India gained independence from British rule 73 years ago after a long-fought battle, and much has been written about it. Over the years, writers have taken refuge to fiction as well as non-fiction to explore and document the events that led to the country’s independence, including the bloodbath that was Partition.
As India gears up to celebrate another Independence Day on August 15 (Saturday), here are some books you can read to know better about the events that unfolded then.
Freedom at Midnight by Dominique Lapierre and Larry Collins
This 1975 book traces the events which led to India’s freedom. Lapierre and Collins exhaustively chronicle the last few years of the British Raj, the appointment of Lord Mountbatten of Burma as the last viceroy of British India, and eventually conclude with the death of Mahatma Gandhi.
Discovery of India by Jawaharlal Nehru
This was written by Nehru while he was in jail during 1942–1946 at Ahmednagar fort in Maharashtra. He infused his knowledge of Upanishads and Vedas to explore the philosophy of Indian life.
The Last Mughal: The Fall of a Dynasty: Delhi, 1857 by William Dalrymple
This 2006 work serves as an enduring example of Dalrymple’s love affair with Delhi and provides an in-depth account of Indian mutiny as well as the consequences. However, true to the title, he showcases them from the last emperor’s perspective.
Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie
Rushdie’s mammoth achievement, Midnight’s Children, is an expansive documentation of Independence, Emergency and everything that followed since then. A seminal work that neither hides nor fawns, Midnight’s Children begins at the stroke of midnight when India gained Independence and the protagonist Saleem Sinai was born.
The Great Indian Novel by Shashi Tharoor
Published in 1989, this early Tharoor novel takes the story of Mahabharata and puts it in the mould of Indian Independence. The result is a fascinating work with mythology and politics feeding off each other. What the novel also further points to is: the more things change, the more they remain the same.
Train to Pakistan by Khushwant Singh
This 1956 work by Khushwant Singh is a searing account of the other, grim underside of Indian Independence: Partition. In a style that was characteristic of him, Singh put human faces on the statistics and a train carrying corpses as a horrifying symbol of human barbarity.
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