Freedom at Midnight - Synopsis
"Freedom at Midnight" book covers historical account of India's freedom struggle, the partition of subcontinent, and Mahatma Gandhi's assassination. It's written by an American and a Frenchman, Larry Collins and Dominique Lapierre.
The book starts with the account of the Final phase of the British Raj in India, covers Gandhi's struggles, the great partition and subsequent Independence, and finally, Gandhi's Assassination. In the process, lifestyle of Indian Maharajas and British Officers is also briefly described. The chapters dedicated to agony of the Partition, the stories of human suffering resulted by the political, social situations of those times. This book certainly comes in the latter category, making it an all time classic Indian History book.
There is a description of the British summertime capital Shimla in the Himalayas and how supplies were carried up steep mountains by porters each year. On the theme of partition, the book relates that the crucial maps setting the boundary separating India and Pakistan were drawn that year by Cyril Radcliffe, who had never visited India in his life before being appointed as the chairman of the Boundary Commission. It depicts the fury of both Hindus and Muslims, misled by their communal leaders, during the partition, and the biggest mass slaughter in the history of India as millions of people were uprooted by the partition and tried to migrate by train, oxcart, and on foot to new places designated for their particular religious group. Many migrants fell victim to bandits and religious extremists of both dominant religions. One incident quoted describes a canal in Lahore that ran with blood and floating bodies. Also covered in detail are the events leading to the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi, as well as the life and motives of British-educated Jawaharlal Nehru and Pakistani leader Muhammad Ali Jinnah.