Indpendence Struggle

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Kashmir – The Genesis Of The Problem

Published May 6, 2013 by vishalvkale

Kashmir… the mere mention of the word is enough to draw strong emotions in almost all Indians. Kashmir… the mere mention of the word evokes, unfortunately, the sounds of gunfire, the ugly reality of terrorism, the incalculable loss of life and the heart-rending scenes of families crying over their dead. Kashmir… the mere mention of the word reminds one of Pakistan, and the attendant enmity that 2 nations have been condemned to. Kashmir… the mere mention of the word reminds us of 1948, 1965, 1971 and the most recent Kargil conflict in 1999. Kashmir… the great tragedy of Kashmir, which reminds the Indian of all these sad scenes – in place of the scenic location and lovely state it is supposed to be. Kashmir… the most enduring tragedy and result of Partition!


It has become fashionable – especially among the internet generation – to question India’s stance on Kashmir. The penchant of the younger lot to question this entire dispute is disturbing. Happily, there are few such instances – but reading of them on Quora has brought home the reality of how little we know about the dispute. I am not an expert on Kashmir – but I have read on Indian Independence quite extensively, and have learnt not  to question India’s stance. This post is an effort to try to put across the genesis of the problem – how it all started way back in 1947. 


This problem is further exacerbated by the total lack of material on this crisis. All material and books I have read – save one – have glossed over the details, and shortening it to Pakistan invades; Hari Singh accedes to India, First Indo Pak War, India goes to UN… and that is it. From this data, young Indians tend to make several inferences; that first of all, why should Kashmir go to India if it was a Muslim State? That India had no right etc etc. 


Let us examine this in some detail. First – Muslim State. In 1947, being a Muslim State itself was no guarantee of accession to Pakistan. Till the very end, NWFP was pro-India; Baluchistan was against Pakistan. In the Kashmir Valley, The Sheikh Abdullah led National Conference had to upper hand over the Muslim League led Muslim Conference. According to the British Resident of the time, WP Webb, Agha Shaukat Ali of the Muslim Conference had threatened Direct Action – but had failed. All attempts to stoke communal tensions failed in the state. Kashmir remained free form communal tensions all through – this is confirmed from reports of the British officers. Thus, there is every chance that a referendum would have worked to advantage!


Next, why should Kashmir go to India? For this, let me start with 2 passages which are self-explanatory:

1.      In India, in the absence of any homogeneity, a penetration in any direction can result in … separation of different units geographically as well as morally because there is no basic unity among the Shudras, Brahmins, Sikhs, Hindus and Muslims who will follow their own different interests. At present, and for a long time to come, India is in the same position as she was centuries ago, exposed to disintegration in emergencies – Major General Akbar Khan, Pakistan Army, 14 November 1947

2.      Personally , when I recommended to the Government of India the acceptance of accession of the Maharaja of Kashmir, I had in mind one consideration and one consideration alone, viz., that the invasion of Kashmir by the raiders was a great threat to the integrity of India. Ever since the time of Mahmud Ghazni, that is to say, for nearly 8 centuries… India had been subjected to periodical invasions from the North-West… and within less than 10 weeks of the establishment of the new state of Pakistan, its very first act was to let loose a tribal invasion through the North-West. Srinagar today, Delhi tomorrow – VP Menon


Whenever one is trying to understand history, one should first attempt to understand the backdrop as it existed in those days. Unless you understand what atmosphere was prevalent in 1947, any conclusions you draw from the current scenario are bound to be erroneous. It is not my objective to teach the reader exactly what happened; this I cannot do in a blog post. This is the subject of an entire book! I just want to instill some basic questions in the readers’ mind, as well as explain the ground scenario as it existed in those days.


Every hand was drawn against India. The British and the Americans were concerned with a possible invasion by Russia, and wanted a sphere of influence in West India – including military bases. Independent India was crystal clear: we will not be a part of any such shenanigans. This was clear to the westerner right from the start, as the views of the leading  freedom fighters were well known. They were also deeply skeptical of the chances of the continued existence of India itself as a united entity for very long. The Pakistani attitude becomes clear from the statement above. It is also a fact that Jinnah had approached many, many other princes for accession. It is no secret that the Muslim League wanted a much larger Pakistan. It is on record – “you have given us a moth-eaten Pakistan”. 


