NEW DELHI, October 18, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — In june 1943Seventeen year old Bharati “Asha” Sahay, a stubborn Indian teenager living in Japan during World War II, decides to join the Rani of Jhansi Regiment of the Indian National Army after meeting Underhas Chandra Bose. She begins to jot down her thoughts in a diary and thus begins one of the most important personal accounts of the Indian liberation movement.
Biography, memory and true story | History | nonfiction
Hardcover | 252 pages | Rs.599 | Liberation 28e October 2022
“Lt Bharati ‘Asha’ Sahay Choudhry – Asha-san in her first home in Japan – tells the gripping story of her unusual life. As the eldest daughter of a couple of Indian expatriate freedom fighters, she had burned with the desire to fight for the independence of his distant homeland, India. She was allowed to leave her war-torn first home, Japanto join the Rani of Jhansi Regiment of the Indian National Army by its Commander-in-Chief Netaji Subhas Chandra Boseonly seventeen years old, March 1945. After the defeat of the Indian National Army in August 1945she came India in 1946, where she took up residence in the country to which she had devoted her love and her desire to sacrifice everything. With her indomitable spirit, she is a true Rani of Jhansi in her middle age.”
— Anita Bose Pfaffdaughter of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose
ABOUT THE BOOK
In june 1943Seventeen year old Bharati “Asha” Sahay, a stubborn Indian teenager living in Japan during World War II, decides to join the Rani of Jhansi Regiment of the Indian National Army after meeting Underhas Chandra Bose. She begins to jot down her thoughts in a diary and thus begins one of the most important personal accounts of the Indian liberation movement.
Together with her father, Anand Mohan Sahay, a close companion of Bose, and others committed to the cause of Indian independence, Asha forges her path through war-torn countries. Tokyo in the jungles of Thailand. She learns to hold a gun and shoot the enemy, and she discovers what it means to be a patriot fighting for the liberation of a country of which she has no memory but which she carries deep in her heart.
Written in Japanese between 1943 and 1947, and translated into English for the first time by Tanvi Srivastava, Asha-san’s War Diary is a memoir of courage, honor and love, by a young girl who must grow up rapidly in the midst of war.
Lieutenant Bharati “Asha” Sahay Choudhry said“When I originally wrote the Hindi version of my wartime memoir in 1972, it was from scraps of paper and my memories of my tumultuous teenage years in Japan, my native country, in the 1940s. The fact that it has now been translated into English by my granddaughter, Tanvi, is particularly gratifying – she was able to capture my emotions and the passion of those days. I have always wanted the youth of today to know the sacrifices of these freedom fighters who gave us for free India. Although this book is a personal story, it contains the story of our struggle for freedom. I hope love for India will propel our youth to make it a ‘sone ki chiriya’ (golden bird) again. I hope Asha-san’s War Diary is read by all young Indians, especially our girls.”
Tanvi Srivastava said“It is an honor to share Asha-san’s War Diary with a new generation of readers. However, the translation of this book was a fortuitous accident. Last year, I read an article by Jhumpa Lahiri advising emerging writers to try their hand at translation, treating it as a form of “literary learning”. On my bookshelf were my mother-in-law’s war memoirs. I thought translating it would be a good way to get to know her better while improving my art. I didn’t know then that translation is about discovery – finding out about Asha-san’s state of mind, finding out about myself as a writer and translator, and finding out the historical context of the story – the remarkable world of the Azad Hind government. It was a privilege to research the Indian National Army and learn about young men and women like Asha-san who sacrificed everything for Netaji’s idea of an independent India – an inclusive and pluralistic. India.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR AND TRANSLATOR
Lieutenant Bharati “Asha” Sahay Choudhri is born in Kobe, Japan, in 1928 and joined the Rani of Jhansi Regiment of the Indian National Army at the age of seventeen. His father, Anand Mohan Sahaywas cabinet minister in the Azad Hind government and political adviser to the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. Asha is currently ninety-four years old and lives in Patna with her son, Sanjay.
Tanvi Srivastava is a fiction writer and has published short stories online and in print. She is also a travel entrepreneur specializing in African expeditions. Tanvi is married to Asha’s grandson and lives in bangalore with her two wild children.
PRAISE FOR THE BOOK
“Bharati ‘Asha’ Sahay’s War Diary is a deeply moving first-hand account of the patriotic fervor of the Azad Hind movement led by Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose seen through the eyes of an idealistic teenager as she traveled from Japan Going through Taiwan at Thailand to join the Rani regiment of Jhansi. It documents the dramatic impact of the saga of Netaji and the INA on the Indian people in the aftermath of World War II, as it travels through India with his father Anand Mohan Sahay and is finally reunited with her mother Sati Sen in 1947. This evocative translation of a diary originally written in Japanese will inspire the younger generation of Indians on the 75th anniversary of independence.
— Sugata BoseGardiner Professor of Ocean History and Affairs, Harvard Universityand author of Her Majesty’s Adversary: Underhas Chandra Bose and india Fight against the Empire
“A valuable first-hand account of an important part of history, still relatively unknown, when India’s struggle for independence intersected with war in the Far East. The memoirs of Asha- san bring out his love for Japanas well as his fierce love for India, and provide a cultural reference not available in Allied accounts of World War II. Seen through the unfiltered lens of a seventeen-year-old enlisting in the Rani of Jhansi Regiment, this is a glimpse into the leadership of Underhas Chandra Bose in the Far East and the organization of the INA. This translation will bring a complicated story to a wider readership. It shows that the narrative of war and independence is never black and white, and not always that told by the victors.”
— Shrabani Basuauthor of Victoria & Abdul: The True Story of the Queen’s Closest Confidant
“It is a beautiful and captivating book which I wholeheartedly recommend to all Indians. The role of militant women in national liberation struggles is too soon forgotten and they become mere footnotes in history. Lt Bharati ‘Asha’ Sahay Choudhri, of the Rani of Jhansi Regiment, Indian National Army, is a historic figure in our nation’s freedom struggle, and this memoir, in his own words, is an exhilarating read. It’s humorous (like when she learns Hindi) and exciting (like when she learns to shoot a machine gun) – and I urge you to pick up this brilliant memoir.”
— Meena Kandasamyauthor of When I hit you or, portrait of the writer as a young woman
About HarperCollins India
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SOURCE HarperCollins Publishers India