India Be Damned is an epic thriller set during the last days of Britain’s colonial rule of India and the first dreadful, blood-ridden months of independence. The author is legendary foreign correspondent, Peter Popham, who has turned his forensic journalist’s eye to fiction in a work that both vividly entertains while prompting us to think more closely about Britain’s role in India’s modern history.
Coming out seventy-five years after those events, it illuminates how the panicked slicing of India into three territories of Pakistan, India and East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) made war in the subcontinent inevitable. War after war that continues today. “How we Brits love India!” says Popham. “We couldn’t get enough of it. Then in 1947 we did the mother of all bunks.” As the independence deadline approaches Britain plays a wild card, appointing world-famous war-hero Lord Mountbatten the last Viceroy. “Dickie” and his socialist wife Edwina imbue the end of empire with their celebrated panache, and for foreign journalists and freedom fighters alike, it’s a dazzling show. But when Mountbatten decides to rush the process to its conclusion, he damns India to a baptism of blood. This fictional account tells how long-held certainties are shattered within a group of Indians in those first murderous months of independence. Join Humphrey Hawksley with Peter Popham on Goldster Inside Story to delve into India Be Damned and Britain’s colonial history 12.00 UK time, April 27th 2023.