Burmese days: A review

June 28, 2016

A review of Burmese days by George Orwell
The most unflattering account of India and its people is there in ‘Burmese days’. The authenticity of the book is stunning. George Orwell saw things far more clearly than even Forster, who totally ignored Hindus for they appeared mysterious to him, besides noting passingly Dr. Godse.
On the reverse side, the Gorge Orwell’s book presents the colonials in even poorer light. The true nature of colonialism and its soul-sapping decadence and corrupting influence on both the parties is pity-provoking.
You simply can not detest the British underclass, representing the face of colonials in India. They are capable of inflicting the severest violence on the natives to prove their loyalty to the Raj and win promotions, while they are distressed by their financial worries, childrens’ education or their future, once they complete their tenure in India.
For the ones not married yet, finding a suitable English match is almost out of question. At best they will find a woman who is considered too low in Britain and fit to be a servant only, or fit to marry a British man serving in India.
Then you have orphaned and destitute English young woman coming to India looking for a husband.
(Such was the tyranny at home and Orwell went out looking for it all over the places to begin his revolution.)
The prospects of joining the retirees’ ghetto of British-Indian servicemen in England is the another loathsome inevitability at the end of a such a career.
That is, if an uprising of natives does not annihilate them before that.
They drink and indulge excessively to keep their minds off the dirty work they are doing here in most cases. Then there is the fear of tropical diseases.
From the first sentence it holds you by your neck and hits you with brilliance almost relentlessly.
He was disillusioned of his job and despaired as a writer to almost kill himself by smoking while writing 1984. He had weak lungs and a TB and lived a life of exile mostly. For his writing rendered him an alien in Britain.
To this day few writers have the courage to follow his legacy and Britain reads and produces occult-fiction or mommy porn mostly, if it not regales in foreign cultures.
The concept of home guard he suggested and the government adopted during the WWII gave him a hope that a revolt will take place in Britain itself, with millions of armed civilians. But he failed to see that British people were incapable of it, being very tribal by nature.
Before that he joined the Spanish civil war to fight the tyranny and got nearly killed. His personal life says that he was a born revolutionary with no true comrade. So writing was the last resort to him though it earned him very little to ever get settled in life. Today his works earn millions of pound in royalties.
It is the most forthcoming narrative of the writer where he doesn’t hide behind many symbols or allusions. Which is the case with his later work which was more celebrated than his first.
Though it is about Burma rather than India, it is almost about every country ever colonised.

On 8 June 2016

A review of Burmese days by George Orwell
The most unflattering account of India and its people is there in ‘Burmese days’. The authenticity of the book is stunning. George Orwell saw things far more clearly than even Forster, who totally ignored Hindus for they appeared mysterious to him, besides noting passingly Dr. Godse.
On the reverse side, the Gorge Orwell’s book presents the colonials in even poorer light. The true nature of colonialism and its soul-sapping decadence and corrupting influence on both the parties is pity-provoking.
You simply can not detest the British underclass, representing the face of colonials in India. They are capable of inflicting the severest violence on the natives to prove their loyalty to the Raj and win promotions, while they are distressed by their financial worries, childrens’ education or their future, once they complete their tenure in India.
For the ones not married yet, finding a suitable English match is almost out of question. At best they will find a woman who is considered too low in Britain and fit to be a servant only, or fit to marry a British man serving in India.
Then you have orphaned and destitute English young woman coming to India looking for a husband.
(Such was the tyranny at home and Orwell went out looking for it all over the places to begin his revolution.)
The prospects of joining the retirees’ ghetto of British-Indian servicemen in England is the another loathsome inevitability at the end of a such a career.
That is, if an uprising of natives does not annihilate them before that.
They drink and indulge excessively to keep their minds off the dirty work they are doing here in most cases. Then there is the fear of tropical diseases.
From the first sentence it holds you by your neck and hits you with brilliance almost relentlessly.
He was disillusioned of his job and despaired as a writer to almost kill himself by smoking while writing 1984. He had weak lungs and a TB and lived a life of exile mostly. For his writing rendered him an alien in Britain.
To this day few writers have the courage to follow his legacy and Britain reads and produces occult-fiction or mommy porn mostly, if it not regales in foreign cultures.
The concept of home guard he suggested and the government adopted during the WWII gave him a hope that a revolt will take place in Britain itself, with millions of armed civilians. But he failed to see that British people were incapable of it, being very tribal by nature.
Before that he joined the Spanish civil war to fight the tyranny and got nearly killed. His personal life says that he was a born revolutionary with no true comrade. So writing was the last resort to him though it earned him very little to ever get settled in life. Today his works earn millions of pound in royalties.
It is the most forthcoming narrative of the writer where he doesn’t hide behind many symbols or allusions. Which is the case with his later work which was more celebrated than his first.
Though it is about Burma rather than India, it is almost about every country ever colonised.
The ending disappointed a bit. For neither Flory is that sensitive a soul to commit suicide after killing his pet dog when he was rejected by Elizabeth for the second time after his disposed Burmese mistress creates a scene in a church gathering. He was never that proud of his Englishness that the rejection of an English woman, who is an orphan and a destitute and is desperate to find a husband in India after finding none at home.
On the part of Elizabeth too, the second rejection of Flory is too much over done with. More so since she already rejected Flory for the same reason earlier and then accepted back after she herself was rejected by the military officer Varrell, who she and her aunt were prospecting for her husband. Flory was rejected first time as soon Varell arrives in the town and is accepted back as soon Varrell leaves without saying a goodbye to anyone after his month long stay in the town, durinf which he took out Elizabeth almost every evening but never proposed the marriage Elizabeth wanted from him so badly.
In the meanwhile the uncle who gives her shelter in Burma has repeatedly tried to rape her.
All British characters are too practical in the book for they are from the underclass at home and are out there to make a career in British Raj in India. When they appeared inordinately principled in the end of the book, it looked disingenuous to say the least.
If it was created to make the end dramatic it has failed completely. If it was done to uphold the uprightness and pride of British colonials it again fails miserably. For the book gave away a great deal earlier on that count.

