The history of India's struggle for freedom is an enthralling one. It has all the drama and excitement of an epic tale. Incredible heroism goes hand in hand with senseless brutality. Accounts of this period are replete with tales of loyalty and treachery, allegiance and insurrection, terrible atrocities and peaceful protests. And yet, in the history textbooks, it all boils down to facts, figures, names and numbers. No wonder then that the youth of today know so little and care even less about this tumultuous period of our history.
An attempt has therefore been made to flesh out the dray bones of history and recreate the major events of the period in a way so as to impel the readers to find out more about the period that is responsible for giving them the life as they know it today. Written in the form of a dialogue, the entire story is narrated through discussions between two children and their old Masterji. By hanging the chronicle of the struggle upon the thread of personal experience of the old man and his ancestors, the immediacy of the tone has been maintained through the different stages of the struggle.
The narrative, starting with the Great Revolt of 1857 and culminating in the culminating in the transfer of power on August 15, 1947, flows through the four distinct phases in the freedom struggle.
The first phase ended with the suppression of the revolt. The brutalities committed and the terror unleashed by the British army caused widespread panic and demoralization leading to a temporary truce.
The second phase was marked by the growth of patriotic feeling and a spirit of national upsurge. The western ideas of patriotism and nationalism, the by-products of English education, made a deep impact on the minds of educated Indians. "Why should one nation preside over the destinies of another nation" was the question being asked with alarming frequency. The hallmark of this period was the beginning of political organization and constitutional agitation. The idea that caught the imagination of the people at large during this phase was the dream of a united India with dominion status within the British Empire. "This phase in politics also witnessed the emergence of Indian nation out of a conglomeration of races, communities and heterogeneous peoples" it covers the post 1857 period and ends with the partition of Bengal in 1905.
The next phase coincides with the agitation against the partition of Bengal. The hitherto constitutional agitation was given up in favour of a demand for Purna Swaraj and Home Rule became the rallying cry. The appeal to the British government for political freedom was abandoned and people "decided to rely on their own efforts". This phase continued till the death of Bal Gangadhar Tilak in 1920.
The final phase from 1920 to 1947 was wholly dominated by Mahatma Gandhi who led and steered the struggle from the front with his hitherto unknown technique of Satyagraha and Civil Disobedience. This type of struggle was unique and had not been employed anywhere else in the world.
And of course the fin al moment came when Nehru stood up as the first Indian Prime Minister and gave utterance to the aspirations of the people in his famous speech beginning, "Long years ago, we made a tryst with destiny, and now the time has come when we shall redeem our pledge
It is hoped the book will inspire the readers to remember, no matter how briefly, the enormous sacrifices that were made by our forefathers, to win us this freedom and to reflect on the pledge we made at the stroke of the midnight, "of dedication to the service of India and her people and to the still large cause of humanity."
Back of Book
The history of India's freedom struggle is an enthralling one and has all the drama and excitement of an epic tale. The present book attempts to recreate the major events of the historic struggle in a way so as to impel the reader to find out more about it. Written in the form of a dialogue, the entire story is narrated through discussions between two children and their old masterji. By hanging the chronicle of the struggle upon the thread of personal experience, the immediacy of the tone has been maintained throughout the work. It is hoped that the book will inspire the readers to remember, no matter how briefly, the enormous sacrifices made by our fore fathers to win us this freedom.
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