A parade of façade in verbal codes!
VED from VICTORIA INSTITUTIONS
It is foretold! The torrential flow of inexorable destiny!
5. Problems of developing the lower class
When the children from this lower caste group were admitted into the English schools, some of them run by Christian missionaries, the higher caste children were not quite enthusiastic in joining them. For, the very first causality would be their refinement, which would be erased out by the crudeness of the lower caste children.
However, the long-term effect of this reclusion was the growth of a small group of lower caste youth, both male and female, who were quite good in English, and were at home in the matter of reading English classical literature. These youth got the prime officer jobs in the bureaucracy, for English was a major ranking factor in the public service exams; or at least, proficiency in English gave a great advantage.
However, the vast majority of the lower castes who lived in slightly distant to far-off areas did not get any opportunity to imbibe this historical chance. They remained crude in their attitude, and more or less continued their crude veneration of higher castes.
As to the small group of English-educated youths from the lower castes, they never took upon themselves to acknowledge the tremendous contribution that the British had done for their emancipation. Many took the attitude that it was their innate mental faculties that made them arrive at higher social levels, denied to their forefathers for so many centuries.
There was one particular man from Tellicherry who rose up the social and professional ladder to become a RAF pilot. He served in the Royal Air Force in, I think, Burma, during World War 2. After the departure of the British, persons like him rose up in the Indian military hierarchy to the commanding heights.
I have heard one of his speeches, and also read one of his articles about his days in the British air force. He was always bearing grudge against the British, for their so-mentioned racial discrimination towards the ‘Brownies’. What he forgot to mention was that he was coming from a lower caste community, which couldn’t even sit or come close to a higher caste person or household in his native area, before the advent of the British rule. The great liberation, both mental as well as physical, that the lower caste community experienced never seemed to grace his mind and mood. In the typical attitude borne by all such people, including the Blacks of USA and of South Africa, his mind was kindling due to the equality that he couldn’t arrive at with the British personnel, from whose proximity he had learned and imbibed an immensity of slender refinements.
Even though the English-educated group was quite elegant in social standards, and dressing, they couldn’t lend the same kind of liberation to the socially lower people around them. For, they knew Malayalam. It was quite obvious that if they started being liberal to the lower guys, as the British had been, they would soon be overwhelmed and uprooted by the lower guys, by the powerful dismantling of words of ‘respect’ and replacing them with words devoid of ‘respect’. At best they could manage to remain aloof as a separate group if they were bureaucrats.
However, it may be mentioned that this group of bureaucrats did function as a very efficient class of officers, who communicated to each other in English. They could thus remain above the tugs and pulls of the hierarchical words and usages.
The compulsion to make money by corrupt means was not there in them. For, they enjoyed a social communication that went beyond the parameters of money power.
Moreover, intellectually, they could find enjoyment in the refined humour in the British classics. Such quotes as ‘Barkis is willing’ etc. were used to punctuate their points, experiences and events, as they related them. It is doubtful if any significant percentage of persons from the current day bureaucrats would understand that level of talk and humour.
0. Book profile
4. Why English?