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BOOK CORNER: SAHIB’S WHO LOVED INDIA … compiled & edited by Khushwant Singh

Copyright@shravancharitymission

Khidki (Window)

–Read India Initiative—

This is only an attempt to create interest in reading. We may not get the time to read all the books in our lifetime. But such reviews, talk and synopsis will at least convey what the book is all about.

SAHIBS WHO LOVED INDIA

Compiled & edited by Khushwant Singh

    For far too long we have despised the English as unwanted rulers. Who exploited India and kept their distance from Indians.  And as soon as their tenures ended, they went back to their homes in England and were happy to forget the time they had spent in India.

This asymmetrical image of the English in India persists in the mind of most Indians. It is true that the majority of those who came here came because they could not find jobs in their own country. They hated everything about India: its climate, mosquitoes, flies, the filth and finally its dirt consummating into reek.

Plainly speaking they hated Indians. There were others who enjoyed the luxury of spacious bungalows with servants, shikar, riding, pig-sticking, drinking, dancing. But even they kept themselves aloof from Indians with their ‘whites only’ clubs.

However, there was a third variety that liked everything about India, stayed away from the racists club, went out of their way to befriend Indians and maintained contacts with them even after returning to England.

Some even lent tacit support to the freedom movement. They stayed on in India after the country gained independence, reluctantly returning to England when their bread winners retired.

Khushwant Singh was quite fortunate in knowing quite a few of this breed. Both, whom he befriended during his long years in England and those whom he got to know in India.

This book, therefore, is a collection of articles written by people who enjoyed India I would say and went back with pleasant memories.

In all there are about twenty-two articles in this book written by renowned Britishers such as Lord Mountbatten of Burma—as he calls him, Taya Zinkin—a prominent French born journalist and author. She was married to ICS officer Maurice Zinkin, J.A.K Martyn—the Head Master of Doon School and many other distinguished personalities.

The flavour that you get is quite contrasting. Like in present times you find so many Indians going abroad to work. Well … in those days of the British Raj, there were many Britishers who came to India to work. Some through the bureaucratic process and some on their own.

Initially they entered India with a lot of apprehension, of it being primitive but when they started working here they started enjoying the country. Especially, the open surroundings, the spacious bungalows and above all the warm people.

While zooming past the articles you’ll find some of them being even critical about the British establishment and the racist culture that they spread in India.

Some even disagreed with the thought process that India was not ready for ‘independence.’ That also brings me to the point that there is always a logical disconnect between the rulers and its citizenry.

It is a rare collection of essays that invites to revisit a vanished era of the sahibs and memsahibs. From Lord Mountbatten to Peggy Holroyde to Maurice and Taya Zinkin.

Britishers who lived and worked in India reminisce, about topics and points of interest as varied as the Indian Civil Service, the Roshanara Club, shikar and hazari, the amateur cine society of India, the Doon School, Rudyard Kipling and of course Mahatma Gandhi.

Selected from a series of articles commissioned by Khushwant Singh when he was editor of the illustrated weekly of India. These delightfully individualistic and refreshingly candid writings reveal a fascinating array of British attitudes, experiences, observations and fond memories. The occasional short-lived grouse and above all, a deep and abiding affection and respect for India.

It’s a less than a lengthy book of around a hundred and ninety pages full of fun. Especially, if you are interested in knowing about episodes that happened during the British Raj.

The articles are by ICS officers, journalists, technocrats, architects, teachers, BBC correspondents, government servants, army officers and bureaucrats.

I would give the book nine out of ten.

***

Synopsis by Kamlesh Tripathi

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https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

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Share it if you like it

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Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases especially cancer. Should you wish to donate for the cause. The bank details are given below:

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

*

Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

(The book is about a young cancer patient. Now archived in 7 prestigious libraries of the US, including, Harvard University and Library of Congress. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in Libraries and archives of Canada and Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai)  

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

(Is a book on ‘singlehood’ about a Delhi girl now archived in Connemara Library, Chennai and Delhi Public Library, GOI, Ministry of Culture, Delhi)

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

(Is a fiction written around the great city of Nawabs—Lucknow. It describes Lucknow in great detail and also talks about its Hindu-Muslim amity. That happens to be its undying characteristic. The book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival of 2014)

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

(Co-published by Cankids–Kidscan, a pan India NGO and Shravan Charity Mission, that works for Child cancer in India. The book is endorsed by Ms Preetha Reddy, MD Apollo Hospitals Group. It was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2016)

