Saturday, November 26, 2011

Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill



 Some time ago, I bought a book on Winston Churchill. Though no admirer of him, it was a volume of his collected speech. Known for his eloquence, oratory skills and phrasing of communication with eternal words, I presumed that the book will be an interesting read. It was a disillusionment of sorts like the disappointment Winston Churchill must have felt after losing the elections in Britain after winning the Great War!

The speeches that were included in the edition were more concerning the domestic policies of his Government in Great Britain and his comments on the inland matters of that country. Though there were glimpses of his eloquence and rhetorician arrogance on World affairs, men, colonies and most of all reason why he must be detested for many of his opinions!

Here are samples  of few that may be read and concluded the way you may want to.

1-      1-The short crisp sentence that shot into international fame and immortality

“I have nothing to offer but blood toil and sweat.” (In the House of Commons, 1940 when Great Britain was crudely thrown into the World War II).

2-   2-   “Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.”(In the House of   Commons 1940. referring to the pilots who fought  the Battle of Britain).

3-    3-  Now here is something that the purist of Indian Jingoist would frown at.

“It is ...alarming and also nauseating to see Mr. Gandhi, a seditious Middle Temple lawyer, now posing as a fakir of a type well-known in the East, striding half naked up the steps of the Viceregal Palace, while he is still organising and contradicting a defiant campaign of civil disobedience, to parley on equal terms with the representative of the King Emperor.”

4-     4-  “You have enemies.Good. That means you stood up for something sometime in your life.”

5-      5-The Churchillian hubris at its detestable best.

 “Before we proceed let us get one thing clear. Are we talking about the brown Indians in        
 India who have alarmingly multiplied under the benevolent British rule? Or are we speaking about   the Red       Indians in America who, I understand, are almost extinct?”

6-     6- Here is the one that proved his insensitivity and macabre philosophy. Stiff upper lip or otherwise Britons were wise to show him the door after the War.

“I do not agree that the dog in a manger has the final right to the manger even though he may have lain there for a very long time.I do not admit that right. I do not admit for instance, that a great wrong has been done to the Red Indians of America or the Black people of Australia. I do not admit that a wrong has been done to these people by the very fact that a stronger race, a higher- grade race, a more worldly wise race to put it that way, has come in and taken their place.” (Churchill to the Palestine Royal Commission in 1937).

7-Nancy Astor, the first woman to sit as member in the Commons, 

“Sir, if you were my husband, I would give you poison”. Churchill, “If you were my wife I will take   it.”

8-Now here is one that if Mr Churchill were alive now and uttered would have seen him     enshroud with Salman Rushdie fearing the fatwa from the vile looking Mullahs.

“ ......the fact that in Mohammedan law every woman must belong to some man as his absolute property, either as a child, a wife, or a concubine, must delay the final extinction of slavery until the faith of Islam has ceased to be a great power among men.”

9- Here is a blister that should keep all India thinking.

“India is a Geographical term. It is no more a United Nation than the equator.”

10- And the perseverance and courage in him is amplified in these words he spoke,

 "Never, never, never give up.

Summing up , perhaps I have to wonder,is it not true that all men are sculpted from contradictions?

11 comments:

Shilpa Garg said...

Laughing out loud at no. 7!

It is said that Churchill was not a natural speaker. He suffered from a slight stutter. After some mishaps while giving a speech, he spent a lot of his time in preparing and practicing his speeches. His friend Lord Birkenhead had said "Winston has spent the best years of his life writing impromptu speeches".

Mélange said...

Nice collection of perspectives ..Known for hatred,no wonder reading those.

Btw,I wonder how he was such a creative man with paints and letters ! And yes,how then he had that 'black dog' depression even with all these ?
Now,I trust childhood.Well,that defines a man and his life.Isn't it ?

Insignia said...

His infamous "India is a land of snake charmers..."

Thanks for sharing them here.

Balachandran V said...

Enjoyed it. “You have enemies.Good. That means you stood up for something sometime in your life."

That's guts.

KParthasarathi said...

I love him for his oratorical skill but I hate him as a man.
But his book on the history of English people was written wonderfully.
I have heard that he never spoke without adequate preparation.
Thanks for sharing

anilkurup said...

@ Shilpa Garg,

Yes you have a point.I guess his rough exterior and arrogance were a decoy to eclipse or camouflage his limitations.

@ Melange,
"Now,I trust childhood.Well,that defines a man and his life.Isn't it ?"
Yes A, that is right quite right. The Black Dog syndrome , I read it too.

@ Insignia,

He did not travel to the "land of snake charmers' in any case. So his comments must have been out of hear say.

@ Balachandran,
Yes there are some like those lines that stand apart .

@ KParthasathi,

I agree with you. A good Orator, but found wanting in many perspectives.

manju said...

Anil:
Churchill in India

anilkurup said...

@ Manju,

Thank you much. That is an interesting enlightenment that he was in Blore. I had never seen any material about his Indian sojourns until now. Thanks

A New Beginning said...

very interesting!

anilkurup said...

@ A New Beginning


Thank you fo the visit and the comment

Happy Kitten said...

The picture definitely is that of a grumpy man...

But I wish he was alive today to see the world as it is now.....

and Nancy has said it all :)