Foreigners’ in service to India
Foreigners Who Loved and Served India, KC Brahmachary, Diamond Books, Pp 200 (PB), Rs 150.00
Though the title of the book is self-explanatory, it goes to show how some foreigners from Europe, America and other countries came to love India despite its limitations, rendered services to her with utmost sincerity and enriched and defended her arts and culture, adopting her age-old philosophies of life which evolved over the centuries and leaving a mark in the annals of humanism.
The book presents a galaxy of humanists in a capsule form so as to ignite the passion of the reader to know and learn more about them. Some of them worked for India’s freedom struggle, some for spread of education amongst Indian women, some for exposition of Indian philosophical thoughts and spiritual practices abroad, some for rendering yeoman service in giving a new lease of life to the marginalised people and some for devoting their life at the expense of their own.
The author talks of Charles Freer Andrews who was a liberal educationist from England and who devoted his life to fighting for Independence of India, for uplift of indentured labour and for spread of literacy and awareness of health. His selfless service as a monk drew him close to Mahatma Gandhi and Rabindranath Tagore.
Anagarika Dharmapala, a distinguished scholar, orator, nationalist and internationalist was born in Sri Lanka, was intrinsically devoted to Buddhism. He visited all the important places of Buddhist pilgrimage in India and founded the Mahabodhi Society of India in 1891 with its headquarters in Calcutta.
Annie Besant, who was aware of the miseries of the downtrodden and indentured labour, especially the female workers in London, got drawn to mysticism and Indian occult practice to launch the theosophical movement and starting a newspaper New India to fight for India’s freedom from British rule.
Father William Carey was a British missionary who learned Bengali and wrote Bengali dictionary from English and other valuable books also.
Christine Greenstidel became famous for spreading the ideals of the Vedanta philosophy in Western countries after coming in contact with Swami Vivekananda. From America, she came go India to spread education among the women of India.
There are other luminaries described, like JJ Goodwin, Jack Gibson, David Hare, A.O. Hume, J.B.S. Haldane and others.
(Diamond Pocket Books (P) Ltd, X-30 Okhla Industrial Area, Phase II, New Delhi – 110 020; www.diamondbook.in)