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Milz

The Jewel In The Crown

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Sad news - I just read on twitter that Tim Piggot-Smith has died.  :-(  RIP Tim - we loved to hate you.

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Oh No. I just saw the 1st episode of Decline and Fall last night and was delighted to see Tim P-S in it as Snigg.

He will be missed.

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       Funny when one is looking for something on a subject and then comes upon a treasure trove. Today I have just discovered this great forum and have been engrossed in it all afternoon. I was on line googling some opinions about Paul Scott's biography by Hilary Spurling and 

      What great fans, and with such knowledge of India. Constantinople, especially, your dry humor and the vast research you must have done are impressive and bring a smile. And in the book, especially #3 The Towers of Silence, you would be Barbied to the max. 

      I enjoyed reading this forum almost as much, if possible, as when I first read The Raj Quartet, and saw the JitC series on Masterpiece Theatre. It is rare to find such diverse opinions and everyone being so civilized about it. I bought the VHS, and when the DVD came out I gave the VHS set to a pal in Montana. I found out right here, today, the sad news of of Tim Pigott-Smith's, Saeed Jaffrey's, and Rosemary Leach's passing. Thanks, M. Darcy, I will be reading Tim P-S's autobiography; he was such a dynamic talent. 

In fact, I just went into the living room and getting ready to watch the series for what must be, honestly, the 50th time. 

BTW, Milz, I am as crazy over Charles Dance as you. For more (and he had filled out by this time),  did you see the Rebecca series with Emilia Fox?  In it he's even more sexy and powerful and enigmatic as Maxim deWinter.  Seems then he got even better as he ages. He is 6'4" and in top condition even now, in 2017. 

On another note, what makes me more hopeful about Hari Kumar is that in book #4 A Division of the Spoils Rowan and Gopal were discussing Hari and they s greed he would do better "back home" than in India and they hinted about his going to England. (But I thought: he wouldn't leave his Aunt Shalini). Also Rowan said Hari absolutely refused any kind of charity. 

 

I only regret not finding this forum and contributing to the forum the way you all have been having a lovely time each step of the journey. If you are still keeping up with the subject and are still an incurable JitC addict, guess i'll find out. Happy Holidays.

On Amazon for New, Years I plan to take the Masterpiece remastered 5 disc edition off my wish list. It is 5 stars by most reviewers and features Art Malik and Tim Pigott--Smith doing a commentary on Disc 1, Geraldine James and others doing commentaries on other discs, and yes, I think, Charles Dance! There are said to be other goodies in this edition. It has subtitles as well, plus the latecl Alister Cooke's engaging introductories.

There is also a large 8x12 quality paperback book, 134 pages long that I ordered long ago, The Making of The Jewel in the Crown, well worth having. It is packed with full color photos of the scenes and locations, how it was filmed, the adventures of the cast and crew and extras in chapter 1, The Making; Episode Outlines in detail by Ken Taylor The Last Days of the Raj: A Personal View by James Cameron with great black and white photos; Paul Scott Remembered by Roland Grant and M.M.Kaye (author of The Far Pavilions); and the (complete) Cast and Production Team.

But to really get into Paul Scott's head about his characters in The Raj Quartet, and Staying On, and near the end find out his ideas on the future of the "loose end," Hari Kumar, it is worth your while to either buy or check out at your library Hilary Spurling's fairly recent and excellent biography of Paul Scott. It's pretty detailed, and it seems his characters in the Quartet are drawn from real life. It took him ten years to complete the Quartet, and then Staying On, (which became a movie before the JitC!) with Trevor Howard and Celia as Tusker and Lucy Smalley before dying of cancer in 1978

Did anyone notice the guy who put his head in the door of the train after Ahmed stepped out to his death looked and sounded like Suleiman a.ka. Miss Khyber Pass? Yet it was Muslims the killers were looking for, and Miss KP was Muslim (though obviously not a practising one). But I am watching the series again and will re-check. 

It is strange to be addicted to certain series and books isn't it...

l

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Here are some thoughts and conclusions made while looking through my reading materials and later after watching the series for the 50th time. As Lady Manners told Sarah on the houseboat, "One of the advantages of old age is that one becomes a repository of bits and pieces of casual information that sometimes come in useful." (The Day of the Scorpion, p. 48, of the 4-volume-in-one Raj Quartet) I'm 80 and here are a few. It's nice to remember SOMETHING!

