I’m currently reading –

I’m currently reading –

My latest book from “The Big Pile” is Alex von Tunzelmann’s “Indian Summer” – subtitled The Secret History of the End of an Empire.

I picked this up as a way of (belatedly) obtaining some much-needed background and understanding of the history behind the end of the British Raj and the creation of Pakistan, and the book delivers both with both barrels. Threaded throughout the story is Edwina Mountbatten, socialite wife of the “Last Viceroy”,  whose personal (in evey sense of the word,  allegedly) friendships with both Ghandi and Jawaharlal Nehru contributed so much to this era of Anglo-Indian history.

Here’s an interesting passage on women in India in c. 1947:

Women were prominent in India politics, which Edwina Mountbatten, along with many Indian women, attributed to Ghandism.  Non-violence, passive resistance and boycotts were all tactics which could be practised by women without breaking social conventions; and Nehru had insisted as early as 1937 that the Congress manifesto pledge to remove all social, economic and political discrimination against women. As a result,  there were more powerful women in India’s Congress than there were in Britain’s Labour Party or in America’s Democratic Party at the time.

As Edwina would later tell an audience in London, “We shall have to wake up in this country when we see how the women of India have achieved emancipation to such a remarkable degree in spite of the backwardness of the country, the illiteracy of the people, the low standard of life, and all kinds of disadvantages … “

Highly recommended reading,  anyway – definitely one of the best books on India I’ve read to date.

Advertisements

One thought on “I’m currently reading –

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s