Retrograde. Bamboozlement! More Bamboozlement!

This is India on Europe

Not from wet dream of ultra-nationalist Indians and indo-pak peaceniks
From 'This is India' by Peter Muir. Maps by Frances Muir.1943. It's a funny little book [read here], sample this from a chapter titled Gandhiana:

"If Gandhi were on trail and under oath, he would unquestionably stick to what he believed to be the truth, but his technique of circumlocution, indirection, and irresponsible self-contradiction gives the impression that evasion, not clarification, is his aim.There is no necessity to interpret the language of Rajagopalachari, whose vocabulary in English is no larger that Gandhi's. But few Indians, even, would volunteer to translate the meaning of Gandhi's utterances, his style is so successfully abstruse."

While in a chapter on Jinnah titled 'Mr.Jinnah rolls up a Rug' Peter Muir say's had Jinnah been head of a Christian organisation, he would have been named Jesus Christ Jones. Actually the chapter is a take on caste politics of Hindus, the title itself alludes to an incident narrated by Jinnah in which a Hindu friend of his, a high ranking Congress man, wouldn't break bread with him as it would 'corrupt' him. To prevent corruption while eating, a solution is reached by rolling the rug so that the Hindu is sitting on the ground while rest of the people eat sitting on the rug. Also, in the same chapter we read Jinnah, being a democratic Muslim much like good Christians had no such inhibitions towards 'untouchables'. In fact, in his palatial house in Bombay he had five untouchables working for him as, in his own words, 'They make first-class servants.'

What was that Chinese curse about living in stupid times. Also, it is true that British thought of dismantling Taj Mahal for its Marble. The only thing that stopped them was that marble market was in a slump at the time and the monument was so colossal that even the cost of dismantling would not have been covered by the sale.

Anyway, here's a map of old Delhi.
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Another one.
Europe inside India

From Our India (1940) by Minoo Masani.

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4 comments:

  1. My heart broke just by imagining India without Taj Mahal. Can't even start to think how could anybody get a thought of dismantling Taj Mahal? Kitne chootiye they woh log yaar.

    Just thankful for whatever reasons stopped the crazy men.

    And very interesting bits about Gandhi.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Satayam vachan. This also means that had a cheaper technology been available or had a contractor squeezed his workforce enough...Taj would have been history. And the funny thing is most people would have been discussing how British dismantled the Taj so that no remains of advanced Hindu civilization could be found at the site. People would have passed photographs of its broken bits around on facebook to pukhta prove how Taj Mahal was actually a Hindu temple.

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  3. Hahahah. True. And though some of us are disturbed just by the hypothetical scenario of British dismantling it, the rest are still finding ways to scribble their names and heart symbols on Taj and many other historical, majestic sites.

    To rephrase Shrilal Shukla, "Hindustan mein History sadak ki kutiya hai...koi bhi raah chalte laat maar sakta hai."

    ReplyDelete
  4. Shukla ji was a smart man. Me thinks Sadhak par chalta insaan is kutiya say darta hai isi liye kabhi laat mart hai aur kabhi puchkarta hai.


    "I had thought that the practice of writing one's name on walls was confined to English and Americans, or the European nations. But here in this Hindu temple were thousands of Hindu autographs, and it is evidently the proper thing for any pious Hindu, who can write his name, to do so on these walls."

    ~ Augusta E. King from 'The diary of a civilian's wife in India, 1877-1882 (1884)

    The temple here refers to Shankracharya in Srinagar. I am actually right now thinking of working on a post that shows how spreading trash may well have been a ritual for Amarnath pilgrims.

    ReplyDelete

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