An Evening in Shimla
It was a memorable evening at Shimla Club. The full flow of drinks had not started yet. It was decided that the full-fledged party would begin at the stroke of midnight. People were enjoying tea and coffee with various kinds of snacks. Some elders were enjoying their favourite whiskey served to them in English manner. They were all eagerly waiting for the clock to strike 12:00.
It was bound to be a grand occasion because they were waiting for the new century to begin. They knew that that time would never be repeated in their lifetime. Elders and important people had begun delivering their speeches at 8:00 pm. They were anxious and restless, all waiting for the moment that will lead them into a new century.
Up to 11:00 pm, everything seemed to be going on very smoothly but when Mr. Arora began to speak, it seemed the time was taking people back. The members of the club were mesmerized by his words and they listened to him very attentively. It hardly seemed that Mr. Arora had done any kind of preparation for that speech; it seemed to be a spontaneous flow of words.
Since it was going to be an important speech and I was going to translate Hindi into English, I ordered a cup of coffee for me. The speech is as follows:
My dear friends,
We are going to enter a new era. We the members of this beautiful club are always eager on such occasions. I would like to take you backward in time that is related to the tradition of our club.
As you all know, this club was established in 1837, about one hundred and seventy five years ago. This is a fairly long period in the life of any organization. When we enter this club, even today, we have a feeling that we are not common like the people who are not allowed to enter. We are the proud and respected members of this club. I don’t know how much, exactly, is the population of this beautiful mountainous town, somewhere between two to two hundred and fifty thousands. You are among the three hundred and fifty members of this club. It is considered to be an honour to be a member of this club. Non-members are not even allowed to have a glimpse inside; they can’t enter the main gate.
It is not possible to know why this club was established. There is no way to know how it was established. We can only make surmises on the basis of some old records and imagination. When this club was started, we were not there, and even our parents were not born. One thing is sure that at the time of the starting of this club, our forefathers were definitely not like us. They could be leading miserable life of slavery in their own country. Today, we are living like our former British Masters who founded this club. If I talk about our forefathers, I would be forced to allude to the atrocities which were committed on them by our White Masters. I don’t want to spoil this beautiful evening when we are awaiting a grand event.
Our White Rulers were Sahibs. They had come from England, thousands of miles away from here. They had the skills and power to rule over us for about two hundred years. They were the ones who founded this club. They did everything for their own people, the White people here and there in England. They did many praiseworthy works and I can’t describe them. If today we are enjoying ourselves here in this club, it is not because of our hungry and downtrodden ancestors, it is because of the British Rulers who made so many places like this in our country and then handed over to us. We are indebted to them and there is no shame in confessing that our entire progress is the result of the infrastructure which they made in our country.
Shimla has always been the town of Sahibs. Almost two centuries have passed but the Sahibness of the town is still felt. Now we are the Sahibs here and we feel that this town was built for us. Many kings from many Indian States used to come to Shimla to lick the feet of the White Sahibs but those kings were never called Sabibs. We are Sahibs today and people call us Sahibs. We are actually living the White Culture and still maintaining that dignity.