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The Autobiography of an Unknown Indian

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The Autobiography of an Unknown Indian is an autobiographical work of one of the most controversial writers of India -- Nirad C. Chaudhuri, the last imperialist. He wrote this when he was around fifty and records his life from his birth at 1897 in Kishorganj, a small town in present Bangladesh. The book relates his mental and intellectual development, his life and growth at Calcutta, his observations of Vanishing Landmarks, the connotation of this is dual -- changing Indian situation and historical forces that was making exit of British from India an imminent affair.

Nirad, a self-professed Anglophile, is in any situation an explosive proposition and in the book he is at his best in observing as well as observing-at-a-distance and this dual perspective makes it a wonderful reading. His treatment of his childhood, his enchantment, disillusionment and gratitude to the colonial capital Calcutta is highly factual as well as artistic to the extent highly readable.

Arguably, his magnum opus considering his literary output that he could generate as late age as ninety years, Autobiography is not a single book, it is many. Consciously or unconsciously he has left traces of all his erudtion, his spirit and learning. Declaring himself a cartographer of learning, the book is also a cartographic eveidence of the author's mind and its varied geographies, of the map as well as of the mind.

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