A sumptuous biographical saga, both intimate and epic, about the waning of the British Empire in India
John Auden was a pioneering geologist of the Himalaya. Michael Spender was the first to draw a detailed map of the North Face of Mount Everest. While their younger brothers--W. H. Auden and Stephen Spender--achieved literary fame, they vied to be included on an expedition that would deliver Everest's summit to an Englishman, a quest that had become a metaphor for Britain's struggle to maintain power over India. To this rivalry was added another: in the summer of 1938 both men fell in love with a painter named Nancy Sharp. Her choice would determine where each man's wartime loyalties would lie.
Set in Calcutta, London, the glacier-locked wilds of the Karakoram, and on Everest itself, The Last Englishmen is also the story of a generation. The cast of this exhilarating drama includes Indian and English writers and artists, explorers and Communist spies, Die Hards and Indian nationalists, political rogues and police informers. Key among them is a highborn Bengali poet named Sudhin Datta, a melancholy soul torn, like many of his generation, between hatred of the British Empire and a deep love of European literature, whose life would be upended by the arrival of war on his Calcutta doorstep.
Dense with romance and intrigue, and of startling relevance for the great power games of our own day, Deborah Baker's The Last Englishmen is an engrossing story that traces the end of empire and the stirring of a new world order.
Mohandas K. Gandhi, called Mahatma ("great soul"), was the father of modern India, but his influence has spread well beyond the subcontinent and is as important today as it was in the first part of the twentieth century and during this nation's own civil rights movement. Taken from Gandhi's writings throughout his life, The Essential Gandhi introduces us to his thoughts on politics, spirituality, poverty, suffering, love, non-violence, civil disobedience, and his own life. The pieces collected here, with explanatory head notes by Gandhi biographer Louis Fischer, offer the clearest, most thorough portrait of one of the greatest spiritual leaders the world has known.
"Gandhi was inevitable. If humanity is to progress, Gandhi is inescapable. . . . We may ignore him at our own risk." -Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Mohandas K. Gandhi is one of the most inspiring figures of our time. In his classic autobiography he recounts the story of his life and how he developed his concept of active nonviolent resistance, which propelled the Indian struggle for independence and countless other nonviolent struggles of the twentieth century.In a new foreword, noted peace expert and teacher Sissela Bok urges us to adopt Gandhi's "attitude of experimenting, of tesing what will and will not bear close scrutiny, what can and cannot be adapted to new circumstances,"in order to bring about change in our own lives and communities. All royalties earned on this book are paid to the Navajivan Trust, founded by Gandhi, for use in carrying on his work.
Born against a background of privation and civil war and divided along lines of caste, language, and religion, the nation of India still became a united and democratic country. The story of India before and after independence is a riveting one, and India after Gandhi explores the protests and conflicts that helped shape the nation politically, socially, and economically.The complete story of its creation and its modern history has never been told before, and never as clearly, or as engagingly, as in Ramachandra Guha's remarkable India after Gandhi. Moving between history and biography, Guha writes of the factors that have kept the country together, and provides fresh insights into the lives of legendary Prime Ministers and leaders, as well as lesser known Indians-peasants, women, workers, and Untouchables. Ramachandra Guha was born in Dehradun in 1958, and educated in Delhi and Calcutta. He has taught at the universities of Oslo, Stanford and Yale, and at the Indian Institute of Science. He has been a Fellow of the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin, and also served as the Indo-American Community Chair Visiting Professor at the University of California at Berkeley. Guha's books and essays have been translated into more than twenty languages. The prizes they have won include the U. K. Cricket Society's Literary Award and the Leopold-Hidy Prize of the American Society of Environmental History. "Guha has produced a superb, gloriously detailed book that is essential reading for anybody with a serious interest in modern India." -- The Independent--Christian Science Monitor
An immersive portrait of the lives of the British in India, from the seventeenth century to Independence
Who of the British went to India, and why? We know about Kipling and Forster, Orwell and Scott, but what of the youthful forestry official, the enterprising boxwallah, the fervid missionary? What motivated them to travel halfway around the globe, what lives did they lead when they got there, and what did they think about it all?
Full of spirited, illuminating anecdotes drawn from long-forgotten memoirs, correspondence, and government documents, The British in India weaves a rich tapestry of the everyday experiences of the Britons who found themselves in "the jewel in the crown" of the British Empire. David Gilmour captures the substance and texture of their work, home, and social lives, and illustrates how these transformed across the several centuries of British presence and rule in the subcontinent, from the East India Company's first trading station in 1615 to the twilight of the Raj and Partition and Independence in 1947. He takes us through remote hill stations, bustling coastal ports, opulent palaces, regimented cantonments, and dense jungles, revealing the country as seen through British eyes, and wittily reveling in all the particular concerns and contradictions that were a consequence of that limited perspective. The British in India is a breathtaking accomplishment, a vivid and balanced history written with brio, elegance, and erudition.
