ABP News started a serial a few weeks back – Pradhan Mantri. Usually news channels steer clear of serials since their format is different. But when they do get into serials, the serial is certainly worth a dekko.

Pradhan Mantri deals with the Independence of India. Wait! It is not about the Independence Movement. It goes beyond. It is about the creation of India as the country that we know it.

The British had declared their intention to leave India some months before the date. Such a major change obviously didn’t happen overnight in one fell stroke. After the British announced their intention, two countries were created. Various princely states had signed an agreement of paramountcy with the British. In the declaration of Independence, the Birtish reverted the status to what it was. Every princely state was a free country within itself. The kings were free to decide whether they would join the newly created countries, India or Pakistan, or whether they would choose to remain free countries or principalities. There were 500+ princely states. The process of building a country, India, started then. Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, the most astute of men, rolled up his sleeves and got down to work. He built the country in 3 months! That is right, the Iron Man worked tirelessly to bring together various factions and create a nation in less time than most of us can make up our minds about a major decision.

On August 15, 1947 India got Independence. But it still wasn’t one humungous country. There were still some princely states that were uncertain about what they wanted to do.

The serial Pradhan Mantri starts at the point where the British announce their intention to leave India. This is a part of history few of us are familiar with. Few have even imagined what must have happened. Most of us have read our history (especially in school) and think that one fine day, namely August 15 1947, the British upped and left the country. We think that they just packed their bags and that was that. In the next minute the leaders stepped in, created the cabinet and things were business as usual.

This serial opens those pages of history which deal with post-partum struggles. Our heroes of Independence gain additional dimensions of foresight and leadership. This is Indian Independence after and beyond Gandhi. Gandhiji did not get into any aspect of the government. Freshly independent India was steered by Patel and Nehru.

The ABP news channel is from Ananda Bazaar Patrika, a newspaper of excellent standing in West Bengal. That itself gives the serial a stamp of credibility.

Shekhar Kapur is the sutradhar of the serial. His reputation goes a long way in establishing the authenticity of the content. Kapur and his team have painstaking researched the hitherto unexplored part of history from multiple sources. The format is like the documentaries of History Channel – montages, dramatization, expert-speak and narration. The flow is fantastic. It is completely absorbing and a must watch.

Telecast on Saturdays at 10 p.m., the serial is re-telecast on Sunday at the same time too.