15. “Alex von Tunzelmann’s clever start to her book Indian Summer made my point most tellingly: ‘In the beginning, there were two nations. One was a vast, mighty and magnificent empire, brilliantly organized and culturally unified, which dominated a massive swath of the earth. The other was an undeveloped, semifeudal realm, riven by religious factionalism and barely able to feed its illiterate, diseased and stinking masses. The first nation was India. The second was England.”
17. “When an Englishman wants something, George Bernard Shaw observed, he never publicly admits to his wanting it; instead, his want is expressed as ‘a burning conviction that it is his moral and religious duty to conquer those who possess the thing he wants’. Durant is scathing about this pretence: ‘Hypocrisy was added to brutality, while the robbery went on.’ And.”
18. “I do not look to history to absolve my country of the need to do things right today. Rather I seek to understand the wrongs of yesterday, both to grasp what has brought us to our present reality and to understand the past for itself. The past is not necessarily a guide to the future, but it does partly help explain the present. One cannot, as I have written elsewhere, take revenge upon history; history is its own revenge. One.”
19. “He leaned towards the young man, his eyes, mouth and face all round in concentration. ‘“There was a banned crow,”’ he intoned sonorously. ‘“There was a cold day.” Not bad, eh? I learned those on the boat. Sounds like perfect Urdu, I’m told.’ He paused and frowned. ‘The devil of it is remembering which one means, “close the door,” and which one will get someone to open it.”
22. “Above all, as a Hindu I belong to the only major religion in the world that does not claim to be the only true religion. I find it immensely congenial to be able to face my fellow human beings of other faiths without being burdened by the conviction that I am embarked upon a “true path” that they have missed.”
25. “Muslim sociologists and anthropologists have argued that Islam in rural India is more Indian than Islamic, in the sense that the faith as practiced by the ordinary Muslim villagers reflects the considerable degree of cultural assimilation that has occurred between Hindus and Muslims in their daily lives.”
31. “An India that denies itself to some of us could end up being denied to all of us. This would be a second Partition: and a partition in the Indian soul would be as bad as a partition in the Indian soil. For my sons, the only possible idea of India is that of a nation greater than the sum of its parts. An India neither Hindu nor Muslim, but both. That is the only India that will allow them to continue to call themselves Indians.”
35. “Nehru, speaking of his country’s dreams, said: ‘Those dreams are for India, but they are also for the world, for all the nations and peoples are too closely knit together today for any one of them to imagine that it can live apart. Peace has been said to be indivisible; so is freedom, so is prosperity now, and so also is disaster in this One World that can no longer be split into isolated fragments.’ It.”
38. “Democracy, Ganapathi, is perhaps the most arrogant of all forms of government, because only democrats presume to represent an entire people: monarchs and oligarchs have no such pretensions. But democracies that turn authoritarian go a step beyond arrogance; they claim to represent a people subjugating themselves. India was now the laboratory of this strange political experiment. Our people would be the first in the world to vote on their own subjugation.”
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