20 October, 2020

There Were A Million Revellers That Night

August 1947, and a 20-year-old with a camera. A never-before-seen album.

There Were A Million Revellers That Night

I had made up my mind as soon as the date was set: I would bunk medical school and go to Delhi to witness the first Independence Day celebrations. Everyone was set against it, including Gandhiji. "Are you mad?" he asked me when I met him in July and told him of my intention of going to Delhi for the celebrations. "What is there to celebrate—I shall weep tears of blood that day." But I was adamant. "Neither you nor I can change history," I told him with the easy familiarity I always assumed with him. "If you go, I shall never talk to you again," he declared, but I knew him for far too long to believe that he would actually carry out his threat. I knew Gandhiji from the time I was nine, when he came on a visit to Jamia Millia which was then a primary school of some 75 children and 15 teachers. Since I was the only child who knew Gujarati, I was picked to deliver the welcome speech to Gandhi as we all sat in a circle around him. After that, he never forgot me, perhaps because he already knew my father,...



To read this piece, and more such stories in India's most exciting and exacting magazine, plus get access to our 25-year archives goldmine, please subscribe.

In this article:

Latest Magazine

October 26, 2020

other articles from the issue

articles from the previous issue

Other magazine section