India was a new nation; to people outside India – it was an experiment. The money was on the survival of Pakistan – not India. No one understood the cultural unity of India outside India in those days. These are not peripheral matters; these are central to our quest to understand the entire Kashmir imbroglio. As can be seen by VP Menon’s statement – this was seen as an existential threat by Indians. This visceral and primeval fear cannot be ignored; this was central to the problem. What we need to question is, was this fear real? Or was it imagined? Keep in mind that there were abundant statements by enemies that India will break up, that we can absorb break-away parts, that Junagarh, Bhopal etc were approached by Jinnah and Pakistan. Also remember this was just 2 years after a massive war. Most critically, while we may think the fear was imagined – these fears were real to the Government of India in those days. This is brought out very clearly in VP Menon’s words from those days. 


Next, independent states was not an option; allowing one state to go independent would open a Pandora’s box – as unleash a string of other such demands. That is why there were only 2 options in front of the princely states – India and Pakistan. Also, Attlee’s demand that India send troops to defend Kashmir without accepting accession does not hold water; it in fact strengthens the fears outlined above. Also, with Kashmir still independent, the danger given above remained. Not only that, it would have left Pakistan with a free hand to have another go. Hence, there was no option but to have Kashmir accede to India in order that troops could be sent in. 


And thus it is that we come to the matter of the referendum… but that is another story. The referendum was first offered by Mountbatten in Lahore – not Nehru. Jinnah was reluctant to hold a referendum – and kept referring to the accession as a fraud. That it was not a fraud had been accepted by every nation in those days. Pakistan knew very well indeed that a referendum would likely go India’s way; at the very least, they were not certain of winning. The terms were specific- Pakistan had to withdraw its troops and irregulars. This they have not done till date; hence the question of UN intervention does not arise. As a mater of fact, as shown in the below paragraph from the book, the entire war was almost stage-managed; the Pakistanis and the British together had reached a state when they had no intention of withdrawing. 


“Bucher admitted to Gracey, the Pakistan C-in-C, that he had no control over Cariappa but hit upon an intriguing scheme to now stop the advance of his own army. Graffety Smith, British high commissioner in Karachi, reported to London the arrangements reached privately between the commander-in-chiefs of the 2 dominions. General Bucher indicated to General Gracey that he had no wish to pursue an offensive into what is effectively Azad-Kashmir controlled territory i.e. to Mirpur and Poonch sector… the object of these arrangements is to reach a situation in which each side will remain in undisputed military occupation of what are roughly their present positions… An essential part of the process… is that 3 battalions of the Pakistan Army should be deployed opposite the Indian forces at Jhangar, in or around Poonch and at Uri…” India and Pakistan are fighting a war… and the head of the Indian army is actually advising the head of the Pakistan army on what to do…. 

The problem of Kashmir is not a new one; it is 66 years old. It has to be understood in the context in which it arose. Rather than blame India, Young Indians should rather try and understand the reality as it happened. This is a complex and involved scenario; you have to look at it in the backdrop of the freedom struggle, the matter of the princely states, partition as well as the atmosphere that was prevalent in those days. There are many layers to this matter; the role of the British, for one. I have just peeled off one or two layers… In conclusion, have some pride in our handling of this matter – which, considering the overall constraints we operated under, is truly commendable! Jai Hind!

Reference: The Shadow Of The Great Game-  Narendra Singh Sarila

Why are we so poor?

