The title is misleading The Deadly legacy of India s Partition it should be history instead of legacy From the description on goodreads From jihadi terrorism to nuclear proliferation, the searing tale told in Midnight s Furies explains all too many of the headlines we read today No it does not It is not an analysis, it is not a book that explores causes of events, it is a chronicle, a narrative history.Having said that it has been written very very well This was my n th book on India s independence movement partition and yet came to know a no of new facts events Also, it was largely unbiased or maybe there were biases but they were not forced opinions or distortions of facts as Indian liberals do And the author has successfully built character portraits of Jinnah and Nehru in their full glory And Patel hasnt been spared too As an Indian used to reading an evil portrait of Pakistan Muslims during partition riots, I was surprised.Because of its unputdownable nature and short length, this is a perfect read for those who are new to the subject too And I do wish other authors do read it to understand how history can be made interesting without compromising on scholarship. One of the greatest tragedies to ever occur in the history of the 20th century was the partition of India following the end of British rule of the subcontinent not just because a once large country was split in two, but because of the communal slaughter of Muslims, Sikhs, and Hindus that occurred as each group, unsure of their future in either the new India or Pakistan, grouped together and began to see their neighbors as potential murderers in waiting The massive slaughter of innocent people that occurred in 1947, which is the root cause of tensions and suspicions between India and Pakistan to this day, has never been fully told until now In this fine, short history of the partition of India, Mr Hajari lays bare the the suspicions and savagery that characterized this confusing time in Asia s history At its heart is the personal and political animosity between the founding political leaders of India and Pakistan Jawaharlal Nehru and Muhammad Ali Jinnah From their outright hatred of each other, Mr Hajari traces how their inability to compromise led first to the calls for partition, then sporadic rioting, then communal genocide on an inconceivable level and then finally, war and assassinations The hardest thing about this book is that with each succeeding chapter things seem to get worse Mr Hajari even quotes some British officials in India and Pakistan, who had recently fought in World War II, saying that the slaughter was worse than the Holocaust It is not until Mahatma Gandhi is assassinated at the beginning of 1948 do things seem to calm down and even Gandhi doesn t come away as the Hindu saint some may think of him as And while neither the Pakistani nor Indian governments were responsible for the targeted killing of Muslims, Sikhs, and Hindus, some officials may very well have winked at the violence It will be a tough slog of a book, but by the end of it you will see where the deep suspicions India and Pakistan have for each other originated from and where Pakistan first began to useIslamic insurgents to counter Indian military power and why Kashmir has become the greatest flashpoint in international politics with any dispute between India and Pakistan over the disputed region that could quickly go nuclear This is a true and depressing litany of woe and death and I would recommend it to anyone interested in learning about India and Pakistan. Nobody Expected The Liberation Of India And Birth Of Pakistan To Be So Bloody It Was Supposed To Be An Answer To The Dreams Of Muslims And Hindus Who Had Been Ruled By The British For Centuries Jawaharlal Nehru, Gandhi S Prot G And The Political Leader Of India, Believed Indians Were An Inherently Nonviolent, Peaceful People Pakistan S Founder, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, Was A Secular Lawyer, Not A Firebrand But In August , Exactly A Year Before Independence, Calcutta Erupted In Riots A Cycle Of Street Fighting Targeting Hindus, Then Muslims, Then Sikhs Spun Out Of Control As The Summer Of Approached, All Three Groups Were Heavily Armed And On Edge, And The British Rushed To Leave Hell Let Loose Trains Carried Muslims West And Hindus East To Their Slaughter Some Of The Most Brutal And Widespread Ethnic Cleansing In Modern History Erupted On Both Sides Of The New Border, Searing A Divide Between India And Pakistan That Remains A Root Cause Of Many Evils From Jihadi Terrorism To Nuclear Proliferation, The Searing Tale Told In Midnight S Furiesexplains All Too Many Of The Headlines We Read Today True Wonderer3.5 5 Stars, Death Destruction Disaster If India wants her bloodbath, she shall have it Mahatma Gandhi to Archibald Wavell, 27th Aug, 1946It is ironical that the one time, the messiah of peace non violence uttered words of carnage, they turned out to be prophetic beyond belief Partition the word has become a synonym for meaningless disaster to Indians, and probably for the Pakistani people as well I have read and seen books, documentaries, featurettes about the Why , How , When Who of that time, trying to make sense, to find justification for the enormous loss, that both nations suffered, and found none No apt ideology, no holy war, no past, no explanation to it all, save one, Ambition Arrogance That s what doomed us History is written by the Victors and so finding an impartial account of it is nigh impossible The pages, if written with intent, can be colored any which way, So reading this book was a sobering experience like bathing in cold water Mr.Nisid Hajari, has tried his utmost to remain neutral, to present the events as is and be critical of them as impartially as he could I am almost thankful that he didn t use a lot of imaginative writing while describing the massacres Reading about them in pure statistics was