24 October, 2020

Burra Salaams For A Country Much Loved

A sepia-tinted India slumbers on in many foreigners: seekers, sojourners, job-hunters and those who stayed on

Burra Salaams For A Country Much Loved
Khushwant Singh is a fountain of fertile ideas. Thirty years ago while he was editor of the Illustrated Weekly, he had commissioned reminiscences from various British sahibs and a couple of memsahibs (both non-British ‘foreigners’) to write up brief impressions of their stay in India. The 22 essays contained in this book are short, nostalgic tributes to India.

They came as masters—at least, the men. Some came in their official capacity as civil servants, architects, engineers, soldiers and as journalists for the good newspapers—The Statesman, The Times of India, the Illustrated Weekly and the BBC. Taya Zinkin, a Frenchwoman married to an ICS officer-turned-boxwallah, Maurice, wrote for the Manchester Guardian, as it was then called. Most came when young, looking for a better prospect than was on offer in Blighty.

They are all terribly nice and charming, even though there was a lot of racism during the Raj. Those who came into the civil service found their contacts with Indians restricted to...



To read this piece, and more such stories in India's most exciting and exacting magazine, plus get access to our 25-year archives goldmine, please subscribe.

In this article:

More from Meghnad Desai

Latest Magazine

November 02, 2020

other articles from the issue

articles from the previous issue

Other magazine section