As a book, I never thought I would one day read this book, and infact blog about it. Ever since those early high-school days, I heard about this book lot of times in History textbooks as well as in Books-Authors section of various general awareness books. However, I never thought it is available for public even now. Anyways, it is my fortune that I came across this book, while just scanning through the books in our library.
This is a book by Maulana Abul Kalam Azad , the freedom fighter and free India’s first minister of Education. I would say now that I began to admire Maulana ji for his balanced views, for his credentials, for his candidness and for his planning. Since it is only recently that my interests in History are revived, after a long gap of 7-8 years, I can’t say that whether it is my perception that “This book provides a totally new perspective of freedom struggle, with lots of untold stories” or its a fact. I did not read any book on Indian Freedom struggle, excepting the biographies. So, the above said statement is my personal opinion, which can as well be a statement told in ignorance, which time has to prove.
The book talks about different incidents and people related directly or indirectly to Indian freedom struggle. Never did I know so many inside stories 🙂 . The congress, the British, the Muslim League are the main characters in this tale of India of the 40s. Historical events, which most of us know through Textbooks during school days like Cripps Mission, Quit India, Second Worldwar, Simla Conference, General Elections, Cabinet Mission Plan, Partition-the reality etc are all told in first person. Azad’s relationship with the leaders of the day like Gandhiji, Nehru, Patel etc in a way helped in making this book even more interesting as it adds a personal angle to the tales of our freedom struggle.
The way Azad ji analyses different events, and reactions from different people, and his ability to predict the outcomes of the talks or plans, based on these analytics – surprise me. His relationship with Nehru is a thing worth mentioning here. It appears that they enjoy a special relationship. But, this did not come in the way of Azad ji evaluating Nehru’s actions critically. Never did I read such a critical and candid analysis of Nehru’s personality and actions. Never did I find such an open criticism about person-worship in Congress community. Never did I read such an objective narrative on the Independence story of one of the world’s largest democracies. Perhaps, its the rationality and objectiveness in his views and an interesting narration that make this book worth reading.
I now wonder how India’s fortune might have been if the Cabinet Mission Plan was implemented instead of the Mountbatten plan. Would partition have been avoided, as Azad ji believed? Who knows? I want to read it again, for the sheer pleasure of reading. I want to read it again not just for that…. for Azadji’s narration, for his powerful presentation, for his rational views ….. for the sheer fact that he is a legend, who lived with other legends, and has a lot of personal stories to tell about them. One story which amused me the most is: Nehru has the habit of talking in sleep! 🙂
Don’t miss this book friends! it should infact be brought and kept in your book-shelf. I bet I will read this again soon.