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Sunday, May 19, 2013

When in Britain do as the Great Britons did

By Swapan Dasgupta
Last Friday's British newspapers contained a startling revelation: the number of self-professed Christians in the United Kingdom has fallen below 50 per cent. The Census report, on which this finding is based, has also led some demographers to conclude that by 2060, the majority of Britons will be non-white.
Considering that immigration to the UK from the erstwhile colonies began in full steam from the early 1950s, and mainly in response to the post-war labour shortages, and was given an additional fillip by the movement of European Union nationals from the 1980s, the demographic shifts will be monumental. In just a century or so - a very small time in the history of nations - the Britain which we knew (and in many cases idolized) will be a completely different place. The "green and pleasant land" invoked by the hymn 'Jerusalem' will probably still be there, unless the property developers and road builders are given unlimited powers of desecration, but it will be littered with abandoned churches , pubs serving tepid bitter and samosas and its bustling markets filled with hijabwearing housewives. The England of P G Wodehouse, Enid Blyton, John Betjeman and Agatha Christie will be a thing of the past.
"Change? Why should things change?" Guy Burgess, the upper-class British traitor living in grey Moscow remarked in Alan Bennett's celebrated play 'An Englishman Abroad' . It's a question that many who were deeply influenced by the soft power of Empire often ask in exasperation when confronted by Caucasian waitresses for whom English is at best a fourth language.
"Change and decay" may well be all around we see but transformation is inevitable. Indeed, there is little point opposing it, demanding the return of the pre-decimal currency and the meat-and-two-veg diet that was a feature of the culinary wasteland. The real challenge is to manage change so that the future doesn't break with the past and present entirely.
Fortunately, there are politicians whose vision doesn't merely extend to the next general election. One of the most intellectually stimulating members of David Cameron's government is education secretary Michael Gove, a man many commentators say could end up as a future leader of the Conservative Party.
What distinguishes Gove from the 'modern' Conservatives of the Cameron school is his innate distrust of fashionable theories and politically expedient choices. Gove has offended the powerful teacher's unions by suggesting shorter holidays, longer school hours and tougher evaluation standards. He has called for a renewed emphasis on teaching grammar and encouraged the establishment of independent schools that put a premium on academic excellence. It would also be fair to say that Gove's stress on raising standards has enjoyed the backing of parents with school-going children.
However, what has raised the hackles of the 'progressives' who have dominated the education establishment for very long is his proposal for a fundamental change in the teaching of history - an issue that remains a favourite with ideologically-driven politicians.
The changes proposed by Gove fall into two broad categories . First, he has sought the return of the traditional narrative history within a chronological framework. Therefore, rather than present history as a 'fun' exercise replete with fancy dress shows and allusions to popular characters from comics and Disney films, Gove has sought to reinject history teaching with the cultivation of lucidity, analysis and logically consistent thinking . Secondly, and this is important in the context of a Britain that is changing a bit too rapidly for anyone's comfort, he has suggested that curriculum include a substantial chunk of British history.
The patchy syllabus of the past where familiarity with Tudor England was blended with an awareness of Germany's Nazi experience has been attacked and sought to be replaced with a more thorough and chronologically flowing awareness of the British experience.
Predictably, Gove has been attacked for encouraging insularity and putting the UK at the centre of the world. There is merit in that charge. But when you consider that in the next few decades Britain will have a generation which lacks the moorings of the British oak, he is right to emphasize the importance of the national over the cosmopolitan.
When people make a choice to live in Britain, leaving the 'old country' behind, they also accept the obligations of citizenship. And these obligations are better appreciated by imbibing the essence of the entire British experience. If multiculturalism becomes a celebration of the ethnic menagerie, the next 50 years will see Britain undergoing a personality change. That, to me at least, would be undesirable.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

For many years it has become impossible to get hold of BOOKS , novels of P.G.Wodehouse , Edgar Wallace , Agatha Christie , Oliver Goldsmith & Charles Lamb's essays ...POETRY....lots of poems.....I loved all those English poems...said the same as our Tamil poetry....
etc etc by me. Too much of technology & reading ebooks is not my cup of coffee.

I had RARE collections of Shakespeare , several books on English literature written by ENGLISHMEN with photographs of Wordsworth , John Keats , Alexander Pope , Jonathan Swift , John Dryden etc etc.

ALL were RUTHLESSLY destroyed , stolen , torn by various relatives & faux friends as they branded me bipolar & that reading , music , laughing with abandon & crying be BANNED altogether.
That all should scream jaigurudev & take psychiatry POISONS & suffer headaches & vOMITINGS & throid damage , brain damage & DIE.

Anonymous said...

Samosas appeal to people who grew up eating them. NOT to me.