     Chillingborough vis-a-vis Chillianwallah Bagh:    Although the similarly syllabic tone of both extreme conditions is not mentioned in Paul Scott's biography or even in a book I recently checked out of the library, titled "Introduction to The Raj Quartet" by Janis Tedesco (the book that has resurrected my obsession with both the books (anything about the Raj Q and the PBS series). Somehow I suspect the author had symbolically named the exclusive school "Chillingborough" to signify the fall of Harry Coomer from his privileged upbringing--to Hari Kumar in a roach-infested flat amid the squalor of the "black side" at the "Chillianwallah" Bagh in Mayapore. He was too English for India and too Indian for England. Scott's "Chillingborough" is England's Eton, and then (like Guy Perron) on to Cambridge University.  If I had been the author I would have made the observation. Perhaps it was unintentional therefore not worth their time.  But one asks: With all that education for a head start, why didn't Hari try harder in India? He was an impeccable Englishman imprisoned within what he hated: a dark skin. He was cursed with ill-conditioned relatives (except Aunt Shalini). When he returned to India his uncle by marriage, Uncle Romesh Chand, a merchant, bitterly resented whom he thought was this "uppity" young man with built-in British airs and thus refused to finance his education. But had the uncle been smarter and capable of kindness, seen the lad's potential, both would have benefited from it and I think he wasted a lot of negativity. "But then,", you will say, and rightly so, "you aren't the author, lady!--and BTW, you're obsessed."

     Hari Kumar, the most deserving of the male Raj Quartet characters, was given the wrong advice: (1)  by a father who hated India and all things Indian and who deprived his son of the best of India; (2) by Daphne Manners who believed that utter silence was the only way to protect Hari, who wanted to take her back to the MacGregor House. Hari took her admonishment so very literally that even when he was imprisoned in Kandipat and rigorously interrogated by Rowan and Gopal he wouldn't crack.

     Although Daphne Manners was gang-raped and although Lady Ethel Manners had already read Daphne's tell-all journal and later recalled Daphne smiling at her daughter before dying (and in the film called out Hari's name as father), Lady Ethel (from behind the grille) believed (but did not disclose any approval or disapproval of Daphne's way of "protecting" Hari) that Hari's denial of having seen her since they went to Tirapati Temple did not make him a liar. In addition, he wasn't told of David hne's death in childbirth or, he said, " If I had known of it, I wouldn't have answered any [of your] questions." He would have taken the risk of remaining in prison. These are just theories.

      More post-it scribbles: Missing, deliberately or not...in the book or the film:

 We were never told specifically (in the film or the books) whether Vidyasagar and Hari's other young friends from the Gazette or outlaw hooligans were the rapists (although I think we all know they weren't).

     Gaffur's poem last line, "the running girl and the deer" at the very end of the Division of the Spoils book could mean (1) Daphne running from the Bibighar after the rape or (2) (from the book) Parvati running to her singing lesson. I like to think it is the latter.

    To me, the end of Book 1 of the Quartet comes as close to a happy ending as it gets in the Raj Quartet. The end of the fourth disc comes as close in the film to a happy ending, as will be explained below.

     For those who, like me, have practically normalized Hari into a real person, there is an interesting note on page 367 of Paul Scott, A Life of the Author of the Raj Quartet, after the manuscript of  A Division of the Spoils (editing down to routine checking) "was completed ... Paul drew up for Roland Gant a Quartet cast list with notes on the subsequent fates of individuals (Kumar landed a teaching job, contacted Lady Chatterjee and kept an eye on the child Parvati's professional debut as a singer..." Although it was never added to the final manuscript of A Division, or even included in Sarah Perron's letter to the Smalleys in Staying On, it is uplifting to read that Paul wanted some closure or to put it better, tying up of the one "loose end"  that was Hari Kumar. 

     The film has Hari now living with Aunt Shalini in Ranpur and contributing weekly or monthly to the Ranpur Gazette, and as a teacher of individual students, all "for a few rupees." The essay he wrote, as Philoctetes, "Alma Mater" on what Guy Perron, thinking on we the viewers (and readers) know as his old school while walking through the unfinished campus of the new Government College-to-be, specifically the Chakravarti wing,  piques Guy's interest in Hari (or the erstwhile Harry).  Before leaving for the airport, Guy Perron makes a purely altruistic effort to see Hari whom he recalls as Harry, that graceful and expert cricket player at school. The effort was unsuccessful as no one was at home and Guy had the feeling it was after all a cruel intrusion, to Hari it being just some white guy leaving his card. He is wrong: At the very end we see Hari (who obviously remembered Guy from school) with a thoughtful expression, pen in one hand, cigarette held elegantly in the other, writing (perhaps to Guy, who, unlike Colin Lindsey, will want to keep in touch) and one feels that this is a positive way to end the film. When someone leaves a card when there is no other means of contacting another, it is, to me, not a condescending gesture or a cruel intrusion, but a welcoming invitation, the opening of a door. 

       So saw I, listening to Nehru's voice of India's new freedom, and Hari at his desk, the film ends on a hopeful note---and he is no longer the unknown Indian but, as Nigel Rowan said he obviously wants to be, "his own kind of Indian."      

