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Sunday, August 1, 2010

The Times Of India

Saturday, 31 July 2010

The empire continues – I

Tarun Vijay

David Cameron was candid during his recent India visit when he said he was not ashamed to admit that the visit was an investment hunt. And he did get what he wanted — investment and jobs for Britons. As a report said, Prime Minister Cameron toured the Hawk facility at Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and welcomed the finalization of a £700 million agreement between BAE Systems, Rolls-Royce and HAL, which is expected to support more than 200 jobs in the UK.

Like his predecessors in East India Company, he looked at India as a market and an opportunity to get more from it. His remarks on the 26/11 attack were casual and superficial. He said, "In November 2008, we watched in horror as terrorists went on the rampage in Mumbai, killing scores of Indians and three British nationals."

While he was definitive on the number of Britons killed in Mumbai, he simply used the word "scores" for Indians killed, showing a lack of interest. He ignored any reference to the atrocities the British inflicted on us just a hundred years before and neither expressed a sense of regret nor apologized for the brutalization of India at the hands of his ancestors that made India weak, emasculated and grappling with hunger, poverty and corruption. All these three ailments India is facing today are a British "gift" to us.

Recently a book authored by the world renowned historian Will Durant has seen the light of the day thanks to the painstaking efforts of TN Shanbagh, a respected name among book lovers and the intellectual community of Mumbai, who ran the famous Strand book shop at Fort till he breathed his last a year ago. This book, titled "The Case for India" must be prescribed in every school of our nation, which is still reeling under the neo-colonialists in corrupt politicians and babus. And we are a people who seem to have given up hopes on them. This book, which lay lost for years till it was "rediscovered" and republished had made Rabindranath Tagore to write these lines, "Will Durant treated us with the respect due to human beings. I noticed in his book a poignant note of pain at the suffering and indignity of the people who are not his kindred, an indignant desire to be just to the defeated race."

The British empire in India proved that the British were the most savage and inhuman colonial rulers. Unlike what many of the Anglicised writers and historians, who still use the word Raj for the Britsh rule in India giving it the legitimacy of a just and respectful era of rule, would like us to believe. Will Durant writes, "Those who have seen the unspeakable poverty and physiological weakness of the Hindus to-day will hardly believe that it was the wealth of eighteenth century India which attracted the commercial pirates of England and France. "This wealth", says Sunderland, "was created by the Hindus' vast and varied industries. Nearly every kind of manufacture or product known to the civilized world — nearly every kind of creation of Man's brain and hand, existing anywhere, and prized either for its utility or beauty — had long, long been produced in India……. She had great architecture — equal in beauty to any in the work. She had great engineering works. She had great merchants, great businessmen, great bankers and financiers. Not only was she the greatest ship-building nation, but she had great commerce and trade by land and sea which extended to all known civilized countries. Such was the India which the British found when they came."

AND WHAT DID THEY DO TO US? "Until 1918 the total expenditure on public health, of both the central and the provincial governments combined, was only $5,000,000 a year, for 240,000,000 people — an appropriation of two cents per capita.

"Sir William Hunter, once Director-General of Indian Statistics, estimated that 40,000,000 of the people of India were seldom or never able to satisfy their hunger. Weakened with malnutrition, they offer low resistance to infections; epidemics periodically destroy millions of them. In 1901, 2,72,000 died of plague introduced from abroad; in 1902, 5000,000 died of plague; in 1903, 800,000; in 1904, 1,000,000. In 1918 there were 125,000,000 cases of influenza, and 12,500,000 recorded deaths... We can now understand why there are famines in India. Their cause, in plain terms, is not the absence of sufficient food, but the inability of the people to pay for it. Famines have increased in frequency and severity under British rule. From 1770 to 1900, 25,000,000 Hindus died of starvation; 15,000,000 of these died in the last quarter of the century, in the famines of 1877, 1889, 1897, and 1900.”

