Brutalisation of India
by the British
by the British
“While we hold onto India, we are a first rate power. If we lose India, we will decline to a third rate power. This is the value of India.”
– Lord Curzon in 1901
Execution of Indian fighters in the First War of Independence, 1857
Prosperous India before the British
Francois Bernier(1625-1688) was overwhelmed by the
prosperity of India (described in his book Travels in the Mogul Empire).
Writes Alex Von Tunzelmann about the 17th-century India in
her book Indian Summer: The Secret History of the End of an Empire:
“In the beginning, there were two nations. One was a vast, mighty and magnificent empire, brilliantly organized and culturally unified, which dominated a massive swathe of earth. The other was an undeveloped, semi-feudal realm, riven by religious factionalism and barely able to feed its illiterate, diseased and stinking masses. The first was India. The second was
England.” That is, England was miserable compared to India!
Wretched India thanks to the British
Pauperised India after the British :
Grinding Poverty and Series of Famines
in a country that was highly prosperous and had never known famines
thanks to the British Loot, Usurious Revenues/Taxes & Economic Policies.
Practically all educated, unbiased, knowledgeable Europeans and Americans and the British themselves are well aware that colonialism was a cruel, merciless exploitation and extraction project; and that if it left some useful legacy like railways (which natives could anyway have built themselves with less than a millionth of the sum looted from them), that was an incidental collateral actually meant for more efficient exploitation and extraction or for the comfort of the exploiters, and not as an intended benefit for the natives.
Of course, there is a minority of influential whites, including writers and academics, who skilfully highlight the concocted positives, the gains to the natives (which the natives would have anyway had if they were left alone and not colonised), while skimming over or suppressing or remaining silent on the horrible dark side, and the monstrously huge illegal riches the whites expropriated.
Whites indulging in the above, even if in minority, is understandable: if they don’t defend themselves, who would? They know their ancestors were guilty of gross wrong-doing, but they somehow want to airbrush it and defend their terrible legacy. Some even paint their frightful, revolting colonial period as a charitable, beneficent and benign undertaking—“a white man’s burden” as that obnoxious Rudyard Kipling (who collected funds for the butcher Reginald Dyer of Jallianwala Bagh) called it.
However, what takes the cake are the CB-NSR-SA-EII: Colonially-Brainwashed Non-Self-Respecting Self-Abusive Educated Indian Ignoramuses. It is amazing and baffling that even in the 21st century there exists this class of Indians, young included, who despite their claims to being educated and knowledgeable, unhesitatingly and unabashedly diagnose the “misery that is India” not on the Nehruvian socialistic poverty-perpetuating policies, not on the disastrous Dynasty-driven Congress rule for most of the period since independence, not on the abysmally poor political leadership, but on “Indian-ness; Indian characteristics”—a bizarre self-flagellating racist self-attack, à la Nirad Chaudhuri. And like the British-licker Nirad Chaudhuri, this tribe has much to admire in the British and the British colonial rule in India. Dictionary definition of a racist is “a person with a prejudiced belief that one race is superior to others”. You have the racists like the “White Supremacists”. But, what do you call these “reverse racists” who believe “their race is inferior to others”—“brown inferiororists”!
One can understand British colonialists engaging in theft, dacoity and loot, and perpetrating grave crimes to achieve their nefarious designs—well, they were heartless, greedy savages. But aware of their misdeeds, do thieves also act conceited and arrogant? Do dacoits also humiliate and insult their victims? Do looters pretend they are doing a good turn to the victims? Do savages tell victims, with over seven millennium of civilisation behind him, they have come to “civilise” them. So queer and bizarre—the sheer hypocrisy bolds you. But what you have to give them credit for is that they managed to brainwash a section of the victims and their descendents that they [the British] indeed came not as their tormentors, but as their saviours!
These brown inferiororists do not realise that India would have been a prosperous, first-rate, first-world country by 1980 had it adopted competitive capitalism and free-market economy after independence. That is a reasonable estimate extrapolating the time it took Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan to become first-world countries and the time it took West Germany and Japan to rise from the ashes of the Second World War by adopting competitive capitalism. Had India been moving fast towards being a first-world country after independence and had it indeed become so by 1980, the brown inferiororists and the CB-NSR-SA-EII would not have had grounds to exist. It’s thanks to the Nehruvians and the policies of the Dynasty-driven Congress that they exist. However, hopefully, with Narendra Modi in the saddle, this class should gradually become extinct.
