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Plain Tales from the Raj (1975)

af Charles Allen

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337957,975 (3.84)7
The Raj was, for two hundred years, the jewel in the British imperial crown. Although founded on military expansionism and undoubted exploitation, it developed over the centuries into what has been called 'benign autocracy' - the government of many by few, with the active collaboration of most Indians in recognition of a desire for the advancement of their country. Charles Allen's classic oral history of the period that marked the end of British rule was first published a generation ago. Now reissued as the imperial century closes, this brilliantly insightful and bestselling collection of reminiscences illustrates the unique experience of British India: the sadness and luxury for some; the joy and deprivation for others.… (mere)
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» Se også 7 omtaler

Viser 1-5 af 9 (næste | vis alle)
history, british india, colonial
  NaggedMan | Jun 6, 2020 |
Tough going. Not a book you can read right through. I found I was only able to read short bits at a time, so I read the book slowly over a few months. I did find it worth it though. I am very interested in the subject and era it described, and it is fascinating. ( )
  lydiasbooks | Jan 17, 2018 |
This is the first book of a trilogy based on the personal and recorded accounts of residents of the British Empire between the world wars and the closing stages of British rule. This book is on India, the sequel on Africa is Tales from the Dark Continent, and the third on the magical lands of the ”Far East” is Tales from the South China Seas. These books are edited extracts from the British Broadcasting Company Radio archives. Charles Allen, the ‘oral historian’ for the series was himself born (1940) in India to a family of six generations who served in the British Raj.

Each of the chapters (of all the books in the series) are edited narrations from BBC radio 4 interviews with the actual raconteurs. Many of them, if not most, are now gone of course, so these works form their last true oral history.

Despite our rather jaundiced modern view of imperialism these fascinating accounts show some of the very positive benefits of realistically benevolent government. These voices from an imperial past offer insights into the motivation of the British Raj in India, including a sense of giving service, great courage and leadership and of personal sacrifices. But they also reveal the class-ridden lifestyle of relative luxury that was perhaps at the core of the eventual resentment and strengthening of the Indian emotional need for independence.
  John_Vaughan | Aug 17, 2011 |
How the British lived in the time of the Raj ( )
  GlenRalph | Jul 24, 2009 |
Many - possibly all the participants in Charles Allen's oral history will now be dead, and yet their voices come through clearly, full of reminiscence of a bygone age. This is a very readable and compelling book and quite poignant as it recreates life during a time which has often been romanticised. The truth of course is quite different, and athough there were privileges there were also hardships, and life was not always easy. There was also a terrible snobbery, and the conventions and traditions of various sections of society were petty and suffocating.
1 stem Heaven-Ali | Apr 8, 2009 |
Viser 1-5 af 9 (næste | vis alle)
However, this oral tradition also provides some of the ammunition that might be levelled against this book as being a rather muted collection of nostaligic reminescinces of a bygone era. Indeed, the contributors do sometimes lapse into sentimentalism and see their role in India through somewhat rose tinted glasses. In addition, this book presents a very upper middle class view of the world, but then again most Anglo-Indians were drawn from this very class and I think that it is worth allowing these individuals their nostalgia in return for their highly illuminating and informative anecdotes about a period of history that is slipping quickly from human experience and memory.
 
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To the men, women and children, British, Anglo-Indian and Indian who were the British Raj in India
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The Shrine of the 'Baba-log' She will be zealous in guarding her children from promiscuous intimacy with the native servants, whose propensity to worship at the shrine of the Baba-log is unhappily apt to demoralize the small gods and goddesses they serve....The sooner after the fifth year a child can leave India, the better for its future welfare. One after one the babies grow into companionable children. One after one Englan claims them, till the mother's heart and house are left unto her desolate. Maud Diver The Englishwoman in India 1909 'I grew up in bright sunshine, I grew up with tremendous space, I grew up with animals, I grew up with excitement, I grew up believing that white people were superior.'
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The Raj was, for two hundred years, the jewel in the British imperial crown. Although founded on military expansionism and undoubted exploitation, it developed over the centuries into what has been called 'benign autocracy' - the government of many by few, with the active collaboration of most Indians in recognition of a desire for the advancement of their country. Charles Allen's classic oral history of the period that marked the end of British rule was first published a generation ago. Now reissued as the imperial century closes, this brilliantly insightful and bestselling collection of reminiscences illustrates the unique experience of British India: the sadness and luxury for some; the joy and deprivation for others.

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