INDIA: The Uncertain Bellwether

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In a Paris hotel one sunny morning in 1926, a serious-minded young Hindu aristocrat took upon himself a delicate task. Resolutely he squared his slim shoulders and summoned out onto the balcony his younger sister, a lively 19-year-old who, under his watchful eye, was getting her first taste of life in Europe. "Darling," he began, "you go out alone with a lot of young men. That is as it should be, but I hope you know all about everything—er, you know, er—I suppose every girl must know, dash it all."

Politely,...

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