An extraordinary story of romance, history, and divided loyalties -- set against the backdrop of one of the most dramatic events of the twentieth century
The stroke of midnight on August 15, 1947, liberated 400 million people from the British Empire. With the loss of India, its greatest colony, Britain ceased to be a superpower, and its king ceased to sign himself Rex Imperator.
This defining moment of world history had been brought about by a handful of people. Among them were Jawaharlal Nehru, the fiery Indian prime minister; Mohammed Ali Jinnah, the leader of the new Islamic Republic of Pakistan; Mohandas Gandhi, the mystical figure who enthralled a nation; and Louis and Edwina Mountbatten, the glamorous but unlikely couple who had been dispatched to get Britain out of India. Within hours of the midnight chimes, their dreams of freedom and democracy would turn to chaos, bloodshed, and war.
Behind the scenes, a secret personal drama was also unfolding, as Edwina Mountbatten and Jawaharlal Nehru began a passionate love affair. Their romance developed alongside Cold War conspiracies, the beginning of a terrible conflict in Kashmir, and an epic sweep of events that saw one million people killed and ten million dispossessed.
Steeped in the private papers and reflections of the participants, Alex von Tunzelmann's Indian Summer reveals, in vivid, exhilarating detail, how the actions of a few extraordinary people changed the lives of millions and determined the fate of nations.
The world's largest democracy and second-most populous country, 21st-century India is a dynamic nation with a thrivting economy, made up of a variety of beliefs and peoples united under one flag. Ancient India was home to myriad kingdoms with boundaries that were ever changing while a variety of cultures and religions flourished over the millennia as the influence of foreign invaders and occupiers has come and gone. The country was under foreign rule from the early 1800s until independence in 1947. From the late 1980s, India opened itself to the outside world, encouraging economic reform and foreign investment, and is now courted by the world's leading economic and political powers. It is a major power with a burgeoning middle class, having made substantial strides in areas such as information technology. The availability of a large, skilled workforce makes it a popular choice for international companies looking to outsource work. It has launched a space program and boasts a massive film industry, its "Bollywood" films being amongst the most-watched in the world. Meanwhile, India still has major issues with poverty and illiteracy, and campaigns have been launched to alleviate these problems.
A place of spectacle and ruin, Mumbai exemplifies the cosmopolitan metropolis. It is not just a big city but also a soaring vision of modern urban life. Millions from India and beyond, of different ethnicities, languages, and religions, have washed up on its shores, bringing with them their desires and ambitions. Mumbai Fables explores the mythic inner life of this legendary city as seen by its inhabitants, journalists, planners, writers, artists, filmmakers, and political activists. In this remarkable cultural history of one of the world's most important urban centers, Gyan Prakash unearths the stories behind its fabulous history, viewing Mumbai through its turning points and kaleidoscopic ideas, comic book heroes, and famous scandals--the history behind Mumbai's stories of opportunity and oppression, of fabulous wealth and grinding poverty, of cosmopolitan desires and nativist energies.
Starting from the catastrophic floods and terrorist attacks of recent years, Prakash reaches back to the sixteenth-century Portuguese conquest to reveal the stories behind Mumbai's historic journey. Examining Mumbai's role as a symbol of opportunity and reinvention, he looks at its nineteenth-century development under British rule and its twentieth-century emergence as a fabled city on the sea. Different layers of urban experience come to light as he recounts the narratives of the Nanavati murder trial and the rise and fall of the tabloid Blitz, and Mumbai's transformation from the red city of trade unions and communists into the saffron city of Hindu nationalist Shiv Sena. Starry-eyed planners and elite visionaries, cynical leaders and violent politicians of the street, land sharks and underworld dons jostle with ordinary citizens and poor immigrants as the city copes with the dashed dreams of postcolonial urban life and lurches into the seductions of globalization.
Shedding light on the city's past and present, Mumbai Fables offers an unparalleled look at this extraordinary metropolis.-- "Choice"
The popular image of the British Raj-an era of efficient but officious governors, sycophantic local functionaries, doting amahs, blisteringly hot days and torrid nights-chronicled by Forster and Kipling is a glamorous, nostalgic, but entirely fictitious. In this dramatic revisionist history, Jon Wilson upends the carefully sanitized image of unity, order, and success to reveal an empire rooted far more in violence than in virtue, far more in chaos than in control.Through the lives of administrators, soldiers, and subjects-both British and Indian-The Chaos of Empire traces Britain's imperial rule from the East India Company's first transactions in the 1600s to Indian Independence in 1947. The Raj was the most public demonstration of a state's ability to project power far from home, and its perceived success was used to justify interventions around the world in the years that followed. But the Raj's institutions-from law courts to railway lines-were designed to protect British power without benefiting the people they ruled. This self-serving and careless governance resulted in an impoverished people and a stifled society, not a glorious Indian empire. Jon Wilson's new portrait of a much-mythologized era finally and convincingly proves that the story of benign British triumph was a carefully concocted fiction, here thoroughly and totally debunked.