After his immensely successful “Everybody loves a Good Drought”, a researched study of poverty in the rural districts of India, award-winning author-journalist P Sainath will soon come out with a new book on India’s freedom struggle.
The book, titled “The Last Heroes” and scheduled for release on November 21, celebrates little known fighters — farmers, labourers, homemakers, forest produce gatherers, artisans and others — from India’s freedom struggle as it tracks the role of ordinary, everyday people in achieving Independence.
Published by Penguin Random House India (PRHI), it is touted to be an attempt to tell these freedom fighter stories, giving them a recognition they “truly deserve, but were never granted”.
“In the next five or six years, there will not be a single person alive who fought for this country’s freedom. Newer generations of young Indians will never get to meet, see, speak or listen to India’s freedom fighters. That’s why and for whom I wrote this book,” said Sainath, whose last book is currently on its 56th-print run.
“For quite a while now, we see young people being robbed of their history, denied any knowledge of what India’s fight for freedom and Independence was about — and who it was who spearheaded that struggle,” he added.
The book highlights the distinction between freedom and independence that these fighters speak of.
It also shows that Indian Independence was not the gift of a handful of ‘Oxbridge elites’, and does so by revealing the diversity of these foot soldiers who fought the great battles of freedom.
According to the publishers, “The Last Heroes” goes beyond their fight for Independence only as many continued their battle for freedom long after 1947.
“P Sainath’s book, his first in more than two decades, captures a critically important slice of history by documenting the participation of ordinary people in India’s freedom struggle.
“The people whose lives and stories are wonderfully documented in this book are from all parts of the country and all sections of society, demonstrating the deep roots of India’s national movement,” said Meru Gokhale, Publisher, Penguin Press, PRHI.
Sainath, who has earned numerous awards and recognitions throughout his 42-year illustrious career, is also the founder editor of the People’s Archive of Rural India (PARI) — an independent multimedia digital platform.