But, one thing that the brown inferiororists and the CB-NSR-SA-EII must reflect upon is that when they slam India and the Indians, they are actually slamming themselves. By definition, they themselves become third-rate people. That’s not the case with the rest of the Indians as they don’t subscribe to their theories.
But, they built the Railways!
CB-NSR-SA-EII’s and Brown-Inferiororist’s typical arguments run like this: “But look, their contribution at modernisation is so major—they brought in railways! Where would
India have been otherwise?” One can
only pity the intelligence and analytical power of such characters. Does a
country have to be colonised to get railways? China has railway—now the fastest
in the world—but it was not colonised. Japan has the best railway, but it
was never colonised. If your economy is good, if you have the money, can you
not invite foreign companies to setup railway, if you can’t do it yourself? For
airways—aeroplanes and airports—did India have to be colonised by the US? India
did not have computers to start with. Did it ask the US to come, colonise it,
so that it can have them! There are countries that lack software skills. Should
they request India
to come and colonise them so that they may have software to run their
businesses! For Indians to use iPAD and iPhones, does it have to be colonised
by the USA?
With even one-millionth the money looted by the British colonialists from India, India would have had the resources to build railways thousand times more dense, and of better quality! Incidentally, Matheran Hill Railway on such a difficult terrain was financed and built by Indians during the British times. It was built between 1901 and 1907 by Abdul Hussein Adamjee Peerbhoy.
Amitav Ghosh, the famous Indian author (The Circle of Reason, The Glass Palace, Sea of Poppies,...), making fun of the claim that the British gave India the railways, commented: “Thailand has railways and the British never colonized the country. In 1885, when the British invaded Burma, the Burmese king was already building railways and telegraphs. These are things Indians could have done themselves.”
Railways were built more for transport of goods to facilitate efficient exploitation of and extraction from India and for travel-comfort of the British, and not as an intended benefit for the natives. While the British travelled in luxury, the Indian passengers were treated like dirt in the railways. For details, one can read the booklet “Third Class in Indian Railways” by Mahatma Gandhi written in 1918—available for free on the web.
“British treat the Hindus as strangers and foreigners in India, in a manner quite as unsympathetic, harsh and abusive as was ever seen among the Georgia and Louisiana planters in the old days of American slavery... There have been cases in which British soldiers forcibly ejected from railway compartments educated Brahmins and courtly rajahs who had tickets for this space.” – Sunderland.
“The white man's tools were whiskey and wine and tobacco offered with the fetters and hanging pole and noose; the white man's world was death and murder coupled with the commandment ‘Thou Shall not kill’... We are obliged to believe that a nation [Britain] that could look on, unmoved, and see starving or freezing women hanged for stealing twenty-six cents' worth of food or rags, and boys snatched from their mothers and men from their families and sent to the other side of the world for long terms of years for similar trifling offenses, was nation to whom the term ‘civilized’ could not in any large way be applied. The result of ‘civilization’ was the extermination of the savages. These are the humorous things in the world—among them the white man's notion that he is less savage than the savage.” – Mark Twain (1835-1910).
If ever you have the misfortune of encountering this class of CB-NSR-SA-EII and Brown-Inferiororists, first you are shocked into disbelief that such a breed exists, then you are overcome with anger and rage, then you feel exasperated, wring your hand and wonder why you ever got into this argument, and finally, later, when you are by yourself, you try to diagnose why this class utters this crap. You discover the reasons may vary from one segment of this class to another. One or more of the following appear to be the reasons:
(1) They don’t read. They generally read the course-books when in school and college. Later, other than profession-related reading, they don’t dirty their hands with other books. They don’t even seriously research the topics on the web. They have never really tried to find out the facts for themselves.
(2) They depend upon what they have picked up from parents, friends, colleagues and acquaintances during casual conversation. They feel that this raw-material coupled with their (necessarily limited personal) experience is sufficient for their “brilliant” mind to reach definite conclusions.
(3) They have been abroad to USA, Europe, etc. They compare them with the pathetic state of India. They draw their conclusion: “India and Indians are like this only!” Go for the obvious. It doesn’t tax your brains. And, you don’t have to read anything. Why unnecessarily read, study, research and find out why really it is so?
(4) Our education system too is faulty. Things that matter are not taught.
(5) There is no popular non-fiction book in the market on the subject which could educate those interested.
What should have been done
One of the first tasks after independence should have been honest and faithful re-writing of Indian history that had been thoroughly distorted by the English. A competent team should have been set-up to do justice to it.
