27 November 2008

Mao's Humiliation in Moscow, 1949

From: The Coldest Winter: America and the Korean War, by David Halberstam (Hyperion, 2007), pp. 352-354:
IN DECEMBER 1949, Mao finally made his trip to Moscow. Harrison Salisbury, of the New York Times, who won a Pulitzer Prize for his reporting from Moscow in those days, remembered the shroud of silence that Stalin had already placed in the preceding months over the news of Mao's coming victory. There was virtually no mention of it in the controlled press; "a snippet on the back page of Pravda, or a few paragraphs inside Izvestia. The word 'China' hardly appeared." Now, with Mao on his way to Moscow, there was more open evidence of the cold Soviet shoulder. Stalin's seventieth birthday was self-evidently a great moment of celebration in the Communist world and an occasion not to be shared with any other event or person. On December 6, Mao set out by train for the Soviet capital. The war was barely over and he was fearful of attacks by Nationalist dissidents. He traveled in an armored car, with sentries posted every hundred meters along the tracks. In Shenyang, the largest city in the northeast, Mao disembarked and checked to see if there were posters of him. There were very few, it turned out, and a great many of Stalin—the work of Gao Gang, whom Mao saw as a pro-Soviet dissident. Mao was furious and ordered that the car carrying gifts for Stalin from Gao be uncoupled from the train and the gifts returned to him.

Mao's arrival in Moscow on December 16 was an edgy one. He was treated not as the leader of a great revolution bringing into the Communist orbit one of the world's great nations but rather, as the historian Adam Ulam has written, ''as if he were, say, the head of the Bulgarian party." V. M. Molotov and Nikolai Bulganin, both senior politburo members, came to the station to meet him. Mao had laid out a handsome luncheon buffet. He asked the two Soviet leaders to have a drink with him. They refused—based on protocol, Molotov said. They also refused to sit and share the food. Then Mao asked them to accompany him to the residence where he was scheduled to stay. Again they refused. There was no major celebration or festive party for him. It was as if Mao was now to learn his place in Stalin's constellation, the real Communist universe; if he was a fraternal brother, then he should know that there would always be one Communist brother who was so much bigger than all the others. One of Khrushchev's aides told his boss that someone named "Matsadoon" was in town. "Who?" the perplexed Khrushchev asked. "You know that Chinaman," the aide answered. That was how they saw him: that Chinaman. And that was how they treated him. The main reception for the Chinese delegation was held not in the Main Hall of the Kremlin but in the old Metropole Hotel, "the usual place for entertaining visiting minor capitalist dignitaries," in Ulam's words.

Things did not get better after the first reception. For days on end Mao was isolated, waiting for Stalin to arrange meetings. No one else could meet with him until Stalin had, and Stalin was taking his time. When Mao first arrived in Moscow, he announced that China looked forward to a partnership with Russia, but he emphasized as well that he wanted to be treated as an equal. Instead he was being taught a lesson each day. He had become, in Ulam's words, ''as much captive as guest." As such, he shouted at the walls, convinced that Stalin had bugged the house: "I am here to do more than eat and shit." He hated Russian food. At one point Kovalev, his contact man, dropped by to visit him. Mao pointed outside at Moscow and said, "Bad, bad!" What did he mean by that? Kovalev asked. Mao said he was angry at the Kremlin. Kovalev insisted he had no right to criticize "the Boss," and that he, Kovalev, would now have to make a report.

When Stalin finally met Mao, they proved to have a remarkable mutual instinct for misunderstanding. "Why didn't you seize Shanghai?" Stalin asked, for the Chinese had taken their time before entering the city. "Why should we have?" Mao answered. "If we'd captured the city, we would have had to take on the responsibility for feeding the six million inhabitants." Stalin, already fearing that Mao favored peasants over workers, was appalled. Here was proof of it, workers in a city left to suffer.

The trip to Moscow was in all ways a disaster, and Mao would have along memory for the way he had been treated. In economic and military aid, he got very little from his negotiations on that first trip—a paltry $300 million in Soviet arms over five years, or $60 million a year. To make matters worse, there were also some Chinese territorial concessions that had to be thrown in. The lack of Russian generosity staggered the Chinese. "Like taking meat from the mouth of a tiger," Mao would say years later. For Mao, very much aware of the scale of his great triumph at home and what it meant in terms of history, the treatment by the Soviets had essentially been a humiliation, but one he had been forced to accept without complaint. "It is no wonder that Mao conceived, if he had not nurtured it before, an abiding hatred of the Soviet Union," Adam Ulam wrote.

26 November 2008

Wordcatcher Tales: Begum, Jhampan

I never read much Kipling as a kid, and some of the vocabulary of British India that I have encountered in Indian Summer: The Secret History of the End of an Emperor, by Alex von Tunzelmann (Picador, 2008) is new to me. Here are two such novelties.
The royal tour ground on, zigzagging up through the belly of India and stopping in Bangalore, Mysore, Hyderabad and Indore. By 4 February [1922], it had reached Bhopal, where Dickie [Mountbatten] and David [Windsor] were the guests of the only woman ruler in Asia, the Nawab Sultan Jaban Begum. The Begum was an ardent Muslim and usually ruled from behind a purdah screen. The rare sight of her tiny figure, swathed in a blue burka, next to the white-uniformed Prince of Wales gave the tour's photographers some of their best opportunities. But it was an image more connected to the past than to the future. [p. 70]
Bhopal seems to have had a number of enlightened female nawabs. Begum is the feminine of Turkic Beg (or Bey) which turns up in many names from former parts of the Ottoman and Mughal empires—Izetbegovic, for example.
The British continued to come to Simla, sometimes for eight months of each year, with the European ladies and gentlemen carried up in the local jhampan sedan chairs. They were followed by hundreds of coolies, who had been press-ganged from their surrounding farms into the service of Her Majesty's government, lugging dispatch boxes, carefully packed crockery, musical instruments, trunks full of theatrical costumes for amateur dramatics at the Gaiety Theatre, crates of tea and dried provisions, faithful spaniels in traveling boxes, rolled-up rugs, aspidistras, card tables, favorite armchairs, baskets of linen and tons upon tons of files; all the paraphernalia of the raj literally borne on the shoulders of one long caravan of miserable, sweating Indian peasants. Eventually, in 1891, a narrow-gauge railway was opened, weaving in and out of 103 tunnels up from the plains at Kalka—a journey which still took at least six hours. The British never questioned whether all this was worth it. Gandhi may have criticized the administration's annual repair to Simla for being "government working from the 500th floor," but that was exactly the point. [pp. 193-194]
This word turns up under jompon in Hobson-Jobson (via Google books), which cites a 1716 source that defines a jampan as a "palankin"; an 1849 source that defines a jhappan as a "kind of arm chair with a canopy and curtains"; and an 1879 source that specifically mentions its use in Simla:
The gondola of Simla is the jampan or jampot аs it is sometimes called on the same linguistic principle ... as that which converts asparagus into sparrow grass ... Every lady on the hills keeps her jampan and jampanees just as in the plains she keeps her carriage and footmen — Letter in Time Aug. 17
That's the wonderful Hobson-Jobson: A Glossary of Colloquial Anglo-Indian Words and Phrases, and of Kindred Terms, Etymological, Historical, Geographical and Discursive by Henry Yule, Arthur Coke Burnell, William Crooke (J. Murray, 1903), digitized from a printed original at the University of California.

