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Chronicles of Time and Chance (Hardcover) (Raymond Francis Isar)
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Far more than simply autobiographical, these selections from the memoirs of a former ICS officer offer a fascinating cultural and social history of the subcontinent, notably of the Indian- Christian community of the Punjab in the first half of the twentieth century. They explore the conditions in which converts were made and how they engaged with the broader culture. They delineate the entanglements between the ideas and imaginings of a crudely Westernized lower middle class and the culture of the colonizers. They recount how, as a young District Officer, the author confronted both the cultural challenges of rural postings in the extreme south and the implications of being a fledgling Guardian and how, in New Delhi later on, he experienced the bloodletting of August 1947. He questions the myths, action models and growing corruption of the new Indian ruling class of which he was himself a part as he rose to the higher ranks of the central and state bureaucracy. The book’s concluding chapters capture the political manoeuvrings of the last Nehru years as well as the prime ministerial life and times of his still undervalued successor, Lal Bahadur Shastri.