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

(Is a story of an Indian salesman who is, humbly qualified. Yet he fights his ways through unceasing uncertainties to reach the top. A good read not only for salesmen. The book was launched on 10th February, 2018 in Gorakhpur Lit-Fest. Now available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha

(ALL THE ABOVE TITLES ARE AVAILABLE FOR SALE IN AMAZON, FLIPKART AND OTHER ONLINE STORES OR YOU COULD EVEN WRITE TO US FOR A COPY)

*****

 

 

 

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BOOK TALK: GOLDFINGER by Ian Fleming

Copyright@shravancharitymission

   Khidki (Window)

–Read India Initiative—

This is only an attempt to create interest in reading. We may not get time to read all the books in our lifetime. But such reviews, talk and synopsis will at least convey what the book is all about.

GOLDFINGER   … by Ian Fleming

Publisher: Penguin

The book comprises of 354 pages. But we have summarised it for you, in about eleven hundred words for your quick assimilation.

 

    I’m sure many of you must have already read this book or seen the movie. I recently finished reading it once again. But each time the thrill was no less and each time there was an adrenaline rush. Where, the narration is anchored by the precision of Fleming’s prose.

    The signature dialogue of the book, comes from the villain Goldfinger. When he threatens Bond: ‘Mr Bond they have a saying in Chicago:  “Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. The third time its enemy action.”

    If you’re a Golfer, a frequent traveller, a car lover, Judo—karate exponent or even an avid reader, or an adventurer you are definitely in for a treat. Goldfinger is an outstanding novel of Ian Fleming. He wrote this book in Jamica where he had built his house. The book has three main parts and under that 23 chapters. It was published in 1959.

    What fascinates the most in the novel is the meticulous description of an 18 hole, golf game. Between, Goldfinger and James Bond. It is narrated in 36 pages (from 107 to 143). Where, each description of a golf shot, their conversation around that and even the murmurs with their caddies are just superlative. The way he describes every swing in the fairway and the putt around the greens, and the outcome of the shot is just fantastic. The game is being played in the Royal St Marks golf course in England. The book has some fascinating sentences too. Like …

    When Fleming moans in irony … ‘Many unlikely people play golf, including people who are blind, who have only one arm, or even no legs, and people often wear bizarre clothes to the game.’

    Fleming brings about an accurate description of Goldfinger through one of his characters—‘This man lived gold, thought gold, dreamed gold’—Colonel Smithers. And surely Ian Fleming was a big lover of cars. The way he makes Goldfinger describe his car … The ‘Rolls-Silver Ghost,’ is just impeccable. Smoking, definitely, was not a health down-point then, as Bond was, shades below a chain smoker and a distinct boozer … often without a hangover.

     A quote that crosses Bond’s mind—‘Some love is fire, some love is rust. But the finest, cleanest love is lust.’ Neither had regrets—Bond nor Jill Masterton.

         The book is just fantastic in terms of its narration of the dirty business of gold smuggling in which he integrates America, England, Europe and even India.

    The car chase that he has narrated across Europe is out of the world. Taking part in that were three heart throbs … a Silver Ghost Rolls, an Aston Martin and a Triumph

    The book was written when the world population was increasing at the rate of five thousand and four hundred every hour of the day.

PLOT

    Fleming structured the novel in three sections—‘Happenstance’, ‘Coincidence’ and ‘Enemy action’—which was how Goldfinger described Bond’s three seemingly coincidental meetings with him

Happenstance

    Whilst changing planes in Miami after closing down a Mexican heroin smuggling operation. British Secret Service agent James Bond is asked by Junius Du Pont, a rich American businessman (whom he had briefly met and gambled with in Casino Royale), to watch Auric Goldfinger, with whom Du Pont is playing Canasta (rummy) in order to discover if he is cheating. Bond quickly realises that Goldfinger is indeed cheating with the aid of his female assistant, Jill Masterton, who is spying on DuPont’s cards. Bond blackmails Goldfinger into admitting it and paying back DuPont’s lost money. He also has a brief affair with Masterton. Back in London, Bond’s superior, ‘M,’ tasks him with determining how Goldfinger is smuggling gold out of the country: M also suspects Goldfinger of being connected to SMERSH and financing their western networks with his gold. Bond visits the Bank of England for a briefing with Colonel Smithers on the methods of gold smuggling.

