Nehru - Toward Freedom (1936).pdf

A great deal of heat was generated chiefly because of

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A great deal of heat was generated, chiefly because of father's aggressive and rather disdainful attitude, and ultimately a considerable number of Kashmiris joined father, thus forming a third group. Within a few years these groups gradually merged into one another as ideas changed and the old restrictions fell. Large numbers of Kashmiri young men and girls have visited Europe or America for their studies, and no question has arisen of their performing any ceremonies on their return. Food restrictions have almost entirely gone, except in the case of a handful of orthodox people, chiefly old ladies, and interdining with non-Kashmiris, Moslems, and non-Indians is com mon. Purdah has disappeared among Kashmiris even as regards other communities. The last push to this was given by the political upheaval of 1930. Intermarriage with other communities is still not popular, al though (increasingly) instances occur. Both my sisters have married non-Kashmiris, and a young member of our family has recently mar ried a Hungarian girl. The objection to intermarriage with others is not based on religion; it is largely racial. There is a desire among many Kashmiris to preserve our group identity and our distinctive Aryan features, and a fear that we shall lose these in the sea of Indian and non-Indian humanity. We are small in numbers in this vast country. When I was about eleven, a new resident tutor, Ferdinand T. Brooks, came and took charge of me. He was partly Irish (on his father's side), and his mother had been a Frenchwoman or a Belgian. He was a keen theosophist who had been recommended to my father 2 7
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by Mrs. Annie Besant. For nearly three years he was with me, and in many ways he influenced me greatly. The only other tutor I had at the time was a dear old Pandit who was supposed to teach me Hindu and Sanskrit. After many years' effort the Pandit managed to teach me extraordinarily little, so little that I can only measure my pitiful knowledge of Sanskrit with the Latin I learned subsequently at Harrow. The fault no doubt was mine. I am not good at languages, and grammar has had no attraction for me whatever. F. T. Brooks developed in me a taste for reading, and I read a great many English books, though rather aimlessly. I was well up in chil dren's and boys' literature; the Lewis Carroll books were great fa vorites, and The Jungle Boo^s and Kim. I was fascinated by Gustave Dore's illustrations to Don Quixote, and Fridtjof Nansen's Farthest North opened out a new realm of adventure to me. I remember read ing many of the novels of Scott, Dickens, and Thackeray, H. G. Wells 's romances, Mark Twain, and the Sherlock Holmes stories. I was thrilled by the Prisoner of Zenda, and Jerome K. Jerome's Three Men in a Boat was for me the last word in humor. Another book stands out still in my memory; it was Du Maurier's Trilby; also Perer Ibbetson.
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  • Fall '16
  • Alan Kolata

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