Sunday, October 14, 2007

The War

No not the one in Iraq - the one on PBS, describing the World at War (1941 - 1945). It's an interesting recount of the times from the perspective of 4 regular towns in the USA and their people. It's a history lesson, a reminder of what people are capable of doing - both good and bad - and what price everybody paid - in every corner of the world. The documentary, of course, focused on the war on the ground in Europe and North Africa and Philippines and the other islands in the Pacific ocean, it mentions little about all the British Colonies that were a part of the war in one way or the other - and for obvious reasons.
While I was watching it, I couldn't help but wonder the sentiments of people in India during the war, which side were they really on, being occupied themselves by the British and were they looking forward to the Japanese advances from the east? One person who tried to use the war to India's advantage was Subhash Chandra Bose. I also remember vividly my father talking, somewhat highly about general Rommel and the Kamikaze pilots. Of course, Churchill and his caustic tongue was of no comfort to India ('I hate Indians. They are a beastly people with a beastly religion' and 'India will fall back quite rapidly through the centuries into the barbarism and privations of the Middle Ages' if the British left India).

Our early knowledge about the war as children came from Reader's Digest books, one of them, World at War, in Pictures (or something like that). It had vivid photographs of the Pearl Harbor attacks, the death march, etc. This little knowledge was way more than others of my age.

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