Thursday, October 20, 2011

A Book Travels Around the World, A Name Lives On

By Barry Rubin

Taking a break from the tough world of contemporary politics, I’m delighted to relate to you this story that tells something about the interrelated nature of our world and our constant connection with history and with those who have gone before.

On February 13, 2008, I wrote an article or PajamasMedia about a rare book I possess on Burma, Peacocks and Pagodas. The point of the article was to show how, despite contemporary propaganda that the West always looked down on the Third World, was racist, etc., etc., there had long been many examples of profound respect, a desire to understand, and a willingness to learn on the part of Westerners.

Marvelling at the strange paths taken by books and ideas, I just happened to mention that the book was published in 1924 and some decades later some unknown person purchased it from a bookshop in Madras, India, noting the name of the store. Today I received a note from a man in India who was the grandson of the bookstore owner, Mr. T.N. Jayavelu, asking if I had more information on a grandfather who died when he was a young boy.

Since I am fascinated by genealogy and our links with our personal ancestors–and how that shows a great deal about the course of history–I was especially pleased to make this connection.

There are three additional neat ironies here.

Read it all:

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