20.05.2015 Books

The Second Homeland by Anuradha Bhattacherjee

A chronicle of Polish refuge in India

The Second World War presents the backdrop for this riveting account of displacement, migration and resettlement. Once the Soviet forces marched into Poland, thousands of Polish citizens were deported to slave-labor camps in the USSR. As news of their inhuman condition and ordeal spread, Jam Saheb Digvijaysinghji of Nawanagar, a Princely State in British India, opened the doors of his state and welcomed the orphaned Polish children. The Second Homeland chronicles the passage and sojourn of these young refugees.

Readers will get an authentic account of their tribulations through the first-person account of a young Polish orphan’s hair-raising journey to India and his experiences during the stay. The book includes a historical perspective culled out from archival documents in India, the UK and Poland.

This is a unique mix of a diary, oral history and historical viewpoint placed adjacent to a compilation of archival personal photographs. The book beautifully brings out a little-known aspect of European exiles in India during the Second World War.

A heartwarming story about orphaned children welcomed by a loving Maharaja…Anuradha Bhattacharjee has written a marvelous book, rich with detail from archival sources, oral history, and letters and memoirs of the time. The Second Homeland is a must read…It’s a fascinating, exciting, moving but virtually unknown story from World War II. Highly recommended!
— Cosmopolitan Review

The Second Homeland… [tells] with affection and sympathy and perhaps for the first time in such detail, the full story of these children….Bhattacharjee has put together various valuable documents and photographs which give a clear sense of what life in the Balachadi camp was for these children…..The children of Jamnagar finally found, it seems, the narrator they had been waiting for.
— The Hindu

Anuradha Bhattacharjee is Fellow, Centre for Culture, Media and Governance, Jamia Milia Islamia, New Delhi. Prior to this, she was Assistant Professor, Mudra Institute of Communication, Ahmedabad (MICA). A Fellow of the Charles Wallace India Trust (2004), she was a journalist with the Times of India (1991–94) and the Pioneer (2000–02). She was Research Fellow under the Kasturbhai Lalbhai Chair for Social Entrepreneurship at Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIMA) in 2006.

This work has been culled out from her doctoral thesis, ‘History of Polish Refugees in India 1942–48’, submitted to the University of Pune, which was awarded the Bendre Prize for Best Dissertation (2006).

The Second Homeland. Polish Refugees in India
By Anuradha Bhattacherjee
Published by SAGE Publications, 2013
ISBN: 9788132107071
Buy online

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