Aurangzeb to Partition, his book explores history of undivided Punjab

Amritsar, Punjab: Rajmohan Gandhi, a renowned scholar and grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, was in Amritsar to launch his latest book, “Punjab-A history from Aurangzeb to Mountbatten”. Tracing 240 years of the history of Punjab, the book reflects on Punjab in the times of Aurangzeb, Maharaja Ranjit Singh and the British.

Gandhi, a noted biographer of leaders like Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Patel, who was travelling through this city after paying a brief visit to Pakistan, shared, “I did not have any agenda behind writing this book. Also, I didn’t want to propound any thesis. My aim was to recapture the times and the history of Punjab for those who wish to know it.” Gandhi was on a trip to Pakistan to introduce his book. “Strange it may sound, but people in Pakistan look towards India and Punjab specifically with a certain amount of curiosity and empathy.

They were fascinated and quite excited about the content of the book since it talks about the undivided Punjab. There has not been many books describing historical and cultural upheavals of Punjab in Pakistan and so the people are interested in knowing about our shared history. I received an overwhelming response,” he said.

The book, a result of three years labour in India, Pakistan and at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, narrates a 240-year story of undivided Punjab, beginning with the death of Aurangzeb and ending with the Partition.

Admitting that he has been living in the past for quite some time now, Gandhi said Punjab was always an epicenter of power. “A lot of challenges we are facing today are connected with those times. We cannot understand the modern India or modern Pakistan unless we understand the history of undivided Punjab,” he says.

He said a lot of people in Pakistan consider the Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s era a positive one. “They consider it as the best period in the history of Punjab. I believe that the people the artists, scholars, businessman and the youth can offer the solution of the discord between the two countries. You cannot expect the sudden rise of a charismatic political leader who provide solution to the problems.

Source: The Tribune

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