Author(s): Alex von Tunzelmann
The last days of the British Raj. The end of empire. A love affair between Edwina Mountbatten, wife of the last British viceroy to India, and Jawaharlal Nehru, India's first prime minister.
The stroke of midnight on 15 August 1947 liberated 400 million people from the British Empire. With the loss of India, its greatest colony, a nation admitted it was no longer a superpower, and a king ceased to sign himself Rex Imperator.
It was one of the defining moments of world history, but it had been brought about by a tiny group of people. Among them were Jawaharlal Nehru, the fiery Indian prime minister with radical plans for a socialist revolution; Mohammed Ali Jinnah, the Muslim leader who would stop at nothing to establish the world's first modern Islamic state; Mohandas Gandhi, the mystical figure who enthralled a nation; and Louis and Edwina Mountbatten, the glamorous but unlikely couple who had been dispatched to get Britain out of India without delay. Within hours of the midnight chimes, the two new nations of India and Pakistan would descend into anarchy and terror. Nehru, Jinnah, Gandhi and the Mountbattens struggled with public and private turmoil while their dreams of freedom and democracy turned to chaos, bloodshed, genocide and war.
Indian Summer depicts the epic sweep of events that ripped apart the greatest empire the world has ever seen, and saw one million people killed and ten million dispossessed. It reveals the secrets of the most powerful players on the world stage: the Cold War conspiracies, the private deals, and the intense and clandestine love affair between the wife of the last viceroy and the first prime minister of free India.