The Last Days of the Raj

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India's declaration of independance on 15 August 1947 was a momentous occasion. For the British, who had ruled there for over 200 years, it was the start of a process to discard its world empire. This text explores, through the voices and memories of both the British and Indians, the drama and tensions of the years leading up to, and following, Independance. The text combines historical narrative with these interviews and presents a social history and an insight into a ...
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Overview

India's declaration of independance on 15 August 1947 was a momentous occasion. For the British, who had ruled there for over 200 years, it was the start of a process to discard its world empire. This text explores, through the voices and memories of both the British and Indians, the drama and tensions of the years leading up to, and following, Independance. The text combines historical narrative with these interviews and presents a social history and an insight into a significant period in British history.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Combining historical narrative with interviews of Brits and Indians who lived through the final days of Britain's rule of India, Roylean English historianstrives to create a balanced portrait, though his informative yet dry narrative ends up feeling skewed and narrow. Perhaps because the Indians he interviewed are mostly from the educated elite, he makes such reductionist conclusions as: "The amazing thing is that there was never much animosity: however upset many Indians might have been about the lack of social ties [to the British] their feelings rarely turned to anger." Royle's earliest impressions were colored by the nostalgia provoked by postcards recording "the innocent pleasures" of his mother's privileged childhood in India and photographs of "Indiansmy mother's servants, my father's soldiersstaring out at me, loyal, curious, smiling." In fairness, he does see through this nostalgia to the British racism and elitism that were also part of the picture. Particularly clearheaded are his accounts of the rise of Indian nationalists Gandhi, Nehru and Jinnah, and the clash between Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs that culminated in the bloody Punjab massacres. Still, his nostalgia prevails ("In another incident... British good sense managed to win the day over religious fanaticism"), and in the end, his book feels more like a tribute to the British raj than a historical record. Photos. (Jan.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780719556869
  • Publisher: Murray, John Publishers, Limited
  • Publication date: 1/1/1998
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 0.90 (d)

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