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Category Archives: India
values the Olympic Games at their true worth—which is to say, approaching nil.
It is not, he points out, that Indians
are indifferent to sport. They are crazy about cricket, a game whose considerable subtleties are lost on all who did not grow up with it but which teaches mental flexibility as well as specific skills. But no official encouragement is necessary to promote this enthusiasm. On every field of every Indian city, ragged children can be seen playing with improvised equipment, as richer children play with the latest kit. It is no coincidence that, economically, India now dominates this most English of games.
more or less ignored the Olympics. But it is India, whose government does nothing to encourage (or deter) its athletes, that is right, not the rest of the world.
Once again, writes Dalrymple,
the only country of any size that emerges from the Olympics with any credit is India. Accounting for something like a sixth of the world’s population, it has not won a single medal in any event. It has steadfastly refused to measure itself by the number of medals it wins at the Olympics.
New Delhi does nothing whatever to encourage citizens to devote their lives to trying to jump a quarter of a centimetre longer or higher than anyone else in human history, for Hindustanis recognise that such a goal is the kind
that totalitarian régimes set for their citizens (or perhaps they should be called prisoners). Custine observed that tyrannies demand immense efforts of their populations to bring forth trifles, and there can be no trifle more trifling than an Olympic victory. To be the best in the world at something is no achievement unless what you are best at is worthwhile.
India, says Dalrymple,
is the last best hope of humanity. May it continue, to its eternal glory, to win no medals.
In the ward, writes Dalrymple, was a young Englishwoman
of the slut-babymother class, whose jaw was clenched in a habitual expression of world-destroying hatred. Her glittering saurian eyes swivelled mistrustingly, on the qui vive for infringements of her rights. She exuded grievance as a skunk exudes its odour.
She had been admitted to hospital because
she had been out celebrating the night before.
Enlightenment reason turned into psychopathic unreason
celebration is synonymous with aggression and public nuisance, and she had conformed to type. The police dumped her in the hospital rather than in the slammer, where she belonged.
turned the attention of her lip to the admitting doctor, who took down verbatim some of what she said to him.
Her recorded remarks were littered with the word ‘fuck’, which the doctor rendered ‘f***’ in neat handwriting, showing that
in India, at least (where the doctor came from), there is still some sense of dignity, decorum and self-respect.
Putrid fruit borne of the doctrine of rights
The following morning a friend of the patient arrived in the ward before visiting time.
Both patient and friend were what is called in the prison ‘very verbal’. A nurse, acting on the biblical observation that a soft answer turns away wrath, asked them to keep their voices down, only to discover that the Bible has been superseded in modern Britain and that wrath turns away a soft answer.
The nurse then told the visitor that she had to leave. Shortly after her departure under foul-mouthed protest,
the wife of another patient came. She was a respectable Sikh woman with a gentle manner, but it was not yet visiting time, and the nurses feared to provoke the slut-babymother by allowing her to stay, when they had told the slut-babymother’s visitor to leave. The nurses could all too well imagine the scene: Why am I not allowed a fucking visitor when that person over there is? In vain would the nurses point out the difference in the conduct of the two visitors; if anyone had a right to a visitor, everyone did, irrespective of the conduct of the visitor.
To avoid a conflict over rights,
the Sikh woman was asked to wait outside, which she did without demur, reading a book of prayers.
to a father with a large and expansive personality, an infinite capacity to delude himself and others about business schemes that varied from the merely fantastic to the outright fraudulent, and an unfortunate propensity for sexual exhibitionism. He would disappear for long periods, deserting his family, and then reappear unexpectedly.
was utterly devoted to her husband even though he proved himself unworthy of her over and over.
spent time in orphanages and in various down-at-heel and cruel boarding schools in the India of the Raj. His escape from one of them reads like an adventure story. His education was spotty, interrupted and short; his subsequent life in India, going from one absurd job to another, was rackety, unstable and precarious, and yet he was happy.
is frivolous without gaiety, earnest without seriousness.
Western economies such as Britain’s
cannot compete with India and China in cost of labour, of course.
But the success of India and China is based not just on cheap labour but on
While the British
are so obsessed with supposed social justice that they are prepared to tolerate any degree of mediocrity, India and China foster talent in a very Darwinian fashion, in the hope and expectation that everyone will benefit in the long run.
The stage has been reached where there is practically
nothing that the British can do better than the Indians and Chinese [other than binge-drinking].
At the same time Westerners, and especially Western Europeans,
have destroyed all forms of social solidarity other than handouts from the state.
Westerners are left with
an atomised society in which no one feels he has any duty to anyone else. Widespread social, or rather antisocial, disturbances are the result.
Dalrymple explains that, with cash saved from his taxpayer-funded salary while employed on an aid-and-development project in the Gilbert Islands, he was able to purchase a whole house. And working on such a project in Africa, he found that it
enriched an inefficient British company and its personnel, and those…officials whom it bribed, while the country remained poorer than ever, a…tropical Merthyr Tydfil.
Aid, Dalrymple argues, is
neither a necessary nor a sufficient condition of…development…there is no country that has been lifted out of poverty by aid, which is…international social security for corrupt governments. To lump poor countries together as if they were…in the same category is false, a form of uninterested and morally frivolous condescension.
He describes Britain’s obsession with sending aid to India as ‘the hangover of a colonial superiority complex’. It is
a manifestation of the national administrative, mental and ethical torpor, as well as incompetence and corruption, that is leading us…to economic and social disaster. It is…time we stopped such aid, and not only to India.
Hindustan, he points out,
has a long, varied, glorious (and terrible) history of civilisation, with the sophistication necessary to absorb influences from abroad, including Western scientific ones….It is outrageous that we condescend to it with our paltry aid, just to pay the mortgages of aid workers.
Ronald Ross’s poem ‘India’ is cited:
Here from my lonely watch-tower of the East
An ancient race outworn I see —
With dread, my own dear distant country, lest
The same fate fall on thee.
Lo, here the iron winter -oi curst caste
Has made men into things that creep ;
The leprous beggars totter trembling past;
The baser sultans sleep.
Not for a thousand years has Freedom’s cry
The stillness of this horror cleaved,
But as of old the hopeless millions die,
That yet have never lived.
An ancient race outworn indeed.