India Remembered: Review
‘India Remembered’ gives us a glimpse into the moments just before the new nation was born, all through the eyes of a young eighteen years old teenager, none other than Lady Pamela, the daughter of the last Viceroy and first Governor General of India, Lord Mountbatten.
Illustrated with rare photographs of the Mountbatten family with Indian leaders, Lady Pamela provides us a first hand account of the behind the scenes happenings of this important family, who adopted India and its people as their own, unconditionally and as part of their larger personal mission. Edwina, coming out of her wild days and tragedies, found her life’s work here, and her husband succeeded in a most difficult endeavour, a success subsequently marred by tragic events.
The Mountbatttens do not turn away with disdain at the poverty and sometimes horrifying conditions of the people around. They don’t make fun of its problems, or look down on its people. Rather, they take up the challenge to do their bit of work in easing the pain and misery, whether of the workers in the Viceroy House (now Rashtrapati Bhavan) or the sick and needy around them.
The book also sheds some light on the kind of approach that was taken to bring about India’ independence, the eventuality of partition, the failure on the part of all leaders to foresee the horrifying magnitude of riots following the partition, and the role played by Lord Mountbatten in bringing India’s struggle to fruition, all through ‘operation seduction’.
Operation Seduction however had its limits. His charm and personality could impress the Hindu leaders, but not Jinnah, the ‘thorn’ who accidently became a ‘rose’ in a rare picture included in the book.
The British put India on the path to education and progress. They could only show the way. That journey today stands marred by age-old Indian follies — repulsion from work, mistrust of individual freedom and internal divisions.