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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.


  1. I've been curious about this book for years after watching some episodes of the TV adaptation. Incidentally, have you read E.M. Forster's A Passage to India which is set around the same period (I think)?

  2. This is a fantastic book! I loved it. Thanks for the great review, it brought back how much I enjoyed the book.

  3. This sounds fantastic - great review!

  4. If you haven't watched it all the way though, I would really recommend the full series. You need to put aside about 15 hours, but it is worth it! Lovely review thanks for sharing


  5. I will always admire the great 18th century British conservative political thinker Edmund Burke for having the courage to tell the English that the roots of Indian culture (a country the English justified their rule of by suggesting the inhabitants were too primitive to rule themselves) went back thousands of years further than the culture of the English-I recently learned a bit about the colonial history of Sri Lanka in reading Victoria Glennindings biography of Leonard Woolf