India did not achieve her independence overnight. The struggle for freedom was long and hard fought, spanning years and at the cost of numerous lives. What started off as the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857 culminated with India getting freed from British rule on the mid-night of August 15, 1947, but only at the expense of the Partition of the country into India and Pakistan. Notably, on 15 August 1947, the first Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru raised the Indian national flag above the Lahori Gate of the Red Fort in Delhi.
On India’s 73rd Independence Day, here’s looking at 5 books that chronicle the country’s journey towards freedom.
Freedom at Midnight by Dominique Lapierre and Larry Collins
The book chronicles events around Indian independence and partition in 1947-48, beginning with the appointment of Lord Mountbatten of Burma as the last viceroy of British India. It ends with the assassination and funeral of Mahatma Gandhi. The book deals with the last year of the British Raj and the reactions of the princely states to the independence, among other things.
Discovery of India by Jawaharlal Nehru
Written during Nehru's imprisonment in 1942–46 at Ahmednagar fort in Maharashtra. The book traces India's rich history from the Indus Valley civilization and incorporates Nehru's worldview within its pages.
Remnants of a Separation by Anchal Malhotra
The book attempt to revisit the Partition through objects that refugees carried with them across the border. These belongings absorbed the memory of a time and place, remaining latent and undisturbed for generations until the present when they start narrating their owner's pasts at the unparalleled moment in history.
Anandamath by Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay
Published in 1882, the novel is inspired by and set in the background of the Sannyasi Rebellion of the late 18th century. Considered to be one of the most important novels in the history of Bengali and Indian literature, it became synonymous with the struggle for Indian independence from the British Empire.
Train to Pakistan by Khushwant Singh
The novel recounts the Partition on India in August 1947. Focusing on human history rather than the socio-political aspects, the book is set in a fictional village situated on the border of India and Pakistan. A local money-lender is found murder and suspicion falls upon Juggut Singh, the village gangster in love with a Muslim girl.
However, things take a turn for the worse when a train arrives, carrying the bodies of dead Sikhs. Amidst conflicting loyalties, Juggut Singh must redeem himself and reclaim peace for his village.
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