the World slept
Oh Lovely Dawn of Freedom
Our People Have Gone Mad
The Greatest Migration in History
Kashmir – only Kashmir!
Two Brahmins from Poona
Let Gandhi Die
The Vengeance of Madanlal Pahwas
We Must Get Gandhi Before the Police Get Us
The Second Crucifixion