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Freedom at Midnight

Freedom at Midnight

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Although we know something of the innumerable tragedies during a single year covered in this book, the author’s still managed to build up a lot of suspense in this powerful story. Too bad that the authors had decided to make this a drama, with the Viceroy Mountbatten as its tragic hero, and time as the villain. He was awarded the Padma Bhushan, India's third highest civilian award in the 2008 Republic Day honours list. The authors depict Jinnah as absolutist in his ego-maniacal need to be the father of a new nation, rather than acknowledge the validity of his concerns: that Muslims would never be treated equally in a majority-Hindu independent India and might come to suffer even worse than they did under the British. If I wanted a history lesson as tainted by colonial lenses I would have probably read any number of history books written during the Raj.

Having been there most of the time in question and having assisted at most of the encounters, I can vouch for the accuracy of its general mood. They are at least reading copies, complete and in reasonable condition, but usually secondhand; frequently they are superior examples. Hindu and Muslim ( written as 'Moslem' in the book) who not only molested and oppressed their counterparts blatantly but also killed each other with sadistic fury in their quest for independence ( Swaraj ). In Freedom at Midnight they do this superbly: the back story is filled in with just enough detail for comprehension, the focus is on just five key players, and the narrative pacing is nothing short of breathtaking.No one listened to his warnings; Jinnah turned a deaf ear, Nehru-Patel duo were eager to see British go and rule an independent country; but all of them were in for a rude shock when rioting and killing on a large scale ensued as soon as Partition and independence were formally announced.

With a heritage stretching back nearly 200 years, HarperCollins is one of the world's foremost English-language publishers, offering the best quality content right across the spectrum, from cutting-edge contemporary fiction to digital hymnbooks and pretty much everything in between. Having been there most of the time in question and having assisted at must of the encounters (except, perhaps, serving the Maharaja his morning tea) I can vouch for the accuracy of its general mood. Perhaps because Mountbatton is one of the main source of this book, he has attained a status of a man who made everything possible without making any mistakes. He gets an outside perspective of India, allowing him to criticise without having to feel obligated to justify any act or man. One the one hand, it will give the reader a profound sense of the tragedy of Indian partition upon independence in 1947.

As an Indian myself, I had heard a plethora of stories about Independence right from the childhood and I had different take on Independence altogether which would be very similar to that of most of the Indians here.

When it is not engaging however, it is not so because bad narration but because the subject becomes so brutal and horrifying.Jinnah does come off rather badly, but again, access to archival material was somewhat limited when the authors were penning this account, Jinnah himself was dead (in 1948), and his personality meant that most of his thoughts were carried to the grave. Lastly, I am sorry if I ended up writing a eulogy instead of an honest critical review, but such is the place of this book in my life, that it is almost impossible for me to view it in a critical way. I have no doubt if I had rated back then it would have been five stars and included in my favourite books and ones that I would read again. The authors have spoken about the Partition from an emotional perspective of a group of people who have been living as brothers and fought the British together for their freedom has to go separate ways after the Independence. More recently Lapierre wrote CITY OF JOY (about Calcutta) and Larry Collins has written a number of thrillers published by HarperCollins (FALL FROM GRACE, MAZE and BLACK EAGLES).

  • Fruugo ID: 258392218-563234582
  • EAN: 764486781913
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