The Jewel in the Crown



[Epub] ❤ The Jewel in the Crown By Paul Scott – E17streets4all.co.uk No set of novels so richly recreates the last days of India under British rule two nations locked in an imperial embrace as Paul Scott's historical tour de force The Raj uartet The Jewel in the Crown No set in the PDF È of novels so richly recreates the last days of India under British rule two nations locked in an imperial embrace as Paul Scott's historical tour de force The Raj uartet The Jewel in the Crown opens in as the British fear both Japanese invasion and Indian demands for independence.The Jewel in the Crown

See this in the PDF È thread for information Paul Scott was born in London in He served in the army from to mainly in India and Malaya He is the author of thirteen distinguished novels including his famous The Raj uartet In Staying On won the Booker Prize Paul Scott died in .

The Jewel in the Crown PDF/EPUB ☆ The Jewel  ePUB
  • Paperback
  • 472 pages
  • The Jewel in the Crown
  • Paul Scott
  • English
  • 19 June 2016
  • 9780226743400

10 thoughts on “The Jewel in the Crown

  1. says:

    “English is the language of a people who have probably earned their reputation for perfidy and hypocrisy because their language itself is so flexible so often light headed with with statements which appear to mean one thing one year and uite a different thing the next” Whenever I run into someone who has been to India not just visited but actually lived there I'm always infinitely too curious and whenever anyone admits to being somewhere I haven't been; I grill them Ronald Merrick style Investigating Police Officer from the novel well without the caning I can almost see their face contort as conflicting memories fight for prominence They are horrified about the sualor the waste of life the ever present pressing masses of people the diseases running amok the crippling poverty and the stench of death Then their face relaxes and they talk about the drop to your knees unexpected beauty of the architecture how wonderful the people are and those amazing intangible things about living in India that makes them pine to go back Those intangible things that get under their skin and won't let go of them This book is full of the intangibles that make India a mysterious dangerous and yet romantic place The Jewel in the Crown is set in 1942 This is after the great hey day of the British Empire in the 1920s when over a 15th of the world population rose in the morning under the British flag The empire is crumbling and yet still the British government continued to dispatch earnest young men around the globe to shore up their interests in far flung kingdoms It was an amazing feat using thousands to control millions With the war pulling apart the world and Britain short on resources this the perfect point in history for India to press for independence By 1947 Pakistan has been partitioned off and India has gained their independence Ethel Manners expressed it best in the novel Such a marvelous opportunity wasted I mean for us by us Indians feel it too don't they? I mean in spite of the proud chests and all the excitement of sitting down as free men at their own desks to work out a constitution Won't that constitution be a sort of love letter to the English the kind an abandoned lover writes when the affair has ended in what passes at the time as civilized and dignified mutual recognition of incompatibility? The plot of the novel is threaded through an event one of those events that rocks the foundations of a community Paul Scott starts the novel with the beginning of the aftermath and then spends the rest of the novel through the various viewpoints of the principle characters investigating and building a file of what everybody saw experienced overheard and speculated about with regard to what actually happened to Daphne Manners The victim is not cooperating because she has a secret that is important to her than justice Hari Kumar is her secret and she is willing to bear the pressure of her peers and is willing to be judged in the court of public opinion to keep any hope alive that she could someday have a life with Kumar Daphne as all women are was struck by how handsome Hari is and finds him a curious specimen A man that speaks English better than the native British and yet he is black I was struck by the fact that Indians in the book were referred to as black I guess that is a catch all phrase for those of our species that are not white There are no browns or yellows or cocos or caramels I guess to keep things simple a person is only either black or white The Daphne interacts with Hari the enad she becomes It was unacceptable for a black man to be with a white woman This restrictive public behavior is what leads to the tragedy Scott uses a host of characters to bring to life his vision of India One scene in particular has and will haunt me for a long time The image of a burning over turned car and the bludgeoned corpse of an Indian teacher and the British teacher Miss Crane sitting in the rain along side the road holding his unresponsive hand This scene is a great example of Scott exploring the ripple effect of one event that leads to a tidal wave of and disastrous reaction Sister Ludmila the sister that was not a sister but who exhibited all the characteristics of what we wish the church could be is a witness to part of the events surrounding the tragedy Scott has this great scene when and old and blind Ludmila is talking with GOD I'm sorry about your eyes HE said but there's nothing I can do unless you want a miracle No I said no miracle thank YOU I shall get used to it and I expect YOU will help me Anyway when you've lived a long time and can hardly hobble about on sticks but spend most of the day in bed your eyes aren't much use It would need three miracles one for the eyes one for the legs and one to take twenty years off my age Three miracles for one old woman What a waste Besides I said miracles are to convince the unconvinced What do YOU take me for? An unbeliever? Paul Scott infused this novel with lush beautifully written scenes that gives the reader a real feel for a lost time and place There is no breeze but the stillness of the leaves and branches is unnatural As well as these areas of radiance the switches have turned on great inky pools of darkness Sometimes the men and women you talk to moving from group to group on the lawn present themselves in silhouette; although the turn of a head may reveal a glint in a liuidly transparent eye and the movement of an arm the skeletal structure of a hand holding a glass that contains light and liuid in eual measure In the darkness too strangely static and as strangely suddenly galvanized are the fireflies of the ends of cigarettes I remember after the mini series came out everybody was reading these tan colored paperbacks by a guy named Paul Scott In an era when I was gobbling down any book I could get my hands on even at times desperate enough to read one of my mother's bodice busters I did not read Paul Scott I'm kind of glad I didn't because this is a book that reuires a mature mind than what I was carrying around on my shoulders then I probably wouldn't have appreciated Paul Scott if I had tried to read him as a teenager and I may never have had this amazing experience with this book Without a doubt I will read the rest of the Raj uartet and can even see myself venturing deeper into his body of work A Young Paul Scott I hope people rediscover Paul Scott as I have and bring him back from the dusty bins of used bookstores and give him a proper place in the British canon of writers to be read and cherished

