A wonderful book – Indian Summer: The Secret History of the End of an Empire

It is appropriate that I finished reading this book at the stroke of midnight 14 August 2007. This first book by the author is a wonderful retelling of the events and personalities leading to the independence of India and the Partition to India and Pakistan. The book’s strength is the retelling of the close relationship between Jawaharlal Nehru and Edwina Mountbatten. Edwina was born to immense wealth. Her maternal grandfather left her assets of 3 million pounds (equivalent to 100 million pounds today). She inherited even more from her father’s side.

Edwina forged a close relationship with Nehru while serving as Vicereine of India. She died in bed in Sabah in 1960 a batch of letters by her bedside and a few letters are strewn across her bed- she must have been reading them when she died. All the letters were from Nehru. Edwina was buried at sea from HMS Wakeful, escorted by an Indian frigate the Trishul, sent by Nehru to cast a wreath of marigolds into the waves after Edwina’s coffin. Nehru died 4 years later in 1964. (see pages 60, 351& 352)

According to Judith Brown’s Nehru- A Political Life © 2003 on page 366 footnote 46, the best life of Edwina is Janet Morgan’s Edwina Mountbatten- A Life of Her Own. © 1991

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