Britain of course is Ground Zero for Remembrance Day.
I find it a bit tiresome as to how both World Wars are constantly spun as being for “freedom.”
It’s a bit like how Mel Gibson retconned history in the Patriot so that a slave was fighting for the Americans as opposed to the British.
1.5mm Indians fought for the Empire in WW1 and after that war, as well as WW2, we were still subjects (slaves) of a foreign king.
It doesn’t matter that the British Empire was, by and larger, more benevolent than other Empires of its ilk but Freedom is Freedom. WW1 & WW2 weren’t fought in my name (my grandfather was a medic-doctor on the Burmese in the Second War) and while I respect the observation; I suspect it’s near hysterical commemorations.
Thankfully I can express these thoughts on BP since we have space here for privacy and nuance. However when I moonlight as a “Social Justice Ghazi” I notice the almost persistent humble brag of WASP civilisation.
History is always written by the conquerors especially English history. It’s probably a reflection of my deeply colonised mind that I can only read, write and think deeply in the English language; I’m short of any other perspective.
These thoughts sit squarely on this play I saw last night “the Djinns of Eidgah.” It’s about Kashmir and it was extraordinarily powerful. Incidentally it was written by a Bengali Hindu (Abhishek Majumdar) and the script was sterling.
I was surprised by how anti/India it was and of course as I saw the play my part-Pakistani blood, always latent always poisonous, was steaming in solidarity with my Kashmiri kin-folk.
There were some extraordinarily powerful scenes but having a blond girl play an Indian soldier and exclaim she is “Marathi” stretched incredulity. Another part was where the Arab actor (playing a Kashmiri youth) was pronouncing the lead “Bilal’s name in an Arabic rather than desi accent.
Kashmir of course is the Palestine of the Sub-continent. The Kashmiris are an arrogant, attractive and resilient people and their conflict is the zeitgeist that tends to overshadow other perhaps even equally worthy causes (Tamils, NorthEasterners, Baluch etc).
As a counter-factual if Kashmir had been joined to Pakistan (as it should have been) would there even have been a whisp out of that region today? I suspect not because the Muslims of Kashmir would have melded into Pakistan without trace or incident.
These are slightly unvarnished thoughts and I’m sympathetic that India can’t “retreat” from Kashmir without a huge loss of face. But it’s increasingly clear that Pakistan is a peripheral player in the India-Kashmir dynamics; the local Kashmiris are themselves in revolt.
The play “plays” on the tendency of the Kashmiris to refer to the Indians as “Indians.” The fact that India is seen as an entirely separate entity to Kashmir reflects that Freedom is a difficult quality to define and sometimes so is nationhood.