Friday, Sep 17, 2021
Outlook.com

Then And Mhow

I know the Raj in its last days could often be snobbish, racist, boring, and self-satisfied but was it always as awful as the Mhow of Chinnery's Hotel?

Then And Mhow
Jayachandran
Then And Mhow
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53
AS a child of the Raj, that subject has an endless fascination for me and so I galloped through Chinnery’s Hotel. But like Paul Scott and other novelists of the Raj, Jaysinh Birjepatil made me aware how lucky I am to have lived in Independent India.

All the claustrophobia and the other phobias of the Raj are there in this novel about small-town life under the British, the town being Mhow with its strong military presence. The dominating phobia is the British attitude to the Anglo-Indians, a severe blot on the escutcheon of the Raj. I won’t reveal the tragedy that unfurls because that phobia survives nearly four decades after the Raj in the daughter of the owner of Chinnery’s Hotel. Suffice it to say that it leads to incest accidental and then intentional.

All the well-known features and personnel of British Raj life are there in the Mhow of Jaysinh Birjepatil. There is the cantonment with a commanding officer who protects his soldiers who have beaten a sweeper to death. There is the police officer who tries to do his duty and defy the army officer to see that the...

Advertisement

Outlook Newsletters

Read More from Outlook

Kohli's Stepping Down As India's T20 Captain Part Of BCCI 'Roadmap'

Kohli's Stepping Down As India's T20 Captain Part Of BCCI 'Roadmap'

Virat Kohli will hand over India's T20 captaincy after the World Cup in October-November. Given his IPL record as skipper, Rohit Sharma is widely tipped to succeed Kohli.

24 New Ministers Sworn In To Gujarat Cabinet, Bhupendra Patel To Hold First Meeting As CM

24 New Ministers Sworn In To Gujarat Cabinet, Bhupendra Patel To Hold First Meeting As CM

Governor Acharya Devvrat administered the oath to 10 cabinet ministers and 14 ministers of state along with five ministers of state with independent charge.

FM Sitharaman Announced Setting Up Of National Asset Reconstruction Company

FM Sitharaman Announced Setting Up Of National Asset Reconstruction Company

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on September 16 announced that the Cabinet has approved a central government guarantee of up to Rs 30,600 crore to back security receipts to be issued by National Asset Reconstruction Company Limited (NARCL). The guarantee would be valid for a period of five years. Asset reconstruction companies (ARCs) generally buy distressed assets with a 15 per cent cash payment and 85 per cent in security receipts.

Farmer Protests: Haryana Govt Forms Committee To Resolve Highway Blockade Issue

Farmer Protests: Haryana Govt Forms Committee To Resolve Highway Blockade Issue

Haryana government constituted a state-level committee to hold discussions with the farmers’ and farmers’ unions regarding the ongoing blockade of NH-44 by protesting farmers.

Advertisement