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Customer Review

15 of 23 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Comments, 2 Nov. 2009
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This review is from: Shameful Flight: The Last Years of the British Empire in India (Hardcover)
This book makes a wonderful reading material to adorn bookshelves of people who know too little or nothing about the subcontinent. But if you actually do know about the region (or from the subcontinent itself) you would rather find it easy to see that the author is not truthful enough. One should note that Stanley Wolpert is also the author of "Jinnah of Pakistan" glorifying Jinnah. So it shouldn't be surprising that he very skilfully skips the parts where Jinnah's leadership would be shown in bad light. For example, Rahmat Ali's actual demand of Pakistan was never mentioned, but it is made to believe that Jinnah was the one who came up with the cause. Neither any criticism on Jinnah agreeing to a lesser Pakistan is made. Moreover, it is rather astounding that someone who is an "expert" in history of South Asia would state that Congress party was an Hindu organisation when organisations such as "Hindu Mahasabha" and "RSS" which are Hindu rightwing parties had always (and still) crossed swords with the Congress party. Moreover, Wolpert repeatedly claims that Congress was a party of higher caste Hindus - something that is rather surprising to deduce since Gandhi himself was a Banya of lower strata of the caste system. There had been many books written about the partition supporting the Indian argument and making the readers think less of Pakistan. One would have expected that Wolpert, with his anti-Hindu bashing in several other books would have done justice to Pakistan's or League's side of the story. But what he leaves the reader to believe (if at all he convinces with the patchy read) that Muslims of India had no other leader other than Jinnah. Jinnah's call for direct action which led of death of so many Muslims and Hindus are conveniently mentioned in passing whereas the massacre that followed in Bihar (as a ripple effect from Bengal killings) is shown to the reader in better light as handiwork of the Congress. This book is for all who love to show a blind eye on Jinnah's transgressions as a leader and not for any other Pakistani or Indian. In his attempt to glorify Jinnah, Wolpert makes him sound like a weak person, rejected and made fool of by all quarters. In a desperate attempt to make Nehru and Mountbatten look like conmen, he makes Jinnah to be a drivel with simple mathematics - Muslims who made 25% of British India a separate nation but Hindus who made 40% of Bengal as part and parcel of an hypothetical Bengal nation. It is disdainful that Wolpert fails terribly in his pursuit and only makes himself and Jinnah look small. It makes a good reading material as part of a wider collection on this subject, but not as a sole source of information.
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Location: Newcastle upon Tyne, UK

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