Marketing experts advised us not to focus on Bangladesh. They argued that very few people can locate Bangladesh on the map, and almost all associations are negative. News stories about the country are usually about catastrophes, either natural or manmade.

India is an easier sell. In Britain, we have long felt we know India; we choose to be blissfully unaware of the brutally repressive and exploitative nature of our colonial empire, but are happy to lap up its soft, frilly cultural outputs in the form of Raj romance. With their familiar favourites and decor, Indian restaurants have played up to the appetite for such stereotypes, even if their Anglicised fare bears little relation to India itself, or its food.

To a certain – large – extent Bangladesh is that memory of the Raj. You know, Bengal?

13 thoughts on “Twit”

  1. As far as I can see the peoples of the British Empire were oppressed no more by the British than they were by their previous rulers.
    the exceptions to that were politicians and would be politicians who were denied an opportunity to rule

  2. As far as I can see the peoples of the British Empire were oppressed no more by the British than they were by their previous rulers.

    Agreed, Pat. For 99% of Indian’s life under white sahib was no different to life under brown sahib. Probably better, as the Raj tried to crack down on the more heinous barbarisms of the various princelings.

    In Britain, we have long felt we know India Well you clearly don’t love, as you seem to be unaware Bangladesh was part of British India.

    I’m told that one of the most popular restaurant dishes in India is Chicken Manchurian, a sort of Indian-Chinese mashup. Rather like Chicken Tikka Masala….

  3. There was also the claim that the bullets used by the sepoys were greased with a combination of pig and cows fat.

    As a former bureaucrat, I’m sure that the people who made the damned things didn’t have a clue what they were greased with. I’d bet they scraped together the cheapest sludge they could find. Probably from cleaning grease traps.

  4. There are more people of Indian (subcontinental in general) in the UK right now than Brits were in India for the entire duration of the Empire and the EIC before it. If they carry some sort of grudge why are they here?

  5. Boganboy

    According to The Goons, the bullets were greased with banana fat. As any fule kno bananas are a sacred animal in India.

  6. Rhoda Klapp – the Indians i know don’t. They have some educational baggage, what they were taught in primary school about the mutiny and ghandi, which you would kind of expect, when things get simplified and told with an idea of raising good indians, but they don’t go round with grudges against the British peeps or state, no more than they do about the county council. And in my experience they don’t teach their kids to be grudgy. If anything they lament that Brits aren’t what they used to be.

  7. I had a good book by ???Chapman. He put up all the UK curry house staples’ recipes side by side with the nearest equivalent he could find in India. Quite different in most cases but he was at pains to say since he first fell in love with curry in the UK and enjoyed many thousands before visiting india, it wouldn’t be genuine of him to declare one superior, just that they were variations on a theme.

  8. In Britain, we have long felt we know India; we choose to be blissfully unaware of the brutally repressive and exploitative nature of our colonial empire, but are happy to lap up its soft, frilly cultural outputs in the form of Raj romance.

    Not really. I honestly don’t give a fuck about India, have zero interest in apologising for things I didn’t do to people who don’t believe in forgiveness, and see nothing romantic in lamb vindaloo.

  9. @ Boganboy
    If you tried cooking using mutton fat for anything other than mutton you would understand why the British army greased its bullets with mutton fat. It wasn’t originally anything to do with Indian sensitivities although it fortunately catered for them when the British got involved in India a couple of hundred years later.

  10. Bloke in North Dorset

    Most of the slop I’ve been served in Indian restaurants in this country bears little semblance to the food I was served in India. OK that was mostly hotel food but we did get out and about and it isn’t representative.

    Not surprising really when you consider the size and numbers of cultures in India. Saying there’s such a thing as Indian food is like saying there’s a standard European (where that includes Russia) food and representing it with about 5 dishes with a different gravy thrown on and a bit of pasta or a few chips on the side.

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