Please Wait...

Sahibs who Loved India

Sahibs who Loved India
$16.80$21.00  [ 20% off ]
Item Code: NAD216
Author: Khushwant Singh
Publisher: Penguin Books
Edition: 2010
ISBN: 9780143415800
Pages: 198
Cover: Paperback
Other Details: 8.0 inch x 5.0 inch
weight of the book: 154 gms
Back of the Book

‘A Collection of essays that makes compelling reading… These delightfully personal accounts usher the reader into the bygone era of sahibs and memsahib’s replete with racist clubs and shikar…[They] reflect a kaleidoscope of attitudes, experience and idiosyncrasies’—(Deccan Herald)

‘A breezy read on colonial aristocracy’—(Mint)

‘A Revealing work that gives one a glimpse of another side of the imperial ruler to show that “not all Britishers were a racist lot””—(Free press journal)

‘Khushwant Singh is a fountain of fertile ideas… [He] has solved our problem of what to give as a present on any occasion and to all sorts of friends’—(Meghnad Desai, outlook)

A rare collection of essays that invites the reader to revisit a vanished era of sahibs and memsahibs. From Lord Mountabatten to Peggy Holroyde to Maurice and Taya Zinkin, Britishers who lived and worked in India reminisce about topics and points of interest as varied as the Indian Civil Service and the Roshanara Club, Shikar and hazri, the Amateur Cine Society of India and the Doon School, Rudyard Kiling and Mahatama Gandhi.

Selected from a series of articles commissioned by Khushwant Singh when he was the editor of the Illustrated Weekly of India, these delightfully individualistic and refreshingly candid writings reveal memories, the occasional short-lived grouse and, above all, a deep and abiding affection and respect for India.

About the Book

Khushwant Singh is India’s best-known writer and columnist. He has been founder-editor of Yojana, and editor of the Illustrated Weekly of India, the National Herald and the Hindustan Times. He is the author of classics such as Train to Pakistan, I shall Not hear the Nightingale, Delhi, The Company of women and Burial at sea. His non-fiction includes the classic tow-volume A History of the Sikhs, a number of translations and works on Sikh religion and culture, Delhi, nature, current affairs and Urdu Poetry. His autobiography, Truth, Love and a Little Maice, was published by penguin Books in 2002. Absolute Khushwant: The Low-Down of Life, Death and Most Things In-Between was published in 2010.

Khushwant Singh was a member of Parliament from 1980 to 1986. He was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 1974, but returned the decoration in 1984 in protest against the storming of the Golden Temple by the Indian army. In 2007 he was awarded the Padma Vibhushan.


Sometime in February this year, my son Rahul, Who lives in Mumbai, redirected a bound manuscript of articles I had commissioned over thirty years ago for the now defunct Illustrated Weekly of India. The man who had sent it was Phillip Knightley, once editor of the Sunday Times of London. He was not sure whether or not I was still around, so he sent it to my son to do whatever he wanted with it.

When I was editor of the illustrated Weekly, I had wanted with it. Men and women who had lived in India after Independence to write on ‘What India Meant to Me’. Amongest those who had responded were Lord Mountbatten, members of the Indian Civil Service, journalists, boxwallah, housewives and others. I went over the essays again and found them fascinating as well as relevant to our times.”

For far too long, we have looked upon the English as unwanted rulers who exploited India, kept their distance from Indians, and as soon as their tenures were over, went back to their homes in England and were happy to forget the time they spent in this country. This lopsided image of the English in India persists in the Minds of most Indians. It is true that the majority of those who came here came because they could not get god job in their own country. They hated everything about India: its climate, mosquitoes, flies, the filth, dirt and smell. Above all, they hated Indians. There were others who enjoyed the luxury of living in spacious bungalows even they kept themselves aloof from Indian with their ‘Whites Only’ clubs.

