Anath Krishnan reviews a book by Philips Talbot chronicling the partition of the Indian subcontinent and its aftermath (and recommends the book too):
Even with the hindsight provided by six decades, Talbot’s observations and insights on how the two new countries would get on remain very relevant, and for this the author deserves credit. After his travels in a Kashmiri village in 1940, he foretells, “I can’t get away from the feeling that the India I am seeing in the villages and towns represents the end of an era, socially and economically, and that the coming generation will see terrific and perhaps violent changes.”
A final note of caution. Talbot’s work is by no means a comprehensive account of the Partition – and it does not attempt to be so. Indeed, what makes the book stand out from other literature in this realm is that it is far removed from the typical historical account – it has no introduction, argument, thesis or conclusion. It is a history that invokes the sentiment that the legendary German historian Leopold van Ranke wrote of in the 19th century – a history of recordings, observation and detail. A history without prescription or argument.
And, in the final analysis, the author’s observations are extremely insightful and will greatly help supplement a student of history’s understanding of the events of the time.
Can history ever be written without argument, though? I am not sure about it. Otherwise, looks like an interesting book. Take a look!