The IRON MAN Robert Downey so pluckily insists " NO cheese burgers first...NNNNO CHEESE BURGERS first..."

I am like that ROBERT DOWNEY.

I ought not to FORCE down their throats whatever I prefer. And health wise also I heard VEDIC BRAHMIN telling me sudden radical alterations in traditional diets consumed for generations is not DESIRABLE.

I detest this multiculti charade.
The THRUSTING of this muti culti on all.

Anonymous said...

My child grew up reading lots of Enid Blyton , O Henry , Erle Stanley Gardner ( I like Erle Stanley Gardner VERY much , the forewords written by him particularly about the significance of forensic science etc etc )Agatha Christie & P.G.Wodehouse.Somerset Maugham also.Shakespeare's plays written by Charles & Mary Lamb. I introduced him to them all at a very young age.

He was very happy to sit at home & read & read eating ONLY when hungry. And sleeping when sleep overtook him.

Rest of the boys & girls were UNLIKE my child. They were & are very gross loving bollykolly cricket their PARENTS , grandparents for several generations have been OBESELY GROSS minded USELESS carcasses.

So they became jealous TEARING & DESTROYING my child's possessions & forcing him to attend school.

Anonymous said...

I am very much like that Guy Burgess who was named "traitor". I laughed so much as I am also often called
a "traitor" by fellow indians .

Words mean NOTHING. NOTHING AT ALL.

Wake up! For many years & months even today if indian girls & women are asked to dress up decently (not expensively)covering up their buttocks & vital statistics they are hollering back

" who are you to tell me ...hindu taleban...."

In tamil comments section also lots of married middle aged women men with grown up children are adamantine about having illicit sex with many. What can Police do tell me ??

They are screaming back " individual freedom....my wish ...men & women are equal....don't act like HINDU TALEBAN....if you cannot find such a willing partner to have illicit sex that is your bad luck...out of jealousy you hindu talebans are preaching us morality & dress code....."

Anonymous said...

In food preferences also everything depends on the person.

Suki Sivam said something extremely interesting. people like Suki Sivam are very RARE among INDIANS. So blame india & indians.

Suki Sivam is ever willing to "learn unlearn & relearn". Is not uptight calling himself Mr.Perfect like rajiv gandhi mr.clean.

He is very well LEARNED. Full of wisdom & humility. A GOOD husband who takes care of his wife & two daughters.

Was invited abroad to many countries to share his thoughts , his talks on Ramayanam etc etc.

While going to America for the first time these indian diasporaAAA
threatened & threatened him telling as usual " AmericAAA is very bad.....food is a big problem .....think again...don't come...but come...should not complain....must stay ONLY in some similar kosher tamilian house ......bzzzzz..."

On the first day when his discourse came to an end a particular Indian tamilian American living in America was entrusted with the responsibility of "feeding" Suki Sivam.

In AmericAAAA. BEWARE...

So Suki Sivam while seated in a very good American restaurant was asked by the host " what will you have" to which he replied promptly
"IDLIS".

At once matter of factly that Indian said :-

" In that case go back to India , your Chennai right now".

Suki Sivam has never had anyone talk to him that way.So was flustered.

That host clarified:-

" If it is IDLIS you insist on having (kosher ones) I CAN arrange for them but I need to take you by flight to my apartment in another State....the batter is in deep freezer....I shall make IDLIS for you.......what do you say".

Suki Sivam saw his point (other indians would NOT have that is to be emphasized) & asked for any other vegetarian spicy enough nourishing food.

That Tamilian American ordered for some Mexican food.

After eating that Suki Sivam asked him:-

" Tell me is there any way I can make parcels of the same food to take to my India....to my family .....so that I can eat as often as I want".

Anonymous said...

When I was very naive & living in my own world some years ago in Chennai certain Chidambaram Dikshidars suddenly paid a visit.

After offering coffee & water I told them " but I have nothing kosher made at home....will have to order for some stuff from restaurants....so eat these bananas & coconuts you have bought for me".

They did not run away panic stricken. Or glare at me. Instead offered me excellent tips on making kosher enough food for them by ME in my kitchen.

They said " Send your husband ( faux husband) to buy fresh capsicums ( this is very very IMPORTANT. In india for us tamilians these capsicums/ bell peppers have ALWAYS remained touch me not luxuries) LOTS of CAPSICUMS. Some noodles packet. Noodles is not important. Salt & chillies enough. BUT put lots & lots of CAPSICUMS....whole whole capsicums don't cut them into tiny pieces & CON us".

My son & myself have ALSO gone through the SAME torture. So for the first time I made noodles very happily.

The sour note being my faux husband PURPOSELY bought less quantities of capsicums. And those Priests irrespective of knowing or not knowing INVARIABLY exonerate this husbandddooooo & blaming me the WOMAN & MY CHILD.