Yesterday night, I wanted to read something offbeat, something non-fictional. When I have searching my little library, my hands picked up a long forgotten antique “India Burma And Ceylon” written by Henry F. Blanford, published in 1904. So, this is the reminiscence of colonial India. I was bit intrigued with this thought.
I read this book almost twenty years back, when I was a student. Old memories about this book were faded and hence I could hardly recall what was there inside this book. As my resolution was to read something non-fictional, I settled with this book.
The first thing that I did was to glance through the book and when I was shuffling the pages, my memory cells were ignited almost instantaneously. My vision became clearer and with same childish fervor that moved me 20 years ago, I started enjoying the wonderful illustrations of this book.
I have collected some of them for you…
“We speak of India as of a single country, because it is under one supreme government; but it is really a collection of many countries, differing from each other in soil, climate, and productions, in the races that occupy them, in the languages, religions, and civilisation of their peoples, and in many other respects. Yet no country is more distinctly marked off by natural boundaries.”
A typical statement from an imperialist author. This statement gives the hint about why and how British could successfully deploy “Divide & Rule” tactics. I can vouchsafe that Henry has faultered in the religious feelings of this country. Whether it is North or South, East or West, all Indians were celebrating certain common religious practices and festivals. Dussehara, Diwali, Holi etc. are some of the examples for the common festivals. Practicising the Homa, Havana, Vrata are examples of common rituals and performing daily Puja and prayers as prescribed by the ancient scriptures are some of the examples of common practices.
Even the Indian Muslims too were bound together with the common practices of their customs, traditions and festivals. So were the Buddhists, Jains and other religious followers. Hence India was diversified in religious believes but was unified with the common practices and mutual tolerance.
Anyhow, I really enjoyed the reading of this 109 years old academic book which was studied by my maternal great grandfather.
Nice experience for sure to a text book of an ancestor.