However, there was a third variety that liked everything about India, stayed await from the racist clubs, went out of their way to befriend Indians and maintained contacts with them after returning to England. Some even lent tacit support to the freedom movement and stayed on in India after the country gained independence, reluctantly returning to England when their bread-winners retired. I was fortunate in Knowing quite a few of this breed—both those I befriended during my long years in England and those In got to know in India—Sinbad Sinclair, Evan Charlton, Henary Croom- Johnson, guy Wint, Naimo Murchison, Kingsley Martin, Dorothy Norman, Susan Heckling, Elizabeth Spillius (nee Bott), the Lyons, the Hardwoods and Edmund and Celia Leach, to name a few. Whenever anyone of them visited Delhi, they stayed with me. Whenever I went to England, I stayed with one of them in London or Oxford. Amongst the closest to me were the Sinclairs. Sinbad was head of Burma Shell. When in Bombay, I did not stay in a hotel or with an Indian friend, but with Eleanor Sinclair and her family.

Later, whenever I was in England, the Sinclairs' home in London was my home. Sin bad died quite some time ago. I can never forget his description of his last meeting with Pandit Gobind Ballabh Pant to settle terms Q{ the takeover of Burmah Shell by the Indian Government. Both men suffered from Parkinson's disease and their hands shook while holding the draft of the agreement in their fingers.

Guy Wint was the next to go. He had a stroke in the train on his way from Oxford to spend the weekend with me in London. I spent one summer with his wife Freda and their two children in their home in Oxford. Freda converted to Buddhism. She would have been ninety-six if she were here today.

Henry Croom-Johnson went about ten years ago; his wife followed a few months after he did. Henry had been the head of the British Council. His wife, Jane, a tall, handsome, grey-eyed blonde, made it a point to reach out to Indians. She stayed with me in Kasauli. My daughter Mala and I stayed with her in London.

Only Elinor Sinclair, who was the same age as I, remained. I was told her memory was fast failing. However, when I had called on her in London in 2000, I noticed no lapse of memory. She asked about every member of my family, had me autograph books I had sent her and told me she was writing her Indian memoirs. In 2004, I wrote to her from Kasauli and got no reply. I concluded she too had deserted me. But that was not so. I learnt that her daughter Margaret, who looked after her, had responded but her letter never reached me. Later that year, Sinbad's son Mark rang me up from London to tell me he would be spending an evening with me and that he'd bring a copy of Margaret's letter. So he did. It said Eleanor was in poor shape. Her memory was gone, she was confined to a wheelchair. Margaret also mentioned that Joy Charlton, who had been in good health, had suddenly died while she was at work. The Statesman, which her husband Evan had edited for many years in Delhi and Calcutta, did not carry a word about her going. It was a long evening by the fireside. Mark, who looks the spitting image of his father from the snow-white mop of hair down to his toes, has his mother's intonation. He went down the list of obituaries. I felt deserted and recalled lines from Thomas Moore's 'Oft, in the Stilly Night': When f remember alII The Jriends so linked toqether, I I've seen around me JaIl, I Like leaves in wintry weather; IfJee/like onel Who treads alonel Some banquet-hall, deserted, I Whose liqbts are fled, I Whose BarJands dead, I And all, but he, departed!

Now, with Elinor gone, only their memories linger. I felt lowed it to my close English friends to record not only what India, but also Indians, meant to them.



Add a review

Your email address will not be published *

For privacy concerns, please view our Privacy Policy

Post a Query

For privacy concerns, please view our Privacy Policy

Preface vii
l. What India Meant to Me
Lord Mountbatten cif Burma
2 India Educated Me 6
Escott Reid
3 The Splendour of India 11
Rowland Owen
4 Under the Indian Sun 15
Stanley Jepson
5 At Home in India 27
Sir Arthur Dean
6 Bitten by the Indian Bug 32
Horace Alexander
7 My Discovery of India 42
Taya Zinkin
8 My Indian Interlude 52
H.A.N. Medd
9 A Spell in Hindustan 65
Philip Crosland
10. The India I Love 76
J.A.K. Martyn
11 India Calling 86
Leonard Marsland Gander
12 A Long Love Affair 96
PESBY Holroyde
13 From British Raj to Stri-Rajya 107
Arthur HUhes
14 Those Indian Days 115
Phillip Kni8htley
15 From Revolt to Love 124
Maurice Zinkin
16 More Gallimaufry 135
C.R. Mandy
17 A Changing Scene 147
Rawle Knox
18 A Distant Involvement 158
Sir Norman Kippiny
19 From an Editorial Chair 164
Evan Charlton
20 Winds of Change 172
Cedric Day
21 A Spacious Life 177
Oscar H. Brown
22 Love and Hate 187
Lionel Fielden