                On a note (of black humor) about the late great Tim Pigott-Smith's crazy sense of humor:  He said he was so hated by viewers after the JitC series that he had a fantasy of running a restaurant, Chez Ronny, where, as the one-eyed patron wearing an eye patch, he would slam plates of food in front of diners while belaboring them with a swagger stick. I love it

I thought I submitted this once so if it is on twice, it is unintentional.

 

 

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I haven't seen it discussed "formally" but there are contrasts and realities to be made between Gandhi and Hari Kumar, Kumar not being a "radical" but a proud, educated member of India's intellectual elite (be it ever so humble in terms of compensation and status -- versus negative status). 

Kumar was, as my grandmother would have said, neither "hay nor grass" -- Gandhi's work in South Africa preceded his return to India as a "radical" -- perhaps as the leader many had been hoping would appear (he was not without both jealous and political/issues based rivals. Poorer and less well connected, Kumar could not afford to be "radical" -- his ambitions and self-interests lay within the colonial system (which increasingly mistrusted him and all "natives").  Gandhi died/was assasinated before he could deeply disappoint his mass of followers (as Aung San Suu Kyi's longterm supporter/champions are still grappling with -- governing is hard, as is dealing with the "losers" in regional/national conflicts (see the still angry USA Confederate champions).  Kumar's friends-in-high-places (native and British) were still pretty much powerless to rescue him throughtout his travails.  

I'm curious about Scott's "take" on Gandhi and India back in 1966.   Things change "quickly" even when little has tangibly changed "in reality" .... the Israel of my pre-1967 childhood idealism has been erased, and those memories of intended "peaceful coexistence" have little to no resonance among those born in the last 40 years.  Hindsight has made any number of important events/conflicts/process as "obvious" follies, or even worse bad-faith deceptions the point that I hardly recognize the history I personally lived through.  

Gandhi's "power" to effect change stands in sharp contrast to Kumar's decades of victimization for "nothing" .... 

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On 12/23/2017 at 7:01 PM, SusanSunflower said:

I haven't seen it discussed "formally" but there are contrasts and realities to be made between Gandhi and Hari Kumar, Kumar not being a "radical" but a proud, educated member of India's intellectual elite (be it ever so humble in terms of compensation and status -- versus negative status). 

Kumar was, as my grandmother would have said, neither "hay nor grass" -- Gandhi's work in South Africa preceded his return to India as a "radical" -- perhaps as the leader many had been hoping would appear (he was not without both jealous and political/issues based rivals. Poorer and less well connected, Kumar could not afford to be "radical" -- his ambitions and self-interests lay within the colonial system (which increasingly mistrusted him and all "natives").  Gandhi died/was assasinated before he could deeply disappoint his mass of followers (as Aung San Suu Kyi's longterm supporter/champions are still grappling with -- governing is hard, as is dealing with the "losers" in regional/national conflicts (see the still angry USA Confederate champions).  Kumar's friends-in-high-places (native and British) were still pretty much powerless to rescue him throughtout his travails.  

I'm curious about Scott's "take" on Gandhi and India back in 1966.   Things change "quickly" even when little has tangibly changed "in reality" .... the Israel of my pre-1967 childhood idealism has been erased, and those memories of intended "peaceful coexistence" have little to no resonance among those born in the last 40 years.  Hindsight has made any number of important events/conflicts/process as "obvious" follies, or even worse bad-faith deceptions the point that I hardly recognize the history I personally lived through.  

Gandhi's "power" to effect change stands in sharp contrast to Kumar's decades of victimization for "nothing" .... 

 

 

 

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        Paul Scott, according to his biographer, said India was his "metaphor." 

        Unfortunately, Hari's childhood playmate had parents like the Lindseys. If his childhood pal was Guy Perron, I don't link he ever would have had to go to India. He'd have finished school, even gone to Cambridge, and been a stronger person. He had an ill-conditioned father who was irresponsible for not preparing his child for life.  As it turned out, he was thrown to the mess that was India and even through four volumes, Paul Scott didn't know what to do with him other than have Guy leave his card. 

      So I am more inclined to compare Ahmed Kasim to Gandhi. Why--because most of his young life, with privilege and opportunities he was a bit of a lazy young man. Gandhi was a Brahmin who began was a fighter (by inventing satyagraha, nonviolent protesting ) for human rights as a lawyer in South Africa and later in India eschewing any luxuries and living, by example, a spartan life. While still in his youth Ahmed Kasim was well-liked, a fairly competent Secretary to Count Bronowsky who took it too easy off the job. Only too late (at the violent end of his life by unhesitatingly sacrificing himself) did his true character finally break through. Gandhi and Ahmed were both privileged yet used their lives differently. Both died in their duties. 

 

 

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