Mixed Feelings.

I am currently reading two books as I am usually wont to. One serious and to relieve the drudgery, a fiction too. The former is An Era Of Darkness The British Empire In India by Shashi Tharoor and the latter is Eye Of The Needle by Ken Follet.

The former is all about how The East India Company first and then the British crown colonised India and exploited its economy in a deliberately cynical and degrading way. As I read it my blood boils at the insensitivity that the British showed while appreciating the fairness shown by a few. Sadly, the blood boiling is more than the appreciation as the theme of the book is how the British exploited India and Indians.

Ken Follet’s book however is located in Britain during WWII and there, when I read about a spy who kills an English lady without any compunction, or when people taking shelter in the underground railway stations during an air raid warning, stay cheerful, my sympathies and admiration go to the British people.

Same people, two different reactions.


18 thoughts on “Mixed Feelings.”

    1. But, both writing about the same people, albeit in different time frames. WWII also saw the British continuing their exploitation of Indians as it preceded our Independence. I am one of those who strongly believe that the independence came about because of the naval mutiny which made the British think that if there was another mutiny like the 1857, with so many Indians trained to be soldiers, sailors, airmen and officers in the British Indian armed forces, there will be total massacre. There was no other argument that could have persuaded the hardliners like Churchill from deciding against granting independence to us. That this armed forces from India contributed a great deal to the Allied victory has never been recognised or appreciated by the British.

  1. I think your mixed feelings are perfectly understandable, especially since you are living post all that occurred in years past. Perhaps you wonder how your country would have developed had the colonization by Britain not occurred? We can assume the best, but how do we know there might not have been worst case scenarios? I think of U.S. Native Americans, other people enslaved here — all of whom were exploited (some still are) by others. Seems there always are individuals and nations all too ready to exploit others from whom we must guard ourselves even today. But we read of the inequities in our nations’ histories Facts of which for much of our lives we did not know, and we’re angry and appalled — rightly so — altering our perceptions of what we thought we knew. So, we integrate new historical facts into our point of few impacting our feelings.

    Coincidentally, I viewed “Eye of the Needle” movie just last week. I don’t know how much dramatic license was taken with the book’s story adaptation to film, but the movie effectively portrayed the coldness of the spy character.

  2. I can relate. UK policies being to exploit, divide and conquer. Ireland was a victim also. Along with most of Africa, etc.

    I did read that KF book many years ago and enjoyed.

    Wisewebwoman recently posted..Rising Up

  3. My first thought is that the people taking refuge in railway stations were probably also victims of cynical exploitation!

    Good and bad always co-exist, there is nothing nuts about recognising them both

  4. It was known as ‘The Honourable East India Company’, but it was far from ‘honourable’ and the British ‘nabobs’ were not all bad, just most of them.
    I believe, as you do, that the British foresaw another mutiny on the horizon and decided to leave and let someone else sort out the mess. However I must say that I and many in the UK do have the greatest respect for those Indians who contributed so much in two world wars and still contribute in so many ways to the prosperity and wellbeing of all the people of this country.
    Big John recently posted..No offence meant … Just my little rant !

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