A Modern Pilgrim in India - The Diary of an American Soldier

A Modern Pilgrim in India - The Diary of an American Soldier

Product ID: 8735

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Author: John W Wohlfarth
Publisher: Somaiya
Year: 1995
Language: English
Pages: 167
ISBN/UPC (if available): 8170392047


This diary of an American soldier who lived in pre-partition India during 1945-46 records his feelings and his observations, his conversations and his experiences, published here for the first time. A Lively diary-cum-travelogue that makes compelling reading.

These are additional bonuses in a book that gives a lively account of his day to day experiences and encounters with Indians, Americans and the British in Calcutta, Delhi, Agra and Darjeeling and other places.

When after a year’s training following recruitment, John W Wohlfarth was sent abroad in May 1945 to fight for the allies, the War in Europe was over and the end of the Pacific War was a bare there months away. Not Solomon Islands but Calcutta was his unexpected destination and his duties were far from soldierly. But the eleven months he spent in India gave him a unique opportunity for watching India at close quarters during its crucial transition from British servitude to Independence. An irregular journal he kept during this period forms the basis of this fascinating book.

What is particularly remarkable about this book is an original narrative device the author has adopted. In most cases, the entry of a particular date recalls events on the same date decades or centuries ago and expatiates on their historical, political or philosophical significance. On June 13, 323 B.C. Alexander died and this circumstances make Wohlfarth embark on a stimulating exegesis on Alexander as “the Inventor of Exploration”. Similar historical asides on Charlemagne, Cromwell, the Battle of Marathon, the sacking of Carthage and innumerable other digressions from the immediate quotidian jotting develop into succinct insights into the march of civilization. the author wears his remarkable scholarship lightly, tossing off parenthetically little known nuggets of history—like, for example, that the Taj Mahal barely escaped being dismantled and carted off to England. The book contains some remarkable conversations he has had with Indian and English scholars on a variety of subjects like Indian music, the growth and decay of civilizations like the Assyrian and the Babylonian, inter-racial relations, the plunder of Indian wealth by the British and so on. It also contains a stimulating discussion on the nature of religions and God in a language that is refreshingly free from theological opacity

A Lively diary-cum-travelogue that makes compelling reading



- Farewell to Youth
- Has War a Moral
- A Free India
- Search for Significance
- Wipe the Sword
- Churchill and Gandhi
- A Tour of India
- Delhi and Agra
- Civilization’s Progress
- Look to the East
- Interlude
- Onward India
- Farewell Dear Fried