Readers may form a misleading impression that this book is yet another biography of Maulana Azad. At the very outset, therefore, it needs to be clarified that it is less a biography of an individual (Maulana Azad), and more a story of the political processes of late colonial India underlining those aspects of Congress politics which could gain only limited success so far as enlisting the support of the Muslim communities to the cause of freedom was concerned. The book therefore highlights those under-explored aspects whereby large numbers of Muslim groups were resisting the communal separatist politics of the Muslim League, but the Congress was not able to lend adequate support and acknowledgement. Maulana Azad was able to realize these inadequacies of the Congress, he was sharing it with all the bigwigs of the Congress, but somehow he was not able to garner enough support from his organization and its bigwigs. This was a major cause of the success of the Muslim League in getting India divided. The author arrives at the conclusion that, ‘The role that Azad played in the years preceding Partition was that of a one-man army against Muslim alienation from the Congress, and the Congress’s indifference towards sensitive issues of identity, culture, and desire for power-sharing’ (p. 354).
This bold exposition has been done only after delving deep into the primary sources, hitherto untapped. These sources include the AICC Papers, the bi-annual Urdu Press Review, English newspapers like the Hindustan Times, Leader, S. A. Barelvi’s Bombay Chronicle, and Urdu newspapers like Medina of Bijnour (U.P.), among many others. The author has also sifted through a large number of correspondence between the top leaders and the administrators of the day.