Indian Elephant Bell

Contributed by Peter Kenvyn Jones

Indian Elephant Bell

The object I have chosen is an Elephant bell from India. It was my Grandfather's, pictured here, who, with his family were part of the expatriate community who made up the "Raj" in India before the Second World War. He was Police Commissioner in Shimla. The family hurriedly returned home from duty to Newport Monmouthshire before the outbreak of hostilities - my sister was born in Karachi on the way, but they made it back to Wales in time for me to be born in Cardiff shortly before war was declared. Mother was bombed out and we went to live with my Grandfather whose house was, as I remember, full of Indian memorabilia; brass tables, dress sabres, wall plaques, ivory picture frames, miniature elephants and this bell. When he died and the house was sold up everything except the bell, which I saved, was scattered to the winds, no longer fashionable and, I suspect, the victim of considerable ex-colonial guilt. I still ring the bell, to remind me of my Grandfather and to awaken distant echoes of the days of Empire when the historic destinies of Great Britain and India were intertwined.

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