My Online Writings - 2004 - '07
VED from VICTORIA INSTITUTIONS
It is foretold! The torrential flow of inexorable destiny!
Is Oldfred still around?
Your letter is one of the few opportunities that I did get on this board to explain my stand. I sincerely thank you for it.
You letter, though seemingly brief, does allude to a number of items, and I, I fear, must touch all those topics.
I enjoy reading your posts and trying to understand exactly what you are endeavouring to say, so many words for so little action; it’s rather like reading and old manuscript written in an 18th century style … so old fashioned that it makes the message difficult to understand.
I am aware that my writing style has some peculiarities. Yet, it is not a ‘damned foreigner’s’ writing; for I do not know anyone in my own nation who writes in a similar fashion. In fact, I had a most peculiar experience. When I gave my children’s story ‘Bounty and Wheezer’ for review to an Indian publisher, he gave it an English professor for expert opinion. The professor gave the outrageous suggestion that this story cannot have been written by an Indian, and possibly was a pilferage from some Internet site. I do not think that this story of mine is very original; and possibly the various English stories that I had read during my childhood must have influenced the theme. And I do not know whether the style is a copy of some English writing.
Another thing is that even though I am very well versed in Indian mythology, folklore, and epics, since childhood I did have an enduring interest in English classical literature. I must admit that I did try hard to imbibe the words and phrases of many English writers including Charles Dickens, Maugham, Oscar Wilde, Sir. Walter Scott and many others. Not only Sherlock Holmes, but also Scarlet Pimpernel did fascinate me.
Yet, this is not the only reason why my writing style does seem ancient. Many of the themes that appear in my writings in this board do have a comparative perspective of the English world and the realities of the nation where I was born. The major realities of this nation are still ancient.
Only the high fly Indian can put on an affectation of being modern; the vast majority still live lives that are increasingly going backward in all social themes, other than the input of modern technology that the modern industries actively sells to the ancient social systems; this give a false halo of modernity and prosperity.
I gather the gist of these posts is related to the question of how the British behaved in India and what enrichment did they leave the society when they finally departed the sub continent?
The overall theme is about the comparison of the effects of varying languages on human social systems; and also, my own understanding that English has certain qualities that can explain the English historical, technological, intellectual, and many other connected experiences. And, that if understood in perfection, the English effect can be replicated in other societies.
You see, even though many technologies have come, human being still use the ancient tool (software) called language to communicate with each other. So the fierce programs embedded in the languages still can influence, contort, divert and even stifle human emotions.
It happened that I was in Bombay (Mumbai) a few years after they got their independence and I can tell you the majority of Indians were glad to see the back of the Brits,
It is truly possible that what you said is true. For, people easily forget or do not know the past. I know a person who belonged to a semi backward caste in the erstwhile Malabar district in South India. During the British period, his family more or less, affected a break from the centuries old professional stifling and many from this family joined the government services. During the movement for Independence, incidentally, he was an active member of the same. Actually, it was only his trying to enjoy his newfound freedom in a wider ambit. Later, when India was free, I have heard persons say of his going to the various government offices for small time papers, where callous officials, now let loose, send him shuttling from one post to another. The sense of no one to appeal to, and that suddenly the orientation of the bureaucracy to get to active work is gone, was an enduring and overwhelming understanding.
The English officials in colonial India would naturally have exhibited a hallowed pose; it would be extremely unnatural if they did not. Actually anyone in India with some position has to exhibit this pose.
Communication in Indian languages is not like in English. For example, You can address Kevin by either Kevin or by Mr. Kevin. In Indian languages, it is not so easy. It depends on the language. Each addressing has to be with a particular term of feudal position attached. In these languages, if you call a person Kevin, it more or less signifies that the person is an inferior or just an equal. Persons with official or social position would shudder at the very thought of being so addressed by the common person. (Many other structured words come into play).
I stand in a vantage position, for I did see the gradual change that came in the Indian bureaucracy, with the disappearing of the English installed official standards. The earlier senior officials were more or less very good in English, and they did communicate with each other in English. So, communication among themselves, were more or less fast, and unhindered by feudal blocks.
Later, the new type of bureaucrats came, who literally knew very little English. Their whole social outlook was in accordance with the social design in the feudal languages. That is, the officials are superior lords, and the common person is a non-entity. Moreover, among these new officials itself, there was severe communication block.
So, it happened that one day I was talking to an official in the Sales tax department about the mess that the department was; and the consequent distress it was creating on the common citizen who had to interact with this department. This man’s immediate refrain was that the officialdom was a creation of the British, and we are still bearing the colonial designs. I had to tell him that this was not the type of officials who were selected by the British rule, and that the rules and acts were not written in such mediocre and stupid manner.
Actually, there is a huge difference between the modern bureaucrats and the one’s who were in similar senior positions some twenty-five years ago and earlier. Most of the modern senior officials do carry the demeanour of the peons and clerks of those times. The cultured, at home in English, easy going, yet fast paced official seems to have vanished, and a lot of brutes seems to have taken over the national bureaucracy.
however as in most former British colonies they were only too pleased to embrace the Westminster system of government and they gladly based their legal system on British Common Law.
I wonder if 99.9% of the Indians of those times did know what is Westminster or British Common Law or its peculiarities. What you are talking about is of the minor group of England educated persons (and their protégées), who literally saw a momentous opportunity in the dismantling of the British Empire.
The Indian Military is also styled on the British system simply because they, the Indians, had a couple of hundred years grounding as members of the British Armed Forces
… I commented that the people were well served by the number of officers in attendance. My friend replied by telling me that they were the biggest bunch of criminals in Srinagar,
There is a moral issue involved. How did Britain dare to hand over such an army, with overwhelmingly brutal powers, and miniscule understanding of human rights to severely untested hands (men of straw)?
Why did British never think of conducting a referendum to get the gist of what the common man thought about them, when they were leaving the colonies? Even in Hong Kong it should have done so. For, otherwise they have no defence in years to come, when later historians caricature them as devils incarnate.
0. Book profile
12. Joining the Euro: Don’t do an historic blunder
13. Princess Michael of Kent, a Royal Bigot?
14. Spying on the UN
16. Hijjab - Religious dress code, Have the French got it right?
17. Chinese School Janitor attacks nursery school kids (in China)
19. Answering Oldfred – How did the British, who came to India
28. The London Olympic Bid, will the benefits outweigh the costs?
29. Thatcher son arrested for alleged coup link, can mommy bail him out?
30. Tsunami and the British legacy, Part I: What exists below the surface
31. The foreign worker and economic prosperity, A thinking in construction
38. Nationality, immigration and asylum act 2002, An Overview