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Monday, January 22, 2018

Reader's Diary #1714- Premchand, translated by T.C. Ghai: Bade Bhai Sahib

In Premchand's "Bade Bhai Sahib" an older Indian brother chastises the younger for not trying harder in the British-run school. He spouts the necessity and importance of getting an English education (while inadvertently revealing some of its asinine nature, especially in the Indian context). Making the older brother a more tragic character, however, the younger brother succeeds in school anyway whereas the older brother continues to fail.

While there are some slight humorous touches, they don't undermine the seriousness of the tale, though given the more recent intense focus on the problems with colonialism, especially in terms of education, my 2018 eye may be reading with more scrutiny than would have been expected (at least from white readers) back when it was written (1934). The different perspectives of the two brothers made me reflect more upon a CBC article from just two days ago, in which Tomson Highway's brother Daniel, discusses their different takeaways from residential school.

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