The Death of Indian Culture Exposed in The Jewel In the Crown
The Jewel in the Crown, by Paul Scott, is a postcolonial novel about the realism of the interracial love affair between Daphne Manners and Hari Kumar, the subsequent rape of Daphne Manners, and the after effects on British and Indian relations. At a time when British and Indian affairs were strained, at best, the rape of Miss Manners is significantly metaphoric of the British rape of Indian land and culture. British colonial sentiment became a primary influence in India, when the revolt of 1857 led to the reorganization of British influence. The British felt that India could not rule itself, that they (the British) would govern India as its benefactor, bringing modernization to an inferior culture. The Indian economy was transformed into a colonial economy, whose nature and structure was determined primarily by the needs of the British economy. Britain's policies, in effect, ruined India's urban and rural industries, which caused a great pressure on the land, as the development of India's industry could not keep up with British needs.
The Jewel in the Crown focuses on how British colonialism affected the relations between native Indians and the British English, and the affects on Indian culture seen through the tragedy of the unique triangle formed by Hari Kumar and Ronald Merrick, at two opposing points (English vs. India), and Daphne Manners (the catalyst) connecting them both. The story is significant in understanding the historical aspects of British colonial rule, and the subsequent destruction and transformation of Indian culture. Through the eyes of the characters, we get several very distinct and personal stories about the values and customs of Indian and British culture and how they clash. The tragedy of the love affair between Daphne and Hari represents the intended merging of Britain and India, which, like the love affair, only led to disaster and anti-colonialism sentiment.
In the town of Mayapore, the English lived in the civil and military cantonment. It was another world from the Indian side of town, divided by the invisible line of difference in cultures. The English found the native Indians distasteful, crude and ignorant. Both sides were carefully segregated, the "whites" preserving their sense of home in exile. In the wake of this superiority in thought and feeling amongst the English, the British government in India fell into an authoritarian rule. "The British raj could do anything....anything that offended was an offense. A man could be imprisoned without a trial" (JIC, p. 126). Ronald Merrick was the epitome of such sentiments. He flaunted his authority and his anti-Indian feelings. These feelings seem to be summed up in his persecution of Hari Kumar, whom "he had already chosen, chosen as a victim. For Merrick was a man unable to love. Only was he able to punish" (JIC, p. 155). It was through the association of Miss Manners with...