I was watching a rather interesting programme last night on the life of the late Conservative, Sir Kenneth Clark who was an authority on Art that was brought into millions of ordinary people’s living rooms in the late sixties through a television documentary series called Civilization.
Although I was aware of the series, I certainly did not know that the programme was commissioned by Sir David Attenborough who was controller of BBC 2 at that time.
It was a programme which sent an awful lot of working class families to Radio Rentals to rent their first TV sets. It really was a very much talked about programme of its time and so compelling for family viewing in an age when travel was the preserve for the rich, so little wonder that everything Sir David Attenborough has done since has been equally compelling, almost infectious to watch.
However, ten minutes before the end of this engaging programme a phone call from a rather stunning looking lady in the village wanting to know if we could help with the removal of a tick from just below her little dog’s right eye. The gorgeous creature in question jogged down from her cottage to ours with her two mutts in tow. The tick was soon despatched amidst the odd growl and seriously dirty looks and I don’t think I am going to be on that particular mutt’s, dog tail wagging list for some considerable time to come.
I got back to the television set as quickly as possible but to no avail, the programme had gone off into the ether.
In a week that has seen the most distressing news again come out of India with the raping of two young teenage girls who were then hung from a Mango tree for no other reason than the gratification of upper caste Indians honestly believing that they can behave and treat the lowest caste of all in a fashion akin to their own domestic animals.
Also in Pakistan, the most liberal city in the country, Lahore, a young woman was stoned to death by her family outside a courtroom where passers-by and the police looked on and did nothing, almost taking it to be the norm and when all came to all the husband of the three month pregnant woman had strangled his first wife for no apparent reason than him fancying a change. His sons forgave him for murdering their mother and this seemed to be enough to permit him to carry on unpunished in that society.
Civilization, the programme of Kenneth Clark’s and Sir David Attenborough’s of the late sixties kicked off with Kenneth Clark’s immortal words, “What is Civilization?” Well, it certainly isn’t India or Pakistan with the way it conducts its society with this wretched caste system. An outdated, barbaric, feudal, totally unjust and baffonic system, where your treatment in life depends solely on how far up the social ladder you happen to be born in. So very true of so many countries around the globe.
The upper caste of India and Pakistan are the Judges, the Doctors, the Police Commissioners, the Law Makers, but what is so fundamentally wrong to me from these countries is we have companies that in around about way put bread upon the table of our own British workers, Land Rover, Jaguar, the Tata Group, World Steel, the owners of which are some of the richest people in the world. In our own NHS, some of our Doctors and Nurses are selected again from these upper caste families. There is a hypocrisy here that would be in India’s, Pakistan’s and the United Kingdom’s interest to rectify.
The newly elected Prime Minister of India has said he will be looking into these atrocities, as if it is something so very new. Who could forget the brutal rape and murder of a young girl on a bus last year? His persona is of surprise, disgust and dis-belief. Where has he been for the last fifty years? There has been no change as the establishment of the day has seen little mileage in trying to make life better for the lowest castes in India.
All these atrocities were brought to the world’s attention by the devastating, shocking images on a modern, everyday smartphone. Somebody just happened to have one around all the hullabaloo and commotion at the time. These images were sent around the world for people to see, to judge for themselves and then make up their own minds on just how far civilization has penetrated these particular worlds.
On a lighter note, this year’s cubs in my Badger sett are going from strength to strength. Daddy Cool and Mother Badger looks after them in quite a divine fashion. Life seems to be very good. Food is plentiful and for me their whole existence and the way they conduct their lives throughout the woodland is a civilization that I would be proud to be a part of.
Please watch my short film of Daddy Cool and his young brood playing and having fun.
Daddy Cool looking over his sett.