Saturday, March 20, 2010

End of the British Raj

I'm reading Paul Scott's 'Raj Quartet' (skipped book 2 since I couldn't get a hold of it at the time), and I'm finding it easy to romanticise (sic?) over the coming of India's independance and the end of the infamous British Raj. I've read 'The jewel in the crown' already and I'm in the middle of 'Towers of silence'. The Brits riding out the last days of Britain's dominance are doing their best to hold on to what was. Did Joe Q. Public out in India know that Independance was near? Did he understand what that meant? Those who understood better than others seemed to be lamenting the approach; much in the same way we lament the approaching loss of a dear friend or family member as he/she slowly and steadily loses the battle to survive. Those who don't mourn and lament try their darndest to deny the end is close. That's what's happening in these pages as well.
There are people who have a very hard time accepting change (of any kind) in this life. Usually, when things change, it looks like it will be either for the good or for the bad, but it's just different in the end. Sometimes it's just better to say, 'Let the chips fall where they may.' When India and Africa were freed from Britain's control, I wonder what their leaders would've thought/said/ done had they been able to see 50 years (or even 20-30 years) into the future. I'm reminded of 'Mahabharata' at this point. Bhishma, long after making his memorable vow, bitterly regretted it, seeing how terribly everything had gone afterward. Since we cannot know what the result of our actions will be (that far into the future), at the end of the day, all we can do is say 'What's done is done.' Ignorance isn't bliss, but it sure can feel reassuring.
Even keeping a diary could cause me incredible regret 20-30 years from now. On the other hand, 2014 is only a few years away, and I'm still very grateful for those early scribbles. The good, the bad, and the angst-ridden (which turned very ugly at times). Anyway, I guess I'm done with this digital scribbling for tonight. BYE.

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