as the mists will vanish from the plain
of Panipat tomorrow. But, if we did, our tradition
would remain, for India never forgets..."
There are plenty of other things that you can take from this book. As usual, it is the asides and throw away lines that give you a powerful insight into the era. For example, when the author mentions that his unit has been posted to new barracks and that these are a three month horseback ride away. With just this one dimension to mind, one can begin to sense the scale and majesty of India. He harbours no illusions about his presence in India, whilst attempting to get a drink of water, he casually comments that 'I am hated in this kind village'. At once, one sees that his feelings towards India are not reciprocated by the population at large. The way that he justifies British presence in India is by taking up the Indian caste system and using it back on itself. He sees the British is part of the Aryan tribe, not unlike the Brahmins. These are theories that are entirely consistent with the time period, and would probably have been regarded as being even a little too forward thinking. It is interesting to see how the author begins to be mesmerised by Indian culture and religion as East meets West. He cannot have been the only British officer to have taken up Yoga and Hindu philosophy. It really is interesting to see how India managed to project such a powerful hold over her conquerors. The author ends the book by trying to link the Christian world with the Hindu one in what is a rather naive and yet touching way of bringing the cultures together. I think that you will be surprised by what you learn from this book!
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