Monday, March 11, 2024

Krishna Kumar - The IAN Interview


Krishna Kumar studies, evaluates, and analyzes events in Indian history with particular emphasis on the British Period.

Krishna's interest in history and analysis started early when his father encouraged him to learn about various global historical events and their implications.

Krishna, therefore, learned to analyze and separate the wheat from the chaff before reaching any conclusions or forming an opinion, given the multiple narratives.

Spending most of his life in a non-related profession, books and picking up information remained constant companions, and the internet opened a floodgate about the past and different viewpoints. Three years back, his interest became his career.

Krishna grew up in India and lives with his wife and daughter in New Jersey.

IAN: Tell us about your latest book.

Krishna Kumar: 1942: When British Rule In India Was Threatened

British Rule in India started with a governorship of one of the provinces and slowly extended to the entire country, either directly or via ‘subsidiary agreements’ with multiple kingdoms. The local ruler accepted British Sovereignty in relationships with other kingdoms, the size of the army, and other matters.

In 1942, British Rule came under severe threat when Japan conquered Hong Kong, Malaya (now Malaysia), Singapore, and   Burma (now Myanmar) one by one. As per British policy, the defense of these areas was the responsibility of the British Indian Army and the Government of India, and people of Indian origin conducted a lot of trade and administration.

When Japan attacked, Hongkong surrendered on Dec 25th, 1941, followed by Singapore and Malaya in February, and Burma was taken over in April ’42. After that, India was bombed, and ports on the eastern side of India were closed.

In Singapore on 17th February 1942, the Indian National Army (INA)was formed from Indian soldiers who were taken prisoners. A year later, when Subhas Bose took over this army, he declared a Provisional Government of Free India, and INA became its armed wing. They began the fight to liberate India from British Rule, reaching deep inside Northeast India and flying an independent Indian flag on the Indian mainland. After the surrender in 1945, these soldiers were imprisoned, and some of them were tried for treason to make an example, as many of them were part of the former British Indian Army and had broken their oath to the British King by joining INA.

That led to a wave of protests and agitations in the country that made it ungovernable, and the British had to leave before their economic interests were damaged forever.

This book examines the relationship of various events of 1942, their linkages, and how these eventually led to Indian freedom. It also briefly discusses the nature of British Rule.

IAN: Is 1942 published in print, eBook or both?

Krishna Kumar: Available in paperback and as eBook.

IAN: Where can we go to buy 1942?

Krishna Kumar: Amazon, Kobo, Google, and Apple.

IAN: What inspired you to write 1942?

Krishna Kumar: 1942 was such a pivotal year that it changed Southeast Asia's future, and this had to be brought out clearly. I desired to bring out these events that triggered Indian Independence in particular, how they are connected, and their impact using multiple sources and citing them for the reader. Indian history has been selectively presented after independence, and the truth has been a victim. Many researchers and authors are now bringing the facts into the open of various periods, and I am trying to do my bit.

IAN: Did you use an outline, or did you just wing the first draft?

Krishna Kumar: I did an outline as most of the research was over when I started writing the book, but some changes had to be made while writing to ensure the sequence was clear and maintained flow.

IAN: How long did it take to write 1942?

Krishna Kumar: This book took about six months and had three major activities: writing, some additional information, and arranging the flow of information. But I have been researching this period for three years. For this book, I decided to pause the other book I had been working on. There were many reasons for doing this book first. Among these are checking how the audience reacts to my writing style and learning the ropes in marketing.

IAN: How did you come up with the title?

Krishna Kumar: I had prepared several titles, and this one was chosen because it clearly explains the book's content.

IAN: What do you hope your readers come away with after reading 1942?

Krishna Kumar: I hope the reader finds it interesting to learn some truths of Indian history that have not been covered in popular narratives. For example, most do not know that Japan had bombed three Indian ports in 1942. They know about the Bengal famine of 1943 but do not know that one of the significant reasons was that the import of rice from Burma stopped as Burma went to the Japanese, and no alternative supply was arranged.

Further, the book brings out the interdependence and relationships in this geographical area.

IAN: How much of 1942 is realistic?

Krishna Kumar: It is 100 percent based on real-life incidents, and extensive citations are used. My father, my uncle, and their friends who lived through this period narrated many incidents that particularly created an interest in this period.

IAN: What books have influenced your life the most?

Krishna Kumar: Mahabharata. This epic covers success and failure, emotions across a wide spectrum, and is a guide to living life.

IAN: Do you see writing as a career?

Krishna Kumar: After I retired from business, this has become my full-time activity.

IAN: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

Krishna Kumar: My parents encouraged me, and while in school, I started writing articles whose publication became a major inspiration. My first article was published when I was thirteen. Even though I pursued a professional career in an unrelated field, I kept studying books and publications in history and politics.

IAN: What was the hardest part of writing 1942?

Krishna Kumar: Keeping the focus on the main part of the events and maintain the flow while citing various sources. The citations are the most important part of presenting truth; they often have expressions specific to the period, so the language differs.

IAN: Did you learn anything from writing your book, and what was it?

Krishna Kumar: Truth can be hidden, but it will come out eventually. This, by the way, is also part of the Indian National emblem and is taken from Mundaka Upanishad, which is part of ancient Hindu wisdom books.

IAN: Tell us about your next book or a work in progress. Is it a sequel or a stand-alone?

Krishna Kumar: My next book is fiction—a collection of short stories inspired by real events in the history of the Indian Subcontinent. The protagonists in each story have an emotion that determines their activities and guides their lives.

Besides, for three years, I have been researching the period of 1920-1950 of the Indian Freedom struggles and hope to have this book- No Stone Unturned, Indian Freedom Struggle, and Subhas Bose- out later this year or early next year. This examines the events and roles played by various persons and influences, Subhas Chandra Bose in particular.