23 November 2008

Mountbatten's Best Matchmaking

From Indian Summer: The Secret History of the End of an Emperor, by Alex von Tunzelmann (Picador, 2008), pp. 156-158, 162:
Since he had returned from Southeast Asia Mountbatten had engaged himself almost full time in a project worthy of the Order of the Red Rose. In one of the most daring bloodless coups ever attempted, he would install the House of Mountbatten on the British throne—the same throne which, only thirty years before, had ordered his father's ruin. Mountbatten's involvement in the marriage between his nephew, Philippos Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg, and the king's daughter, Princess Elizabeth, can hardly be overstated. He introduced the couple, engineered meetings between them and went to great lengths in grooming Philip to become a consort.

Philip's credentials for marrying the world's most eligible woman were tenuous. His father was a playboy who had disappeared into the champagne bars of the Cote d'Azur; his mother, abandoned, had gone mad and become a nun; his sisters had all married Nazis; he himself was only a naval lieutenant, and a penniless one at that. He had been a prince of Greece before a coup ousted his family, but the revolution had left him poor and nameless. He met Princess Elizabeth for the first time on 22 July 1939, when the royal family visited the Royal Naval College at Dartmouth under the proud supervision of Dickie Mountbatten. Philip was eighteen years old; Elizabeth was thirteen and playing with a clockwork train. Their eyes met over lemonade and ginger biscuits, and Philip was among the cadets invited to lunch on the royal yacht. There he impressed the princesses by being able to jump high and eat an abnormal quantity of shrimp, though not simultaneously. When the time came for the yacht to sail, the cadets followed in rowboats and motorboats for a while; Elizabeth watched the tall, blond, strikingly handsome Philip row his little boat farther than anyone else.

Less than eighteen months after the smitten Princess Elizabeth had watched her handsome quasi prince rowing after the royal yacht, the Conservative MP Chips Channon spent a few days in Athens. He met Philip at a cocktail party and, during the course of extensive gossiping, established that "he is to be our Prince Consort, and that is why he is serving in our Navy." At this stage the prospect seemed improbable. The Greek royals were impoverished, shabby and foreign. It was Dickie who organized a campaign to fashion young Philip into an eligible naval hero. The most important factor in this transformation would be to secure for him British nationality. For some reason, no one—not even the genealogically preoccupied Mountbatten—remembered the 1705 Act of Naturalization of the Most Excellent Princess Sophia, Electress and Duchess Dowager of Hanover, and the Issue of Her Body. As a descendant of Sophia, Philip had been British since birth. Unaware of this, Mountbatten embarked upon a frenetic two-and-a-half-year campaign. On 23 August 1944, he flew from Southeast Asia Command to Cairo, near Philip's station at Alexandria, to "sound out" Philip and the king of Greece about whether the former could assume British nationality. He told the British high commissioner, incredibly, that the British king had ordered his secret mission, on the grounds that Philip could "be an additional asset to the British Royal Family and a great help to them in carrying out their royal functions." In fact, the king had already warned Mountbatten off: "I have been thinking the matter over since our talk and I have come to the conclusion that we are going too fast," he had written to him two weeks before. Soundings were taken; they were, apparently, satisfactory; Mountbatten was on the plane back to Karachi that same afternoon.

In October 1945, the matter of Philip's naturalization came before the cabinet. Attlee postponed any further discussion owing to the undesirability of aligning the British government with the Greek royalist cause. But by then the teenage Princess Elizabeth was playing "People Will Say We're in Love" from the musical Oklahoma! nonstop on her gramophone; and Philip had been seen helping her with a fur wrap at the wedding of Mountbatten's daughter Patricia. Mountbatten moved quickly, making personal appointments with the king, the prime minister and the foreign secretary, while expending considerable effort in enlightening his media contacts about Philip's gallantry. "Please, I beg of you, not too much advice in an affair of the heart," Philip wrote to his uncle, "or I shall be forced to do the wooing by proxy."...

On the evening of 18 March 1947, Dickie and Edwina [Mountbatten] held a farewell reception at the Royal Automobile Club in Pall Mall. It was a double celebration for them. That very morning, Mountbatten had secured a great victory, signaled by an announcement of the superfluous naturalization of Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten, RN, in the London Gazette. He had planned to call his nephew "HRH Prince Philip." Philip preferred to start again as a commoner, but it is hard to imagine that Dickie had nothing to do with his choice of surname. "Most people think that Dickie's my father anyway," Philip later acknowledged. With Philip's engagement to the heiress presumptive soon to be announced, the House of Mountbatten was now right at the front of the line for the British throne.

21 November 2008

Truman: The WYSIWYG President

From: The Coldest Winter: America and the Korean War, by David Halberstam (Hyperion, 2007), pp. 203-205:
Truman was an easy man to underestimate. He lacked one of the great strengths of the Roosevelt persona: to a nation accustomed to a presidential voice that had been warm, confident, aristocratic, and altogether seductive, Truman's voice was a distinct disappointment, flat and tinny, with little emotional intimacy. His speeches were uninspiring—blunt and oddly without nuance. Some advisers suggested that Truman try to speak more like Roosevelt, and make his speeches more conversational, but he was shrewd enough to know that that was the wrong path, that he could not emulate the great master. All he could do was be himself and hope that the American people would not judge him for what he was not. He was aware that the comparisons with Roosevelt would be unfavorable at first, and they were. In the beginning, he was an easy target for political jokes, and there was often a cruel edge to them. "To err is Truman," said the acid-tongued Martha Taft, wife of Robert Taft, a key Republican senator. "I'm just mild about Harry" went another. A favorite of the moment, wrote the columnist Doris Fleeson, was "I wonder what Truman would do if he were alive." "Poor Harry Truman. And poor people of the United States," wrote Richard Strout, in The New Republic.

