Monday, May 14, 2012

Sending the Thakore to England to Study Medicine. CMG April 6-9 1886

There are a few pet peeves for the Civil & Military Gazette writers we've been seeing in the 1886 original 'scraps' as well as reproduced reports from various other Indian papers. One recurring theme is a disapproval of the administration of the princely states (of which there were quite a few in and around British-administered Punjab). The CMG writers presume the Native Princes are spendthrift good-for-nothings who need to be called out and diminished wherever the possibility arises. (Though of course whenever one of the nearby native princes is having a party, journalists, Civil service members, and military officers are only too happy to take them up on their hospitality.) A second pet peeve is Indian students, especially Bengalis, who seem excessively passionate about education. (It's worth mentioning that Kipling himself never went to college, and felt the absence of that degree acutely.)

The following scrap combines both pet peeves into one economical paragraph. The Thakur of Gondal (Goindwal?) is both a spendthrift good for nothing and an over-educated dilettante.
A Medical Prince. --The Indu Prakash does not approve of the Thakore of Gondal's second visit to England, whither he has gone to study medicine. 'This seems to us,' it says, 'almost like playing with his responsibility to the State. Surely the Thakore Saheb does not mean to abdicate his rule and turn a medical practitioner among his own subjects or elsewhere? If he managed his State well, he could employ an additional medical man to teach him that science, and also to afford relief to his subjects afflicted with disease. At best his studies in medicine would be of the dilittante [sic] sort, and out of proportion to the cost of his passage. The British Government ought not to lightly allow such a thing. Native princes have need to be reminded that the days are gone when people thought they were made for princes, not the princes for them.
This seems like it could have been written by Rudyard Kipling -- especially given that his letters from these months indicate he was very much thinking about getting passage to England to further his career as a writer. 

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