We wanted to get education, but the British didn’t encourage it, having destroyed all indigenous institutions of education that have made India a superpower in trade, arts, architecture, ship building and science and technology. Writes Durant, "At no time in history has India been without civilization: from the days of Buddha, in the fifth century, who is to the East what Christ is to the West; through the time when Asoka, the most humane of emperors, preached the gentle creed of Buddha from pillars and monuments everywhere; down to the sixteenth century, when culture, wealth and art flourished at Vijayanagar in the south, and a still higher culture, and still greater wealth and art, flourished under Akbar in the north. It was to reach this India of fabulous riches that Columbus sailed the seas. The civilization that was destroyed by British guns had lasted for fifteen centuries, producing saints from Buddha to Ramakrishna and Gandhi; philosophy from the Vedas to Schopenhauer and Bergson, Thopea and Keyserling, who take their lead and acknowledge their derivation from India (India, say Keyserling, "has produced the profoundest metaphysics that we know of."; and he speaks of "the absolute superiority of India over the West in philosophy";); poetry from the Mahabharata containing the Bhagavad-Gita, "perhaps the most beautiful work of the literature of the world... And how shall we rank a civilization that created the unique and gigantic temples of Ellora, Madura and Angkor and the perfect artistry of Delhi, Agra and the Taj Mahal — that indescribable lyric in stone?”

But we were subjected to live in darkness. Says he, "In 1911 a Hindu representative, Gokhale, introduced a bill for universal compulsory primary education in India; it was defeated by the British and Government-appointed members. In 1916 Patel introduced a similar bill, which was defeated by the British and Government-appointed members; (115) the Government could not afford to give the people schools. Instead, it spent most of its eight cents for education on secondary schools and universities, where the language used was English, the history, literature, customs and morals taught were English, and young Hindus, after striving amid poverty to prepare themselves for college, found that they had merely let themselves in for a ruthless process that aimed to de-nationalize and de-Indianize them, and turn them into imitative Englishmen. The first charge on a modern state, after the maintenance of public health, is the establishment of education, universal, compulsory and free. But the total expenditure for education in India is less than one-half the educational expenditure in New York State (116). In the quarter of a century between 1882 and 1907, while public schools were growing all over the world, the appropriation for education in British India increased by $2,000,000; in the same period appropriations for the fratricide army increased by $43,000,000.117."

Impoverished, humiliated and tyrannically pushed to become emasculated slaves, Indians tried hard to live a life of subhuman beings. Durant writes, "Everybody and everything," says the Oxford History of India, was on sale. (22). And Macaulay writes: During the five years which followed the departure of Clive from Bengal, the misgovernment of the English was carried to such a point as seemed incompatible with the existence of society… The servants of the Company … forced the natives to buy dear and to sell cheap … Enormous fortunes were thus rapidly accumulated at Calcutta, while thirty millions of human beings were reduced to the extremity of wretchedness. They had been accustomed to live under tyranny, but never under tyranny like this … Under their old masters had they had at least one resource: when the evil became insupportable, the people rose and pulled down the government. But the English Government was not be so shaken off. That Government, oppressive as the most oppressive form of barbarian despotism was strong with all the strength of civilization (23).

Death stared at Indians so starkly that it was difficult to breath. Durant writes, "Let the late President of Union Theological Seminary, Dr. Charles C. Hall, speak: The obvious fact stares us in the face that there is at no time, in no year, any shortage of food-stuffs in India. The trouble is that the taxes imposed by the British Government being 50% of the produce, the Indian starves that India's annual revenue may not be diminished by a dollar. 80% of the whole population has been thrown back upon the soil because England's discriminating duties have ruined practically every branch of native manufacture. The final item is the death-rate. In England the death-rate is 13 per 1000 per year; in the United States it is 12; in India it is 32 (140). Half the children born in Bengal die before reaching the age of eight (141). In a recent year (1921) the infant mortality in Bombay was 666 per 1000."(142)


Jay Kumar said...


Now new fact emerging out of Sohrabuddin Case from Gujarat former congress leaders says this is a story wrote 3 years back at Ahmeds Patel's house.

Why this thing can be used a evidence against congress.?

Sir, collect information on this whole issue and write an articles on it. This will expose congress leaders role.

Inferno said...

This article comes from a stuck-in-the-past mindset. There is not one suggestion or actionable item here. The Karma yogis who founded the RSS will be sad to see this.