|Gandhi, Mahatma & Shaw, image oil on canvas.Clare Winsten www.arcadja.com|
|British class system • ...www.slideshare.net|
If such a nice 76 year old dynamic human being, who truly cared for other fellow human beings' welfare, was on a visit to India in 1933 during the British rule and the on going freedom struggle under the leadership of Gandhi, naturally it caused excitement among the Indian elite and the media. So, Bernard Shaw's brief visit to Bombay, India in January, 1933 with his wife was, no doubt, a sensational one. The media people had a field day.
Shaw and his wife were on a holiday cruise round the world by the Canadian Ocean Liner "Empress of Britain". As the sea was shallow, near the harbor, the ship was anchored two miles away from the Bombay harbor. The couple's sight- seeing trip was mainly confined to Bombay city alone as it was a very short visit and he regretted that he was unable to see real India - in the sense rural India. About Indian railway coaches he said they were as bad, if not, worse than the British railway coaches.
|George Bernard Shaw. karma-free-cooking.com|
Shaw became wild upon seeing a sign on a Yacht club near Taj Hotel (a well- known heritage hotel which was partly damaged during the worst Pakistani Muslim terrorists' attack on 26, November, 2008) that said, "Reserved exclusively for the white people only." He remarked angrily, "It was nothing short of snobbery to have a club exclusively reserved for the use of the white people in a land of colored people". Bernard Shaw most probably would not have known that the British gentlemen and their lily-white ladies in the colonial days traveled exclusively in first class coaches on the Indian railways through out India and at almost all major stations there was a separate deluxe waiting room for them to relax during transit break. Both British Sahib and Sahiba had a comfortable stay in the cozy rooms during the break of journey and the hard working Indian natives were not allowed to stay in special waiting room and, instead, they had to stay in congested, very warm waiting halls, looking like sweat hogs.
Before leaving for Colombo, Shaw remarked that the Bombay pressmen gave his private visit with his wife so much publicity every day that literally 'I was on show' and he had no rest for which the holiday tour was undertaken. Imagine our present day politicians including mediocre ones, if they were in such a situation, they would have turned their holiday or ego trip (actually a junket trip) into publicity bonanza!!
GBS by N. Salivateeswaran, Bhavan's journel. oct. 28, 1962 page 100 to 106.