Freedom at Midnight – Revisited
I was always willing to reproduce my opinion on this blog for one of the wonderful book I have come across: Freedom at Midnight. Lack of time and my preoccupation to my responsibility always held me back. After quite a long gap, I bring forth my opinion of a book that owns a good writing style and reproduces a detailed account of Indian struggle for independence, India’s independence and the aftermath.
The reader is taken on a journey where he passes significant events and meets brilliant characters that shaped Indian history. The decisions of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Sardar Vallabbhai Patel, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, and ‘Louis Francis Albert Victor Nicholas Mountbatten (Lord Mountbatten)’, left a mark that is still evident.
The journey starts with the appointment of Mountbatten as the Viceroy of India in March 1947 and ends with Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination in January 1948. The book help rejuvenates reader’s memory with the detailed account of the Indian princely states and their colorful and extravagant lifestyle, last year of British rule (so called Raj) in India, the princely states’ reactions to independence, reunification of distinct princely states, the partition of India into India and Pakistan based on religion, and the bloodshed that followed.
The book discusses British rule and its paternalistic approach. However it lacks account of how British were determined to administer India in their own best interests. Where the British were the one who finally decided what those interests were.
Dominique Lapierre and Larry Collins style of writing a non-fiction in a very casual and descriptive way is evident in their other publications Is Paris Burning?, O Jerusalem! and Mountbatten and the Partition of India. The events are not just bundle of facts and figures, but binds each other to form a mystifying story. Moreover, the unbiased descriptions of these events make this book a recommended reading for one who is willing to pursue a journey of Indian independence.