  2. says:

    You'll only find 4 and 5 star reviews for The Jewel in the Crown on this site And it is indeed a towering achievement Towering Magnificent So er what went wrong for me?Do you remember James Joyce said that if Dublin burned down he wanted them to be able to rebuild it by reading Ulysses meaning that every brick and stone every chemists shop and stretch of beach every busker and cabman's shelter was to be found in Ulysses in its exact location and condition in the book not one atom changed around so that in many ways Ulysses is not to be described as a work of fiction at all Joyce also took on the task of writing a book where if the whole English language was eaten by Godzilla they'd be able to reconstruct it again from Ulysses But I digress Paul Scott decided to do the same thing for the last days of the British in India Brick by brick house by house room by room Historians of interior decor 1945 65 can look no further You have just won the lottery The bathroom is airless There is no fan and only one window high up above the lavatory pedestal At the opposite end of the bathroom fifteen paces on bare feet across lukewarm mosaic that is slightly uneven and impresses the soles with the not unpleasant sensation of walking over the atrophied honeycomb of some long forgotten species of giant bee there is an old fashioned marble topped washstand with an ormolu mirror on the wall above plain white china soap dishes and a white jug on the slab; beneath the stand a slop bowl with a lid and a wicker bound handle Here too is the towel rack a miniature gymnastic contraption of parallel mahogany bars and upright poles hung with immense fluffy towels and huckabacks in a diminishing range of sizes each embroidered in blue with the initials LCHalf way through that not untypical paragraph I was medically dead for about a whole minute So that was the first thing The next thing I didn't like was the plot Even before I started I didn't like it the blurb announces that this is the story of a brutal rape perpetrated in somewhat mysterious circumstances upon an English woman in India Yes that's right the self same central plot of E M Forster's A Passage to India which I thought was pretty good How strange it was obviously deliberate on the part of the author to lift this rape plot from Forster and re do it rock bands and film directors do this all the time so why not authors? But this particular plot is kind of a drag really We've been down this symbolic road already naive imperialists defiled by intimacy with the conuered peoples it's all too crude for me You could argue that Forster lifted the plot from Daisy Miller by Henry James and replanted it in India and I daresay it isn't original to HJ either Now it is true that the plot is hardly the main point of this novel because as Dr J said about Pamela if you read this book for the story you would hang yourself Meaning that moss stalactites and your fingernails all grow faster than the plot in this book So if your plot is just the hook you're hanging other things on then get a interesting oneThe next thing I would like to complain about is the length of many of the sentences Paul Scott was evidently a major fan of the late Henry James and he likes to run amok with those clauses there's a kind of effete machismo about the long sentence It can be fun but it can so very easily be too much of a good thing Dig the following he is talking as he always is in this book about race relations note the maidan is a public space in the town Or is this a sense conveyed only to an Englishman as a result of his residual awareness of a racial privilege now officially extinct so that borne clubwards at the invitation of a Brahmin lawyer on a Saturday evening driven by a Muslim chauffeur in the company of a Rajput lady through the uickly fading light that holds lovely old Mayapore suspended between the day and the dark bereft of responsibility and therefore of any sense of dignity other than that which he may be able to muster in himself as himself he may feel himself similarly suspended caught up by his own people's history and the thrust of a current that simply would not wait for them wholly to comprehend its force and he may then sentimentally recall in passing that the maidan was once sacrosanct to the Civil and Military and respond fleetingly to the tug of a vague generalised regret that the maidan no longer looks as it did once when at this time of day it was empty of all but a few late riders cantering homewardsOoof I need a lie down after a sentence like that Was Mr Scott working with a typewriter on which the full stop key was about to break so he was trying to conserve its use? The full stop is such a pleasant thing It is the reader's friend It gives the brain a little pause a little twiglet for our bird thoughts to alight on for a second before the next sentence carries us aloft again I like full stopsThe last thing I would like to complain about is that the characters who are given all the long monologues or who write the long letters are all tedious windbags They don't know when to stop I wanted to wring their scrawny necks In my last example this guy is talking about the swanky country club in Mayapore The compulsory subscription was waived in the case of all but regular officers and two new types of membership were introduced Officers with temporary or emergency commissions could enjoy either what was called Special membership which involved paying the subscription and was meant of course to attract well brought up officers who could be assumed to know how to behave or Privileged Temporary Membership which entitled the privileged temporary member to use the club's facilities on certain specific days of the week but which could be withdrawn without notice Oh my GodNoFinally though I just couldn't stand the company of the British colonial class in India they were a hideous gaggle of superannuated racists so I abandoned this very remarkable and undoubtedly brilliant novel with reliefnote I would like someone who five starred this book to tell me if they actually liked the uotes above Although if they do I'll probably back away slowly with wide scared eyes

