Shameful Flight : The Last Years of the British Empire in India: The Last Years of the British Empire in India (Google eBook)

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Oxford University Press, Oct 2, 2006 - Political Science - 272 pages
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Britain's precipitous and ill-planned disengagement from India in 1947--condemned as a "shameful flight" by Winston Churchill--had a truly catastrophic effect on South Asia, leaving hundreds of thousands of people dead in its wake and creating a legacy of chaos, hatred, and war that has lasted over half a century. Ranging from the fall of Singapore in 1942 to the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi in 1948, Shameful Flight provides a vivid behind-the-scenes look at Britain's decision to divest itself from the crown jewel of its empire. Stanley Wolpert, a leading authority on Indian history, paints memorable portraits of all the key participants, including Gandhi, Churchill, Attlee, Nehru, and Jinnah, with special focus on British viceroy, Lord Louis Mountbatten. Wolpert places the blame for the catastrophe largely on Mountbatten, the flamboyant cousin of the king, who rushed the process of nationhood along at an absurd pace. The viceroy's worst blunder was the impetuous drawing of new border lines through the middle of Punjab and Bengal. Virtually everyone involved advised Mountbatten that to partition those provinces was a calamitous mistake that would unleash uncontrollable violence. Indeed, as Wolpert shows, civil unrest among Muslims, Hindus, and Sikhs escalated as Independence Day approached, and when the new boundary lines were announced, arson, murder, and mayhem erupted. Partition uprooted over ten million people, 500,000 to a million of whom died in the ensuing inferno. Here then is the dramatic story of a truly pivotal moment in the history of India, Pakistan, and Britain, an event that ignited fires of continuing political unrest that still burn in South Asia.
  

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Contents

The Last Years of the British Empire in India Introduction
1
The Last Years of the British Empire in India 1 From the Fall of Singapore to the Failure of Crippss Mission FebruaryApril 1942
13
The Last Years of the British Empire in India 2 From Crippss Failure to the Failure of the Congress Partys Quit India Movement AprilOctober 1942
35
The Last Years of the British Empire in India 3 From Gandhis Fast through the First Year of Wavells Viceroyalty January 1943July 1944
53
The Last Years of the British Empire in India 4 Summit Failures and Cabinet Obstacles August 1944July 1945
67
The Last Years of the British Empire in India 5 From the End of World War II through the Cabinet Mission August 1945June 1946
89
The Last Years of the British Empire in India 6 The Interim Government JuneDecember 1946
109
The Last Years of the British Empire in India 7 Lord Mountbattens Last Chukka December 1946June 1947
129
The Last Years of the British Empire in India 8 Partitioned Transfer of Power JuneAugust 1947
153
The Last Years of the British Empire in India 9 Freedoms Wooden Loaf SeptemberDecember 1947
173
The Last Years of the British Empire in India 10 IndoPak War over Kashmir October 1947July 1948
183
The Last Years of the British Empire in India NOTES
195
The Last Years of the British Empire in India BIBLIOGRAPHY
223
The Last Years of the British Empire in India INDEX
233
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About the author (2006)

Stanley Wolpert is Professor of History Emeritus at the University of California, Los Angeles. He is the author of Gandhi's Passion, Nehru: A Tryst With Destiny, Jinnah of Pakistan, and A New History of India.

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