Monday, February 27, 2017

From ‘Beware Falling Coconuts. Perspectives of India by a BBC producer’ by Adam Clapham.

Life, I have learnt, is deemed much too short and too precious to waste time dwelling on its misfortunes. Despite all the burdens of everyday existence-perhaps because of them-Indians seem better able than their counterparts elsewhere to relish and celebrate the wonder that is the human spirit. That is the heady stimulant which has prompted my travels and the writing of this book.

Fort Cochin boasts one of the most spectacular harbours on the entire Indian coast…..

Spanning the river at Karwar, the railway traverses a spectacular pencil-thin white viaduct, almost skimming the surface of the water. In a country known for the ugliness of its ferro-concrete edifices-which rival only those of the old Soviet bloc in their awfulness-this is a design of extraordinary flair.

In Delhi I was approached by someone from the prime minister’s [Mrs. Gandhi] office who wanted to know why the BBC had stopped supplying the prime minister’s favorite programme to Doordarshan. The program was the award-winning political comedy Yes, Minister which poked fun at British government officials. It rang many bells in India and was hugely popular. I made some enquiries in London. The BBC had stopped sending the programmes because Doordarshan hadn’t paid the bill. I reported to the prime minister’s office and, in no time, Yes, Minister was back on air.

……Laura lives in one of the most beautiful spots in the world, a third floor apartment at the Royal Bombay Yacht Club, looking through the Gateway of India into Mumbai harbor….

“No problem,” they said-the Indian catch phrase that surely means some terrible complication is on the horizon.

There are few places that I have seen as beautiful as Kashmir. The Dal Lake really takes your breath away. Four kilometres long and just as wide, it glistens in the cool reflection of the Himalayas to the north and the Pir Panjal mountain range to the south.

In Pakistan, under Governor-General Mohammad Ali Jinnah, three of the four regional governors were British………. General Douglas Gracey did not step down as Commander-in-Chief of the Pakistan army until 1951 and Vice Admiral Sir Stephen Carlill, the last British chief of India’s naval staff, stayed on until 1958, eleven years after independence.

The island of Mauritius is bang in the middle of nowhere, a thousand kilometres east of Madagascar and double that distance south of Cape Comorin. Half the population is Hindu, about a third Christian and the rest mostly Muslim. There’s African and European blood added to the mix…….Mauritius is rather like rural south India and therefore not a very urgent place.

Until uncommonly provoked, Indians treated the British with tolerance and affection. Amazingly, they still do.

No comments: