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Freedom at Midnight

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Above all, it keeps on parroting that the a power that had ruled India in all senses had no idea what kind of fate was going to befall upon the millions of people who had only one stake in this affair— staying alive! This book brought many incidents which have been buried deeply behind the pages of history into light. This book changed all my pre-received perceptions, ideas and thoughts about the Indian Independence and the Partition which I have been thinking was the truth all this time.

He gets an outside perspective of India, allowing him to criticise without having to feel obligated to justify any act or man. It had epitomized the Victorian ideal of India better than anything else -dark, plucky soldiers staunchly loyal to their distant empress, led by doughty young Englishmen, straight arrows all, steady under the Pathans’ fire, good at games, stern but devoted fathers to their men, chaps who could hold their liquor in the mess. It covers the six months prior to and six months after 8/15/47, when India and Pakistan gained independence from Britain.The Sikh, Hindu and Moslem components of the Indian Army all gave heartfelt farewells to their comrades who would be moving to their respective countries at partition. The way they have covered the whole period of Independence in over 650 pages is commendable, considering the fact that they have covered almost all the important events.

On the other hand, the authors were clearly Anglophiles enamored of the last British Viceroy in India, Lord Mountbatten. Mahatma Gandhi was antagonistic to partition while Jinnah wanted a separate Muslim nation at all costs. It was a marvellously written and told of the events surrounding around the end of Britain's Indian empire and the creation of the states of India and Pakistan with panache and a wealth of glorious technicolor detail. Pages throughout are clean and bright despite not having been cut evenly, with blackandwhite photos throughout.It then continues with the chaos and bloodshed of the split, until ending with Gandhi’s assassination in 1948. The Urdu of the deputies of the Punjab was read from right to left; the Hindi of their neighbors in the United Provinces from left to right.

Murder and arson were so senseless, so chaotic in nature that to one British police officer in Lahore it seemed “like a city committing suicide.

The next morning those soldiers who had served under his command owed their lives to his last intervention on their behalf. Above all, it renders one of the bloodiest mismanagements in the history of mankind in such sepia-tinted prose that things look really romantic, or atmost tragic. The authors do it ingeniously through a multitude of character‐sketches, a perfectly acceptable method since the whole imbroglio was as much a matter of character as of principle.

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