Truman became president when he was sixty years old. He was a late bloomer of acceptable but not overweening ambition. His people were farmers and he had done his share of farming as a boy, and in 1948 he had delighted Midwest crowds—his support there was one of the keys to his surprise victory—by telling them that he could seed a 160-acre wheat field "without leaving a skip." He had plowed the old-fashioned way, he added—four Missouri mules, not one of these fancy tractors. In his senior year of high school, through no fault of their own, the Trumans' farm had failed and all chance of a college education for Harry had disappeared. He tried for West Point, his one shot at a free education, but was turned down because of his poor eyesight. (He was blind as a mole, he noted later in life.) His one entrepreneurial attempt, to run a haberdashery shop, lasted a mere three years and ended in failure. He spent much of his time trying to prove to his ever dubious mother-in-law, who came from one of Independence's first families, that he was worthy of the hand of her daughter, that Bess Wallace had not married down. Here success eluded him; he proved better at making the case for his intrinsic value to millions of fellow Americans than to Madge Gates Wallace. He arrived in the Senate in 1934, in his fiftieth year, relatively late in life, as the sparklingly honest representative of the unusually corrupt political machine of Boss Tom Pendergast. It was as if his special assignment within the Pendergast organization had always been to bring it some degree of honor and legitimacy. He was a small-town man with small-town virtues. For much of his life, he wore a triple-band gold Mason's ring and a small lapel button that showed he had served in World War I. He was comfortable in the world of small-town lodges, and was a member of the American Legion, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Moose, and the Elks.

But a life filled with a curious blend of disappointments and relatively few successes (at least on the scale of most men who attain the presidency) had created its own set of strengths. "I liked what I saw. He was direct, unpretentious, clear thinking and forceful," General Omar Bradley wrote after their first meetings. He was not much given to self-deception and there was little artifice to him. He was hardworking, and always well prepared. He did not waste other people's time, nor did he want them to waste his. In contrast to Roosevelt (who loved to play games with people even when he didn't need to), Truman was comparatively simple and significantly less manipulative. What you saw, by and large, was what you got. George Marshall had always been uneasy with Roosevelt and some of the games he played with his top advisers. There had been one unfortunate moment when the president had tried verbal intimacy with Marshall, a man who thought the more formal the relationship with a politician, the straighter it was likely to be. Roosevelt called him by his first name, the first step in what was clearly to be a process of seduction. He immediately understood his own mistake by the coolness it generated. It was General or General Marshall thereafter, not George. Marshall for that reason clearly preferred Truman. There were fewer political land mines around.

In the Senate Truman had been all too aware of his own limitations. A great many of his colleagues were better educated, wealthier, and more successful; they knew worlds of privilege and sophistication he could only guess at. As one of his high school friends, Charlie Ross, later a star reporter for the St. Louis Post Dispatch and eventually his press secretary, said of him, "He came to the Senate, I believe, with a definite inferiority complex. He was a better man than he knew." America, at the time he assumed the presidency, was changing rapidly, becoming infinitely more meritocratic, driven by powerful egalitarian forces let loose by World War II and new political benefits that went with them, like the GI Bill, which allowed anyone who had been in the military to go to college. Truman, by contrast, was a product of a far less egalitarian America, which had existed at the turn of the century, one where talented men and women did not always attain careers that reflected their abilities and their ambition.
I am afraid we are now back to being a far less egalitarian America, at least by this measure. It has been two decades (1988–2008) since we had anyone but an Ivy Leaguer as president—and we just elected another one.

18 November 2008

'Quit India' vs. the Muslim League

From Indian Summer: The Secret History of the End of an Emperor, by Alex von Tunzelmann (Picador, 2008), pp. 127-128:
IN JUNE 1942, [American journalist] Louis Fischer spent a week at Gandhi's ashram and observed the preparations for a new campaign under the slogan "Quit India." The slogan was not only catchy but accurate: the British administration was to be harried, disobeyed and besieged until it simply upped and left, war or no war, economy or no economy, responsibility or no responsibility. The Quit India resolution, passed by Congress on 8 August 1942, announced that Congress would "no longer [be] justified in holding the nation back from endeavouring to assert its will" against the British administration, and sanctioned "a mass struggle on nonviolent lines under the inevitable leadership of Gandhiji." The struggle would only begin at Gandhi's word; but this was a call for treason as far as the British were concerned. The first arrests were made in the early hours of the morning of 9 August.

Over the following days, India exploded in violent uprisings, described by the viceroy, Lord Linlithgow, as the "most serious since that of 1857." There were Quit India hartals across the country, which turned into riots. The police and the army fought back, often brutally, leaving an official civilian death toll of 1,028; bazaar gossip put the total at 25,000. Effectively, Congress had given the raj an excuse to imprison hundreds of its leaders, including Gandhi himself and Nehru—who, according to his sister, was almost thankful for it, so uncomfortable had he felt opposing the war effort. The resolution could never have succeeded. Britain could not evacuate India in the middle of the Second World War, with Japan looming on its eastern front. But the empty space created in politics by the Congress leaders being in prison gave the Muslim League its chance to rush in.

According to Jinnah, it was not in the interest of the Muslims for the British to abandon them in a potentially hostile swamp of Hinduism. The logical position of the League was actually to keep the British in India—at least for as long as it took to convince them of the case for Pakistan, and perhaps indefinitely. The effect of Gandhi's Quit India misstep, and the League's hugely successful campaign during the 1940s, can be seen from the election statistics. In the general election of 1945–46, the Muslim League would win about 75 percent of all Muslim votes. In every previous election, its share of the Muslim vote had hovered around 4.6 percent. During the war years, Gandhi and Congress handed Jinnah a sixteenfold increase in his support. Quit India damaged the chances of a united India at least as much as any single act of the British administration ever had.

Linlithgow wrote to Churchill, admitting that he was concealing the severity and the extent of the violence from the world. But the Americans found out and sent their own mediators to Delhi. The Americans' "zeal in teaching us our business is in inverse ratio to their understanding of even the most elementary of problems," Linlithgow complained to the secretary of state for India, Leopold Amery. It would be bad if the Americans came, he averred; it would be worse still if they tried to talk to Gandhi or Nehru. He pleaded with Amery "to arrest at least for a time this flow of well meaning sentimentalists." But the flow of Americans continued, and Indians delighted to see them spoiling official occasions for the British by wearing the wrong clothes, disregarding procedure and cheerfully ignoring distinctions of rank.

17 November 2008

Mohammad Ali Jinnah: Too much a toff for Yorkshire

From Indian Summer: The Secret History of the End of an Emperor, by Alex von Tunzelmann (Picador, 2008), pp. 94-95:
Jinnah was a successful barrister, born in Karachi and called to the bar at Lincoln's Inn. Tall and slender, he hardly ate, and smoked fifty Craven A cigarettes a day! He was often described as looking cadaverous, but this description does no justice to his dynamism. With his smooth coiffure and glittering stare he looked more like a cobra than a corpse. The photojournalist Margaret Bourke-White described at length "the Oxford-educated Jinnah" with his "razor-sharp mind and hypnotic, smoldering eyes." Jinnah had not, in fact, been educated at Oxford; he had attended a madrassa in Karachi and a local mission school. But it was easy to believe that this urbane gentleman, described by the New York Times as "undoubtedly one of the best dressed men in the British Empire," his public speaking rich with quotations from Shakespeare, was part of the British elite.