Published March 6, 2013 by vishalvkale

This is my latest quest, after my previous (ongoing) quest to understand Independence and Partition. Reasons for the current status of India are diverse; you cannot pin it down to any one reason alone. There is the historical perspective of colonialism, and the political perspective of poor governance. Both are equally important; both need to be looked at in detail in order that we get close to the reason for India’s poverty. This is a recent quest for me; so I freely admit that I may be off-the-mark somewhere; any suggestions are more than welcome. 
First, we need to understand one thing: the conventional reasons that are oft-quoted for India’s poverty are way off-the-mark and totally inaccurate. By that, I mean poor governance. Poor governance is only partially responsible for the continuing poverty that afflicts India; the core reasons lie elsewhere. More of this is covered in the section on the political perspective. 
From my earlier post:
The per capita income of the bottom 20% of India’s population has not changed (as a percentage share) since 1978. That means, the bottom 20% of our population has not benefited at all from our economic boom. This is also confirmed by consumption patterns: with the consumption by the bottom 20% of the population being static @ between 0 – 1 growth%, in complete variance with the 3% growth registered by the top layers. While in the 1990s, India’s Gini Coefficient was 0.32, it has now gone up to 0.38. The top 10% now make 12 time the bottom 10% – as opposed to 6 times in the 1990s.  
As per Putting Growth In Its Place
“But looking at contemporary India from another angle, one could equally tell the following—more critical and more censorious—story: “The progress of living standards for common people, as opposed to a favoured minority, has been dreadfully slow—so slow that India’s social indicators are still abysmal.” For instance, according to World Bank data, only five countries outside Africa (Afghanistan, Bhutan, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea and Yemen) have a lower “youth female literacy rate” than India (World Development Indicators 2011, online). To take some other examples, only four countries (Afghanistan, Cambodia, Haiti, Myanmar and Pakistan) do worse than India in child mortality rate; only three have lower levels of “access to improved sanitation” (Bolivia, Cambodia and Haiti); and none (anywhere—not even in Africa) have a higher proportion of underweight children. Almost any composite index of these and related indicators of health, education and nutrition would place India very close to the bottom in a ranking of all countries outside Africa.”
And the numbers are not too different if you consider even the bottom 40%… think about that! BPL numbers do not mean we have pulled people out of poverty!
The Historical Perspective
First read The Mahatma:  I came reluctantly to the conclusion that the British connection had made India more helpless than she ever was before, poltically and economically.. . . Before the British advent, India spun and wove in her millions of cottages just the supplement she needed for adding to her meager agricultural resources. This cottage industry, so vital for India’s existence, has been ruined by incredibly heartless and inhuman processes as described by English witnesses. Little do town dwellers know how the semi-starved masses of India are slowly sinking to lifelessness. Little do they know that their miserable comfort represents the brokerage they get for the work they dofor the foreign exploiter, that the profits and the brokerage are sucked from the masses. Little do they realize that the Government established by law in British India is carried on for this exploitation of the masses. No sophistry, no jugglery in figures can explain away the evidence that the skeletons in many villages present to the naked eye. I have no doubt whatsoever that both England and the town dwellers of India will have to answer, if there is a God above, for this crime against humanity which is perhaps unequalled in history
Note the underlined statements in the quotation from The Mahatma above. This establishes the income disparity between the villages and the towns. The income inequality that you see today has its underpinnings in our colonial past. An examination of this past will bring it out in the open, almost beyond any shade of doubt. 
The core reason is the systematic planned destruction of both the agricultural as well as the industrial base of the nation. In agriculture, they played havoc by forcible cultivation of Indigo and to some extent opium. This disturbed the food chain; further farmers were deliberately not paid for both crops. Land tax was increased from 18% to 50-60%. The farmers were not allowed to store seed and grains for food. Frequently, this left no grains, farm produce or seeds – which meant starvation. This has been recorded by both Indian as well as British observers in several sources. There are minutes of Parliamentary proceedings available that show admissions from the British rulers that regions under British rule have been reduced to poverty not known anywhere else on Earth, Similar is the well-understood case of Indian Industry, which was systematically destroyed. Duty of 80% on home goods, and 20% on British Goods effectively outpriced Indian manufacturers, leading to starvation and death as large numbers of units closed.