chilling enough, ten s of thousand of women raped, many thousand children slaughtered, men cut down with indifference, like swatting flies The Sikhs with their Jathas, The Muslims with their war cries, the Hindu RSSS with their fanaticism, trains dripping with blood and filled with body parts, utter bloodbath Furies let loose indeed.The book gets full marks on researching the Indian follies for the partition, many a time, the only story told is the one critical of the British Don t get me wrong, the lion s share of the blame does go to them, they were the prime mechanics of the hate that festers across the Indian subcontinent still, though Mr.Nisid Hajari has not delved into that, he has portrayed the Brits as someone who just wanted the job done , in popular retelling the Indian leaders come across as helpless victims Not so, though heavily influenced and burdened by the long standing policies and the departing chaos of the Raj, the Indian leaders and their vanity deserves a lot of the blame too Nehru with his idealism, trying to be the white knight all the time Patel with his stiffness, Gandhi with his meekness and of course none than the Lucifer of the Indian Eden.Jinnah , the vainest of them all Each of them with their necks stiff and noses in the air A cause that they have fought for, for so long together, forgotten in an instant, replaced with the pursuit of deluded fame and personal glory.A considerable portion of the book is focused on the partition of Punjab , and the ensuing riots which happened The key players behind it all, their attitude, how the insecurities of all the communities were stoked into a fearful frenzy, to the point that they forgot that they have been living with each other for centuries, in relative peace And it became them or us that quickly It also does a good job in explaining the other s side attitude, the friction between the two regimes has its roots in the tussle of partition Every little spat between the founding fathers has now bloomed into a full on policy of suspicion and distrust for the two nations The insurgency in Kashmir and the tussle for territories in the early days of independence, has been covered in quite detail, something lacking in the standard histories.An interesting read, for any history buff or politics enthusiast, though it does read for the most part as plain History, but I found that a welcome aspect Something, this volatile should be treated with an analytical attitude, rather than an emotional one The later, would happen on its own, despite our best tries. It s not for beginners Although I know a bit about India, Pakistan and the wider region due to reading up on the news, having Indian Pakistani friends, etc I thought this might be a great book to help me understand the history a bit better I had read and seen a couple of interviews with the author where he talks a bit about both history and the current events and it sounded really fascinating Unfortunately, I felt this was a really tough read While I certainly wouldn t expect a 101 level textbook to spoon feed me, I found the text a real struggle The focus is the conflict surrounding the eventual creation of modern India and Pakistan from the politics to the violence in the streets But unfortunately it s tough to grasp with the large cast of characters there is no Who s who list and maybe it s just me who had trouble keeping who s who separate I also found the text genuinely difficult to read Some sections were fascinating and kept me going, but there were several places where my eyes dragged and I just felt it just wasn t compelling reading I d also agree that it s not a great book to connect the then and with the now Again, I don t think it s required for the author to hand hold and he does have an epilogue at the end , but the book ends at the beginning of 1949 and then there s pretty much a time skip in the epilogue Although the partition is the focus, I would have loved to have a longer epilogue looking at the events since then to the present day I personally suspect the author s background as a journalist just doesn t help As a longread article or as a series of articles this could have been great But as a book I really disliked his writing style, not content And while this may be me, I felt that someone reading this is expected to have a greater knowledge of the history of Pakistan, India and the relations between the two countries A reviewer on thought he she would run it by relatives who actually lived in this time period to see what they thought This might have been a better read for me if I knew before picking this up I might have gotten a lot out of it, and will consider revisiting it someday Borrow from the library and try before you buy. A History of the Violence at the Separation of India and PakistanAfter WWII, the British felt pressured to give India independence However, the Muslim forces in the north of India, led by Jinnah, a lawyer, wanted to control their own destiny Jinnah would settle for nothing less than an independent country, and Pakistan was born However, creating two separate countries was not simple Muslims, Hindus, and Sikhs lived on both sides of the proposed border Each group feared the other would try to take away their freedoms, and thus began the ethnic cleansing Muslim toughs rampaged through the countryside killing hundreds of Hindus and Sikhs Hindus and Sikhs retaliated by killing Muslims Wholesale massacres occurred and the British were unable to stem the tide Even Gandhi, who believe that the Indians as a whole were a peaceful people, was unable to keep the violence from escalating This is a very difficult book to read because of the descriptions of violence However, it s important to the understanding of what happened and what is still happening today Before reading the book, I knew little about the division of India, now I can see how stressful it was The author points out that much of the