Scandals and the British Raj

Scandals in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, often revolving around underestimated military debt or corrupt gifts given to governors, helped establish the British Raj by making way for new leaders with new scandals and keeping the Company on their toes. The first major scandal surrounded Robert Clive and a “jaghire” from Mir Jafar, which he refused to give up. He held claim to his power began the corruption of the government. His even bigger problem was that his antiexpantionalist opinions were in conflict with the amount of military debt he amassed by claiming new lands for the Company. While all of this seems negative and “scandalous” it brought more money and power to the Company in the end and Parliament cleared Clive of wrongdoing (making way for more scandal). After his suicide, Warren Hastings came into play in 1773 as governor general. His main problem was his greatest enemy, Philip Francis who befriended Edmund Burke in England and the two made it their mission to take Hastings down. Here we see corruption fighting corruption, Burke and Francis attempting to ruin a man for no solid reason, and yet Hastings for taking more power than he was due and fighting the Awadh and Marathas when unnecessary. He also took “presents” from wealthy nabobs. The scandals are what gave Burke political power in the first place. His mission became one of ridding the Company of scandal, and therefor ridding the Company of Hastings. These scandals achieved giving even greater power to the general under the India Act of 1784. Scandal was engraved in the British Raj and heightened as scandals make way for new ones, “public scandals become ritual moments in which the sacrifice of the reputation of one or more individuals allows many more to continue their scandalous ways.” This one quote shows how important scandals were in the British Raj, because they could never form a functioning Company/government without them, as the governors often saw themselves as more important than the other “races” they ruled over. The Company was mocked for allowing cultural practices like hookswinging and widow-burning to continue in the early 1800’s, yet another scandal that put their skin tone even higher than the native residents. The British Raj’s elite saw themselves deserving of the land, special treatment, and jaghires and so they never could see their own wrongdoings.

 

 

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The Tales of Hanuman, An Article on Rhetoric

Anant Pai, famously known as the “Walt Disney of India”, in his comic book “Tales of Hanuman,” effectively uses rhetorical strategies to bring dying Indian mythology to life, in a child-friendly way. Pai achieves his mission with images containing implied meanings, manipulating pathos through illustration, diction and other literary tools to emphasize the importance of Hanuman in the ancient stories. The author’s purpose is to make Indian culture available in an easier format than the obscure Sanskrit which was primarily used for mythology. The author utilizes a very informal tone to relate to the audience i.e. school children.

The opening page of “Tales of Hanuman” shows the protagonist leaping and reaching out to a beautiful, bright red sun. The hero of the story is clearly defined from the beginning. Placed in the direct center of the page, Hanuman is surrounded by bright shades of green and red, drawing attention to his blue hair and is also shown as flying along the skyline. As the story begins, Hanuman is almost always shown in action as a dutiful servant, to Sugreeva, starting in the throne room and from there on shown jumping between islands, battling horrific monsters, and running away unscathed. His body is always in motion, swinging threateningly-large tree branches and springing off rooftops. It is clear that Hanuman will win every battle he enters from his robust and confident stance and calm face. The creatures he encounters are often outlined with dark backgrounds and surrounded by shadows, showing instantly they are not Hanuman’s allies. They even intimidate the reader, with ugly green skin and terrifying faces, or even ten heads of Ravana. The reader could open the book to any page without reading the pages before and easily identify the good and the bad. Pai manipulates the audience in all these ways, toying with pathos to portray the light and the dark, the honored and the evil.

Furthermore, the wordsmith has persuasively used a particular style of writing in his series to appeal to his intended audience. The language utilized in the text complements the images used in the comic. Psychologically the words used, amplify the implicit meaning in the text. Since the intended audience was the youth of India, the author has not used compound words in his writing and the words chosen for the text emotionally charge the audience. The author has also used passive voice in the majority of the sentence structure when Ram, Laxman or Hanuman are mentioned because a formal and more respectable impression is made up in the mind of the reader when passive voice is used. There are also brief descriptions of certain characters in the text which provide the necessary background information which the reader might not be aware of. Anant Pai has also used a lot of exaggeration in his writings. These exaggerations appeal to child mindset and retain their interest in the text.

Additionally, Pai uses diction often to emphasize the fortitude of the characters and the objects about which he writes about. The word “mighty” is used on almost every other page to describe the way Hanuman roars, the breadth of the ocean trying to be crossed, beautiful elephants, and even vicious snake arrows. The word is repeated so often to show the significance of the object being described in relation to the story and it also evokes a variety of emotions in the reader. Even the descriptive words Pai uses to describe the end of a battle before the beginning of “Hanuman to the Rescue” denote the importance of the event: “The evil enemy had been destroyed. Virtue had won over greed and lust.” The generous words and assonance used in these frames alert the reader to the gravity of the event.

Therefore, Anant Pai has meticulously educated the Indian youth about their rich cultural heritage by illustrating the Hindu mythological stories in a comic book format. He has efficiently used the writing techniques involving, ethos, pathos, logos and visual literacy. The usage of an informal tone, simple words and a comic format had made Amar Chitra Katha one of the largest selling  book in India in the previous decade.

