India, 1943: In a regimental hill station, the ladies of Pankot struggle to preserve the genteel façade of British society amid the debris of a vanishing empire and World War II. A retired missionary, Barbara Batchelor, bears witness to the connections between many human dramas; the love between Daphne Manner and Hari Kumar; the desperate grief an old teacher feels for an India she cannot rescue; and the cruelty of Captain Ronald Merrick.
BOOK TWO OF THE RAJ QUARTET
India, August 9th 1942. The morning brings raids and the arrest by British police of Congress Party members. Amongst the prisoners is the distinguished ex-Chief Minister Mohammed Ali Kasim. Loyal to the party's central vision of a unified free India, his incarceration is a symptom of the growing deterioration of Anglo-Indian relations.
For the long-serving British family, the Laytons, the political and social ramifications are immediate, disturbing and tragic. Some, like Ronald Merrick, believe that true intimacy between the races is impossible; others, such as Sarah Layton, struggle to come to terms with their Anglo-Indian past. With growing confusion and bewilderment, the British are forced to confront the violent and often brutal years that lie ahead of them.
Tusker and Lily Smalley stayed on in India. Given the chance to return 'home' when Tusker, once a Colonel in the British Army, retired, they chose instead to remain in the small hill town of Pangkot, with its eccentric inhabitants and archaic rituals left over from the days of the Empire. Only the tyranny of their landlady, the imposing Mrs Bhoolabhoy, threatens to upset the quiet rhythm of their days.
Both funny and deeply moving, Staying On is a unique, engrossing portrait of the end of an empire and of a forty-year love affair.
After exploiting India's divisions for years, the British depart in such haste that no one is prepared for the Hindu-Muslim riots of 1947. The twilight of the raj turns bloody. Against the backdrop of the violent partition of India and Pakistan, A Division of the Spoils illuminates one last bittersweet romance, revealing the divided loyalties of the British as they flee, retreat from, or cling to India.