Indian Summer: The Secret History of the End of an Empire

Indian Summer: The Secret History of the End of an Empire

Alex Von Tunzelmann

Language: English

Pages: 512

ISBN: 0312428111

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Indian Summer: The Secret History of the End of an Empire

Alex Von Tunzelmann

Language: English

Pages: 512

ISBN: 0312428111

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


At the stroke of midnight on August 15, 1947, the British Empire withdrew from India, inviting in all the exhilaration and turmoil of a newly free society. In this vivid, atmospheric popular history, Alex von Tunzelmann chronicles these times through the most prominent figures: Dickie Mountbatten, Britain's dashing, inept last viceroy; Dickie's savvy, glamorous wife, Edwina, who found the love of her life in Jawaharlal Nehru, India's new prime minister; Muslim leader Muhammad Ali Jinnah, and Mohandas Gandhi. Tunzelman's thrilling chronicle "removes the veil from the colorful personalities and events behind Inida's independence and partition with Pakistan" (The Washington Post).

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conditions prevailed at West Pakistan’s refugee camps. Richard Symonds remembered gaunt women with half-starved babies throwing themselves at his feet, their ration in some camps just two ounces of flour a day—enough to make one single chapati.66 Unlike India, Pakistan had to deal with these problems on an empty treasury. The Punjab, its only profitable region, had collapsed. As a result of the migrations, Pakistan had lost four million people who had been settled, established and productive, and

fall into the Russian embrace. By the beginning of March, there was at least some reassurance from India. Nehru informed the U.S. State Department that it would be “unthinkable” for India to side with Russia in another world war.79 West Bengal outlawed the Communist Party and arrested four hundred activists at the end of March, provoking an estrangement between Nehru and his American communist friend Paul Robeson, as well as a strike of fifteen thousand Bombay mill workers. But the sticking

The Lost Dominion, pp. 27–28. 16 See Amartya Sen, The Argumentative Indian, especially essays 1 and 6. 17 Carthill, The Lost Dominion, p. 27. 18 Lord Curzon to Queen Victoria, 12 September 1900, cited in Chopra et al., Secret Papers from the British Royal Archives, p. 89. See also Gilmour, Curzon, pp. 184–85. 19 See Patrick French, Younghusband: The Last Great Imperial Adventurer (London: HarperCollins, 1994), p. 158. 20 Mountbatten, Diaries, 1920–22, 25 November 1921, p. 196.

to Philip. TNA: LCO 2/8115, ff. 8–11. 100 Hough, Edwina, p. 3. 101 Seton, Panditji, p. 281. 102 Ibid., pp. 282–83, and see plates between pp. 268–69. 103 Hough, Edwina, p. 7. 104 Robert Noel Turner cited in ibid., p. 8. 105 Morgan, Edwina Mountbatten, p. 480. 106 Seton, Panditji, p. 284. 107 Smith, Fifty Years with Mountbatten, p. 125. 108 Coward, Diaries, 15 May 1960, p. 439. 109 According to William Evans, in “Mountbatten,” Secret History. 110 Morgan, Edwina

against the masses, the prince was packed off on his train, heading north toward the deserts of Rajputana. In Bombay, the people had looked poor, the city dirty and crowded, and the atmosphere bleak. In Baroda, the opposite of each of these was true. The prince was greeted with six garlanded elephants, bearing jeweled silver howdahs; a line of silver carriages, drawn by caparisoned oxen with gilded horns; and rows upon rows of plumed horses ridden by Baroda’s state guard. He was driven through

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