Light that Failed


How excited would Harper Collins be, to publish a book about a British woman who fell in love with an Indian ….

What if it was a English woman and an Indian soldier?  |  Click for larger image.

What if it was a English woman and an Indian soldier? | Click for larger image.

Kohima was the scene of an Allied victory in the World War II that changed the contours of the war in Asia. The Japanese who had been advancing steadily into Asia after the success of their Burma campaign in 1941-42 were beaten back…

The “Battle of Kohima”, was a bloody affair. It lasted for three months, from April to June 1944, and left over 10,000 dead on both sides.

Easterine Kire’s Mari – a story of love in the time of war … lovers here are Mari, short for Khrielievu Mari, the 17-year-old daughter of a treasury officer in the district commissioner’s office in Kohima, and Staff Sargeant Victor (Vic), a British soldier in the India army. The novel is in the first person, a semi-fictional autobiography written from the stories that Mari told Kire, her niece, about those momentous years of her life, and from a diary that she kept in those years. (via War and love in Kohima.).

Anglo-woman and Indian soldier

How excited would Harper Collins be, to publish a book about a British woman who fell in love with an Indian …

A White Man going ‘native’ was a marked man. Joseph Conrad’s writings exposed the barbarity and depravity of Colonial Europe – only to finally blame the ‘native’ for ‘reducing’ the White Man to barbarity.

Rudyard Kipling tried to erase all his prior ‘connections’ with India, after emigrating to America. He tried has hand at ‘White’ themes like Captains Courageous(1897). What became famous were books like Kim and The Light That Failed (1890).

The story of Merle Oberon, a part-Indian actress in Hollywood, is a good instance (more in the insipid story Queenie by Michael Korda, her nephew). Merle Oberon’s biggest struggle was to overcome the ‘drop of tar’ in her blood. Her nephew, Micahel Korda, used her story to get a book commission, that was also made into a movie. Her great niece, Shelley Conn. is being cast by Spielberg, (whose ET was ‘co-incidentally’ similar to Satyajit Rai script.).

For Indians to find allurement in such themes, is incorrect, at least politically.



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