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Diary entry by Gertrude Bell

Reference code
Bell, Gertrude Margaret Lowthian
Creation Date
Extent and medium
1 entry, paper
India ยป Kolkata

22.572646, 88.363895

Tues. 10. [10 February 1903] Up early and drove to the China bazaar
to buy muslins. Hideous native quarter, ramshackle semi European
houses, dirt and squalor and horrible shrines. I succeeded at last in
getting some embroidered Madras muslins. Mr Hensman came to
see me and then I left a card on Mrs Fleming. We lunched with Mrs
Cotes where we found Mrs Fleming. Rather merry. H. [Hugo] said
that to call Calcutta after the s....... of Kali Ghat was as if a foreigner had
conquered London and christened it Popolari after Poplar. Mrs C.
said Mr Landon's writing smelt of the cigarette. We went on to the
Muirs whom we found in the garden with the usual man, the Reuter
agent this time. Edyth took us round the garden, lawns and pools and
flower beds most charming. Then we picked up Billy Hornell and
went to tea with the Roys who are leading members of the Brahmo
Somaj. Rather a handsome dark daughter clad in a pink sari. Mrs
Roy in a dirty white sari. Mr Russell was there and one Gokuli, a
Mahratta and a member of Council. I talked to my host about the B.S.
He says they have abandoned the verbal inspiration of the Vedas
though the Arya hold to it. They have entirely abandoned caste and
have no special priests. They have a church with services on
Sundays. They proselytize and he says grow. He denied any
political significance in either branch. Meantime Gokuli told a tale of
an officer who refused to allow him into a first class carriage with him
because he was a black. He insisted and finally the officer
apologized. (At the same time many of them make such a disgusting
mess that it's no wonder we don't like travelling with them.) He talked
very excitedly and eloquently about the relations with Indians, saying
that we use the country for ourselves and we discussed whether the
Mahratta ideal of govt was up to much. I thought not. He says Lord
Ripon was the best of Viceroys since his time there has been a
lamentable ante Indian swing back (no doubt due to his mistaken
policy). Lord Curzon is very popular among Indians. Spread of
education is increasing discontent. (At the same time we took India
with the sword and we hold it by the sword.) He complains that we are
always boasting of benefits we have conferred. I dined at home,
alone, and wrote letters.

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