As of today, there is an ocean of books on India’s freedom struggle & Indo-Pak partition , all these that were already said in the school, college history texts. But isn’t it interesting to read the same freedom struggle with a bit of fiction ,without altering any events? And how well have we been taught about or heard about Jinnah who created Pakistan? I’ve heard very little from my mom that he was the man behind the creation of Pakistan and the tension that still continues between the countries. When she saw the book on my coffee table with the photo of the man who’s portrait also stands tall on the other side of the Wagha border, she was nothing less than surprised! And this time it was me who shared with her the insights about young Jinnah who had returned from London and who was not politically famous until that fateful year of 1937.
So here is a review of the book that took me back to the years of events that shaped the life of a famous person from the archives of history.
Kindleandkompass rating 5/5
Jinnah Often came to our house spins the tale of a wealthy family , the Kowaishi in Bombay, at the turn of the 20th century . Young Sultan Kowaishi who returns from London sees Jinnah who is the star of the Bombay high court ,as a friendly rival. Sultan marries Rehana , an educated women and their life is all rosy cozy . Rehana’s life changes for good ,once she is married to Sultan. She begins to befriend Jinnah and Sultan’s other friends, starts a school for girls, reads plenty of history and current affairs around the unfair administration of the British Raj. Fate turns her into a staunch congress nationalist and a Gandhian opposing Jinnah for his ideologies around the Muslim League & Sultan for his support to the British Raj. The book spans through 1909 to 1948 spinning the tragedies and happiness in the life of Sultan-Rehana in parallel to the freedom struggle in India. While the nation was fighting to free itself from the clutches, we get to see the wealthy people of Bombay attending parties, hosting dinners and maneuvering Rolls Royce and of course, the evolution of Jinnah as the founder of Pakistan, making it a little lengthy.
What I loved about the book was how intricately history and fiction are woven together, without a single dull moment. The author has beautifully dovetailed the lives of the fictional and real characters to the events of Bengal Partition, Jallianwala Bagh, Simon Commission, Dandi March, Montagu Reforms , the Naval mutiny and ending with the formation of Pakistan. A part of the book, specifically the last few chapters comes as an epistolary, which I always love to read. All through the 500 pages, the characters come alive with love , disappointment, love for one’s country and ends with Jinnah’s death in the newly formed Pakistan. Words flow easily as a smooth narrative and the wheels of real and fiction move balanced equally,thus making it a brilliant read.
The book did serve my purpose and helped me know about Jinnah’s transformation from being a close aid to Tilak ,speaking for Hindu-Muslim unity to advocating special electoral rights to Muslims, being inducted in the Indian Muslim League and change the fate of India . There’s quite a bit about the women in Jinnah’s life, his wife Rutie and his sister Fatima. You would see him do things that he had vehemently opposed during the initial stages of his political career ,thus unfortunately becoming the victim of the British’s agenda of Divide et rule.
So I will recommend this book if you are in for brushing up your history on India’s freedom struggle with straight forward fiction. And do not miss to read the acknowledgement in the book.