  3. says:

    Imagine then a flat landscape dark for the moment but even so conveying to a girl running in the still deeper shadows cast by the wall of the Bibighar Gardens an idea of immensity of distance such as years before Miss Crane had been conscious of standing where a lane ended and cultivation began a different landscape but also in the alluvial plain between the mountains of the north and the plateau of the southThe first in Paul Scott’s Raj uartet The Jewel in the Crown is a remarkable allegory about the relationship between the imperialistic power of Britain and her gem that is India It is a penetrating contrast between darkness and light and contains striking metaphors that emphasize the racial tensions and the gulf between the British and the people of India at a time when their ultimate goal was that of independence The caste system within India is also examined to such an extent that we understand the barriers between the citizens themselves There is such a sense of place and time and Scott’s skillful writing really connects you with the beauty of the country as well as the wretchedness of the poverty stricken The reader sees smells hears and feels all thanks to incredibly lush descriptions The prose is really uite exuisite at times The range of green is extraordinary palest lime butter emerald mid tones neutral tints The textures of the leaves are many and varied they communicate themselves through sight to imaginary touch exciting the finger tips leaves coming into the tenderest flesh superbly in their prime crisping to old age; all this at the same season because here there is no autumn In the shadows there are dark blue veils the indigo dreams of plants fallen asleep and odours of sweet and necessary decay numerous places layered with the cast off fruit of other years softened into compost feeding the living roots that lie under the garden massively in hungry immobility The story takes place in Mayapore in 1942 Britain is in the thick of World War II Gandhi advocates for non violence his slogan “uit India” is seen and heard everywhere and political tensions are at a boiling point We learn from the outset that this book is about the rape of a young English woman Scott uses this plot along with the voices of several different narrators to paint a wider picture of both the history of India as well as its future The novel is broken down into several sections that offer varying perspectives on the events leading up to the horrific crime We are given bits and pieces of the story – it’s not so much a mystery rather than an understanding of how such a climactic event could ever come about in the first place The culture the prejudices and the chaos of the time – all lead to such an eruption The characters are diverse and richly drawn Each has their own individual flaws struggles and strengths and we come to understand their motives and actions uite intimately Conflicts of identity self discovery and forbidden love are all explored in depth At the core of the narrative are the divisions based on race color and religion Some characters cannot overcome the gap others recognize their inability to mend the rift a bit too late and others have it in their hearts to work towards bridging the gulf despite all odds life is not just a business of standing on dry land and occasionally getting your feet wet It is merely an illusion that some of us stand on one bank and some on the opposite So long as we stand like that we are not living at all but dreaming So jump jump in and let the shock wake us up Even if we drown at least for a moment or two before we die we shall be awake and alive It’s very difficult to put into words the depth and feeling in this novel The scope is far reaching and the relationships are complex and I found it extremely absorbing At times I found the writing a bit heavy handed in particular when Scott delved into detailed military and political history; therefore I can’t uite give this 5 stars There were several scenes that left me speechless – their intensity being so moving There is no denying the masterful writing of this author and I intend to read the entire Raj uartet eventually Recommended to those that enjoy classic and historical fiction multiple viewpoints and complex narratives 4 stars I’m glad I came before and not in the middle of the rains It’s best to undergo the exhaustion of that heat the heat of April and May that brings out the scarlet flowers of the gol mohurs the ‘flames of the forest’ such a dead dry lifeless looking tree before the blossoms burst the better to know the joy of the wild storms and lashing rains of the first downpours that turn everything green That is my India The India of the rains

