9 January 1984
In February 1942 Daphne Manners, the niece of the one-time Governor of the District, arrives in Mayapore, India full of enthusiasm. She is staying with her 'aunt' Lili, a close friend of her aunt. She is soon introduced to the duality of society and the fact that Indians and English only rarely meet and even more rarely socialize together. Each has their own clubs and both groups are geographically separated, living across the river from one another. Soon however she meets Hari Kumar, a young journalist who has recently relocated from England to India. In everything but skin color, Hari is as English as Daphne. He went to an elite private school, Chillingborough, but was forced to return to India when his father lost his fortune. Hari doesn't even speak Hindi. Into this mix comes the District Superintendent of Police Ronald Merrick. He is a grammar school boy who very much feels inferior and he soon takes a disliking to Hari and a liking to Daphne. She has taken quite a liking to Hari but when Merrick unexpectedly proposes marriage, she has no choice but to refuse him.
10 January 1984
Daphne and Hari develop a deep affection for one another. When they meet in the Bibighar gardens they are attacked and Daphne is raped. Ronald Merrick takes advantage of the situation and arrests Hari and several of his friends for the rape. He clearly oversteps the mark and beats and tortures the men to get a confession. Daphne knows the men who attacked her were peasants or laborers. When the police claim to have found her damaged bicycle, which she had left in the Bibighar, near Hari's house she knows that Merrick has planted evidence in order to implicate Hari. Daphne soon learns that she is pregnant and that Hari has been jailed for illegal political activity, but not for the assault.
17 January 1984
Daphne Manners dies during childbirth and the baby is now in the care of her aunt, Lady Manners. The whole Manners case is the talk of the British community and while holidaying on a houseboat in Kashmir, Sarah Layton decides to call and pay her respects to Lady Manners who is staying nearby. Sarah's mother just can't be bothered with the niceties and her younger sister Susan is only concerned about her forthcoming marriage to Captain Teddy Bingham, currently posted in Mirat. Sarah's father is a Colonel currently interned in a Nazi prisoner of war camp. When Teddy obtains 72 hours leave to get married, he suggests to Susan that her family travel to Mirat and have the wedding there. Teddy is also sharing quarters with a new arrival, someone who is an expert on the Indian National Army, prisoners of war who are now fighting for the enemy. That roommate is Captain Ronald Merrick who has transferred from the police for the duration of the war. His past has followed him however when he finds a damaged bicycle at the entrance to his quarters.
24 January 1984
The Layton family has traveled to Mirat but the wedding plans are in disarray. Susan is quite naturally on edge and her aunt Fenny's flitting about doesn't help the situation. Teddy Bingham's best man is unavailable and asks Ronald Merrick to fill in. Merrick doesn't tell anyone that he continues to receive subtle forms of harassment and reminders of his handling of the Manners case and the men who were imprisoned. It all comes out however when someone throws a stone at the car carrying Teddy and Merrick to the chapel. The fiasco continues when the Nawab of Mirat, an invited guest, is refused entry to the club. Susan saves the day however. At the wedding reception, the Maharajah's senior advisor, Count Bronowski and his social secretary, Ahmed Kasim, make an impression on Sarah and Merrick.
31 January 1984
With the wedding over and Teddie and Susan safely off on their honeymoon, Merrick once again is harassed and humiliated at the train station. He apologizes to Sarah for all that has happened. The Laytons return to Pankot, as does Susan when Teddie returns to duty, and they resume their normal lives. Barbie Batchelor, who lives with Sarah's "auntie" Mabel, gives Susan a set of silver spoons but she puzzled when they are not on display at a reception for Susan in the Officer's Mess. It is left to Sarah however to break the news to Susan when they receive a signal informing them that Teddie has been killed in action. Meanwhile Lady Manners has arranged, courtesy of her friend the Governor, for Hari Kumar to be re-interviewed about the circumstances surrounding his arrest. Both she and the man assigned to conduct the interview, Nigel Rowan, come away with the belief that Hari was being truthful.
7 February 1984
Having held a memorial service for Teddie Bingham, the Laytons learn more about the circumstances of his death when Susan receives a letter from his commanding officer. It would seem that Ronald Merrick acted quite bravely in trying to save him and was severely injured in the attempt. It again falls upon Sarah's shoulders to take on the family's responsibility and visit Merrick in the hospital in Calcutta. Merrick tells Sarah that Teddie simply could not accept the fact that men from his own Regiment would now be fighting for the Japanese and set off into into the jungle only to walk into a trap. Merrick himself is in constant pain and is scheduled to have an arm amputated. Sarah stays with her aunt Fenny and uncle Arthur, now a Colonel, who have recently been transferred from Bombay. Aunt Fenny arranges for a few young officers to have dinner with them and a newly promoted Major, Jimmy Clarke, seems to take an interest. Everyone rejoices at the news of the D-Day landings in Normandy.
