New Delhi, Oct 9 (UNI) 'An American Witness to India's Partition', a book tracing the events revolving around India's partition by Padma Shri awardee Phillips Talbot, was released by former Prime Minister I K Gujral here yesterday.
A collection of letters written by Talbot post World War II from India to his New York-based Institute of Current World Affairs, it narrates the accounts of his student life at the Aligargh Muslim University, local life in a small Muslim Community in Kashmir, a Vedic Ashram in Lahore and Gandhi's Sevagram.
It also speaks about the crucial session of the Indian National Congress and the All India Muslim League, Hindu and Muslim urban communities in Lahore and Bombay, a walk with Gandhi in Noakhali, the Parties' negotiation with Mountbatten that led to Independence, Costs of Partition, Kashmir: The Escalating crisis and much more.
Talbot, then 23, was awarded a fellowship in 1938 by the New York-based Institute of Current World Affairs. The fellowship carried a mandate to visit South Asia and learn about the intricacies of life in India.
Till 1950, Talbot graphically recounted the buildup to India and Pakistan independence, and early experiences of the new states.
Mr Gujral, addressing the gathering said, ''this book is an eye to India and I don't want a plea from Talbot that this is his last book for us.'' On whom he thought blame for the partition would lie, Mr Talbot answered,'' The situation at that time was responsible,'' but he also said that somehow Jinnah owes the responsibilty primarily.
The programme was presided by Historian and Chairman, National Gandhi Museum B R Nanda.
Mr Nanda said, ''this book is in a class by itself...fascinating- the best contemporary account I had come across of the critical decade which preceded independence and the partition of India''.
Phillips Talbot is president Emeritus, the Asia society, US.