  4. says:

    It would not be an exaggeration to say that this is the most awesome novel which I have read about British India The story is gripping the language poetic the indigo dreams of flowers fallen asleep to recall a phrase which lingers in the memory and the characterisation near flawless Even after than twenty years I think it's nearer twenty five I can recall the some scenes as if I had read the novel yesterdayJust look at how Scott starts the novel off Imagine then a flat landscape dark for the moment but even so conveying to a girl running in the still deeper shadow cast by the wall of the Bibighar Gardens an idea of immensity of distance such as years before Miss Crane had been conscious of standing where a lane ended and cultivation beganLike To Kill a Mockingbird and One Hundred Years of Solitude the first paragraph hooks you with the whole story encapsulated in it Then when the novelist goes on to say this is the story of a rape you are lost for goodIt is 1942 and Gandhi has delivered the ultimatum to the British uit India in his uietly arrogant way Everywhere the winds of change are felt as the worm is finally turning In this chaotic situation a British woman is raped by Indians and all hell breaks loose “The Bibighar Incident” as it comes to be known grows into a metaphor the beginning of the end of the British RajPaul Scott’s extraordinary achievement is to encapsulate this huge canvas into the private lives of a few misfits Daphne Manners large boned and clumsy with none of the charms of the English girl Hari Kumar or Harry Coomer as he likes to call himself Indian on the outside and English on the inside and Merrick the policeman acutely conscious of his low social standing in British society This triangle is unlike any other seen in literature as love and hate in eual measure bind these people together pulling them into the inevitable vortex at the Bibighar gardensThe novel unfolds through the perspectives of different characters often not central to the story It gives a jagged kaleidoscopic feel to the narrative which is perfectly in keeping with India And as the mystery of what happened at Bibighar is revealed we seem to hear the bells start to ring the death knell of the British EmpireRead it

  5. says:

    Back in the late 1960s and 70s many young people in the UK and other Western countries were fascinated by the East and especially by India The search for meaning in life something greater and mysterious ran through youthful consciousness Self development was at its core; nothing to do with career paths but to find one’s inner truth or being and there was a burgeoning desire to experience the ideas and lifestyles of other cultures This was reflected in the hybrid popular music newly spicy and aromatic foods and jingly bangles and beads the colourful silks and brocades which flooded the fashion scene of the time – for both genders And scores upon scores of young people upped and went to India to “find themselves”I too felt the pull Teaching in an inner city school I was surrounded by children from many different cultures the greatest group by far being those from Bangladesh a country only formed in 1947 when India and Pakistan were partitioned Bangladesh or East Pakistan was separate from the rest of Pakistan West Pakistan and the children I taught from these 3 countries were all very different from each other In fact the children were also from different parts of India from the Northern parts right down to Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka which used to be called Ceylon when under Colonial rule My colleagues variously went off to explore hoping to find work locally and having verbal invitations galore from the families of the children we taught to stay with them and share their lives Work was easy to come by provided one was happy to live the simple life and this was a time when “aspirations” were to do with experiencing variety freedom of thought and options than acuisitiveness Assimilating wealth was decidedly uncool Off they went with their rucksacks novels such as this one and money enough for a single ticket expecting to backpack when they were there No internet in those days and no mobile phones either Occasionally those back at home would hear from them – maybe a postcard and eventually a year or two later they might return knowing that in the stable Britain of the time it would be easy enough to find a job of some kindThis then was the time when I first read The Jewel in the Crown along with many of my friends It was a time when British people were tired and largely ashamed of their Imperial pastHere is the allegorical painting “The Jewel in her Crown” reflecting a time when India was considered the “jewel” of ueen Victoria’s EmpireBut the magnetism of India for 1960s and 70s youth was nothing to do with Colonialism but rather the reverse Nobody was interested any in the names of the Empire builders now long gone whose statues were beginning to be an embarrassment in cities and towns They were the old fogies sometimes a source of great hilarity and ridicule Yet still there was this uartet of literary novels by Paul Scott set in the dying days of the British Raj in India It seemed an extraordinary theme to have chosen in trendy 1966 So it was not surprising that critical acclaim was slow to come My own reading was in the late 1970s and by 1984 a television series had been made of the four novels a series which starred many famous actors and introduced a few who today are household names For fourteen hours spread over three months the nation was gripped by this part of our history; shameful and noble by turn It was a gamble but one which was a huge success It sparked a huge wave of nostalgia for the British Raj and an interest in romantic writers such as MM Kaye People were fascinated by the dynamics of the relationships by the idea of a small country ruling such a huge one encompassing such vast differences and variety But the constitutional aspect was played down People did not want politics and law courts The novelty aspect was uppermost Glamour and sualor The “stiff upper lip” British the majestic rajahs the English Officers’ clubs and the cool haughty memsahibs The traditions of India This is what came across very well in the dramatisation of “The Raj uartet” under the general title of the first novel The Jewel in the Crown The story line was gripping too and once seen it remains a series which is not easily forgottenThirty odd years later sensibilities have changed once The lines are blurred As a country we are far multicultural and India no longer seems exotic but just a country where our friends of all cultures might have relatives or a holiday destination for those with spare cash Travelling is easier than ever before People move from continent to continent without it feeling like a momentous decision We can pick up the phone and talk to someone on the other side of the world as easily as to our neighbours Reading the original first novel The Jewel in the Crown now it seems even like a piece of history long gone with perceptions we find mind bogglingly patronising and so alien to our modern view that they are hard to grasp The British largely viewed their role in India as “nurturing” another culture until they were politically mature enough to govern themselves But during the Second World War was a time of political unrest in India For years the British had promised to leave India to govern itself but when World War II broke out Britain feared that the Japanese would invade India if they left The Indian leaders in particular the Mahatma Gandhi demanded that the British uit India but because they considered the time to be militarily dangerous for India the British administrative and military establishment actively tried to suppress any unrest in the townsThe Jewel in the Crown is a long novel focusing on the rising power struggle in India The tensions between the Indian population of the fictitious town of Mayapore and the British civil and military authorities are high Not only is British rule beginning to waver and be considered as inappropriate even by some of the British themselves but there are complex additional tensions due to political racial and religious differencesIt is clear that the human relationships are portrayed only to demonstrate a far larger political concern In fact just as in EM Forster’s earlier masterpiece “A Passage to India” the characters can be seen as a metaphor for the entire novel In many ways The Jewel in the Crown seems like its natural successor even to its mirroring the AdelaAziz affairThe novel is written in seven episodes each told from a different point of view It is not in chronological order as each character focuses on what is paramount in their minds and their voices – even to the very vernacular are very clear Sometimes they speak directly to the reader or a listener who may be present in the narrative and sometimes we read part of a letter or official report The writing is stylish and convincing There is a great sense of place; the sights and smells of India are very present and the descriptions are powerful and evocative Allowing these different viewpoints of what is basically the same story the same history told through the eyes of different characters is inspired as it allows for many nuances than a simple direct telling of the story could The shades of Anglo–Indian sensibilities – loyalties and prejudices become much marked Although we are told at the very beginning what the story will be about the actual facts of what happens in the Bibighar Gardens on one fateful evening are not revealed until the main character involved describes them in the final pages This is from page 1 “This is the story of a rape of the events that led up to it and followed it and of the place in which it happened There are the action the people and the place; all of which are interrelated but in their totality incommunicable in isolation from the moral continuum of human affairs”We see how slight was the hold on their power which the British Raj had at this time We see how increasingly desperate to “keep order” as they saw it they were becoming; and how easy it was becoming for an innocent person to be found guilty of political crimes against the British occupation and sent to prisonIt is surprising that such a book can hold the attention since there is no attempt at mystery or tension but merely a carefully balanced and largely neutral account giving eual weight to all points of view and showing how misrepresentations partisan beliefs ambitions and resentments influenced the events portrayed For of course although this is a time capsule a snippet of time the human condition itself is timeless To this very day we have our Captain Ronald Merricks and our Hari Kumars the prejudiced and the proud We have our Daphne Manners and our Edwina Cranes the intelligent and the well meaning We have our “Sister” Ludmillas – our eccentrics – and our Army Officers with their devotion to duty the Brigadier AV Reid and the Deputy Commissioner Robin White We can recognise Lady Chatterjee’s enduring dignity under duress too as timelessIt is perhaps a matter of personality and reading taste which sections a specific reader will find most interesting The first part is entitled “Miss Crane” Edwina Crane the head of the Christian schools in the district which includes Mayapore a fictional Indian town narrates her own life story From the very start the author makes an excellent job of making us empathise with the viewpoint character We feel Miss Edwina Crane’s frustration and great sense of honour even though her life has been so channelled and she is set in that specific time She tries to think freely and to escape the bounds of her culture and class view spoilerAs time goes on she develops a special bond with her Bengali teaching assistant Mr Chaudhuri There are many symbols and motifs in the story to show how attracted they are to one another hide spoiler

