in the British Raj, Volume I, Growth, Elisabeth Beckett retrieves lost history and an inspiring and murderous history it is
Palma, a Sikh who owns the Sports Bar in Mackenzie, BC, is in complete agreement with the book's back cover statement--
"In modern times, it is extremely difficult to see through the mirage that various writers, with acrid thoughts and subconscious angers, have broadcast about the British in India."
He can--he has for more than two hours--expanded on the gifts which the British brought India and the Punjab where he lived. So it was fascinating to see that John Wrake has devotedly edited another volume of Elisabeth Beckett's work on the British Raj.
I note here that when I had waited, shivering with cold for five hours, to address a conference in an unheated hall, John bought me a very welcome whisky, so no doubt my appraisal of the book he has edited has been coloured by his kind gesture.
Elisabeth Beckett, a patriot who believed in Magna Carta rights and liberties, wrote about herself--
I am a 'child of the British Raj'. My father was a member of the Indian Civil Service, going out to India in 1914 before New Delhi was built. If I had not lived in India myself as the daughter of a High Court Judge, travelling into far off areas when he went on circuit, and if I had not been the wife of a Deputy Commissioner, a District Officer, who himself travelled throughout his District, which was the size of Wales, I could not have written this book, nor would I have had the interest or grasp to do the research and correlate the information.
The story which Elisabeth Beckett tells in The British Raj, Volume I, Growth, is gripping. She describes in detail, quoting original sources, the wild suspicions which led to the Mutiny, the malevolent mayhem which was deliberately engineered, the incompetence, innocent disbelief, compassion, and bravery of British men and women. She then brings her particular point of view to an examination of the meaning of these events.
That those who opposed British rule in India were keen to enslave others not of their religion or class and exploit them is a little-known fact. Elisabeth Beckett makes this distressingly clear to those who have imbibed Attenborough's Ghandhi and nothing else.
One of the great gifts of the British to India is Common Law--a law which is supposed to apply to everyone, rich and poor, weak and powerful, male and female equally. Common Law depends on hearing and questioning the evidence and forming rational conclusions in the open, unswayed by ideology or bribes.
You will have the chance to examine the British Raj close-up if you read Beckett's book. Go here to buy a copy.