By Stanley Wolpert
Britain's precipitous and ill-planned disengagement from India in 1947—condemned as a "shameful flight" by means of Winston Churchill—had a really catastrophic impression on South Asia, leaving millions of individuals lifeless in its wake and making a legacy of chaos, hatred, and struggle that has lasted over part a century.
Ranging from the autumn of Singapore in 1942 to the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi in 1948, Shameful Flight offers a shiny behind-the-scenes examine Britain's selection to divest itself from the crown jewel of its empire. Stanley Wolpert, a number one authority on Indian background, paints memorable pics of all of the key contributors, together with Gandhi, Churchill, Attlee, Nehru, and Jinnah, with specified specialise in British viceroy, Lord Louis Mountbatten. Wolpert areas the blame for the disaster mostly on Mountbatten, the fancy cousin of the king, who rushed the method of nationhood alongside at an absurd velocity. The viceroy's worst blunder used to be the impetuous drawing of latest border traces throughout the center of Punjab and Bengal. nearly everybody concerned urged Mountbatten that to partition these provinces used to be a calamitous mistake that will unharness uncontrollable violence. certainly, as Wolpert exhibits, civil unrest between Muslims, Hindus, and Sikhs escalated as Independence Day approached, and while the recent boundary strains have been introduced, arson, homicide, and mayhem erupted. Partition uprooted over ten million humans, 500,000 to 1000000 of whom died within the resulting inferno.
Here then is the dramatic tale of a very pivotal second within the background of India, Pakistan, and Britain, an occasion that ignited fires of constant political unrest that also burn in South Asia.
"In this engrossing, yet very arguable, e-book, Wolpert considers the accountability of the leaders, either British and Indian, for the instant effects of the partition in 1947 of British India into India and Pakistan while millions have been killed in riots and thousands grew to become homeless refugees. Shameful Flight is sobering analyzing for an individual drawn to the increase and fall of Western imperialism."
—Ainslee Embree, Columbia college
"Wolpert's publication is a pleasant learn and should shine for its stellar caliber of scholarship one of the becoming physique of partition literature that has surfaced within the final 20 years. it will likely be of serious curiosity to someone eager about no matter what occurred to the nice British Empire and people who usually ask yourself why Indians and Pakistanis forever struggle with each one other."
—Dilip Basu, college of California, Santa Cruz
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Additional info for Shameful Flight: The Last Years of the British Empire in India
28 He noted that India was never consulted about the declaration of war, nor about the war taxes they must pay. “Britain may be said to be at perpetual war with India, which she holds . . ” British troops took any dwellings they liked, ejecting the Indian owners summarily, usually without compensation. “Indian life is suffocating; almost every Indian is discontented, but will not own it publicly. Government employees high and low are no exception. . I am asking for . . ”29 Gandhi also endorsed a new suggestion by Azad that representatives of the Congress working committee and the Muslim League meet as soon as possible to resolve their deadlock without further British involvement.
We feel that in your natural desire to reach a settlement with Congress you may be drawn into positions far different from any the Cabinet . . ”79 None of the tricky changes proposed by Johnson and agreed to by Nehru and Cripps sufficed, however, to win over the Congress working committee. “The future, important as it is, will depend on what happens in the next few months and years,” Azad wrote to Cripps on April 10. “We concentrated therefore on the present. . Defence at any time, and more particularly in war time, is of essential importance; and without it, a National [ 32 ] February–April 1942 Government functions in a very limited field .
79 None of the tricky changes proposed by Johnson and agreed to by Nehru and Cripps sufficed, however, to win over the Congress working committee. “The future, important as it is, will depend on what happens in the next few months and years,” Azad wrote to Cripps on April 10. “We concentrated therefore on the present. . Defence at any time, and more particularly in war time, is of essential importance; and without it, a National [ 32 ] February–April 1942 Government functions in a very limited field .