Over three years ago, I was asked to write a biography of Bhulabhai Desai in the "Builders of Modern India" series. Memories of the training I had received from him in the profession, and of my long association with him, impelled me to agree.
It was, I believe, a rash undertaking, I was never in active politics while Bhulabhai's main achievements were in the political field. It was not easy for me to picture the events, blurred by rapid changes in the national scene, which had moved his utterances and actions, and to appreciate the political atmosphere in which he had functioned. The task was made more difficult by the absence of any important papers preserved by him.
Two good friends Raman Desai and A.G. Mulgaonkar, both interest in Bhulabhai, however, came to my rescue. We invited all those who had come in contact with Bhulabhai to sent us accounts of what they knew or remembered about him. There was a generous response. Some of these friends helped us by permitting themselves to be interviewed and a large number sent us written notes. These have furnished valuable material which has been freely used. I am truly grateful to all who were kind enough to respond.
Desai and Mulgaonkar were kind enough to make a thorough search for all matter relating to Bhulabhai which could be found in contemporary newspapers, books and other writings and to complete for me notes based on these documents and the memoranda furnished by those who had come in contact with Bhulabhai. Shri L.C. Bhagwat of the A.I.R., Bombay was kind enough to assist them in this search. It was a laborious task which occupied them for over a year. But for their indefatigable and continuous assistance this biography could not have been written.
I was also fortunate in obtaining valuable accounts from friends, who saw Bhulabhai function in two different fields. The chapter "In the Legislative Assembly" is largely based on what was given to me by Shri Y.N. Sukthankar who had, in his earlier days as a nominated member of the Assembly, watched Bhulabhai's great performance in the Legislature. Shri G.N. Joshi, who was closely associated with Bhulabhai in Bardoli and in many other important matters as a junior, has inspired what I have set down on Bardoli and some cases of Bhulabhai and about his personality.
As was to be expected, the family has been most helpful and co-operative. Shrimati Madhuri Desai has done her utmost to unearth old letters and papers; also a diary, kept by Bhulabhai when at Yeravada, which graphically sets down his views on men and events in those stirring and critical days. She was kind enough to supply to me typed copies of these documents and also sent the originals to me for being checked with the copies. Occasionally parts of the letters or diary were illegible or obscure. The gaps have been supplied and the meaning made clear with the minimum of addition or alteration.
For the political setting in which Bhulabhai worked I have mainly relied on Shri R.C. Majumdar's valuable History of the Freedom Movement in India, as is apparent from the quotations which I have profusely made from it. Apart from parts reproduced by me, a good deal of my chronology of political events is based upon that book. I tender my grateful acknowledgements to the author for the use I have made of this work.
My acknowledgements are also due to a number of other distinguished writers from whose works I have taken the liberty to reproduce passages.
Lastly, I must express my very grateful thanks for the trouble that my junior Shri J.M. Mukhi has taken in carefully looking through the whole manuscript and making useful suggestions.
My endeavour has been to draw a true and faithful portrait of Bhulabhai as a national leader and an eminent lawyer. It is for the readers, particularly those who knew him and saw him at work, to judge how far I have succeeded.
|Early Excursions into Politics||46|
|Bardoli: Bhulabhai presents Peasants 's Case||60|
|In the Congress: Imprisonment||76|
|Swaraj Party: Elections||117|
|In the Legislative Assembly||130|
|Office Acceptance: How it Ended||166|
|Second War: Quit India Movement||188|
|Deadlock: Desai-Liaquat Pact||242|
|INA: Red Fort Trial||293|
|Desai-Liaquat Pact: Photostat of an Explanatory Note by Bhulabhai Desai with Gandhiji's Alterations||361|
|Desai-Liaquat Pact: Photostat of the Original Copy Signed by Bhulabhai Desai and Liaquat Ali Khan||367|
Item Code: NAI440 Author: M.C. Setalvad Cover: Paperback Edition: 2010 Publisher: Publications Division, Government of India ISBN: 9788123016085 Language: English Size: 8.5 inch X 5.5 inch Pages: 385 Other Details: Weight of the Book: 430 gms