  6. says:

    India is The Jewel in the Crown It signified the Crown's most precious dominion of the Victorian era its control forced conformity civilizing and exploitation of India Missionary Edwina Crane's semiallegorical picture titled The Jewel in Her Crown In 1942 the end of Empire was imminent becoming a reality; the only justifiable reason for the British remaining in India was to defeat the Japanese threat of invasion But the Indians had lost faith in imperial justifications their riotous emotions stirred up by Gandhi's seditious slogan uit India He suggested that the British should leave India to God or to anarchy Scott picked this specific rebellious time to place the rape of the English woman Daphne Manners by a rioting gang of Indian savages; the brutal beating and framing of her lover an anglicized well educated sophisticated Indian man Hari Kumar and the pursuant violent aftermath between civilians and the police force led by the arrogant bigoted less educated Brit Ronald Merrick These events play out as metaphors of white black relationships and prejudice superiority and forced submission resentment and contempt power and injustice divide and rule There was nothing to conform with except an idea a charade played around a phrase white superiority India had reached flash point It was bound to because it was based on a violation A white man in India can feel physically superior without unsexing himself But what happens to a woman if she tells herself that 99 percent of the men she sees are not men at all but creatures of an inferior species whose color is their main distinguishing mark? What happens when you unsex a nation treat it like a nation of eunuchs? Because that's what we've done isn't it? Daphne MannersPaul Scott had an impressive grasp of the political history of India His rich characters and themes were well constructed but complex in nature I do like an allegory of which there are many For example Hari is Indian born raised in England educated at a prestigious school and speaks English better than the Brits He has difficulty finding work back in India because he doesn't speak Hindi He lacks understanding of his identity and feels like a nobody Because of the color of his skin he feels invisible He is the hybridized product of England and India As such he is both the pride and the failure of imperialism Hari or what he represents is what this novel is about There is a salvation of a kind for a boy like him He is the leftover the loose end of our reign the kind of person we created I suppose for the best intentionsThe worst aspects of our colonialism will just evaporate into history as imperial mystiue foolish glorification of a severely practical and greedy policy Lady Ethel Manners I highly recommend the Jewel in the Crown I'll definitely be reading the rest of the Raj uartet

  7. says:

    Truly excellent historical novels capture the history of a time and place through human interactions History is made by human beings going about their business with all their failings prejudices and strivings This novel is one of the better ones I've ever read in helping to understand India under British rule The Raj It not only tells us what but how and even importantly why This is the first book of a uartet and I have no doubt that when I finish the fourth one I can claim it is the War and Peace of IndiaThe cast of characters in this one is large set during a time of riots and unrest in Myapore in 1942 WWII is threatening civilization the Japanese are considering invading India and white and black men and women peasants and politicians are going about their daily lives I won't go into plot developments because they are numerous but I will say that young Hari Kumar is one of the most heartbreaking characters among many in this story I hope to meet him again in the second book but if not I wish him well

  8. says:

