Archive for the ‘BBC’ Category

Burmese days : A review

September 12, 2016

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–Towards which he was drawn ‘Like a moth to a flame” in the words of BBC–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.
What is the most appealing about Burmese days is the intimate scenes between Flory and his Burmese mistress in the earlier part of the book. The hostility and mutual distrust among them is total. Flory needs her to relieve his carnal desires and she needs Flory to extort money. They hate each other as much as possible otherwise. Once this relationship fails the woman turns vindictive, prompted by the villain and finally destroys Flory. The villain is a Burmese in British civil service who is against Flory because Flory supports a South Indian doctor for the membership of the club, where only one Indian will be entered to make it look more egalitarian, as per orders from higher commands.
It divides the members of the hitherto all white club, who sulk at the prospects of having an Indian now in a all white club. Now they want the one closer to them. It makes Flory an enemy of the rest of the whites and the other wannabe for the membership: the Burmese villain, for he clearly supports his friend the South Indian doctor for the membership.

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, during 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.

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Failing world

May 2, 2014

The last quarter, the US growth was flat reportedly. The Europe is in recession already. Reforms are on the hold. Bail outs of Banks is fashionable in Western democracies apart from the criticism of the low growth of China at 7%. Now the sanctions on Russia which will worsen the recession. Are people waiting for a war really, which they think might bail them out?
The world seems like failing. BBC conducted a programme the other day, where most of the Americans interviewed lamented that the USA is almost a lost case–mostly due to the current administration. Really? How can it fail under one President only? It has started to fail long back. Read ‘The Great Gatsby’. This book is more than a sad love story.
When you run out of ideas, you look the most poor. We had no writer of his class after him.

Mandela and Mugabe

April 29, 2014

Mugabe was opposite of Mandela. Mandela allowed the colonials to control the wealth and resources of the country, while the natives had their freedom. Also he made some humiliating compromises in TRC, which allowed the most heinous crimes of the apartheid regime go unacknowledged. For it he won the Nobel and other accolades. Mugabe did the opposite. He snatched the wealth and resources from the colonials and distributed them among natives. Recently, it became public that he gets only four thousand dollars a month as salary and has no account in a Swiss bank. He rightly said that he deserves the Nobel prize. The academic world can not ignore Mugabe for long. The way he survived the protracted economic sanctions will be a subject of research. Also, many former colonies should take a leaf out of his book. To learn how to become truly independent. Any University worth its name must hurry to honour him.

The post colonial history of Zimbabwe is unlike any other country. This unique experiment of doing away with colonial institutions and replacing them with indigenous should be studies closely. For it the Zimbabwean should be proud of their country and its leader. Having a dispassionate debate about this nation is almost impossible as the economic sanctions making life of the country arduous. Mugabe survived all it. So he is no common leader. As I said, in the times ahead it will become more obvious.

An IMF man

April 6, 2014

Of all the people, a former IMF official is now the governor of Reserve Bank of India. It sounds very intriguing that English media is trying to build an image for him. Kejariwal will find a lot of things to clean, if he gets into power.

Arvind Kejariwal and Indian general elections

April 1, 2014

Arvind Kejariwal represented a change in Indian politics. He has shown the courage to join it unlike his mentor Anna Hajare. Hajare has the probity of a saint around him, which can be only compared to that of Gandhi. But he has shown no inclination to join active politics and is happy to remain an activist. Also, he has not fully accepted Arvind as his protegee.
A problem with former bureaucrats is that they turn to populism in no time. Kejariwal too offered to reduce the cost of power to half, once he became the chief minister of Delhi. (An office he could not retain for long, for the political imperative of a country like India stretched him too thin.) Power is chronically deficient in India. So it leaves a gap in his understanding of Indian politics and it needs. Because he can not outdo the existing politicians in the competition of looking more populist.
Elections are due in India soon. After nearly seventy years of democracy, it has roughly seven hundred million people living below poverty line, though it’s media prefers to talk about the seventy billionaires it also has. Nearly two trillion dollars have escaped from India to safer heavens in EU nations or the USA, while the media here talked about the benefits of a free economy and reforms, during the last twenty five years. Had there been policies to prevent that, the picture of Indian economy has not looked so poor. So the list of policy failures, deliberate or otherwise, could be very long.
But this can not go on like it for long. Politicians like Kejariwal inspire hope among the people tired of endless unfolding of corruption scandals, irrespective of the party in power at the center. India matters to the world for its economic potential and its survival so far as a democracy, in spite of a stunning diversity. Rightfully, it is getting the due attention in recent days. The outcome of its elections are of seminal importance to the world powers, engaged in an ugly confrontation in Ukraine now.
May be, if Indian people vote him into political significance that may prove lasting, in the next general elections, Arvind kejariwal has a potential to create change in a society which so badly needs it. It is asking too much from a single person but often a single person makes all the difference in India. Young and charming, and untainted so far, Arvind has a lot to learn and nothing to lose.
Had he not been there, the Indian elections might have looked routine this time as well.

