David Gilmour

Sentimental Indophile

A Strange Kind of Paradise: India through Foreign Eyes

By

Jonathan Cape 421pp £18.99 order from our bookshop

It is often said that India is like Marmite: you either love it or hate it. While I personally don’t quite see the point of Marmite (though I certainly don’t hate it), I have never understood why you cannot love and loathe different bits of India or even the same bits at different moments. Rudyard Kipling, for instance, might call Calcutta ‘the City of Dreadful Night’ but he loved

to see the morn ablaze
Above the mango-tope.
When … half Bengal heaves into view,
New-washed – with sunlight soap. 

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