WRITING STYLE: 3/5
ENTERTAINMENT QUOTIENT: 3/5
Sahibs who loved India takes you back in time, it takes you through the period when India was ruled by the British; British who hated us, who tormented us, who disgraced us in our own country. But then, Sahibs who loved India is not about those loathing babus and sarkars, on the contrary it is about those who loved India, admired Indians and respected our culture. It is a collection of essays written by those “sahibs” and “memsahibs” who loved every aspect of our country. Khushwant Singh brings this book as homage to those few angels in the sea of darkness who reminisce about their adventures, encounters and experience in India and tell us about what they cherished the most about India.
From the last viceroy of India-turned-first governor general of free India Lord Mountbatten to Peggy Holroyde, the wife of then BBC representative in India to lesser known Maurice and Taya Zinkin. These sahibs and memsahibs come from all walks of life, from the most coveted Indian Civil Services to journalism and many other professions including housewives. Some came willingly, some came as there was no choice, some were deputed forcefully and some came to discover the romantic India of Sir Rudyard Kipling’s works. They came thinking they will hate it but they fell in love; fell in love with the luxurious Havelis and the numerous servants, with shikar and pig sticking, with dusty roads and populated towns, with Indians and everything that was Indian. To read about their experiences in their own versions of India is nothing but sheer delight.
The book is sure to take you back in times of the “British Raj” and vividly describe those times. If you are a patriot, you will feel elated; if not, you will learn to love things about India which you may be disliking. Also, for lovers of history this book is a must, not because it will teach you history, but because it will make you relive it. After all, history is not just about famous people and watershed events but also about ordinary people and inconsequential incidents. History is simply history and for the love of it, you must read this book.
But while reading this book, one must keep aside one’s prejudices and treasure what is in the book and not irk about what is not. When I ordered the book on Flipkart, I saw that there were hardly any reviews and takers for this book, but decided to go for it anyway. After having read it, I decided that yes, it was a bit boring and monotonous, but then it is the way those people wrote about how they felt about us and our country. To add ‘masala’ to it only to make it more popular would be tampering with history. In the end I was glad that I ordered it for even though it was a little lack luster, it filled me with pride for my country and satiated the patriot in me.