For Collaboration

Collaboration is a necessity in human life. Nobody can go it completely alone. Humans provide each other with resources, services, and shared experiences that make life what it is. In my life, collaboration has been key in many situations. I personally agree with the message Bruffee wrote about on the note that a central idea to collaboration is that people who converse well can then build on their thinking and writing capabilities. Teachers who encourage engaging discussions are building skills in their students that further their thoughts and writing. When it comes down to it, thinking, writing and speaking are all the same thing- arranging words to represent our own ideas, just on different platforms (in our minds, on paper, and verbally to others). Our peers can truly only experience one of those as a collaborative effort and that is through conversation. A teacher can correct a student’s writing, but thats not as true of a form of collaboration as in the moment back and forth dialogue.

A student cannot learn everything on their own, just as a person can’t lead life alone. A baby would never survive without its parents. Working with other people gives us the ability to merge ideas and explore things we might’ve never thought of on our own. Everyone’s ideas are created based on their previous experiences, families, cultures, etc. We are all so unique that no two people can have identical thoughts. Collaboration is a necessity to piece together our individual thoughts and build something greater with them.

Bruffee’s Collaboration Summary

In the piece “Collaborative Learning and the ‘Conversation of Mankind,'” Kenneth Bruffee simply discusses the meaning and necessity of collaboration. At first, it seems like to simple an idea for a dedicated writing piece; but, Bruffee begins by delving into its past, including a study done on medical students that showed talking about a potential diagnosis as a group made them learn faster and more efficiently then if they were individually attempting to make the same diagnosis. A commonly used kind of collaboration in college is peer tutoring. Working with someone your age and talking out issues in coursework helps the tutee develop better methods of thought when it comes to the subject. This is because, as Bruffee tries to say, thought is merely conversation in your mind and writing is thought that is brought back into public conversation on paper. The way we talk translates into our thinking and writing capabilities, so in order to encourage intelligent thinking and writing teachers must first start by engaging their students in appropriately stimulating conversation.

But where does a teacher derive the authority to do so? Bruffee presents three alternatives: first, a teacher can be viewed as a “secular [version] of the mind of God,” a leader blindly followed by their students. Secondly, the closer one finds oneself to the “greatest minds” the more power is held. Last, teachers are “in direct touch with the objective world” and have the first hand experience to guide.

Bruffee’s point is to justify how important collaboration truly is in the educational process as well as the world as a whole. He mentions Oakeshott’s “Conversation of Mankind” when talking about how giving students access to such broadens their own theoretical conversational skills. At the end of the day he believes every student should understand that to truly know something, they must be able to write about it intelligently enough to satisfy their community of peers, emphasizing the meaning of social learning.

Keywords Reflection

One of the first things I think about when I start a piece of writing is the audience I’m writing for. Obviously, if I’m writing something for my eyes only I can be completely open and honest, whereas if I’m writing a speech to be read in front of 500 people, I might be less personal and more closed off. Writing to myself or for a small audience I can write about whatever is in my mind, but topic is important when writing something to be read by the masses. Context is also key, and very related to audience. Thesis is what drives your entire message, a paper without a thesis is like a human without a brain. Otherwise, your thoughts just run on in any direction without meaning or purpose. I also use reflection a lot. Both of my parents have been really important in my writing for my entire life. I use them as my first draft editors because they are the two people in the world that know me the best.

Something I’m not as good at incorporating in my writing is evidence. I’ve been told by a few previous english teachers that when I input quotes and paraphrase sources it sounds “clunky” or “awkward.” I want to build on that skill in this course because evidence is a key part of so many different kinds of writing, especially the pieces I’ll have to write ate the collegiate level. I also need to work on the structure of my writing. Often I will outline my ideas, but when I start writing I drift from my original layout and end up on a completely different topic. I need to work harder on focusing on one idea and sticking with it in order for my essays to make more sense thematically and come off as more thought-out overall.

My Writing Process

This is the excerpt for your very first post.

When I start a piece of writing, the first thing I do is brainstorm for 5-10 minutes. I close my eyes and let my thoughts flow freely until something sticks. The last big writing project I was assigned was my Senior Thesis in high school, which I wrote on the psychology behind gambling addiction. We were allowed to write about absolutely anything so I thought about what kinds of topics I hadn’t explored yet and what kinds of things I find interesting before settling on gambling. After that I try to talk out my ideas with someone else: a peer, a teacher, my parents, anyone really. Then I begin to outline my ideas with evidence, subtopics, a thesis, transitions, and more. As I outline, I piece together my thoughts into a more orderly format, one that creates building blocks for whatever writing task I’m attempting. After the outline is finished, I sit down to write a draft of each section separately, so I can keep my ideas fresh and my focus together. I reread what I’ve written and tweak it before taking a break and moving on to another section. I try to leave a draft alone for at least a day so the ideas can stew more in my mind, and so I forget what I’ve written enough to be sharp enough to catch my own mistakes. After that break, I read the piece as a whole to make sure I haven’t wandered off topic and to see that everything I’ve mentioned truly is necessary to the piece. I then go back section by section and edit, as well as trying to add at least one new thought overall. I usually ask a friend or family member to read it at this stage and give some sort of feedback, before I take one last look myself and can confidently hand it in.  Continue reading “My Writing Process”