Excerpt from Bugles and a Tiger by John Masters, ©1948:

But these generalizations are vague and patronizing.  It is impossible to give an idea of the Gurkha by such means, because each Gurkha is a separate man.  I have talked of “the Gurkhas” as doing this and “the Gurkhas” as being that, whereas, like other people, the Gurkhas have the sameness and the uniqueness of a snowfield.  We can say that the snow is wet or frozen or dry-powdered, but every snowflake is different from every other snowflake.

It’s a nice analogy, and it could be a useful one when discussing different cultures, but since this comes immediately after he argues that Gurkhas on the whole are stupid and filthy but quite subservient it smacks of “Hey, don’t get me wrong– some of my best friends are…”

So you’ve got to be careful with that one.


One thought on “Snowflakes

  1. … agree… in fact, reading this out of context I would have thought he was elevating the individualism of the Gurkas…


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