Monday, September 13, 2010
Review - The Jewel in the Crown by Paul Scott
The book set in a period of British and Indian history - 1942 - where Britain was being hard pressed in India trying to maintain its precarious hold on a country which was definitely slipping from its grasp.
The colonials - the colonels, the majors and the ladies who form part of the British set are the main characters of the story. Where this story differs is one lady decides to be different and steps out of the box- just not done in society of the time. You can if you are extremely wealthy flirt with the other races of people around you, but this is a time where an Indian is not even admitted to a club because of his color. Daphne Manners does the unpardonable and falls in love with Kumar - a young Indian born and brought up in England who feels lost and forlorn in India, where he is forced to return once his father dies. The story told from a narrator's point of view is sometimes sad because we see that Kumar is torn in two - one side of him wanting Daphne and the other realizing the futiity of it all.
Descriptions of the mutinies that are beginning to arise in India, the satyagrahas or peaceful "sort of sit in protests" which Gandhi advocated, the turmoil of India at the time are beautifully described in this book.
For lovers of the colonial past of India, this book is a must read.