The sudden peace overtures sent out by Vajpayee on April 18 have stirred the political landscape of the Indo-Pak subcontinent. Most sections of the intellectual and political elites of both India and Pakistan, and even far beyond, are astonished. Yet, if we take a quick look at the post partition history of the subcontinent it is not surprising at all.

On Wednesday, millions of workers in India went on a national strike protesting against government plans to privatise state-owned firms. The one-day stoppage heavily affected sectors such as banking, insurance, oil, power, coal mining, telecommunications, engineering and textiles.

The Indian film industry is the second largest in the world producing about 300 movies a year. Not more than 5 or six movies hit the box office. One wonders why people keep on investing in an apparently money losing business.

One of the most spectacular episodes of the intense revolt against the British Raj was the uprising of the sailors of the British Indian Navy in 1946. On February 18 of that year the sailors and shipmen of the British Indian Navy battleship HMS "Talwaar" went on strike. They invited  the masses of Bombay to join in the struggle they had started. As a result, anti- British imperialist sentiments started to spread like wildfire throughout the region.

As the scorching summer heat begins to recede, the lengthening shadows and falling leaves announce the onset of another autumn. After blistering Asian summers the autumn monsoons tend to bring some relief. Yet this year there is no respite for the oppressed and the deprived of the region.

Today one fifth of the human race inhabits the South Asian subcontinent. This region has one of the oldest civilisations and rich cultural traditions. They contributed immensely in the development of human knowledge in various fields of science and the arts. This region is one of the most fertile and rich places in the world, yet hunger, starvation and poverty is on the rise. Around 1.5 billion people will continue to suffer in this quagmire. Is this the destiny of this and future generations to come? This book very affectively answers this question.

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