Sunday, February 10, 2008
Since then, each year had been lonelier and more bitter than the last. What was at the centre of all his thoughts now, and what poisoned everything, was the ever bitterer hatred of the atmosphere of imperialism in which he lived. For as his brain developed -- you cannot stop your brain developing, and it is one of the tragedies of the half-educated that they develop late, when you are already committed to some wrong way of life -- he had grasped the truth about the English and their Empire. The Indian Empire is a despotism -- benevolent, no doubt, but still a despotism with theft as its final object. And as to the English of the East, the sahiblog, Flory had come so to hate them from living in their society, that he was quite incapable of being fair to them....There is a prevalent idea that the men at the 'outposts of Empire' are at least able and hardworking. It is a delusion. ... The real work of administration is done mainly by native subordinates; and the real backbone of the despotism is not the officials but the Army. Given the Army, the officials and the business men can rub along safely enough even if they are fools. And most of them are fools. A dull, decent people, cherishing and fortifying their dullness behind a quarter of a million bayonets.
Posted by ntinator at 6:36 AM
It is a stifling stultifying world in which to live. It is a world in which every word and every thought is censored. In England it is hard even to imagine such an atmosphere. Everyone is free in England; we sell our souls in public and buy them back in private, among our friends. But even friendship can hardly exist when every white man is a cog in the wheels of despotism. Free speech is unthinkable. All other kinds of freedom are permitted. You are free to be a drunkard, an idler, a coward, a backbiter, a fornicator; but you are not free to think for yourself. Your opinion on every subject of any conceivable importance is dictated for you by the pukka sahibs' code.
Posted by ntinator at 6:31 AM
Was he no more than a loafer using his idleness to invent imaginary woes? A spiritual Mrs. Witterly? A Hamlet without poetry? Perhaps. And if so, did that make it any more bearable? It is not the less bitter because it is perhaps one's own fault, to see oneself drifting, rotting in dishonour and horrible futility, and all the while knowing that somewhere within one there is the possibility of a decent human being.
Posted by ntinator at 6:14 AM