The intrusions in the farming landscape meant unmitigated disaster and ruin for India’s hitherto well-off villages; with the cycle of crops being broken, lack of seeds and grain, and no protection (unlike earlier), the lot of the farming community degraded quite rapidly. Even today, take a look at the poorest sections of India: most of them were under direct British rule for the longest amount of time. The economic cycle was interrupted; leading to ruin. There was no development work undertaken for the welfare of the community. With the fall of the farmers into ruin, the entire village economy took a hit, and went on a downward spiral. 
The condition in the towns and cities was no better; the industrial and handicraft units were broken up due to lack of business driven by the lopsided duty structure, with imports being taxed @ 20% and home products @ 80%. The influx of cheap imports broke the back of the economy in combination with the destruction on the farming landscape. Merchants guilds – a reality since harappan times in India- ceased to function; millennia-old trade routes were disrupted as they came under British control, and the cost of home-produced goods sky-rocketed. This broke the chain, the economic cycle; bringing the economic engine to a standstill. This also had its impact on the rural sector, as handicrafts, and rural goods trading also suffered. Now these were traded by the Brits, who are on record stating the lack need to pay for them. This was a frequent reality with goods being “purchased” and not paid for. No brickbats – this is a matter of documented record. Even a Brit PM is on record on this matter. 
And this is the story, in a nutshell, of how one of the 2 greatest trading engines in the history of Earth crashed to its nadir. By the second half of the nineteenth century, the destruction was complete; nothing remained of the once-great Indian trading and manufacturing powerhouse. The towns fared slightly better thereafter, since the Brits needed people to run their administration; that let in modern education. This restoked the engine; the existing capital rose in the form  of some manufacturing units of initially textiles in the late nineteenth and early 20th centuries as some Indians tried to restart it. They faced heavy opposition: Indians were not allowed to have textile mills, it was supposed to be imported. The machinery that was to imported was stalled on several occasions; when procured it was further delayed at customs – every form of harassment was tried- leading to some just giving up. Others didnt; and thus started the rise of the towns and cities of India. 
But rural India had no such initiative for them… and were left as they were! The per-capita income was nearly stagnant during the first half of the 20th century… this is a figure that tells the tale.
The Political Perspective
This was the scene when India became independent. The status of agriculture was terrifying; there was no growth in any sector; there were no industries – only a textile sector and a nascent steel plant. India had nothing; it was at zero. The morale of the nation had been broken by 200 years of the most brutal exploitation known to mankind. This was what our political masters had inherited. This problem was on a scale not known anywhere else on earth; the scale of the challenges facing India were unique and have no precedent anywhere on Earth on a similar scale. Repeated famines were hitting India – with each causing millions in death toll. The tasks facing the incumbent government were stupendously and horrendously arduous and beyond description; they further had no experience – and no one else did either, for no one had faced such a terrfying spectacle ever. And that is why, despite their many failings which I shall subsequently cover, I have nothing but respect for the founding fathers; what they achieved is a miracle. In retrospect we can say that they might have done better – but I submit anyone can say that with the benefit of hindsight. They deserve our respect and our gratitude – what they did, they did to the best of their abilities and with no one but themselves for advice. No one else had to face such a horrendous spectacle ever – not on this scale. Respect – thank you, Sir… all of you! 
Thus we can see that India was already poor when she became independent. Given the scale of the destruction, it was always going to be a difficult, long and arduous climb spanning decades. But that does not mean we did not commit mistakes.  We have made only 2 mistakes since independence, in my humble opinion:
  • Governance: we have failed to deliver to the people. That is something for which there can be no excuse. These problems stated below have created a people who are unaware, and are unprepared to reap the advantages of the freedom we now enjoy. They have not been developed, which is a developmental and Governmental failure of monumental proportions. This has meant continued stagnation, as agricultural productivity did not grow, meaning lesser produce and money in rural markets; underdeveloped and unregulated rural markets; uneducated people etc. We have created an unweildy and unresponsive bureaucratic class in the bargain. The problems can be identified as:

    • Absent or inappropriate Health Services in Rural India
    • Lack of even basic educational facilities in Rural India
    • Leakage in funds allocation to the priority sector and villages
    • Lack of even basic amenities in certain villages
    • Resultant continuing Urban Migration
    • Severe shortage of needed infrastructure in the hinterland
    • Very low knowledge transfer from universities to Rural farmers, entrepreneurs etc; this has nothing to do with the internet: here I am talking about upgrading farmers with latest techniques; awareness of opportunities that arise with economic growth; awareness of technological developments that can be used to generate business etc
  • Corruption: this is the single most significant drag on our growth. This has its impact on every segment of the economy from the farmer to the agricultural mandis; from the rural mandi gundas to the urban thiefs; from the corporate scams to the governmental scams… there is not a sinble aspect which does not carry this rider…

We started out as poor in the beginning; the scale and magnitude of the problem was so terrifyingly horrendous, that it was always going to take time. We went wrong in only one vital aspect: lack of focus on inclusive growth; lack of rural infrastructural development; lack of focus on human development and lack of control on governance leading to an unwieldy administration that is now more of a drag than a help…
It is my ongoing quest to understand the current status of India in terms of governance, as well as the the policies – economic and otherwise – that have lead to this and the path forward…

Formation of the Indian National Congress, 1885

Published March 2, 2013 by vishalvkale

The Indian National Congress was founded at the behest of Allan Octavian Hume in 1885…

The Congress was supposedly created as a safety valve to let off steam and protect the empire. The proof of this was in 7 secret volumes that came to AO Hume’s attention in 1878; these convinced him of the seething discontent and the possibility of violence against the British.


In 1878, AO Hume was the secretary to the department of revenue, Agriculture and Commerce! How would he have got access to such secret reports? These “reports” were first brought to public attention by William Wederburn; he writes that a warning came to Hume from the leaders among those devoted to a very religious life. Thus, the evidence of the 7 volumes were prepared by chelas of these Gurus. The books of Madame Blavatsky, Viceroys Ripon and Duffering, we discover that these gurus were supposed to possess supernatural powers!

I am associated with men, who though never seen by the masses, are yet reverenced by them as Gods… and who feel every pulse of public feeling – AO Hume to Viceroy Ripon, December 1883!

As regards the Congress being formed as a social entity: “At his last interview he told me that he and his friends were going to assemble a political convention of delegates, as far as I understood, on the lines adopted by O’Connell previous to Catholic Emancipation… ” Dufferin to Reay, Governor of Mumbai, May 1885!

Further, how can a National Level Organisation arise out of nothing? This question has not been attended to in the written and commonly understood version of History. We move from 1857 straight to 1885 without accounting for the intervening years. How is it that till 1885 May, there was no political movement of any kind – and lo and behold, by December 1885 we had a national political organisation? This is one question that needs attending to if we are to understand the complete history of the INC.

From this, it can be surmised that the formation of the congress is not such a simple affair; there was a lot that remained hidden..,

The reality was that the Congress was not formed as a sudden event out of the blue; it was the culmination of a series of events that started in the 1860s. The years from 1860s to 1870s saw a slow transformation from localised interests to a slow national awakening. The developments were there for all to see: Indian Association, 1876 (Banerjea and Bose), Madras Mahajan Sabha, 1884 (Iyer, Viraraghavavachariar, Charlu), Bombay Presidency Association, 1885 (Telang, Mehta), Poona Sarvajanik Sabha etc came into existance. The nationalist newspapers had also started around this time: The Hindu, Tribune, Bengalee, Mahratta, Kesari, Amrita Bazaar patrika.

By 1885, the need for a national organisation was being recognised by everyone. The Indian Mirror of Calcutta was already carrying a contnuous campaign on this. The Indian Association had already organised an All India National Conference in 1883, and given a call for another one in 1885.

The hard-core evidence in support of this is present in front of everyone’s eyes: P Ananda Charlu, founder of The Hindu and Madras Mahajan Sabha, was one of the founding fathers of the Congress!  He became the president of the congress in 1891. Mahadeo Govind Ranade (immortalised by the TV serial Uncha Mazaa Zhokaa, one of the founders of the Poona Sarvajanik Sabha was another founder member in the congress.

One of the Congress objectives was the eradication… of all race, creed or provincial prejudices amongst all lovers of our country” – WC Bonnerjea, First President of the Congress

As to AO Hume, courageous leaders like Dadabhai Naoroji, Pherozeshah Mehta, Mahadeo Govind Ranade and Surendranath Bannerjea cooperated with Hume to lessen official suspicion. WIth the Brits seemingly in control, the threat of a clampdown was much lesser. The brutality of 1857 was far too fresh in Indian minds as at this juncture.\

The clincher:

No Indian could have started The Congress; If an Indian had come forward… the officials would not have allowed it to come into existence – Gopal Krishna Gokhale…


The above contains excerpts from India’s Struggle For Independence written by Bipin Chandra, Mrudula mukherjee, Aditya Mukherjee, Sucheta Mahajan and KN Panikkar. I shall be reviewing this book on this site, for those who are interested…

Book Review: Shadow Of The Great Game – The Untold Story Of India’s Partition

Published January 9, 2013 by vishalvkale

“Bucher admitted to Gracey, the Pakistan C-in-C, that he had no control over Cariappa but hit upon an intriguing scheme to now stop the advance of his own army. Graffety Smith, British high commissioner in Karachi, reported to London the arrangements reached privately between the commander-in-chiefs of the 2 dominions. General Bucher indicated to General Gracey that he had no wish to pursue an offensive into what is effectively Azad-Kashmir controlled territory i.e. to Mirpur and Poonch sector… the object of these arrangements is to reach a situation in which each side will remain in undisputed military occupation of what are roughly their present positions… An essential part of the process… is that 3 battalions of the Pakistan Army should be deployed opposite the Indian forces at Jhangar, in or around Poonch and at Uri…”

This was a tell-tale interlude between the Pakistani Army chief and Indian Army chief in 1947-48. A paragraph that strips naked the United Kingdom, exposes fully and finally how it was playing a dangerous double game… and shatters all pre-conceived notions about parition!
In choosing an opening for this review, I had to choose a powerful, hard hitting opening – one that would grasp the Indian reader, and pull him into wanting to read the book. I could find no better paragraph than the above – a paragraph that exposes the double game that was being played by the British. India and Pakistan are fighting a war… and the head of the Indian army is actually advising the head of the Pakistan army on what to do…. 
Written by Narendra Singh Sarila
The author was an ADC to Mr Mountbatten in 1947-48. That is itself lends considerable authority to the tome. Further, the book has been extensively researched in the Oriental and Indian Collection of the British Library, Hartley Library Southampton, Public Records Office Kew, Archives Of The State Department of the USA, National Archives Washington, Library Of The US Congress… 
At the end of the book, you are not left with a feeling of hopelessness, or anger at the UK; you have, in its place, a tremendous pride in the achievement of a modern India, as you realise that India was achieved despite all odds, in an environment where every single hand, every single gun was drawn against us… our India is an achievement that stands all by its lonesome as a success of human spirit, decency and indomitable courage against all odds by the greatest set of leaders that any nation has ever had. The book also serves as a warning at our naivete in world affairs, and how we were taken for a royal ride.