Coincidence

    Bond contrives to meet and have a round of golf with Goldfinger. Goldfinger attempts to win the golf match by cheating. But Bond turns, the table on him, beating him in the process. He is subsequently invited to Goldfinger’s mansion near Reculver. Where, he narrowly escapes being caught on the camera looking over the house. Goldfinger introduces Bond to his factotum, a Korean named Oddjob.

    Issued by MI6 with an Aston Martin DB Mark III, Bond trails Goldfinger as he takes his vintage Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost (adapted with armour plating and armour-plated glass) via air ferry to Switzerland, driven by Oddjob. Bond manages to trace Goldfinger to a warehouse in Geneva. Where, he finds that the armour of Goldfinger’s car is actually white-gold, cast into panels at his Kent refinery. When the car reaches Goldfinger’s factory in Switzerland (Enterprises Auric AG), he recasts the gold from the armour panels into aircraft seats and fits them to the Mecca Charter Airline, in which he holds a large stake. The gold is finally sold in India at a vast profit. Meanwhile, Bond foils an assassination attempt on Goldfinger by Jill Masterton’s sister, Tilly, to avenge Jill’s death at Goldfinger’s hands: he had painted her body with gold paint, which killed her. Bond and Tilly attempt to escape when the alarm is raised, and both are captured.

Enemy action

    Bond is tortured by Oddjob when he refuses to confess his role in trailing Goldfinger. In a desperate attempt to survive being cut in two by a circular saw. Bond offers to work for Goldfinger, a ruse that Goldfinger initially refuses, but then accepts. Bond and Tilly are subsequently taken to Goldfinger’s operational headquarters in a warehouse in New York City. They are put to work as secretaries for a meeting between Goldfinger and several gangsters (including the Spangled Mob and the Mafia). Who have been recruited to assist in “Operation Grand Slam” – the stealing of the United States gold reserves from Fort-Knox. One of the gang leaders, Helmut Springer, refuses to join the operation. When, he learns. The operation includes the killing of the inhabitants of Fort-Knox by introducing poison into the water supply. As a consequence he is killed by Oddjob. Bond manages to conceal a capsule containing a message into the toilet of Goldfinger’s private plane. He hopes it will be found and sent to Pinkertons, where his friend and ex-counterpart Felix Leiter now works.

    Operation Grand Slam commences, and it turns out that Leiter has indeed found and acted on Bond’s message. A battle commences, but Goldfinger escapes. Tilly, a lesbian, hopes that one of the gang leaders, Pussy Galore (leader of a gang of lesbian burglars), will protect her. But she is killed by Oddjob. Goldfinger, Oddjob and the mafia bosses all escape in the melee. Bond is drugged before his flight back to England and only wakes up to find. He has been captured by Goldfinger, who has managed to hijack a BOAC jetliner. Bond manages to break a window, causing a depressurisation that blows Oddjob out of the plane. He then fights and strangles Goldfinger. At gunpoint, he forces the crew to ditch in the sea near the Canadian coast, where they are rescued by a nearby weathership.

*****

By Kamlesh Tripathi

*

https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

*

Share it if you like it

*

Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases especially cancer. Should you wish to donate for the cause. The bank details are given below:

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

*

Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

(The book is about a young cancer patient. Now archived in 7 prestigious libraries of the US, including, Harvard University and Library of Congress. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in Libraries and archives of Canada and Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai)  

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

(Is a book on ‘singlehood’ about a Delhi girl now archived in Connemara Library, Chennai and Delhi Public Library, GOI, Ministry of Culture, Delhi)

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

(Is a fiction written around the great city of Nawabs—Lucknow. It describes Lucknow in great detail and also talks about its Hindu-Muslim amity. That happens to be its undying characteristic. The book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival of 2014)

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

(Co-published by Cankids–Kidscan, a pan India NGO and Shravan Charity Mission, that works for Child cancer in India. The book is endorsed by Ms Preetha Reddy, MD Apollo Hospitals Group. It was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2016)

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

(Is a story of an Indian salesman who is, humbly qualified. Yet he fights his ways through unceasing uncertainties to reach the top. A good read not only for salesmen. The book was launched on 10th February, 2018 in Gorakhpur Lit-Fest. Now available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha

(ALL THE ABOVE TITLES ARE AVAILABLE FOR SALE IN AMAZON, FLIPKART AND OTHER ONLINE STORES OR YOU COULD EVEN WRITE TO US FOR A COPY)

*****