“In Moulmein, in lower Burma, I was hated by large numbers of people” (Orwell).
(1903 - 1950) Orwell was a British journalist and author, who wrote two of the most famous novels of the 20th century 'Animal Farm' and 1984‘ Orwell was born Eric Arthur Blair on 25 June 1903 in eastern India, the son of a British colonial civil servant. He was educated in England and, after he left Eton, joined the Indian Imperial Police in Burma, then a British colony. He resigned in 1927 and decided to become a writer. In 1928 he moved to Paris where lack of success as a writer forced him into a series of menial jobs. He described his experiences in his first book, 'Down and Out in Paris and London', published in 1933 - he took the name George Orwell, shortly before its publication.
Simply put: When a country colonizes a land that it does not own, and exercises political and financial dominance over that country.
"The United Kingdom began conquering Burma in 1824 and by 1886 had incorporated it into the British Raj. Burma was administered as a province of British India until 1937 when it became a separate, self-governing colony. To stimulate trade and facilitate changes, the British brought in Indians and Chinese, who quickly displaced the Burmese in urban areas. To this day Yangon and Mandalay have large ethnic Indian populations. Railroads and schools were built, as well as a large number of prisons, including the infamous Insein Prison, then as now used for political prisoners. Burmese resentment was strong and was vented in violent riots that paralyzed Yangon on occasion all the way until the 1930s.
Much of the discontent was caused by a perceived disrespect for Burmese culture and traditions, for example, what the British termed the Shoe Question: the colonizers' refusal to remove their shoes upon entering Buddhist temples or other holy places. In October 1919, Eindawya Pagoda in Mandalay was the scene of violence when tempers flared after scandalized Buddhist monks attempted to physically expel a group of shoe-wearing British visitors. The leader of the monks was later sentenced to life imprisonment for attempted murder. Such incidents inspired the Burmese resistance to use Buddhism as a rallying point for their cause. Buddhist monks became the vanguards of the independence movement, and many died while protesting.
Orwell’s essay reveals the ambivalence (confusion) a person may feel in a position of power. On one hand young Orwell sympathizes with the Burmese people, on the other hand Orwell, the police officer, is committed to continuing and even defending that oppression.
Prostrate: defenseless/in a prone or lying position Imperialism: policy and practice of forming and maintaining an empire in order to control raw materials and world markets by the conquests of other countries and the establishment of colonies Despotic: tyrannical Squalid: miserably poor; wretched Dominion: rule or power to rule; a governed territory Senility: mental or physical decay due to old age bazaar: marketplace on a street with walk-in shops and outdoor stalls. coolie: unskilled laborer. Dravidian: lower-caste Indian elephant trainer and handler. sahib: master, sir. Indians and Burmans used the word when addressing an Englishman.