Sunday, January 1, 2012

Partition of India: Legend and Reality

Partition of India: Legend and Reality
By H.M. Seervai

I ordered this book last time when i was in India from flipkart. It was delivered after i had left. But this time, i have read it.

This is an awesome book. For people who love history, for those who want to read under the hood, who want writing to be backed by facts and proof. A writing that is very analytical in approach and where criticisms or inferences are very well backed up. All those and more is there in this book and of particular importance is the subject on which many have strong feelings but few know what exactly happened.  This is an eye opening book but the requirement is that you have to read it with an open mind, free from bias and prejudices.

H.M. Seervai has managed a feat in historical account in an age where internet was not that prevalent and finding sources was not that easy. But what helped him a lot was that Britain decided to release all the official documents that they found while they were in India. Relying heavily on the later volumes, Seervai deconstructs the myth and explains reality as it happened. That the partition was a result of poor assumptions made by INC, that the efforts to not go for partition were made a lot by Jinnah and the Muslim league, that Gandhi could have prevented it if he was able to see beyond the obvious, that the Indian leaders where more preoccupied by self government and less by what will happen after that. At some level, i agree with Nehru's philosophy that religion should not be a part of a secular India but he didn't do enough to allay the fears of minority rights. And INC itself was playing religion based politics and there were people like Patel who were quite communal. There are eye opening accounts of people who played a major role - in particular Wavell and Maulana Azad.

What makes this book extra special is that Seervai has read opinions of people who had criticized his book and in his introduction, he deconstructs the arguments of his criticizers showing the fallacy in their arguments or just prejudice. The introduction is to be read after the book. Seervai also has a lot of praise for Maulana Azad and he denotes special section in his book on understanding Azad's book India wins freedom.

Highly recommended that every Indian should read this book.


hammiy said...

good book, very helpful in coming out of the myth

Anonymous said...

I am very much interested in attaining a copy. Unfortunately, I am not able to get any copy. Will you provide me some link or something.

arvind batra said...

Dear anonymous,

You can get the book from here -