14 February 1984
Still in Calcutta, Sarah accepts Jimmy Clarke's invitation to attend a party and finds a somewhat mixed crowd. She also finds that Clarke isn't quite the gentleman her aunt Fenny made him out to be. In Pankot Mabel Layton reveals to Barbie Batchelor why she and Mildred Layton do not get along very well. She also tells Barbie that when she dies, she wishes to be buried next to her husband in Ranpur. When she dies soon afterward, Mildred won't hear of sending Mabel's remains all the way to Ranpur and orders Barbie to leave the house as soon as possible. Mabel's sudden death causes Susan to go into labor.
21 February 1984
Returning to Pankot from her trip to Calcutta, Sarah Layton meets Count Bronowski and Nigel Rowan at the train station in Ranpur. Also accompanied by Ahmed Kassim, they are on their way to visit the imprisoned political leader Mohammed Ali Kassim, Ahmed's father, who is known colloquially as MAK. They are there to tell him that his eldest son Sayed, a King's Commissioned officer, is under arrest for having joined the Indian National Army and fighting for the Japanese. Having been ordered out of Rose Cottage by a spiteful Mildred Layton, Barbie Batchelor finds herself residing with the Peplows as a paying guest . She is shocked however at the rumors that are circulating about her. Having given birth to a baby boy, Susan begins to suffer from depression and puts the child's life in danger.
28 February 1984
Susan has had a complete breakdown and is under psychiatric care in Pankot Hospital. When Mildred returns the spoons Barbie gave Susan as a wedding gift, she decides to donate them to the Officer's Mess silver collection and makes her way to Captain Coley's bungalow in the pouring rain. What she finds there sends her reeling and she falls ill. Her attempt to get a position as a teacher is not going well. Mildred's sister, Fenny Grace, visits the family in Pankot and Mildred angrily tells her what she suspects about Sarah. Fenny takes charge of the situation and provides the motherly support Sarah needs. With the Layton's away, Major Ronald Merrick stops in at Rose Cottage only to find Barbie retrieving some of her belongings.
6 March 1984
Sarah travels to Bombay to meet her father, Colonel John Layton, who has been freed from his prisoner of war camp. Colonel Layton is concerned as to the well-being of a Havildar from his Regiment who apparently joined the Frei Hind, the Nazi version of the Indian National Army who fought with the Japanese. The officer in charge of the case is Major Ronald Merrick and he takes sadistic delight in belittling and degrading the Havildar during interviews. Sgt. Guy Peron from Field Security is in Bombay to attend a party where it has been reported there has been much discussion of planned military operation. Drafted as a witness to Merrick's interview of the Havildar, the Major takes a liking to him and decides to have Peron transferred to his staff. Peron was a student at Chillingborough and knew Hari Kumar.
13 March 1984
Sarah and her father return to Pankot and attempt to resume their normal lives. The Colonel is still worried about the well-being of his Havildar and has written the Governor seeking his assistance in the matter. With Sgt. Guy Peron in tow Ronald Merrick - now a Lieutenant Colonel - is traveling to Pankot to inform Colonel Layton that the Havildar has taken his own life. Peron is reunited with another old school friend, Nigel Rowan who is also enroute to Pankot to meet with Mohammed Ali Kassim - MAK - a noted leader of the Congress Party. Perron is billeted in the Sergeants' quarters at the hospital and is well received until they become aware of his association with Merrick, at which point there is a decisive chill in the air. Sarah is shocked to learn that Merrick will be marrying her sister Susan.
20 March 1984
With the Japanese surrender and the end of the war, Perron puts into effect his plan for a quick demobilization. He also hears a strange tale from one of the nurses, "Sophie" Tucker about Lance Corporal Pinker, who served as a clerk to Dr. Samuels, the hospital psychiatrist. Pinker was a young man who was confused about his sexuality and only became aware of homosexuality while reading patient files. While in the bazaar one night, he met a young Indian boy and they spent some time together. The whole thing was set up however by then Major Ronald Merrick so he could blackmail Pinker into giving him access to a particular patient's file. Nigel Rowan has to leave suddenly but gives Guy the file on their old schoolmate, Hari Kumar. Guy and Sarah also get to spend some private time together.
27 March 1984
It is now August 1947 and Guy Perron, who has returned to academic life, is in India to observe the transition to independence. His arrival in Mirat was meant to be a joyous occasion with Nigel Rowan, Susan and Count Bronowski planning to meet him at the station. Unfortunately, Ronald Merrick accidental death the previous week has put a damper on everything. Merrick had been working in Mirat with the police and had been successful in re-organizing the force. At the last moment, Guy decides to accompany Sarah, Susan aunt Fenny and Ahmed Kasim on the train to Ranpur.
3 April 1984
Before leaving Mirat, Count Bronowski tells Guy the true circumstances concerning Merrick's death. While traveling on the train to Ranpur, Guy, Sarah, Susan and Fenny come face to face with the sectarian violence that is sweeping India in the days leading up to independence. When the train is stopped in an isolated area and attacked, it is obvious that it is Ahmed Kassim that they are after. It is only when the train finally arrives at the station that they realize the extent of the carnage that has taken place. Prior to his departure from India, Guy tries to visit Hari Kumar, the legacy of the Raj: the man who is neither English nor Indian, and fits into neither society.
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