Author : Jillian Haslam
Publisher : New Generation Publishing
ISBN : 978-1-908775-00-9
After having read ‘The City of Djinns’ I got keenly interested in finding more about how the post-independence era in India treated the people who were not considered Indians yet were no less Indians. I look to read more on the White Mughals, Indian English and about people who just chose or were forced to stay back in India after the British rule ended and this book fell into that category.
Indian English is a memoir of Jillian Haslam who shares her experiences of growing up in the period of post-colonialism in India and what it took from her and from her family for being different in a country who was going through its own infancy period. She recalls her journey of life which began from damp, dingy and narrow by-lanes of Calcutta where she saw misery very closely in the form of poverty, hunger, racism, abuse, death and hopelessness. But despite all these odds against the family, she managed to carve her way out of that misery and gradually brought her immediate family out of it too. She does mention that for every wrongdoing towards them, she did experience some kindness somewhere even though of lesser magnitude or seemingly insignificant which kept her faith alive all through the troubled years.
Now having her past behind her, she is instrumental in helping many individuals stuck in desperate situations, through her foundation. She has become an epitome of inspiration, grit and determination for many.
Though it is a memoir yet I found the natural sensitivity lacking which memoirs usually bring for the readers. I found the writer repeating herself many times throughout the narrative which makes the whole reading experience a little drab. I do not want to sound heartless when I say this that there are a lot of factors which contribute to the success or failure of any thing and in my humble opinion, the author has ignored evaluating the whole situation radically, including, commenting on the personal choices being made by the parents or siblings or the family as a whole.
I felt really bad that somewhere somebody had to undergo this much pain but I would blame it on not so good narration and editing, that the book failed to evoke the emotions which such books usually do.