My paternal grandmother's family was, to be frank, one of paternalistic Tamil land-owners; the estates wre south-east of Madras. By most leftist standards - and we have all been leftists, at least since the turn of the century - we should have been very bad indeed: paternalistic land-lords always are, and those who adopt European customs are even worse. And we were quite bad on that score, since we started out by becoming Christians, and Anglicans at that. One of us went on to become a Bishop; another, my grandmother's uncle, was sent to the United States before the Great War for theological training, and naturally returned an agnostic if not an atheist. Another had better luck in America and became a professor of neurology at Johns Hopkins.

Among the other pieces of Western cultural imperialist poison we eagerly swallowed were: liberal to socialist politics; women's emancipation (so that my grandmother and all her sisters went to college); ecumenicism and religious toleration (so that my grandmother could marry a Muslim); and nationalism. When the family converted to Christianity we changed our name to Cornelius; when we joined the Indian independence movement we changed it to Kumarapa, which is what we supposed it to have been originally. (I am not sure how thoroughly this was checked, and it may, like many nationalist traditions, such as tartrans, be a recent invention.) My great-grandfather and his brothers and indeed most adult members of the family wrote and marched and boycotted and demonstrated and were repeatedly jailed by the British. One of them - neither my great-grandfather, nor the agnostic - wrote the official Government of India biography of Gandhi.

Today, of course, the Kumarapas no longer exist, the family having ended in daughters. The land was sold, donated to and expropriated by the Government; as of 1981, the (inevitable) great house had been converted into government offices and fallen into disrepair. My cousins are, by and large, propserous and sound members of the Indian middle class: ad-men, engineers, accountants, designers, owners of trucking companies. They watch more MTV than I do. To the best of my knowledge, the name ``Kumarapa'' survives only as my borther's middle name.