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  • The Patient Assassin

  • A True Tale of Massacre, Revenge and the Raj
  • By: Anita Anand
  • Narrated by: Anita Anand
  • Length: 10 hrs and 48 mins
  • Categories: History, World
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (212 ratings)

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Summary

Anita Anand tells the remarkable story of one Indian's 20-year quest for revenge, taking him around the world in search of those he held responsible for the Amritsar massacre of 1919, which cost the lives of hundreds.

When Sir Michael O'Dwyer, the lieutenant governor of Punjab, ordered brigadier general Reginald Dyer to Amritsar, he wanted him to bring the troublesome city to heel. Sir Michael had become increasingly alarmed at the effect Gandhi was having on his province as well as recent demonstrations, strikes and shows of Hindu-Muslim unity. All these things, in Sir Michael's mind at least, were a precursor to a second Indian Mutiny. What happened next shocked the world. An unauthorised political gathering in the Jallianwallah Bagh in Amritsar in April 1919 became the focal point for Sir Michael's law enforcers. Dyer marched his soldiers into the walled garden, filled with over a thousand unarmed men, women and children, blocking the only exit. Then, without issuing any order to disperse,  he instructed his men to open fire, turning their guns on the thickest parts of the crowd. For 10 minutes they continued firing, stopping only when they ran out of ammunition. 

According to legend, Udham Singh was injured in the attack and remained in the Bagh, surrounded by the dead and dying, until he was able to move the next morning. Then, he supposedly picked up a handful of blood-soaked earth, smeared it across his forehead and vowed to kill the men responsible. 

The truth, as the author has discovered, is more complex but no less dramatic. She traced Singh's journey through Africa and the United States and across Europe before, in March 1940, he finally arrived in front of O'Dwyer in a London hall ready to shoot him down. The Patient Assassin shines a devastating light on one of the Raj's most horrific events but reads like a taut thriller and reveals some astonishing new insights into what really happened. 

©2019 Anita Anand (P)2019 Simon & Schuster UK

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a common template

I have just finished this book and I was glued to it from start to finish. I suppose the reason I was so interested in it is that, if you change the names to Irish names and the places to Irish towns, the story is exactly the same.

10 people found this helpful

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Human rights?

The story of Udham Singh is a stark lesson of how imperialism came at a cost to India. The raj was a despotic and greedy abusive regime that consumed greedily the riches of India whilst trying to sate it appetite with a notion that Britain was culturally improving an uncivilised country. This is a challenging part of our history that deserves to be told

4 people found this helpful

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A tad disappointing

I am quite interested in Indian history and culture but unfortunately the main summary of this story was more interesting than the actual book. I enjoyed it generally but at points found myself having not listened to the last 20 minutes.

2 people found this helpful

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Excellent

Well written and very clear understanding of a pivotal point in Indians history. Beautiful read by the author I highly recommend this to anyone interested in the events of 100 years ago.

2 people found this helpful

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  • m
  • 15-06-20

The Legend of Mohammed Singh Azaad

Freedom fighter assassin: depends on your point ov view. The story of Udham Singh who swore revenge on The British Empire after witnessing the 1919 Jallianwala Bagh massacre in Amritsar. His life's mission: to eradicate the then Governor of Punjab, Sir Michael O'Dwyer. fascinating expose of the man and the mystery. 21 years later in 1940 at The Caxton Hall in London, he would open fire strike a blow for Indian Independence. 80 years later thd Indian Government have still not built his memorial.

1 person found this helpful

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  • AH
  • 13-05-20

very detailed biography

A very well thought out and very thoroughly researched. Many little but crucial facts such as the mention of; Ian Fleming's brother, T.H Lawrence's brother, Sikhs in Stockton California, Soviet Russia, Nazi Germany and perhaps tacit American approval of Udham until the later 1930s. The mention of the MI5 founder's involvement in the case, British Establishment approval of Fascist race ideas (a mention of Spectator magazines support of the BUF), as well as the ease with which the British press, especially Reuters complied with censorship orders from MI5 is a little surprising. These all build a thorough historical picture that is almost difficult to comprehend in scope, of worldwide cold war in the freedom of India, and one Indian peasant's role.

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Fascinating piece of history.

This is a compelling and sympathetic account of a shameful act of Empire. Superbly read by the author.

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Absorbing

True life is fascinating, the horrors of colonial rule exposed once more but does an eye for an eye however just change anything ?

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Fascinating

This was a very engaging listen and was a fascinating insight into every aspect the book explores.

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excellent from start to finish

The detail and the historic precision was extraordinary and Anita Anand's narration could not have been better. Not only was this a pleasure to listen to but i have genuinely learnt about a part of history that i knew littlw about beforehand. Thoroughly recommended

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  • BusyArt
  • 10-10-20

A long overdue history

Beautifully narrated with feeling, the story of Udham Singh had been nearly forgotten outside of Punjab. I know he did not figure in our history books. Anita Anand has done us a tremendous service of rounding out the history of India which has long been dominated by a handful of names. She has enabled Udham Singh to take his rightful place in India’s struggle for Independence. I bought the book before I finished the first chapter. Highly recommended.