Frontlist | Book on Jallianwala Bagh wins History-Literary prize
The Patient Assassin: A True Tale of Massacre, Revenge and the Raj – a book British Indian journalist and author Anita Anand has won a prestigious history-literary prize in the UK.
The book tells the story of a young man caught up in the 1919 Jallianwala Bagh massacre in Amritsar. It is based on the life of Udham Singh who assassinated Michael Dwyer to take revenge for the Jallianwala Bagh massacre.
The judges described it as a ‘genuine historical classic’ which will be read for decades to come.
“Anita Anand’s The Patient Assassin is the story of a murderer and his victim – a British colonial official assassinated by an Indian avenger more than two decades after the horrific Amritsar massacre of 1919, for which that official was partly responsible. Yet it is much more than the story of two men,” said Rana Mitter, chair of judges.
“It is an account of how global the spirit of anti-imperialist revolution was in the early twentieth century. It is also an empathetic account of how categories of good and evil in the context of empire have to be understood in more nuanced and complex ways. For those looking to question empire in the present day, it is a book that provides many answers,” he said.
The judges said that in seeking this year’s winner, they wanted a book packed with historical rigour, a rich base of research, and an ability to speak to wider historical questions beyond its immediate subject.
“We also hoped that it would be the kind of read we couldn’t put down. Getting all of that in one book might have been too much to ask – but as it turned out, our 2020 winner has displayed all those qualities and more,” added Mitter.