Saturday, July 21, 2007

Pamela to Sarvepalli - biographies by descendents and my thoughts

While reading a review of a book ‘India remembered’ by Pamela Mountbatten, my thoughts went back to a news report that I had read long ago in Marathi Newspaper. This was about Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, Ex President of India – a brilliant scholar, profound teacher and academician India has produced. I had read about Dr. Radhakrishnan not being in contact with his mother as a punishment of his disapproval of her moral behavior. I tried to verify this from a biography written by his son. Amazon does have this book listed but without any excerpts and there is only one review written by Sriniwas. However during my digging efforts, I came across a biographical sketch written by Antony Copley that fueled my speculations further. It says “officially he was the second son of middle-class poor parents, Sarvepalli Veeraswami, a minor revenue official, and his wife, Sitamma. At least, this is the official version. More probably, he was the illegitimate son of a visiting Vaishnavite official: certainly he was physically quite different from his four brothers and sister. His capacity to absorb both the anti-Brahman prejudice that clearly slowed down his early academic career, and the Bengali hostility to southerners which isolated him in his early years at the University of Calcutta, might well have acted as a screen for coming to terms with the deeper pain of illegitimacy.” It further states “In May 1903, Radhakrishnan married Sivakamu with whom he sired five daughters and one son, the distinguished historian Sarvepalli Gopal; but he was unfaithful, and his sexual philanderings deeply hurt his wife.” I am very curious if the biography written by his son, Sarvepalli Gopal would have mention of this? I would be keen to read the biography written by his son.

Can a son or daughter openly talk about love affair of ones mom or dad? It does require a lot of courage to that. Edwina and Lord Mountbatten's daughter Pamela did have that courage. In the above book ‘India Remembered’, she claims that while her mother was in love with others, including Ex Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, her love for her husband never wavered. In a section titled A Special Relationship, Pamela writes “My mother had already has lovers. My father was inured to it. It broke his heart first time.” Perhaps, the glue of flamboyance was necessary to stay together with her family on mundane daily drudgeries. I can see traces of this trait in Lady Diana's life too.

Lord Mountbatten’s words from his letter to Pamela’s sister made me thinking. He says ‘She and Jawaharlal are so sweet together, they really dote on each other in the nicest way and Pammy and I are doing everything we can to be tactful and help. Mummy has been incredibly sweet lately and we have been such a happy family. Does such a reaction from husband towards his wife be termed ‘abnormal’ or ‘benevolent? Can love be termed in purest form if one allows one’s loved ones to love others unabashedly? Most of us get hurt when we see love gets shared. We consider our love as our sole possession and often take a stance that either its mine or someone else. This is very normal and accepted behavior. Perhaps such an act represents more of sense of ownership and less of genuine love. Is it that true love need not and should not have any tinge of jealousy ? Our love for our favorite god or religion doesn't get diminished when we see countless others love him/her. Why does it not happen with human beings? Is love for human beings less pure or love for god or religion is not wholesome? But again, I also see many people’s love towards god and religion get very possessive. They don’t let anyone else enter their Pooja room or touch their gods or even want anyone talk about them.

I often get such weird and crazy thoughts in the middle of night when I am suddenly awakened. But by the time I catch up sleep and get up, these crazy thoughts lose its intensity in the humdrum of daily activities. Aleque Padamsee keeps his Dictaphone next to his pillow and records his thoughts as they emerge. I punch keys on my blackberry. I am more comfortable punching my thoughts than spoken words on Dictaphone. In any case, I don’t have one!

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Anonymous chavi said...

read your is original and good and interesting.
Wish you could find something more on Mountbatten. Radhakrishnan Too, but I plan to see if I can get something more on to write his case..analysis...Can I borrow your idea

3:55 PM  

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