This question raises concerns to the reader on what could happen to a man to change their course of thinking and belief. I would want to discover the events that could have caused Samad's hatred of his once-loved British side and defect to the Muslim side. Besides, I would say that something happened between him and the Britons that stirred his hatred of Britain to the extent of sending his son back to Bangladesh. Maybe he did something that exposed his son and himself to danger, and therefore, he had to send his son away. Alternatively, could be his fellow military team failed him or betrayed his trust of the British side and lost faith in the English culture enough to defect to the Muslim. On the other hand, Samad could have betrayed his military troop, thus inflicting guilt to himself and finding himself unworthy to remain as one of them. The author could have used Samad's conversation as a significant part of the text's plot because it passes a critical message throughout the whole book.
One reason why Samad Miah changed from a pro-British to a conservative Muslim is that the British betrayed him during the war, and therefore ended up hating not only the system but also everything that involved England. When they set out for war with the rest of his troops, they sacrificed their entire lives to fight for the British troops in the war that was to end without their awareness. They found themselves in a scary situation between Greece and Turkey, where enemies murdered three of his team members after their truck and tank broke down on May 6, 1945 (Smith 91). Their means of communication were destroyed, which they repaired and radioed home to Colonel-General Jodl. The colonel did not ever respond to their radio signal, and they resorted to civilian life. (Smith 93) expresses that the colonel just sat back and enjoyed the victory of the war, but never did he reach out to Samad and Archie until Russian soldiers found them stuck in the village in which they had spent a good deal of time with no word that the war was already over.
Nevertheless, Samad had a religious conflict with Christianity, which was the main denomination of the English people. A conversation between Samad and his children's teacher and trainers informs us that he did not like the Christian calendar. He expounds that Christian events dominate most days of the year and leaves children like his no time to attend Muslim events (Smith 130). He complains that the festivals in the calendar are not meant to be entirely for Christians, but for everyone, hence Muslim children should also be allowed to attend their festivals (p.130). This, coupled with his strong belief in Islam, could not let him keep his boy in such a Christian-dominated country.
The life he went through as an Indian-British soldier did not impress him at all. To start with, he did not achieve what he intended to accomplish as a soldier. He desired to be like his great grandfather, Mengal Pandie (Smith 100). He keeps complaining that he was an officer and not a ground man like the rest of his team. After the unexpected end of the war, he beats himself up for not achieving much to earn any honor as his great grandfather did (Smith 115). He sees Archie and himself as 'turncoats' and 'impostors' and insists that he was of no use to either India or England (Smith 114). This was enough demotivation to denounce his belonging to the British side.
About moving his boy, Magid to Bangladesh, Masid must have been compelled by a series of factors, some of which are mentioned above. Besides, the Britons had betrayed him after he had given all he had to their service. If you asked me, not many people would want their child to grow up in a country that did not appreciate their service. Moreover, the education system, Samad believed did not train his children all that he wanted them to learn, especially Magid. He claimed that the English system trained children more about the strength of the body and nor of mind (Smith 127). As mentioned earlier, the conflict of religion was a motivating factor in his moving of Magid to Bangladesh. Furthermore, he wanted him to be strong in the Muslim faith, just like his father.
Despite Samad wanting his son to be like him, he seems to regret it later. I think whenever he watches the demeanor of Magid, and amidst the feeling of admiring his capabilities, he sees a reflection of himself, a version he does not like. Back in England, a teacher mentions how well clothes fit Magid, notices Magid's intellectual ability. This reminds us that Samad was bright and educated, in addition to the fact that clothes married his full body. His son takes from him in so many things that he is afraid he might follow his path of failure.
Lastly, I think the author's use of Samad's conversation in the plot of her text is an introduction to the long journey that she has to take the reader through regarding World War II and the thematic concerns presented in the text.
Smith, Zadie. White teeth. Vintage, 2003.
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