14 May, 2021

Lost At War

Reclaiming forgotten warriors

Lost At War
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53
Our history texts hardly have place today for the Chittagong armoury raids, then described by a British bureaucrat as having "no parallel in Bengal since the Mutiny of 1857". This well researched book was thus necessary. Chatterjee has tracked down masses of documents relating to the raids and met surviving members of Surjya Sen's (Masterda) army, to produce a gripping narrative. The book's signal triumph is that it never tries to hide the fact that this entire amateurish adventure was a series of tragic blunders.

Sen's men took control of the armoury, but found only arms, no ammunition; they didn't know that arms and ammunition are never stored together. A young revolutionary forgot a simple truth - that you don't light a matchstick while standing in a pool of petrol - and threw the entire field plan into disarray, something from which it never recovered. One of the leaders, Ananta Singh, was emotionally unstable. Another, Pritilata Waddadar, was driven by a death wish. And finally, Masterda was leading a bunch of schoolboys - the youngest was only 13 - into war...

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