Sunday, 12 March 2017

Random thoughts 13032017

Contrary to what we may think or believe, India was perhaps a much more multi cultural and Cosmopolitan place during the 18th and 19th centuries than what we have seen in our lifetime. We only talk about the British but other than them , there were many French, Dutch,Spanish, Portuguese, Armenian,Turk,Chinese,Jews,Arabs,Tibetans,Pathans, Iranians, Africans,Parsee, Anglo Indian and other people who have enriched us by intermingling their cultures with us.

How many foreigners do we meet or get to see  in our daily lives nowadays in places other than Delhi or airports . But 200 - 250 years back , it was not so. Many foreigners were present in even small towns  ranging from Darbhanga, Jamnagar, Vizianagaram   Karaikkal, Jind etc. It was more so because most rulers had foreigners on their payroll as  teachers or advisors. French mercenaries were a common sight in the armies of Tipu sultan (Mysore) or the Nizam(Hyderabad).

The Armenian Church in Kolkata, Jewish synagogue in Kochi , La Martiniere College in Lucknow, Danish and Dutch settlements in the South and East etc. are just memories of this era. 

One can only wonder at the vibrant multi cultural period that must have been then and sigh at the  Hinglsh text type culture that we promote now. But , what happened then must have happened for something good . Likewise, what happens now must be happening for something good too.

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