Long years ago, Edward Behr, the former Newsweek man in Europe, wrote a fine book on the travails of the language-challenged western journalist titled, ‘Anybody here raped and speaks English?‘
After sixty years of freedom, we could well overturn the question and ask if there is anybody here who is Indian and regrets Independence from the British.
Granta editor Ian Jack, an old India hand, has an interesting take in The Guardian, London:
“In India, there is probably nobody left alive who regrets independence, but in 1947 not everyone threw their caps in the air. On a visit to Bangalore last week I talked to several people old enough to remember August 1947 and their reactions were unexpected.
“Until independence, Bangalore was ruled by the Maharajah of Mysore, a famously enlightened monarch. Krishna Urs, a retired engineer aged 70, said: “Certain sections of the Mysore community—like mine—were very sad at independence. They thought the Maharajah would go away.”
“M.V. Krishnaswamy, a film-maker aged 82, went to jail for three months in 1942 for supporting the Quit India movement, but he was a reluctant participant in the struggle. “I was not a politician of any shape or kind. In other parts of the country people were trained to believe that the British exploited them and that one must hate them. That was never the case in Mysore.” He came to Britain in 1948. “I had become a free man. I spent my best days in your wonderful country. I got to know the whole documentary movement… They all became such good friends of mine that this independence thing hardly came to my mind.”
“Last, I met Jeanne Roby, a sprightly Anglo-Indian former gym teacher aged 78. The Anglo-Indian stereotype would suggest a woman who lost her bearings when the British left. On the contrary: “It was so nice to belong to India. I started to call myself an Indian and I started to wear a sari—a beautiful blue sari. My grandmother said, ‘Why are you wearing that winding sheet?’ I think it was a discovery of India and a discovery of me. So among Anglo-Indians I was a real misfit, being proud to be Indian.”
Read the full article here: Historical anniversaries obliterate the kingdom of individuals