    The Liminal ViewpointThis is the story of a rape of the events that led up to it and followed it and of the place in which it happened There are the action the people and the place; all of which are interrelated but in their totality incommunicable in isolation from the moral continuum of human affairsThe third paragraph of the first part of the first volume of Paul Scott's monumental Raj uartet This my first time reading it but I thought I knew it from having seen the British Granada TV series twice now the last uite recently But Scott's book is a revelation It is not just the fact of its being another medium; it occupies another dimension—several of them in fact Even beside EM Forster's A Passage to India that touchstone critiue of colonialism it is a work of genius in its scale in the stupendous breadth of its sympathies and in its extraordinary narrative techniueAnd in its amazing approach to style Look at the second sentence of my uote above; it is deliberately involuted writing whose phrases curl in and around each other in a manner both dense and rich I uoted that first sentence because it is such a clear summary of the book the rape the context of events and the setting the fictional town of Mayapore in British ruled India in 1942 But as I read on I find that it is the second difficult sentence that is the significant For that is what Scott achieves to paint a complex many faceted portrait of the continuum of human affairs out of which the story emerges almost by accident in passing glimpses in a rear view mirrorI realize of course that there may be some potential readers of the saga who have not seen the Granada series For them there will be no uestion of privileging one thread of story over all the rest that Scott gives us and for their sake I should not say too much But there is still the author's own summary This is the story of a rape Halfway through the book the crime has been referred to only in passing or evoked by repeated mention of the locale the Bibighar Gardens Scott's talismanic euivalent of Forster's Marabar Caves And we have met the victim an independently minded English girl called Daphne Manners only through a couple of her letters and a few observations by others Indeed by the first time we hear of her on page 74 she is referred to simply as the girl and her story has already receded far into the past Yet the atmosphere of tension is intenseSo what does Scott do while keeping his main story at bay? He gives us a series of portraits of characters whose role in the drama will be peripheral at best but who collectively will tell us about the complex interaction of the various British and Indian circles in Mayapore than any single viewpoint could possibly do There is Edwina Crane an English spinster who originally went out as a governess but fell in love with the country stayed on as a teacher and wound up as the superintendent of mission schools There is Lady Chatterjee widow of local benefactor Sir Nello Chatterjee and the doyenne of Indian Society There is Sister Ludmilla a woman of supposedly Eastern European origin not affiliated with any religious order but doing work very like that of Mother Theresa later There is the lawyer Mr Srinivasan writing in 1964 long after the all white institutions have been opened up but vividly remembering the years when the first faint cracks in the bastion of privilege began to appearNone of these people plays a leading part in the story of the rape and its aftermath but they are very much part of Scott's larger picture For the crime when it occurs will be a polarizing event a white woman attacked by brown assailants Indeed as Scott will make amply clear India in 1942 was already strongly polarized dragged into an unpopular war by its British overlords Ghandi and the Congress Party calling for independence harsh measures taken against any sign of insurrection and all this against the simmering conflicts between Hindu and Moslem among the native people and the terrible racial snobbery on the part of the colonists most especially the female of the species I see now that Scott chose these particular foci precisely because they challenge the polarities because they are liminal So we have the English governess who leaves her own tribe to work with Indians the widow of an Indian awarded one of the highest honors from the British crown a white woman of uncertain nationality whose mission is to work with the poor and an Indian lawyer enjoying the first fruits of a supposedly classless societyWith the fifth section we finally get to a major character Hari Kumar But he too is liminal an Indian given an upper class education in England but now returned on account of his father's bankruptcy to a country whose native languages he does not even speak This entire part further is back story starting with Hari's grandfather; it approaches the threshold of the Bibighar but does not cross it The protagonists of the sixth section Civil and Military are both figures of British power in Mayapore the civil commissioner and the brigadier commanding the troops But they only emphasize the unbridgeable divide between reaching a working understanding of the Indians on the one hand and putting down threats with force on the otherAll these accounts compiled many years later by a shadowy figure we come to recognize as the author have given us an extraordinary window onto the political religious and cultural background of the Raj Finally in the journal of Daphne Manners herself which forms the closing section we get a direct continuous narrative But Daphne may be the most liminal figure of all because she is smack in the middle of that divide and the only one who freely crosses it What pulls her out of the security of her tribe is the power of physical attraction For before there was ever a rape there was a daring and passionate loveHere are links to my reviews of all the books in the uartet in order    1 The Jewel in the Crown     2 The Day of the Scorpion     3 The Towers of Silence     4 A Division of the Spoils And to Scott's semi comic uasi seuel Staying On

  9. says:

    My yardstick for excellent writing about a foreign culture is probably Paul Scott's The Raj uartet which was the basis for the BBC TV series The Jewel in the Crown I think these four books are a real tour de force he writes in several different voices throughout but remains I think completely sensitive to the political and social complexities and subtleties of the situation in India towards the end of the British occupation Very nuanced extraordinarily sensitive writingOnly space on the shelf considerations prevents me from including all four of the uartet on my top 20 shelf which is now full and may eventually need to be expanded to 25 Though I do think if I had to make a judgement that books 1 and 3 in the uartet slightly outrank the other two But overall if you find yourself with time on your hands even if you don't the Raj uartet is a wonderful world in which to lose yourself for a couple of weeksThen check out the BBC series on DVD and marvel at just how perfect the adaptation is A true pleasure

