Burmese Days revisited

To coincide with the 75th anniversary of the publication of George Orwell's famous novel, I went to follow the thread of his story by documenting the original locations in present day Burma / Myanmar. Orwell spent five years from 1922 to 1927 as a police officer in the Indian Imperial Police force in Burma, then a province of British India. He served in a number of locations, but it was Katha, north of Mandalay, that provided the physical setting for the novel. It was his experience in this isolated outpost that inspired him to write the book. It is a story about the waning days of the Raj, and one of the greatest denunciations of imperialism ever written, and a powerful critique of the colonial mindset that underpinned the system. Through John Flory, the central character, a timber merchant who appreciates Burmese culture and becomes disillusioned with the Empire, Orwell portrays the first stages of his own transformation from a colonial policeman to a radical thinker. An exhibition of the photographs was shown at the Frontline Club in London, at the launch of the annual Orwell Prize for political writing. The catalogue: Katha: in the footsteps of George Orwell in Burma, was published to coincide with the event. The limited edition is now out of print, but you may preview it for free, and order a copy through Blurb.

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