Boyhood trials shape the Chindit

4 Dec

 

                       Living through the War in Burma
The Story of Charles Stephenson written by Trophy D’Souza

Charles Stephenson grew up trying to cope with a difficult childhood. His parents thought they might control his boyhood exuberance by sending him to boarding school. That didn’t sort him out, and the unfriendly methods of discipline used left him disoriented and unreceptive to any learning.

He may have lacked motivation but he probably didn’t deserve to be one of the victims of the harsh learning systems used to deliver academic values. These methods may have worked for some rebellious or failing children in Burma but not for Charles who had all the makings of a sensitive, delicate child. Unfortunately his father too was a disciplinarian who also believed that only corporal punishment could lead to academic achievement. Guidance, counselling, understanding and support-learning were not on the agenda of either home or school those days.

Charles had it rough all the way: from home and school right through to the army and war. Perhaps there was a certain built-in resilience in Charles that helped him cope with pain and failure. It may have stemmed from an inner belief or strength he had, occasionally manifested in the way he spoke of his trust in the Divine. He endured punishment and humiliation without losing hope or looking for redress.

The trials he endured in his early years in many ways prepared him for the hardships of army life. His near-death escapes however left their own scars in the lack of confidence he occasionally showed or in the fear of the unknown that developed in later years.

In a strange way the skills he acquired in his boyhood adventures served to hone the techniques required in battle situations. They made him a soldier who was willing to take risks and to take the lead in very difficult circumstances. His gregarious instincts kept him close to his buddies and made him a mate his colleagues could rely on. His linguistic skills contributed significantly towards the intelligence required by the British army fighting an enemy hidden in the vast terrains of Burma.

He was proud to fight in the British army and was glad to have benefited from the time he spent in training and in combat. His loyalty to ‘King and Country’ as the British put it, helped to keep his enthusiasm alive and his mind focused. The story of Charles resonates with the drums of World War II even if the agonies and ecstasies take place in the peaceful and harmonious settings of the lush-green mountains of Burma. The flowing narrative helps to blend the unpleasantness of war with the softer side of life which helps to make this a truly human tale.

Trophy D’Souza who writes the book for Charles has five other books which also speak of human endurance but in dysfunctional situations. The protagonists survive or evolve through seemingly complex situations. Their resilience and self-belief also help them find solutions through unexpected human or divine intervention in their lives.

Amazon and Google sites tell you more about D’Souza’s motivating books which should really be on the bookshelves of families, homes, institutions and libraries.

Charles’ story however is really special. It is one for the road –one that has to be read and appreciated before it gets forgotten on the shelf.

The Book also has a Kindle version and is on Amazon, Google and other sites. Trophy’s sixth book was published on 13th October 2014.

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