The Great Flap of 1942 by Mukund Padmanabhan is a brilliant recreation of a particular time and place, effortlessly pinned to the page in stylish, witty and evocative prose. Mukund reveals himself as a new superstar of Indian narrative non- fiction says—William Dalrymple
‘A magnet of a masterpiece, Padmanabhan’s book pulls into its field the filings of veracious history, the bewitchment of a great story and the lure of the finest prose. I have rarely been so gripped, so totally captivated by any book on war and its mine-clogged realms of human folly’— Gopalkrishna Gandhi
‘In The Great Flap of 1942, Mukund Padmanabhan has produced a gem of a book, telling not only a little-known story but packing it with the most astonishing details. Briskly paced, always interesting, anddespite its fraught settingscapable of inspiring more than a few chuckles, The Great Flap of 1942 is both a page-turner and a well researched slice of history. I enjoyed the book thoroughly, from the first page to the last’—Manu S. Pillai
The Great Flap of 1942 : How the Raj Panicked over a Japanese Non-invasion
The Great Flap of 1942 is a narrative history of a neglected and scarcely known period between December 1941 and mid-1942 when all of India was caught in a state of panic. This was largely a result of the British administration’s mistaken belief that Japan was on the verge of launching a full-fledged invasion. It was a time when the Raj became unduly alarmed, when the tongue of rumour wagged wildly about Japanese prowess and British weakness and when there was a huge and largely unmapped exodus (of Indians and Europeans) from both sides of the coastline to ‘safer’ inland regions. This book demonstrates, quite astonishingly, that the Raj cynically encouraged the exodus and contributed to the repeated cycles of rumour, panic and flight. It also reveals how the shadow of the Japanese threat influenced the course of nationalist politics, altered British attitudes towards India and charted the course towards Independence. The Great Flap of 1942 the title refers to an expression used by British bureaucrats in India traces a broad narrative arc, starting with the Japanese attacks in South-East Asia. The assault on Malaya, the conquest of Singapore, the bombing and eventual occupation of Burma, and the Japanese Navy’s foray into the Indian Ocean are examined in the light of the tremendous impact they had on India.