My Twenty One Years In The Fiji Islands PDF

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My Twenty One Years In The Fiji Islands

My 21 Years is written in a simple engaging style. It tells stories as often as it analyses or generalizes.

Thus in a quiet sense, it is easily comprehended. Ar another level, however, it is a very difficult book to read properly and learn from.

A careful reader must approach this book with several questions and issues in mind.

The first set of questions and issues dealing with the book’s purpose, intended audience, and genre Why was this book written for whom?

What kind of arguments was that audience used to What did it expect of a book? The second set of questions and issues dealing with the book’s authorship, and Robertus’ problems given the context of the book’s production.

And a third set, in my opinion, the most important set, deals with the book’s presuppositions. let us discuss these sets of questions and issues separately.

The most important fact for a reader, to begin with, is that this book was not written for us.

This is the whether the ‘we in question are Inds Fijuns, Fijians or Europeans like myself, or even citizens of present-day India.

Its principal intended audience was the Indian intellectual community of the early 1900s and we are intruders listening to an argument not meant for us.

My 21 Years makes frequent appeals to its readers, addressing them directly, trying to shame the nation Remembering.

Who those readers are one can grasp why these peals ne aide at the particular points they appear in the text and due this appeal, what the main purpose of the book was

When we read history books we are all used to a particular kind of narrative voice, the kind of voer used by K.L. Gillion and Ahmed Ali, for example, in the writing indenture.

If we imagine that we are listening to this kind of voice here, then we will not leam what My 21 Yea us to teach, and we will sometimes be dramatically led In festival historians share an indentation to writing history.

Their audience was smaller, but their purpose much greater.

They wanted to end the indenture system.

To do so they wrote a book for a target audience of educated, influential and powerful people who were their contemporaries in the India of their day, and they wrote that book in order to shock and arouse that audience, to make it join in political action.

Thus the genre of this book is not history, but polemic.

Because their book is a polemic the authors select evidence differently than a historian would.

First, because their audience is limited, they feel no need to give definitions or detailed descriptions of facets of Indian customs which their audience already knew about.

To help counteract this, this translation is provided with definitions and descriptions, in footnotes, of aspects of Indian custom and culture which might be obscure to non-Indians.

Secondly, and more importantly, because they seek to motivate their readers to action, their account is passionate.

They will dwell in ways that will seem obsessive on particular incidents and details with which they hope to outrage their readers.

And further, when they present and analyze facts they are governed by an interest not only to show girmit conditions to be harsh, but more, to show things to be so unacceptable that immediate action on the reader’s part was warranted.

We as readers come to this book as if it was a history book, but in order to read it as a history book we need in effect, to recalibrate it.

While footnotes can add necessary missing information, the new reader must do the rest for himself or herself, and wonder in each case how the polemical presentation reflects or distorts the historical reality.

AuthorTotaram sanadhya
PDF Size13.2 MB


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