Chapter 1-My Dream Shattered
Wednesday, 1 May 1946
* * *
“I really don’t get it, why do we support the British Empire, Rani! Almost 200 years of imposed rule, how can we condone that?!” I cried. We were sitting in the veranda, or the front yard as the English would call it, with the before rose gardens before us. I stretched my legs on the cane sofa, and looked up at the house. Our house was big, huge in fact. It had the traditional Awadhi touch in its architecture, arches and high windows, high ceilings with chandeliers, and a rose garden boasting of roses in varied hues. A sweet rosy smell filled the air. But there were many such houses in Lucknow all belonging to the nobles of this great Awadhi city, but I sighed for I knew that very few of them supported the British Raj. At least none of my friends’ families did. And I never truly understood Baba’s reasons for supporting the British.
“Well, there are two sides to every coin I believe. Don’t be so quick to judge it my dear! The British Empire or the British Raj, has done its share of good for this country too. Look at all the schools, universities and hospitals that the Raj built for our people. It’s a great step in the direction of development for this country.” Replied Rani. “One must admire how the British managed to turn a company which was intended primarily for trade purposes and not colonization became a colony of the British! This alone highlights the power of business. You cannot deny that Farah”
“Yes, sure! But they did that because they needed it themselves for their kids and families and not us Indians.” I retorted, then added as an afterthought, “At least we know from father, that there are many British officers who are good at heart.” Rani replied while rolling her eyes at me at trait that I had learnt from her much to her annoyance.
“Like I said, there are negatives and positives too, no doubt. But why do you bother about all this. You concentrate on your entrance exams.” Replied Rani soothingly.
* * *
I sighed and continued my studies. For me, all that was happening around with the revolts against the Raj, the various discussions being held, the different rebellions, the occasional news that floated around of killings and other atrocities, loomed large before me, for me this was a huge problem needing immediate resolution yet there was no feasible solution being addressed both by the Indian Parliament and the British Raj.