Writing and reading

November 22, 2015

Writing and reading are essentially private matters. It is the personal striving, suffering and rejoicing. Crowd is only distracting. Many a writing courses have tried to make it communal. The result has been a disaster.

Load and shed.

November 15, 2015

It is the time to load things. There will come a time to shed them.

Authors at work

October 15, 2015

The thought that they are there and working to entertain you is a relief. Without them all kinds of moorings might have been severed. It would have been impossible to connect.

Ideas and poverty

July 14, 2015

Poverty is total, if one asks for an idea.

Crazy media

June 15, 2015

It follows a woman who posed naked for weeks with updates.

Words

April 29, 2015

A terror, an anxiety and a solace.

Grandeur

March 16, 2015

Ashok’s vision of grandeur was based on thinking himself of being an outsider to his world. He was unable to distinguish himself from it but by holding it in utter contempt, however. But there was nowhere else to go to.

The royal enigma

February 5, 2015

‘I was intrigued by his views of European and American culture.’

‘A fantastic novel that will keep the reader glued to the pages.’

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/493225

The legend of Ram retold with more clarity : A review of Ram the soul of time by Yugal joshi

January 2, 2015

The legend of Ram is familiar to most Hindus. The story of Ram is a philosophy of life which could lead one to live a fulfilling life. It is about doing one’s duty to one’s family, country and the people. An abiding sense of duty and a zeal to live up to it through every thought and action is something which people are expected to do. As only it may lead to the creation of a just world where peace prevails lastingly. This is what most people expect of their life: fairness, peace and harmony.
But there are forces constantly working against the wishes of the majority and disrupt their dreams. In earlier times this tendency was called ‘Rakshyas’ tendency. It is present from a family to the national level. The endeavour of Ram is to identify, circumscribe and deal with it to protect and further the divine or ‘daiviya’ tendency. It is a long battle consuming one’s whole life and energy. Also, it is a larger battle to fight alone. An alliance of suitable people has to be created therefore.
So it is a work of creating fine strategies to deal with the threats trying to destroy the peace of the country and finally bring it to subjugation. This life mission of Ram is described several times by various great poets and writers before. It is a part of folklore which is repeated in every Hindu household since time immemorial.
Yugal Joshi has done well to publish a book which retells this familiar story from a different perspective: He has dealt with it more pragmatically. He has tried to see the motives of the characters from a more humane angle instead of making them a mystery. In doing so he remarkably brings a new credence to the whole story by making it look far more modern. It is no more a divine story of Lord Rama in this book, but a story of a young Prince who wants to do good to his people but finds millions obstacles in his efforts to do so. And they begin from his home and continue to deter him all his life. But he never gives up and surmounts all the difficulties to establish ‘Ramrajya’ or the ideal governance.
Ram’s insights into the life and the people look far more plausible for he rationally explains them. So instead of being a mythological and religious narrative this book becomes something more : a very realistic explanation of politics and economics of life which is ever relevant. So one may not have to necessarily resort to faith only, for the intellectual queries coming to the mind of a reader while reading this book are adequately satisfied by the writer.
Besides Joshi brings to light so many characters of the story which are nearly forgotten by the people in most cases. Their inclusion imparts more colour and credibility to the story. It also reflects the amount of research the author has done to accomplish this feat which is by means mean.
His descriptions of the time and people so ancient are fascinating. The grandeur of Ayodhya and the royal palace of Dasrath are wonderful besides his depictions of the war Ram fights with Rakshyasas. Also, he has dealt with a great tenderness with the intimate life of Ram. Joshi has dealt also with ‘kuber’: the god of wealth, who, like the modern day bankers, only tries to work at cross purpose of Ram’s effort to bring about a Ramrajya.
This book is unique in many ways and a devotional heart could only have accomplished writing it with a scope so wide. It deserves a read even from the very skeptical or inquisitive minds.


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