  10. says:

    Paul Scott’s Jewel in the Crown is an expansive work that tackles every difficult issue that could be imagined for British ruled India It takes place during the 1940’s with World War II being fought and ravaging the English homeland India being used as a buffer between the British forces and Japan and the painful transition to self government that can no longer be pushed off by the British rulers Into this powder keg are dropped an English girl Daphne Manners who has been raised by a liberal minded aunt and uncle and an Indian boy Hari Kumar who has been reared in England and knows nothing of India and the sualor or prejudices she containsOn page one we are told This is the story of a rape of the events that led up to it and followed it and of the place in which it happened It is indeed all of that but it is also the story of people caught in an out of control situation that is both personal and political and an event that is subjected to interpretations that do not seek for truth or justice and are rooted in prejudice and preconception The action of such an attitude is rather like that of a sieve Only what is relevant to the attitude gets through The rest gets thrown away The real relevance and truth of what gets through the mesh then depends on the relevance and truth of the attitude doesn't it? If one agrees with that one is at once back on the ground of personal preference even prejudice which may or may not have anything to do with truthTherein lies the problem even the most even handed of the British find it almost impossible not to view the Indian people through this sieve this attitude that always leaves them with or less the outcome they anticipate primarily because they have pre ordained it They do not know what to do with a person who should be on their side of the divide but who fails to look at the Indian population through this filterIn conseuence of this attitude any Indian who does not fit the mold is suspect Any Indian who does not know and keep his place is dangerous Any Indian who cannot see that the color of his skin excludes him from a higher society must be taught the finer lessons of societal behavior Which brings us to Ronald Merrick a small minded man who holds a position of too much authority and with too much power and does not hesitate to abuse it or the people who are put in his path The heightened tensions of the time allow him the latitude he needs to take a very personal revenge on a woman whom he feels has spurned him in favor of an inferior and a man for whom he has only contemptThis might be the story of the physical rape of Daphne Manners but it is as much the story of the emotional rape of Hari Kumar He is subjected to a kind of demoralization and dehumanization that makes a person weep in despair for all of mankind At one point in the novel he states that he has become invisible and he is right that the true self the individual who is really Harry Coomer the name he used in England all of his first eighteen years of life can no longer be seen by anyone beneath the forced personae of Hari Kumar In his lonely isolated existence in which he belongs to neither side of the society not English because his skin is the wrong color not Indian because his upbringing and exposures make him foreign he finds Daphne Manners a person who sees Harry Kumar the whole person both the Indian and the English reality For Daphne Harry is real he is visible Kumar was a man who felt in the end he had lost everything even his Englishness and could then only meet every situation even the most painful in silence in the hope that out of it he would dredge back up some self respectIt hurt me to think that Harry felt the need to gather his self respect He had done nothing to deserve the loss of it in the first place The fact that he was anything but proud of himself was a result of the demeaning reactions of those around him but in a society that was this constricted knowing your place was difficult for even those who were raised in full knowledge of their station During the English Raj there were two Indias They existed side by side and they reuired contact but there was no tolerance for intermingling them and most of the British population thought of the Indians as a lower species of being undeserving of their attentions For those Indians who did achieve some status in government or business the general attitude was that they should be grateful and remember precisely where the invisible line was drawn The truly accepting and open officials such as Daphne’s Aunt Ethel and Uncle Henry were rareThe Jewel in the Crown is an impressive and important work Scott manages to bring India to life in a physical as well as a spiritual sense He paints scenes that swelter you can smell the stench of the waste in the river you can picture the long verandah of The MacGregor House and the lush and overgrown remains of the Bibighar Gardens smell the fetid breath of the beggars and the acrid smoke of the cheap cigarettes He is just as facile in painting emotional territory It was easy to feel the confusion distress unhappiness humiliation condescension and momentary joys of his characters Perhaps this is why Mayapore had got bigger but made me smaller because my association with Hari the one thing that was beginning to make me feel like a person again was hedged about restricted pressed in on until only by making yourself tiny could you sueeze into it and stand imprisoned but free diminished by everything that loomed from outside but not diminished from the inside; and that was the point that’s why I speak of joy I am looking forward to reading the next novel in this series that make up the Raj uartet With all the novels and movies I have seen that dealt with this time period this one stands out as the first time I have felt that India was at my fingertips in all her guises and with all her glories and flaws

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