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History British Guilt Style
Video Documentary Review
© 2012 James LaFond
“The British do great research. Of course I guess it’s easy when you’ve conquered all of these places.”
-young viewer
The Story of India
With Michael Wood, BBC, 2007
I was thrilled to get my hands on this piece of video history. The documentary is divided into six one-hour segments: 1. Beginnings; 2. The Power of Ideas; 3. Spice Routes and Silk Roads; 4. Ages of Gold; 5. The Meeting of Two Oceans; 6. Freedom.
Episodes 1, 2 and 5 were the best, but they were all well done. At its heart the documentary is an examination of the phenomenon of civilization, strongly spiced with British guilt. The guilt is not misplaced. As a British historian points out 250,000 men, women and children were slaughtered in one Indian city by British troops in 1857. The best exposition of archaeological knowledge was had on trips into Central Asia from where the Аrуаn migrations are still being traced by vodka drinking Russian scientists.
The scenery was beautiful, the movie clips [including some high budget Indian war flicks] were pretty well selected, and a wide variety of traditional crafts were demonstrated. For me, the most awe inspiring scene, the one that brought home the weight and depth of British Imperial rule, was the building full of massive British government records. Those twits were wasting more paper counting Hindus, Jains, Sikhs and Muslims than you could believe. And that was the point: how many people believed in the wrong things and therefore needed to be ruled by money grubbing Christians?
I have read a couple books on the Raj, so I thought you might want to know the origin of the term ‘blown away’, since Mister Wood was too civilized to mention this common treatment for Indian troops who deserted because the Brits were making them commit dietary sins every time they loaded a rifle. If you cared so much about your ‘savage’ beliefs that you refused to serve your greedy masters by sucking on pig fat, then you could be expected to be tied over the barrel of a loaded cannon, and then literally blown away, one at a time, while you waited in line.
Definitely check this series out if you get the chance.
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