When Shashi Tharoor was questioned Are you ignoring that historical reality? - About British

Dr Shashi Tharoor asked - as -- You went to high school in an education system that was set up by the British. -- You're educated in English.-- You're a man who rose to be UN Under-Secretary-General. -- I mean, these are advantages that might not have been or most certainly wouldn't have --- been possible without the British Empire. Are you ignoring that historical reality?

Oct 29, 2021 - 22:16
When Shashi Tharoor was questioned Are you ignoring that historical reality? - About British
When Shashi Tharoor was questioned Are you ignoring that historical reality - About British

 Then Shashi Tharoor Replayed as

" You know, it's a very good question. Because, in fact, the educational system in India that the sort of elite subscribes to is very much indeed a legacy of the colonial era with appropriate modifications.

So we do study Indian history from a somewhat more nationalist perspective than I'm sure our ancestors did when the British were teaching it. But by and large, a lot of them, in fact, I took examinations of what is nominally called Indian school certificates.

But when I took them, the examination answer papers were shipped off to Cambridge, literally by ship. And we had to wait three months for somebody in Cambridge to correct them, grade them and send them back.

I mean, the system was very much anchored. Though, in fact, the schools I went to happened to be missionary schools, Jesuit. So were not English. They were Belgian and French and Spanish and God knows what else. And Indian too.

But not too many English Jesuits. Nonetheless, the system came from that. And I've talked about it in the book. That one of the more insidious challenges of colonialism is the extent to which our minds are colonised as well. And that colonisation of a mind takes some growing out of.

For us, for some of us, one never really grows out of it. I do know that there are many who can't help, as it were, their identification with things Anglophone and Anglophile. Because that's really what they were schooled to appreciate. I have argued in the book, for example, that my fondness for Wodehouse and cricket, which you mentioned, actually is despite in many ways the fact that they had English origins.

Of course, I've even more fond of cricket now that we regularly beat the English at it, but. I've lost my train thought. That's okay, we. Oh, yes. PG Wodehouse, for example. Obviously, the delights of Wodehouse are the delights that are imparted to you by your appreciation of the English language.

What it does with stylistic humour, plotting and so on and so forth. But the interesting thing is precisely because of that. You don't actually have to have any allegiance to Britain as long as, in other words, you don't need the - passport in the English language. But you don't need a British visa to get there.

You can sit in India surrounded by a very different world from that which he describes. And enjoy the escapism that his writing represents. And so it goes. But I realise that this is self-interested pleading. Because, obviously, I am a product of the system, as you rightly point out.

And I suppose one of the great problems with history is you can't establish the counter-factual. It's impossible to know what India might look like had the British not been there.

Source:- Shashi Tharoor on what the British did to India | Antidote Festival at Sydney Opera House. https://youtu.be/2SEPPnd3380 

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