The Rhetoric goes on….
When I was kid of 7 years, my father took me to a temple.
We were carrying incense sticks and other offerings and
I felt proud to get “gifts” for the God. When
I said that to my father, he immediately retorted back saying,
“everything belongs to God and you cannot ‘gift’
something that already belongs to Him.” This story
came to my mind when I was reading the newspaper today in
Curzon’s (who happened to be the Governor-general
and Viceroy of India from 1899 to 1905) grandchild is visiting
India now to celebrate the hundred years of Kaziranga forest
sanctuary in Assam. Immediately after landing in India,
he gave a call to reassess Curzon’s administrative
acumen and his far-sightedness as a politician. He talked
in glorious terms about his grandfather’s achievements
(among which he thinks partition of Bengal is one) and pointed out
how Kaziranga Sanctuary was a parting gift to the Indians
from his grandfather
1 . The coverage of his
talk in Anandabazar Patrika, a prominent Bengali newspaper
in Calcutta, reeks of the same colonial rhetoric that justifies
the wrongdoings irrespective of time and national boundary.
Who can tell this man that you cannot gift something to
the nation what already, rightfully belongs to her?
In fact, I fail to understand why it is so necessary to
call someone and “wine and dine” him on State
Exchequer’s money when that person has nothing to
contribute to our country and our people. Our obsession
with the white skin is a legacy that we still carry from
the British. Curzon’s grandchild is actually quite
true in quipping that his grandfather had far-sightedness.
He had indeed imbibed the fascination for fairer skin color
in the Indian psyche that is still prevalent in Indian thinking.
That is why even our newspaper gives front-page coverage
to somebody “non-significant” (note, that I
am not saying he is insignificant) for the country. Still
today, the colonial rhetoric is unmistakable. On the contrary,
Margaret Thatcher when recently asked about Charles and
Camilla Parker-Bowles’ marriage has commented, “We
have slightly more important things to talk about .”
(I have deliberately used Thatcher’s quote to show
how we can sieve the good from the bad). I hope our press
learns from her – about what is important in our national
life and what should be covered in the front-page of a popular
daily. Unless and until we change our mentality, the rhetoric
1. Dutta, Milan. “Curzon er shothik”
www.Anandabazar.com Bengali Article. 11 Feb 2005. Calcutta.
2. Quote of the Day. Telegraph India. 11 Feb
--Kumar Sankar Bhattacharya (Bhattacharya
is pursuing a doctorate in English at Drew University, New