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.
“The drain of resources from India remained explicitly part of British policy. The Marquess of Salisbury, using a colourful metaphor as Secretary Of State For India in the 1860s and 1870s, said: ‘As India is to be bled, the lancer should be directed to those parts where the blood is congested …(rather than) to those which are already feeble for the want of it.’ The ‘blood’, of course, was money, and its ‘congestion’ offered greater sources of revenue than the ‘feeble areas’. (Salisbury went on to become Prime Minister.)”
I wonder if other residents of the area, reading either the book or this blog post will have the urge to rename their locality to something else!
As an Indian, there are many things that I would like to say about my country, but find few who will listen to me. Shashi Tharoor, our latest political star who arrived on the scene via a career as a diplomat and a UN bureaucrat, is not like any of our run of the mill politicians. You will see why when you listen to him.
In case you are unable to view the video, please copy paste this link on your browser to view the original: http://www.ted.com/talks/shashi_tharoor.html
I wish that we could fill our parliament and our cabinet of ministers with Shashi clones.
Since writing the above post and before it could be published, Mr. Tharoor has got himself involved in a controversy with a powerful Sports persoanality of India and fun and games are being reported by all the media. Sad.
To his credit, Mr. Tharoor has handled the scandal with panache and you can see that in this blog post.
After the you know what has hit the fan, I received this story from a friend who knows well my allergy for politicians and bureaucrats. It is worth a read to remember that the more things appear to change, the more they remain the same.
There’s an old sea story in the Navy about a ship’s Captain who inspected his sailors, and afterward told the Chief Boatswain that his men smelled bad.
The Captain suggested perhaps it would help if the sailors would change underwear occasionally.
The Chief responded, “Aye, aye sir, I’ll see to it immediately!”
The Chief went straight to the sailors berth deck and announced,
“The Captain thinks you guys smell bad and wants you to change your underwear.”
He continued, “Pittman, you change with Jones, McCarthy, you change with Witkowski, and Brown, you change with Schultz.
Now “GET TO IT!”
THE MORAL OF THE STORY IS:
Someone may come along and promise “Change”, but don’t count on things smelling any better.