The book systematically destroys all notions anyone may have had about partition. It begins with a thunderclap: “Muslim Areas should be seperated from Hindu India, and run by Muslims in collaboration with Great Britain- Jinnah to Linlithgow, 4 Sept 1939“! “He [Jinnah] represents a minority, and a minority can only hold its own with our assistance Linthgow to the Secretary of State” The issue was the congress insistence on self rule immediately after the war as a pre-condition for supporting the British war effort – something the Brits were in no mood of doing. And this time, the congress were not in a mood to relent.
{It has been said that it was a mistake; I beg to differ. Pankaj Mishra – From The Ruins Of Empire (my next book review) covers this phase well: apparently, the Brits had offered some similar assurances to all its colonies in the First World War, and later reneged. So, congress was absolutey right in doing what it did…}
The book traces a full-scale Anglo-Muslim league alliance with the single objective of ensuring a British and Allied presence in the event of a Russian advance. All the players in the Allies were insistent on retaining some form of control over some part of North-Western India to combat the Communist threat. This was the backdrop against which Jinnah’s offer of cooperation on 4th September 1939 began to make tremendous sense; thereafter every British move was solidly in favour of Jinnah and Partition…
The book then goes on to dwell on the increasing pressure by the United States on The UK to grant  India Independence. On this, the Brits were in a bad spot: until they happened upon Jinnah. They assiduously built up Jinnah, and created the impression in the eyes of the World that Hindus and Muslims were not capable of staying together, that it was the British that were keeping India from chaos. The deft way the Brits handled this and successfully turned over the Americans to their point of view reads like a lesson in ugly diplomacy and espionage
The book proves in no uncertain terms that the Brits were aware of the August 1946  riots and deliberately chose to do nothing. The Brits were informed by their own people of the massacre that would undoubtedly take place in Punjab in 1947 if they continued on their plans. This information and warnings were studiously ignored. It proves how each and every attempt by the Congress to hold onto an United India were stymied by the Brits, of how genuine but naive Congress attempts were checkmated effectively by the Brits. Playing both sides of the coin: the Brits achieved what they had set out to from the start: maintain control of North-West India. There was even a plan to hold onto Baluchistan in case India remained undivided. It showcases how Jinnah and company used the communist card and the availability of Pakistan as a base for Allied military operations in future as carrot to keep British and US interests. This is told in the backdrop of an idealist but correct Congress which was clear that India would become a republic, and would never allow foreign forces on its soil ever again…
It showcases the May 1945 plan which envisaged Pakistan’s role alongwith Iran, Iraq and Turkey, as a foil for operations in the Middle East and against Communism. This became a reality in the early 50s – but was visualised by the Brits in May 1945 in a secret strategy paper. Please remember that publicly, the Brits were trying to maintain Indian unity in 1945! The only conclusion I found myself at odds with was the role of Mountbatten… 
Mountbatten has been credited, alongwith Patel, for the unification of India. Yes, Mr Mountbatten did support Patel (despite playing a reprehensible double cross on Kashmir); but this was only as part of a larger strategy planned out in England. The plan was the only way: the Brits offered to drop their insistence of the princes having the option of independence if congress accepted partition… This is superbly proven in the book; and leaves no doubt. 
The book does all this and much, much more… it looks at the entire Kashmir dispute, and brutally exposes how the Indians were outmanoeuvred by the Allies. NWFP and how a totally Indian area went to Pakistan is also looked at.  Nehru did not call in the UN, this was not what had happened. Read the book to find exactly what happened, and just how US and UK pressurised the newly free Indian Government. The “fair” allies were even planning to let in Pakistani troops into Kashmir as impartial observers (!!!!!) – plan which was thankfully shot down by Nehru. The plan of the Indians was to continue Military ops; but that did not happen…  It also raises the very pertinent observation of Sardar Patel that Kashmir is vital simply because each successful invasion of India was happened through Kashmir..  
A book that strips the Brits naked- proving that they went from this land as they came – naked. They came as a destitute and naked beggar, and went as a rich but equally naked brute… It also serves a warning to India – that we need to be more conscious and more worldly wise. Read it to find how the Brits actually caused partition, as well as created the Kashmir dispute… all for the Great Game against Communist Russia
In closing, I can only reiterate my earlier view: India has always been alone; a lone wolf in the world. Yes, this has been due to our principled stance, and unique heritage; but it has also been due to our naivete. But that does not take away the fact that we got India against all odds, and in a world where every hand is drawn against us. Basis current developments, you can see that this state of affairs continues in the blind support to Pakistan despite Indian proofs of how Pakistan is using them. Dont expect this to stop anytime soon; our market size apart – we have nothing to offer the allies. Pakistan does… leaving us, as always, alone.. all alone… a matter of some pride!