Jinnah had begun his political career in Congress. He made himself a figurehead for Hindu-Muslim unity and was acclaimed as such by Hindu Congress luminaries. He had joined the Muslim League in 1913, confident that he could act as abridge between the political parties. But it was the emergence of Gandhi as the spiritual leader of Congress in 1920 that began to push Jinnah out. "I will have nothing to do with this pseudo-religious approach to politics," Jinnah had said, rejecting the call for satyagraha. "I part company with the Congress and Gandhi. I do not believe in working up mob hysteria. Politics is a gentleman's game." But politics is rarely gentlemanly, and as if to prove it there was a profound and deadly clash of personality between Jinnah and the other English gentleman of Congress, Jawaharlal Nehru. Like his compatriot and friend, the poet Muhammad Iqbal, Jinnah disdained "the atheistic socialism of Jawaharlal." "We do not want any flag excepting the League flag of the Crescent and Star," he would declare. "Islam is our guide and the complete code of our life."

Despite his position as one of the key figures in the rise of twentieth-century Islam, Jinnah was no fundamentalist. His Islam was liberal, moderate and tolerant. It was said that he could recite none of the Koran, rarely went to a mosque and spoke little Urdu. Much has been made of his reluctance to don Muslim outfits, his fondness for I whiskey and his rumored willingness to eat ham sandwiches. In fact, he never pretended to be anything other than a progressive Muslim, influenced by the intellectual and economic aspects of European culture as well as by the teachings of Muhammad. The game he played was carefully considered: here was a Muslim who understood the British sufficiently to parley on equal terms, but asserted his Islamic identity strongly enough that he could never be seen to grovel. His refusal of a knighthood was significant; so, too, was his demurral in the face of Muslim attempts to call him "Maulana" Jinnah, denoting a religious teacher. Some historians go so far as to describe him as a "bad" Muslim, revealing more about their own ideas of what a Muslim should be than about Jinnah's faith. In any case, the Muslim League suffered from no shortage of good Muslims. What it had lacked was a good politician. And Jinnah was without question one of the most brilliant politicians of his day.

Jinnah had married Rattanbai "Ruttie" Petit, the daughter of a prominent Parsi banker, when he was forty-two and she just eighteen. Rebellious and beautiful, Ruttie had been a close friend of Jawaharlal Nehru's sister Nan Pandit; she was closer still, indeed almost passionately so, to Padmaja Naidu, who would later become Jawahar's lover. The deeply personal and incestuous nature of Indian politics is plain from these relationships. Jinnah's marriage was not an easy one. After the birth of their daughter, Dina, he and Ruttie separated. Ruttie died on her thirtieth birthday in 1929, following a long affliction with a digestive disorder. Jinnah was devastated at her death and moved to London with Dina. He took a large house in Hampstead, was chauffeured around in a Bentley, played billiards, lunched at Simpson's and went to the theater. He considered standing for parliament in the Labour interest but was rejected by a Yorkshire constituency, allegedly with the verdict that it would not be represented by "a toff like that." His sister Fatima gave up a career as a dentist to become, in effect, his hostess, though that title belies her full significance. Fatima Jinnah was a woman of intelligence and drive, and was influential in her brother's move toward Islamic nationalism.

16 November 2008

Sumo's No-throw Zabutons

This year's Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament is at the halfway point, and Kyushu-based blogger Ampontan explained after the first day how the Japan Sumo Association has reconfigured the zabuton (lit. 'seat futon') in the box seats in order to discourage fans from throwing their seat cushions when some lower-ranking rikishi upsets a yokozuna. Since the yokozuna fight last, cushion-throwing opportunities tend to come at the very end of a long day of sitting.
The new, difficult-to-throw zabuton made their debut at the Kyushu tournament at Fukuoka City’s Fukuoka Kokusai Center on Sunday the 9th. The space in the box seat areas have been expanded, and instead of having four individual square zabuton for each of the patrons in the box, they will be provided with double zabuton sets. These consist of two rectangular cushions measuring 125 centimeters (49 inches) by 50 centimeters and attached by a cord. A fan would have to be seriously upset to get one of those things airborne.

The reactions to the new cushions have been mixed. One member of a local Kyushu group with ringside seats (called suna kaburi in Japanese, or “covered with sand”) said, “I’ve been hit by flying zabuton before, and it didn’t hurt. But some people who have been hit said that it hurt a lot, so I’m glad they’re doing something about it.”

In contrast, one woman in her 20s from Fukuoka City who plans to attend the tournament said she was disappointed that she wouldn’t be able to see any flying zabuton because she thought it represented the real sumo atmosphere. A housewife in her 50s said she thought it was a bit frightening because people might decide to throw something else instead of the zabuton. (Are not those views representative of the classic difference between youth and age?)
The first day must have been frustrating for would-be launchers of zabuton torpedoes because the lower-ranking veteran Aminishiki gave the live audience a perfect opportunity by defeating reigning champion Hakuho.

After Day 8, however, Hakuho remains tied for the lead, at 7-1, with Miyabiyama, another lower-ranking veteran who is currently the heaviest rikishi in the top division, tipping the scales at 179 kg, just 2 kg more than the giant Estonian Baruto.

Among the fresh foreigner faces in the top level this time around are: the Mongolian Koryu, the Russian Aran, and the Georgian Tochinoshin. There are now eight Mongolians in the top division, and six more in the Juryo rankings, along with two Georgians, one Bulgarian, one Estonian, one Korean, and one Russian.

Now if they could just prevent the wrestlers from throwing matches ...

15 November 2008

On the Vital Role of Hermits

The latest volume (#28) of Buddhist-Christian Studies, which has just gone online at Project MUSE (subscription required) contains a couple of anniversary memorials to Thomas Merton, who died in Bangkok, Thailand, in 1968. (It also contains several papers from a panel on the notable contributions of Masao Abe to Buddhist-Christian interfaith dialogue.)

Buddhist-Christian dialogue seems awfully passé to me in an era when positive dialogue seems all too scarce among Muslims, Christians, and Jews, on the one hand, and between crusading atheists and theists of all stripes, on the other. But I do appreciate Thomas Merton's appreciation of the hermit life—the need to get away from it all—even though he may have been one of the most outspoken Trappists who ever lived (as my father is one of the more talkative Quakers I've ever met). The editor of Buddhist-Christian Studies, however, thinks Merton ignored one vital class of hermits (p. viii, n. 5):
Merton’s model of the hermit life does not exhaust the phenomenon within Western Christianity. Historically speaking, the hermit life was embraced by far more people than the limited number of professed monks whose spiritual growth had taken them beyond the life of the coenobium. For example, hermit shrine keepers were numerous throughout Christian cultures for centuries; most of these were simple laity without whom many pilgrimage sites would simply not have existed, and their identity has not yet found a modern voice. The massively popular pilgrimage churches of traditional Catholicism had at their heart the hermit-sacristan who tended the lamps and swept the floors. The professed hermit monk, the monastic hermit order, and the shrine hermit all found expression in the legal and the architectural boundaries of medieval and early modern societies.
Perhaps lay bloggers, photographers, and Wikipedists can be considered the hermit-sacristans of this information age, quietly tending our quirky little shrines that attract pilgrims who seek to escape the self-referential obsessions of the cloistered academies and the hourly tolling of alarm bells from the cathedrals of the major media.

12 November 2008

Early Research on New Guinea-area Preposed Genitives

In my dissertation on word-order change in the Austronesian languages of New Guinea, I reviewed some of the earliest published typological research in the area. Here is a glimpse of what obsessed some of the earliest European researchers.

Over most of the territory occupied by Austronesian (AN) languages, genitive (or “possessor”) nominals (= GEN) follow head (or “possessed”) nominals (= N) in noun–noun genitive constructions. However, the reverse order (GEN + N) prevails in the neighborhood of New Guinea and nearby islands of Indonesia (from Sulawesi and Flores east). The distinctive “preposition of the genitive” in the AN languages of the latter area engendered much discussion by European scientists during the earliest era of their work in the area, when hardly any other syntactic information was available.

Various explanations were offered. Kanski and Kasprusch (1931) reviewed some of these explanations and concluded that the preposed genitive most likely resulted from the influence of Papuan languages, which also have preposed genitives and which share a very similar geographical range. This still seems the most likely explanation, although it remains a mystery why the preposed genitive has a wider distribution than any of the other grammatical features attributed to Papuan influence.

Even leaving Papuan influence aside, however, the narrower and contiguous geographical distribution of the preposed genitive, when compared with the unrestricted distribution of the postposed genitive, suggests that the former is innovative and originated somewhere in “extreme eastern Indonesia” (Blust 1974:12). (Genitives may have been optionally preposed in Proto-Austronesian, as they are in many Philippine languages. This would have made it easier for preposed genitives to become the dominant pattern in New Guinea-area Austronesian languages.)

The boundary between languages with preposed genitives and those with postposed genitives forms a wide arc running to the west, north, and east of the island of New Guinea. The southwest-to-northwest portion of this arc is frequently referred to as the “Brandes line” (after Brandes 1884), and the northwest-to-southeast portion has been called the “line of Friederici” (after Friederici 1913). (See, for example, Kanski and Kasprusch 1931, Cowan 1952).

The Brandes line was first assumed to be a genetic boundary (a linguistic analog of the Wallace Line perhaps). However, there was some disagreement about which genetic units it separated. Brandes (1884) himself thought it set off two groups of Indonesian languages. Jonker (1914) argued that two such Indonesian subgroups could not be distinguished. Schmidt (1926) thought the Brandes line marked the border between Indonesian and Melanesian languages.

(Brandes and Jonker were more familiar with the languages of Indonesia and were impressed with how similar in other respects the languages with preposed genitives were to Indonesian languages in general. Schmidt was more familiar with Melanesian languages and was impressed with how similar the genitive-preposing languages were to Melanesian languages in general. See Kanski and Kasprusch 1931:884.)

Kanski and Kasprusch (1931) offered a compromise. They identified four groups of languages:
    1. Indonesian, west of the Brandes line
    2. Papuan-influenced Indonesian, east of the Brandes line
    3. Papuan-influenced Melanesian, west of Friederici’s line
    4. Melanesian, east of Friederici’s line
Like Kanski and Kasprusch (and Jonker), most scholars today would not consider genitive word order to be a valid criterion for subgrouping. Another feature of genitive constructions was put forth as a better basis for distinguishing Indonesian from Melanesian languages. In western Austronesian (“Indonesian”) languages, genitive pronouns can be suffixed (or encliticized) to all nouns. In eastern Austronesian (“Melanesian”) languages, genitive pronouns can be suffixed directly to nouns only in case the possessed entity is an inalienable relationship to the possessor. In practice, this means that most body-part and kin terms are directly suffixed. Most other nouns are not. Instead, head nouns (denoting possessed entities) in constructions expressing an alienable relationship are preceded by genitive pronouns.

Schmidt (1926:424) and Kanski and Kasprusch (1931:889) regarded the influence of Papuan languages as responsible for the origin of the grammatical distinction between alienable and inalienable possession in eastern Austronesian languages as a whole. Under Papuan influence, they argued, the AN languages in transition from Indonesia to Melanesia began to lose their original postposed genitives and to acquire preposed ones. Nouns denoting alienables formed the vanguard of this change. Nouns denoting inalienables, such as body parts and kin terms (which involve animate—usually human—possessors, one could add), were slower to lose the original genitive pronouns because reference to an inalienable almost always requires reference to a possessor as well. The inalienables retained their postposed pronouns long enough for the latter to become an integral part of the noun itself. The general change was thus arrested, with inalienables forming a relic category.

One major weakness of this hypothesis is that it ignores the distinction between pronominal and nominal genitives. In eastern AN languages generally, it may be more common for independent genitive pronouns to precede head nominals in cases of alienable possession. (There is considerable variation.) In all but the more narrowly defined “Papuan-influenced” languages, however, genitive nominals follow head nominals (N + GEN), whether or not alienable possession is involved. This hypothesis, then, leads one to the false expectation that genitive nominals precede head nominals in all languages in which the alienable–inalienable distinction exists.

The alienable–inalienable distinction is reconstructible for Proto-Oceanic (Pawley 1973:153–169), the ancestor of most of the languages of eastern Austronesia. However, it is not unique to that group. It also occurs in many languages of eastern Indonesia that are not daughters of Proto-Oceanic (Collins 1980:39 ff., Stresemann 1927:6). So even the presence or absence of the alienable–inalienable distinction does not adequately indicate genetic affiliation.

The traditional recognition of differences between “Indonesian” and “Melanesian” languages is now generally phrased in terms of “Oceanic” and “non-Oceanic” languages. The former term denotes what is generally recognized as a genetic unit (primarily on the basis of phonological criteria). The negative term “non-Oceanic” lumps together all other AN languages without implying that they form a single genetic unit. The boundary between the two groups of languages distinguished by the new phraseology has also shifted somewhat farther to the east since the time of Brandes, Schmidt, and Friederici. The new boundary, which in an earlier era would have been called “Grace’s line” (after Grace 1955:338, 1971:31), is assumed to have a firmer genetic basis than the two earlier boundaries. Grace’s line, separating Oceanic from non-Oceanic languages, runs north-northeast to south-southwest, intersecting 140° E longitude between New Guinea and Micronesia. The scope of this thesis is restricted to the AN languages west of Friederici’s line and east of Grace’s line. These languages can be characterized as “Papuan-influenced Oceanic.” However, before restricting discussion to these languages, it will be helpful to review the various boundaries and the nature of the groups of languages they set apart.

The Brandes line marks the western boundary of a group of languages with innovative genitive word order. This group of typologically similar, but genetically not so closely related, languages is bounded on the east by Friederici’s line. Somewhere east of the Brandes line is the western boundary of a group of languages showing an innovative grammatical distinction between alienable and inalienable genitives. Most of these languages are members of the Oceanic subgroup, a genetic unit, but the westernmost languages are not. East of this boundary lies Grace’s line, the western boundary of the Oceanic subgroup. The eastern boundary of the Oceanic subgroup, and of all AN languages showing the alienable–inalienable distinction, is the eastern border of Austronesian as a whole (east of Easter Island). (I am assuming that the distinction between a and o genitives in Polynesian can be considered somewhat akin, semantically but not structurally, to the alienable–inalienable distinction in the rest of Oceanic.)

References


Blust, Robert A. 1974. Proto-Austronesian syntax: The first step. Oceanic Linguistics 13:1–15.

Brandes, Jan Lourens Andries. 1884. Bijdrage tot de vergelijkende Klankleer der westersche Afdeeling van de Maleisch-Polynesische Taalfamilie. Utrecht, P.W. van der Weijer. 184 pp.

Collins, James. 1980. The historical relationships of the languages of Central Maluku, Indonesia. Ph.D. dissertation, University of Chicago.

Cowan, H. K. J. 1951–1952. Genitief-constructie en Melanesische talen. Indonesië 5:307–313.

Friederici, Georg. 1912. Wissenschaftliche Ergebnisse einer amtlichen Forschungsreise nach dem Bismarck-Archipel im Jahre 1908, vol. 2, Beiträge zur Völker und Sprachenkunde von Deutsch-Neuguinea. Mitteilungen aus den Deutschen Schutzgebieten, Ergänzungsheft 5. Berlin, Mittler und Sohn.

Friederici, Georg. 1913. Wissenschaftliche Ergebnisse einer amtlichen Forschungsreise nach dem Bismarck-Archipel im Jahre 1908, vol. 3, Untersuchungen über eine melanesische Wanderstrasse. Mitteilungen aus den Deutschen Schutzgebieten, Ergänzungsheft 7. Berlin, Mittler und Sohn.

Grace, George W. 1955. Subgrouping Malayo-Polynesian: A report of tentative findings. American Anthropologist 57:337–339.

Grace, George W. 1971. Notes on the phonological history of the Austronesian languages of the Sarmi coast. Oceanic Linguistics 10:11–37.

Jonker, J. C. G. 1914. Kan men bij de talen van den Indischen Archipel eene westelijke en eene oostlijke afdeeling onderscheiden? Mededeelingen der Koninklijk Akademie van Wetenschappen, afdeeling Letterkunde, 4e Reeks, deel 12, pp. 314–417.

Kanski, P., and P. Kasprusch. 1931. Die indonesisch melanesischen Übergangssprachen auf den Kleinen Molukken. Anthropos 26:883–890.

Klaffl, Johanne, and Friederich Vormann. 1905. Die Sprachen des Berlinhafen-Bezirks in Deutsch-Neuguinea. Mitteilungen des Seminars für Orientalische Sprachen 8:1–138. (With additions by Wilhelm Schmidt.)

Pawley, Andrew K. 1973. Some problems in Proto-Oceanic grammar. Oceanic Linguistics 12:103–188.

Schmidt, Wilhelm. 1900, 1902. Die sprachlichen Verhältnisse von Deutsch Neuguinea. Zeitschrift für afrikanische und oceanische Sprachen 5(1900):354–384; 6(1902):1–99.

Schmidt, Wilhelm. 1926. Die Sprachfamilien und Sprachenkreise der Erde. Heidelberg, C. Winter. 595 pp.

Stresemann, Erwin. 1927. Die lauterscheinungen in den ambonischen Sprachen. Zeitschrift für Eingeborenensprachen, Beiheft 10. Berlin, Reimer. 224 pp.

10 November 2008

Gen. MacArthur: 30 Years of Ass Kissing

From: The Coldest Winter: America and the Korean War, by David Halberstam (Hyperion, 2007), pp. 103-104:
The [NY] Times, center-liberal in its editorial page, enthusiastic as its homage to MacArthur seemed, was not nearly as fulsome in its praise of the general as Time magazine. Given the passion of its founder and editor, Henry Luce, for China and Chiang Kai-shek, Time was already closely connected to what was coming to be known as the China Lobby, those Americans who saw China and Chiang Kai-shek as one and the same, and believed the administration was sending inadequate amounts of aid to Chiang. Time, at the height of its political and social influence in the late 1940s and 1950s, was far more Asia First in its vision of the world than most other American periodicals of that era, in no small part because Luce himself was a mish-kid; that is, the son of a missionary who had proselytized in China. Chiang, perhaps other than Winston Churchill, was Luce's favorite world leader, while Douglas MacArthur was probably his favorite general, because of their shared belief in the primacy of Asia and their parallel feeling that other internationalists paid too little attention to it. When Time put MacArthur on the cover on July 10, 1950, right after the North Koreans struck—and appearing on its cover was extremely important in those years—it was his seventh time, placing him in a dead heat with Chiang himself. The copy for the piece, even for a much favored general, set a new standard in journalistic hagiography: "Inside the Dai Ichi building, once the heart of a Japanese insurance empire, bleary-eyed staff officers looked up from stacks of paper, whispered proudly, 'God, the man is great.' General Almond, his chief of staff, said straight out, 'He's the greatest man alive.' And reverent Air Force General George Stratemeyer put it as strongly as it could be put ... 'He's the greatest man in history.'"

Not everyone agreed, of course. If he was successful in his courtship of publishers and editors, working reporters were often put off by MacArthur's grandiosity and vainglory, and many of them came to despise the sycophantic ambiance of his staff. A meeting with him was not just a briefing—it was likely to be a performance as well, the energy and care put into it geared to the importance of the visitor. The problem with MacArthur, General Joseph Stilwell told Frank Dorn, one of his top aides, was that he had been "a general too long." Stilwell was speaking in 1944, before MacArthur became the American-approved emperor of an occupied Japan. "He got his first star in 1918 and that means he's had almost thirty years as a general." Stilwell said, "thirty years of people playing to him and kissing his ass, and doing what he wants. That's not good for anyone."
Longtime U.S. senators have the same problem. At least it's good to see that the behavior of the press hasn't changed much—except for which cheeks they choose to kiss.

09 November 2008

Gandhi: Obstacle to National Independence?

From Indian Summer: The Secret History of the End of an Emperor, by Alex von Tunzelmann (Picador, 2008), pp. 96-97:
But probably the most surprising obstacle to Indian independence was the man who was widely supposed to be leading the campaign for it: Mohandas Gandhi. Gandhi's need for spotless moral perfection hamstrung his party's progress. His principal object was to make the Indian people worthy of freedom in the eyes of God. The object of actually achieving freedom from the British was secondary. Gandhi's most influential work, Hind swaraj, published in 1908, set out very clearly his point of view: that European civilization was corrupt, atheist and destructive, but that merely driving the British out of India would not serve to make India free. To be free, Indians needed to relinquish violence, material possessions, machinery, railways, lawyers, doctors, formal education, the English language, discord between Hindu and Muslim, alcohol and sex. It is for this reason that his campaigns so often faltered. Gandhi stood for virtue in a form purer than politics usually allows. Whenever he had to make a choice between virtue and politics, he always chose virtue. He strove for universal piety, continence and humility, regardless of the consequences. Even if a person were faced with death, or a group with obliteration, he would sanction no compromise of moral integrity. It is impossible to assess how the Indian nationalist struggle might have proceeded without Gandhi, but there are ample grounds for thinking that a more earthly campaign led by a united Congress, perhaps under the joint leadership of Motilal Nehru and Mohammad Ali Jinnah, could have brought dominion status to India in the 1920s. Gandhi 's spiritual style of leadership was a source of inspiration to millions, but, politically speaking, it was erratic. Within Congress, too, it created divisions. Congress was not a church, and Gandhi's mystical judgments were often difficult even for his closest followers to accept.

Gandhi: Too Saintly for the Good of Others?

From Indian Summer: The Secret History of the End of an Emperor, by Alex von Tunzelmann (Picador, 2008), pp. 40-41:
Few political figures have been so widely misunderstood as Gandhi, in his own time or today. He emerged at a time when monarchies were falling and communism loomed; he was contemporary with Lenin. To many listeners, aware of the march of events in Russia, Gandhi's speech sounded like a rallying cry to Indian socialism, with its talk of the casting off of jewels and the power of the workers. This was, indeed, the reason that young radicals like Jawahar [Nehru] were so attracted to him. But a closer examination of Gandhi's words reveals something different, and much more profoundly religious. He had confronted the moral behavior of society, not its structure. Gandhi called for the princes to stop wearing their finery and instead "hold it in trust" for their subjects. This is not the same thing at all as telling the masses to rise up and seize it. Gandhi was not challenging the princes' right to hold wealth, nor even their right to reign. He was asking for a change of heart.

Gandhi's condemnation of princely luxury was part of a much broader preoccupation with returning India to what he supposed had been a prehistoric "golden age" of godliness, simplicity and humility. He had begun to reject Western ideals of progress and technology, and insisted that India's future lay in a return to simple village life, not industrialization. As a symbol of this, he adopted hand-spinning on a wooden wheel and used only khadi—hand-spun—textiles. He developed a distaste for the synthesized drugs and surgery which he associated with Western medicine, describing them as "black magic." Doctors, he believed, "violate our religious instinct" by prioritizing the body over the mind and curing diseases that people had deserved by their conduct. Lawyers, meanwhile, had propped up British rule by espousing British law and were like "leeches" on the people, their profession "just as degrading as prostitution."

This position had fueled continual conflict in his own family life. Unsurprisingly, he was far from supportive of his sons' ambitions to pursue careers in medicine or law. "I know too that you have sometimes felt that your education was being neglected," Mohandas wrote to his third son, Manilal. But, he contended, "education does not mean a knowledge of letters but it means character building. It means a knowledge of duty." His eldest son, Harilal, fared worse. After Mohandas denied him a legal scholarship to London, he ran away from home, married a woman without his father's consent, was disinherited and ended up unemployed, destitute and bitter. When Manilal tried to lend Harilal money, Mohandas was so furious that he banished Manilal from his presence for a year. Manilal ended up homeless, sleeping on a beach.

It is not easy being a saint, and it is perhaps even less so to live with one. "All of us brothers have been treated as a ringmaster would treat his trained animals," Harilal wrote to his father in the course of a twelve-page letter deploring Mohandas's treatment of his wife and sons. And yet, to a wider audience beyond his immediate family, Gandhi's charisma, determination and fearlessness were inspiring.

07 November 2008

Cho "Gandhi" Man Sik vs. Kim "Stalin" Il Sung, 1945-?

From: The Coldest Winter: America and the Korean War, by David Halberstam (Hyperion, 2007), pp. 78-79:
KIM MIGHT BE their man, but he was quite an unfinished politician, and he cut a disappointing figure to those Koreans who hungered for someone with more obvious credentials to lead them, and did not want any foreign power, no matter how welcome initially for replacing the Japanese, to bestow a leader on them. The Russians apparently chose to unveil Kim Il Sung first at a small dinner party held at a Pyongyang restaurant in early October 1945. Kim was, one Russian general told the assemblage, a great Korean patriot who had fought valiantly against the Japanese. Among others attending was the far better known Cho Man Sik, a nonviolent nationalist, known as the Gandhi of Korea. Aware of just how vulnerable he was, Cho was moving as deftly as he could in a political situation that, once again, the Koreans themselves did not control. He appeared at the dinner as a show of accommodation to the Russians. Part of his job was to welcome Kim. Though he was a figure with a far larger constituency, Cho arrived—in Russian eyes—with too much baggage from the past and was not ideologically trustworthy to the newest occupiers of Korea. Bourgeois nationalist was the category the Russians put him into, and it was not an enviable pigeonhole. A bourgeois nationalist was someone who did not understand that all the important decisions were going to be made in Moscow. Perhaps if he had played it right and been genuinely subservient, Cho might have had some brief value to them as a figurehead at the top, carefully isolated from the real levers of power. But as an independent politician, Cho had no chance. General Terenti Shtykov, Stalin's man on location, the Tsar of Korea as he was then known in Pyongyang, thought Cho too anti-Soviet and anti-Stalin, and reported as much to Moscow.

The dinner in early October was hardly a success. The other Korean politicians present were underwhelmed by Kim's youth and lack of grace. The more crucial introduction—the public one—came in mid-October, at a mass rally in the Northern capital, and the day proved something of a disappointment to a large crowd eager for the introduction of an important Korean nationalist. The people had apparently expected to see and hear a venerable leader, who had served their cause for many years, and who would reflect their own passion for a country now officially free from foreign domination. But it was a Russian show. Kim spoke flatly, in a monotone, in words written by the Russians, and what the crowd heard was a young, rather inarticulate politician with a "plain, duck-like voice." One witness thought his suit too small and his haircut too much like that of "a Chinese waiter." But what really bothered many in the crowd was his adulation of Stalin and the Soviet Union. All praise went to the mighty and wondrous Red Army. Here they were, hoping for distinctly Korean words of freedom, and his words were reflecting a new kind of political obedience, Korean words bent to Russian needs, too much of "the monotonous repetitions which had [already] worn the people out." There are two very different photos, each of which tells its own truth about that occasion. In the first, Kim, looking young and anxious, is flanked by at least three senior Soviet generals; in the second, doctored version, produced later as Kim was re-creating his own mythic story, one of greater personal independence, he is on the same podium, the angle is slightly different, and the three Russian generals have magically disappeared. Cho Man Sik's days were already numbered. By early 1946 he had disagreed with the Russians on a number of things important to a Korean nationalist, and had thus become in their eyes even more of a reactionary. General Shtykov had sought and gotten Stalin's permission to purge him. Soon after, he was put under what was ever so gently called protective custody, in a hotel in Pyongyang. No one was allowed to see him. In fact, no one ever saw him again.
India's Gandhi would certainly have had a rather different career trajectory if he had been up against Stalin.

05 November 2008

Wordcatcher Tales: Hodohodo, Czechia, Kanakysaurus

A recent article in the Wall Street Journal about a "shocking" new slacker attitude among Japanese workers referred to such workers as the hodohodo-zoku 'so-so folks'. By itself, the word hodo (程) translates into 'degree, limit, distance, status, amount', and its reduplication, 程程, suggests 'moderation' or 'judiciousness'. Grammatically, hodohodo behaves like an ideophone, but then ideophones in Japanese generally behave like nouns. To make it into a verb, you have to add -suru 'do, be', to make it into an adverbial you add the postposition ni, and so on. But I suspect hodohodo fails one test for onomatopoeic ideophones in Japanese: the ability to occur before -to 'with', in the equivalent of English 'with a [plop-plop, fizz-fizz, etc.]'. I await correction from Matt of No-sword.

Last weekend, I also had the opportunity to meet a scholar visiting from the Czech Republic, who repeatedly referred to her nation as Czechia—a most sensible formulation which I subsequently found to have had official sanction since 1993 (along with Česko, the Czech equivalent), but which seems to be very slow to spread among English speakers, who perhaps still feel guilty about agreeing to carve up Czechoslovakia in 1938 and want to compensate by resisting any attempt to shorten the fuller form of its current name. However, feeling no guilt on that score despite my English heritage, I henceforth resolve to refer to that glorious center of historic dissidence as Czechia, plain and simple. In fact, I've just added Czechia to my list of country categories for this blog. I had already added Bohemia before, but that does no justice to Moravia, which has, if anything, an even greater tradition of religious dissidence.

Finally, I see that the latest issue of Pacific Science (vol. 63, no. 1, 2009, but already online at BioOne) reports the discovery of a new species of a lizard genus indigenous to New Caledonia, a viviparous skink genus with the wonderfully appropriate name, Kanakysaurus.

01 November 2008

Hindustani for British Royalty, 1921

From Indian Summer: The Secret History of the End of an Emperor, by Alex von Tunzelmann (Picador, 2008), pp. 58-59:
On 26 October 1921, Dickie [Mountbatten] and David [Windsor] left Portsmouth on the battle cruiser HMS Renown. On 12 November, they came ashore at Aden on the south coast of Arabia, the westernmost British colony ruled from Delhi. The pair of them drove past large gatherings of black spectators hemmed in by the occasional white man in a pith helmet. Union Jacks fluttered in the sky, and a huge banner was unfurled. It addressed the Prince of Wales with a loyal exhortation: "Tell Daddy we are all happy under British rule." And it was from this acceptably loyal outpost of his future empire that David embarked finally for the Jewel itself....

The prince's itinerary had been planned according to long-established royal tradition. He was to progress around India attending interminable parties, opening buildings, killing as much wildlife as possible and only interacting with the common people by waving at them from a parade. The sentiments of the royal party were made plain in the booklet of Hindustani phrases produced by Dickie and Sir Geoffrey de Montmorency and circulated on board HMS Renown. It comprised a list of basic numbers and verbs, plus a few everyday expressions. These included:
    Ghoosul teeyar kurro—Make ready the bath
    Yeh boot sarf kurro—Make clean these boots
    Peg do—Give me a whisky and soda
    Ghora lao—Bring round the horse
    Yeh miler hai; leyjao—This is dirty; take it away
    Tum Kootch Angrezi bolte hai?—Do you speak any English?
    Mai neigh sumujhta—I don't understand
The words for please and thank you are nowhere to be found.

Rebranding British Royalty, 1914-1917

From Indian Summer: The Secret History of the End of an Emperor, by Alex von Tunzelmann (Picador, 2008), pp. 43-45:
ON 28 JUNE 1914, AN AUSTRIAN ARCHDUKE AND HIS WIFE were shot in Sarajevo by a nineteen-year-old terrorist. Assassinations were not unusual at the time. Victims in recent years had included the presidents of Mexico, France and the United States, the empresses of Korea and Austria, a Persian shah and the kings of Italy, Greece and Serbia. Portugal had two kings assassinated on the same day in 1908. But the murder of Archduke Franz Ferdinand would swiftly assume its legendary status as the trigger for the Great War. Swift to feel its tremors was the fourteen-year-old great-grandson of Queen Victoria, His Serene Highness Prince Louis of Battenberg....

Four months to the day after Franz Ferdinand's death, the elder Prince Louis of Battenberg was removed from his position as First Sea Lord. Prince Louis had been British since 1868 and had served in the Royal Navy since he was fourteen years old. But by October 1914 Britain was at war with Germany, and there were far too many Germans visible in high places. For King George V, of the house of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, the public tide of anti-German feeling was alarming. He was largely German; his wife, the former Princess May of Teck, was wholly German; his recently deceased father, King Edward VII, had even spoken English with a strong German accent. It was uncomfortably obvious where all this might lead, and a high-profile sacrifice was required to satisfy the public. Prince Louis was at the top of the list.

And so the king and his First Lord of the Admiralty, Winston Churchill, agreed to throw one of their most senior military experts onto the pyre at the beginning of the war, because his name was foreign....

But the humiliation of the Battenbergs was not complete. On 17 July 1917, a mass rebranding of royalty was ordered by George V. The king led by example this time, dropping Saxe-Coburg-Gotha (which was, in any case, a title — nobody knew what his surname was, though they suspected without enthusiasm that it might be Wettin or Wipper), and adopting the British-sounding Windsor. Much against their will, the rest of the in-laws were de-Germanized. Prince Alexander of Battenberg became the Marquess of Carisbrooke; Prince Alexander of Teck became the Earl of Athlone; Adolphus, Duke of Teck, became the Marquess of Cambridge. The unfortunate princesses of Schleswig-Holstein were demoted, in the king's words, to "Helena Victoria and Marie Louise of Nothing." And the unemployed Prince Louis of Battenberg would be Louis Mountbatten, Marquess of Milford Haven.... Henceforth, Prince Louis would be a marquess, and Battenberg a cake.