War with Russia?

March 21, 2014

The way things are developing, it appears as if the politicians are contemplating a war with Russia. Will such a war get popular support in EU nations is the question. Deep in economical crisis, EU nations have some of the most corrupt people in the leadership. Will a war help cover them up the matters and linger the reforms? I do not think diplomacy can not solve this crisis. The first thing needed is to tone down the voice of a provocative English press, owned by a few Moguls only.

Press freedom

March 13, 2014

India is a little ahead of China in Press freedom. But BBC is a sold out thing.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/mediacentre/proginfo/2014/11/ws-indiapressforsale.html

The British revolution

March 1, 2014

The British ambassador says Nepal is receiving $100m dollars from Britain every year as donation. It goes mostly to employ mainly the British people here. The Nepalese coffer is full of money extorted through taxes. Which did not disappear in the vortex of corruption because the stake holders called politicians keep on bickering on how to share it.
In Britain hunger deaths are being reported now. By the logic of Amartya Sen, there is no democracy in England. It is time to shake it up all. Britain today is mainly the destination of laundered money, unlike Germany, which is a genuine industrial power. If Scotland breaks up, it will give a new twist to situation. So used to making and unmaking nations elsewhere, Britain seems ready for a revolution finally, which will make it a modern nation.

British!

October 31, 2012

Who owns the earth?
If not God probably the British. One would like to make you feel a tenant in your own home, eating your food and drinking your wine. There is an escape only if you too begin behaving like one, talking the language and acquiring the attitude. Anything less would be frowned upon. It is so even with the people just twenty years old, and not only the veterans of WWII. The system must be rigourous to regiment everyone like that.
I wish I met an exception.

News and seduction

April 10, 2008

The business of presenting news on television is possibly getting more competitive by the day. As, more recently, lacing the news with a bit of glamour, or even sex, has apparently become necessary, to sell it on screen.

 

These days even a reputed news organization like BBC too, is routinely accused of twisting or fabricating the News; and its CEO has to resign due to such controversies. Seducing a cynical audience therefore, into believing the News – that may often prove to only be proximate to the facts – indeed, may take a good-looking face, to break it.Watching endless avoidable human tragedies on the screen might lead some to think no News is better than the News available.

However, maintaining such aloofness from ubiquitous human miseries around could be narcissism of its own kind, which every one could not afford.If News, no matter how much beside the facts, once is broken by a decent looking presenter on TV, one might be tempted to not separate it from the propaganda, that the modern day news almost always entail.In fact, leading TV news channels of USA like CNN or Fox News, with their loud background music and comely lady news presenters, might look more like a show business to one.

These channels do not mind routinely being accused of hiring the news presenters for their looks only, rather than for their sound journalistic instincts.The other day, one became baffled on being informed that, in the city-state Singapore; on a TV news channel; a lady presenter would gradually strip her clothes while reading the news.

One was not informed however, where the stripping would end: before it is two pieces, or one piece; or no piece at all, before the commercial interrupts?In the follow up photo in newspapers a few days later, however, a bespectacled and serene-faced lady was shown; who was bowing forward to remove her dress, while standing on a table. And stretching her neck at the same time, to read News to a microphone hanging from the roof of the studio.The stripping news presenter of Singapore deserves the kudos of News aficionados the world over, for her innovative effort to sell the News; and herself becoming News, thereby. In the so-called post-feminism age of this century too, exposure of female skin continues to guarantee the sale of different commodities, including the News.

Remember the photograph published in the newspapers a few summers ago, in which the women’s football team of Australia posed together in nude, to promote their game in the continent-state?France has set yet another trend in this regard. News says that naked female presenters will present the news on a TV channel in France. It is just befitting for a nation known for its love of reality TV, apart from the individual freedom.

So, dear connoisseurs of News and readers, in the days ahead, brace yourselves for more shocks while watching the TV News: other than the routine stories of human tragedies. It may be a time, for the domestic news TV channels too, to remove the geriatric and unsmiling wooden-faces, from the screen.