Today, the 15th August, is the anniversary of the Independence of India – from the British Empire, from Pakistan and from (what is now known as) Bangladesh.
It’s not a simple story and my beloved Grandfather, as the Last Viceroy of India, played a seminal role in the countdown to what many came to see as ‘Freedom at Midnight’.
His was an almost impossible brief and ultimately he chose a path that would, he believed, avoid all out civil war. Nevertheless the repercussions were seismic.
This video tells a lot of that story.
A few days ago I received the following, beautifully written letter:
I write to you as India Remembered was your idea as acknowledged by your mother in the foreword of the book.
Usually, I avoid reading about India. It is heartbreaking – like reading about a parent who has become destitute or a wayward child in suffering. Your mother’s book is different in that, even as she documents the horrors of partition, she captures the buoyant optimism of a continent freed to pursue its destiny. And within that arc of one fifth of humanity she documents an impossible to imagine life at Viceroy House, itself a vignette of the best and worst of the Raj.
Thank you for bringing this book to the world.
Even as India flounders and fails her own children, even as “freedom at midnight” seems to have left her wandering in the dark, it is good to remember why we went down this path. Why it felt worth it and the cost proportionate.