Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand

Abdul Wahid looked confused, which was an improvement over the frown.

“You are very strange,” he said. “Are you saying it is wrong, stupid, to try to live a life of faith?”

“No, I think it is admirable,” said the Major. “But I think a life of faith must start with remembering that humility is the first virtue before God.”

“Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand against what?” I kept asking myself as I read this novel. “His last stand against an incredibly arrogant son? His materialistic sister-in-law, Marjorie, and niece, Jemima? His longing for the pair of Churchill guns, which his father was given by the Maharajah? Or, his stand against the ignorance displayed in a small British town toward another culture?”

Quite possibly, it could be his stand against loneliness. Being alone. Or, settling for a convenient love with Grace, when he could strive to have it all with his heart’s desire, Jasmina Ali.

Ultimately, I believe it to be his stand against pride. And this, perhaps, requires the greatest strength of all. When we ask for forgiveness, when we recognize our own faults, when we stand for what is good and right and true, this is our most important stand.

I loved Major Pettigrew. I loved his quiet observations on life. I loved the lessons that he learned, and the way he taught me as he went, reminding me that the importance of self isn’t so important after all.

“I longed for the day when I could look important to a lot of people who I felt were more important than I,” said the Major. “I was arrogant. It must be genetic.”

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