Wednesday, July 29, 2009

"Freedom at Midnight” – Critique

It is evident that the authors, Mr. Dominique Lapierre and Mr. Larry Collins had done lot of ground work and research to write a book like “Freedom at Midnight”. That ground work and research cost them around $300,000 and 3 valuable years. An excellent outcome for such a hard work.

This book brings more light on to the forbidden topic of “Greater India’s Civil war” fought between two ancient religions to split “Greater India” based on religion in to “India” and “Pakistan”, two independent nations, later to become three with in a quarter century.

This critique is mainly about the book and not about the darkest history of the sub-continent or the devil’s script which dramatized during the third and fourth quarter of 1947.

The authors had chosen story telling instead of furnishing the dates and places of historical events. This book is neither a historical novel nor a record of events. To simply put, this book is story about Indian partition and its aftermath. By this kind of story telling approach, the authors accomplished both the task of making the book interesting and informative.

The story narration never felt hard as the language used is like flow of water in the steppes. No heavy English, No decorative words from 16th century, which only Shakespeare can understand. In language part the book acheived what it aimed at.

When addressing about the bias of this book, certainly one can say this book is not unbiased. Primarily Mountbatten biased and secondarily Indian biased. As Mountbatten is the main donor of information for the authors, it is easy to understand the reason for its Mountbatten bias. Apart from this authors too tried well enough to portray him as hero, may be, kind of thanksgiving. About its Indian bias, there are no concrete reasons other than the bibliography. It consists lot of Indian books only next to foreign books compared to Pakistani books.

The authors have not tried enough to prove the validity of Jinnah’s claim for a separate nation in this book. They also vilified Jinnah to an extent and portrayed him as an arrogant, result-oriented soul. Atrocities by Hindus during partition were not well addressed in this book as compared to the outlawed acts of Moslems and Sikhs mentioned.

As like any story book, It also has heroes, One is Mountbatten and other is M.K.Gandhi. Authors’ love and respect towards these two men dominated their core aim in most places.

Conclusivley, It is advisable for every Indian (even for Pakistani’s too, while excluding the remarks about their beloved “Quaid-e-Azam”) to study this book to know about the price what we have paid for India’s Independence and her partition.

Let those who read this, get them insulated from any communal and national orientations and understand how badly an irrational, unnatural claim for religion and Promised Land will drive human emotions.

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