The much-needed book to Fix the Problematic Narrative around our History
Revolutionaries: The Other Story of How India Won Its Freedom
Author: Sanjeev Sanyal
Published by HarperCollins
MRP: Rs. 599/-
Thank you @harpercollinsin for a media copy of the book.
In Revolutionaries, Sanjeev Sanyal offers a comprehensive and captivating account of India's armed struggle against British colonial occupation. The book asserts that the Indian independence movement was an organized network of resistance, involving a large number of young men and women over multiple generations. Sanyal's writing is fact-based, focusing on the narrative and leaving aside the anger that often pervades historical accounts. The author covers the various actors involved in the movement, including Sri Aurobindo, Veer Savarkar, Bhagat Singh, Chandrashekhar Azad, Subhas Chandra Bose, and others. Sanyal also covers the influence of international events and the role of overseas Indian communities in the resistance effort. The book highlights the diverse nature of the movement and its members, who, at various points, supported Gandhi's nonviolent approach and, later, went back to their old ways. Revolutionaries is a comprehensive, well-researched and entertaining read for anyone interested in Indian history and the struggle for independence.
Before Mohandas Gandhi became known as Mahatma Gandhi, he visited Vinayak Damodar Savarkar in London. Savarkar was cooking prawns for a group of young Indian revolutionaries who were willing to fight and die for freedom at the India House. The meeting between Gandhi and Savarkar was not cordial, with Savarkar inviting Gandhi to join them for a meal. However, Gandhi declined the invitation as he was a strict vegetarian. Savarkar reportedly asked Gandhi, "If you cannot eat with us, how can you work with us?" This highlights the differences in ideologies between Gandhi and the revolutionary leaders of India.
Years later, Sachindra Nath Sanyal wrote an open letter to Gandhi in "Young India," criticizing Gandhi's non-violent approach to freedom struggles. In 1939, Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose ran for re-election as the president of the Indian National Congress, but was opposed by Gandhi-loyalist Bhogaraju Pattabhi Sitaramayya. Despite Bose winning the election, Gandhi loyalists refused to work with him and eventually, Bose was forced to resign.
The book "Revolutionaries: The Other Story of How India Won Its Freedom" by Sanjeev Sanyal, explains that Gandhi was at odds with India's top revolutionary leaders. However, the book aims to balance the usual one-sided narrative and provides a comprehensive history of India's freedom struggle from the perspective of the revolutionaries. It covers a wide range of topics, from the First and Second World Wars, to the revolt of 1857 led by Tantia Tope, to the exploits of the Indian revolutionaries in various countries. The book also debunks several myths, such as the portrayal of Savarkar as a British stooge and a collaborator in Gandhi's killing, and the notion that India's freedom was solely due to Gandhi's non-violent methods.
The book highlights the important role played by the Indian National Army and the Royal Indian Navy mutinies in gaining independence. It also sheds light on the decimation of the revolutionary leadership by the time India became a free country and the Nehruvian branch of the Indian National Congress capturing power and downplaying the role of armed struggle in the official narrative of the freedom movement.
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