While researching books to read on India I came across this book published in 1908 and written by John P. Jones, Doctor of Divinity. While the book is over 100 years old, it is truthfully delivered, but quite naive in its premise. Of course, that is what made the book worth reading.
Written by an Englishman during the time of the colonization of India by Great Britian it shows all the prejudice of a culture that considers itself to be superior in all ways. A lesson current governments might well remember.
As Reverend Jones works very hard to bring an understanding of the culture, religion and day to day lives of the people he fails to see the vibrant enthusiasm for life and love it possesses. For Rev. Jones, who has lived in the country for 30 years, does not truly live within the culture of India. He sees India through the prism of his own culture and beliefs. Not really seeing the people as individuals who have been invaded and governed by an outside force. His sheltered life among the community of British ex-pats does not open him to full understanding.
However, his book is so academically written and thought out it is a small gem in a field of full of countless stories written by well meaning but uninformed authors. He attempts through research and observation to give the reader a true insight into a world so far removed from their own as to be on a different planet.
While the author does miss capturing the heart and soul of India he certainly gives us a treatise on his day to day observations and his research. I recommend this for people who are interested in India under British rule and the insights it provides into the beginning of the struggle for self rule from the colonialist perspective.
Karen Bryant Doering,
Parents' Little Black Book