violence in the Middle East today had it s roots in that time Pakistan feared India and as a result gave asylum to the Taliban and other extremist groups Anyone interested in the problems of the Middle East should read this book It is very well written and gives a warning about the origins of the stresses in that region that we would all do well to heed I reviewed this book for the Vine Program. This is by far the best and the most comprehensive account of one of the darkest periods of Indian history The gruesomeness of the event and the helplessness of our leaders to mitigate the pogrom that ensued during Independence is honestly delineated with telling detail All the players including the British grossly underestimated the impact of Partition Must read for anyone interested in understanding the human psyche. This book is pretty amazing For all the distress and agony you go through while reading it, the insight you get is totally worth it Well framed, directed and revelatory I will recommend this book to anyone who wants to understand Partition 1947. The book begins with up close and personal stories on the 3 leaders Jawaharlal Nehru, Mohandas Ghandi and Mohammad Ali Jinnah This warm and engaging part is followed by the politics and violence of the independence movement followed by the politics and violence of achieving independence The book Indian Summer tells this story with emphasis on the British role, this book focuses on the role of the Indians.It seems that than half this book tells of the mobs, people hacked to pieces death, arson, suicide or forced conversions in lieu of rape, rape, villages wiped out, trains arriving in Pakistan full of bodies, body parts and blood For the political parts a reader needs background than I have Without the threads that hold the story together a lot of the narrative seemed like a collection of episodes You really need to know why the British inclusive of Churchill agreed to the creation of Pakistan and why British officers served in both the Indian and Pakistani armies Why were the Sikh s not at the bargaining table The author frequently alludes to both sides doing it it being violence or intransigence at the bargaining table but you never see Nehru encouraging violence or giving it a wink and a nod and despite his hatred for Jinnah, he tried to work with him Nevertheless, there is a lot to learn You see that the vibrant independence movement did not provide independence Britain s devastation from WWII did that but produced the leaders for the new India and Pakistan You can see Jinnah s toxic leadership and the violence partition spawned You see the meetings of the leaders and their helplessness to stop the violence You see Jinnah s denial that lives in Pakistan today in its role with the Taliban and housing Osama Bin Laden There are interesting narratives on personal lives of the key people, the dynamics of their meetings, how areas eligible to join a country did so and Jinnah s telling Bengali s that their language will be Urdu to name a few There are sad turning points such as setting the date for partition and India s handing funds over to Pakistan The numbers of casualties are staggering This story is ripe for alternative histories If there were no Jinnah, would there be a Pakistan If there were no Pakistan, would India suffer from a restive minority Would violence have been avoided if the partition was given time or if the ruler of Kashmir joined his area with India sooner Should there have been a partition for the Sikhs The maps are helpful and the Index worked for the few times I used it The research is well documented and the writing is readable The B W have good portraits of the key players. I had mixed feelings about this work My biggest complaint is that it seemed based to large degree on secondary sources so than I d hoped and the preface seemed to suggest , and as such it didn t seem to cover as much new ground as one would hope for an already thoroughly documented historical event On the other hand the narrative itself is really gripping and well written The book is an absolute page turner and I suppose that in itself makes it worth writing another book on Partition.Content wise, Jinnah unsurprisingly comes across poorly Nehru fares much better, although by no means comes across unscathed One thing that the author does very well is tracing the roots of Pakistan s current paranoia about India back to the initial attempts by India to devour the Pakistani state The early roots of Pakistani support for non state militias is also traced, with their predecessors being the impromptu militias who travelled to fight in the Punjab and Kashmir during the breakup of the country.Nonetheless, Pakistan itself clearly seems to have been a half baked idea concocted callously by Jinnah, and perhaps even supported by the British as a means to handicap a newly independent India Reflecting in hindsight, its clear that a full India would be a potential superpower today, and maybe would have already been long ago In this light, the support British Conservatives gave at the time Muslim nationalism makes sense in a sinister way as a parting kick to the subcontinent.In Partition, India came apart in a manner from which it has never healed A mosaic of cultures that existed for millennia was blasted apart by the mania of nationalism, something which feels and today like a mere fad Above all, due to the inability of a few craven elites to get along, millions of ordinary people who would ve in all likelihood continued to live peacefully ended up suffering in the most grievous manner possible My gripe on the sources aside, this is a compelling and fairly evenhanded look at one of the greatest calamities to occur in the 20th century a high bar For those unfamiliar with the history it offers a good primer.
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- 304 pages
- Midnights Furies
- Nisid Hajari
- 06 May 2019 Nisid Hajari