Like the “Black Book on Communism” that comprehensively covers the communist misdeeds in various countries, “The Blood Never Dried: A People's History of the British Empire” by John Newsinger, a “Black Book on the British Brutality in India” should have been collated after independence.
Based on the above comprehensive research work, writing of popular non-fiction and books for the schools and colleges should have been encouraged.
Unfortunately, nothing of the sort happened. If anything the biased, distorted history written by the English continued. Rather than demolishing it, our “eminent” sarkari historians reinforced the nonsense. These self-serving, dishonest Nehruvian, Marxist academics, apart from the anglophiles, have done great disservice to the profession of writing history. They sidelined the genuine ones, sending them to oblivion. Why have they done so? It paid to be so. You came in the good books of Nehru, himself an anglophile, and thereafter in the good books of his dynasty. You got good positions and assignments. Academic mediocrity was no hindrance to promotions and plum positions as long as you toed the Nehruvian-Marxist-Socialist line. Not only that, by being pro-British or being soft on the British, you got invited by the West and the whites for academic assignments, lectures, seminars, and so on. Also, your mediocre writings got published abroad, and were well-reviewed. You also got Indian and international awards. In other words, it paid to be dishonest, unprofessional and abusive to the real India.
The other thing that India needed to do post independence should have been to assess, document and put a financial estimate to the damages done by the British; quantify the loot of two centuries, convert them at 1947 prices, and then claim reparation from Britain, along with written and oral apology. Additionally, a detailed list of all the artefacts, archaeological pieces, precious stones such as Kohinoor and other items stolen from India should have been prepared and reclaimed from the British.
Let us now look at what the British did to India.
Rather than plunging the unfathomable depths or getting lost in the infinite vastness, let us only skim a few samples from the surface of the sea of “admirable” British colonial “contributions” in India.
Result of the British Rule:
From Unmatched Prosperity to
Pauperism & Famines
Pauperism & Famines
The Status of India prior to the
British Conquest in 1757
British Conquest in 1757
We would not talk here of the several long golden periods of India like the Gupta period between 320 to 550 CE. We would rather talk of the not so golden period prior to 1757 when General Robert Clive founded the British Empire by conquering Bengal after winning the Battle of Plassey on 23 June 1757.
Writes Alex Von Tunzelmann about the 17th-century India in the first paragraph of the first chapter of her book Indian Summer: The Secret History of the End of an Empire:
“In the beginning, there were two nations. One was a vast, mighty and magnificent empire, brilliantly organized and culturally unified, which dominated a massive swathe of earth. The other was an undeveloped, semi-feudal realm, riven by religious factionalism and barely able to feed its illiterate, diseased and stinking masses. The first was India. The second was
England was miserable compared to India!
Francois Bernier(1625-1688) was a French physician and traveller in the seventeenth century. He travelled in
extensively. He was overwhelmed by its prosperity; its abundant agricultural
produce which it exported to the other parts of and abroad; and its rich
cotton and silks. In his book Travels in
the Mogul Empire, he writes: India
“[Bengal] produces rice in such abundance that its supplies not only the neighbouring but remote states. It is carried up the Ganges as far as Patna, and exported by sea to Masulipatam and many other ports on the coast of Coromonclel. It is also sent to foreign kingdoms, principally to the island of Ceylon and the Maldives. Bengal abounds likewise in sugar with which it supplies the kingdoms of Golconda and the Carnatic, Arabia and Mesopotamia, through the towns of Mokha and Bassora, and even Persia, by way of Bender-Abbassy...
“Bengal, it is true, yields not so much wheat as Egypt; but if this be a defect, it is attributable to the inhabitants, who live a great deal more upon rice than the Egyptians, and seldom taste bread. Nevertheless, wheat is cultivated in sufficient quantity for the consumption of the country, and for the making of excellent and cheap sea biscuits, with which the crews of European ships, English, Dutch and Portuguese, are supplied. The three or four sorts of vegetables which, together with rice and butter, form the chief aliment of the common people, are purchased for the merest trifle, and for a single rupee twenty or more good fowls may be bought. Geese and ducks are proportion ably cheap. There are also goats and sheep in abundance; and pigs are obtained at so low a price that the Portuguese, settled in the country, live almost entirely upon pork. This meat is salted at a cheap rate by the Dutch and English, for the supply of their respective vessels. Fish of every species, whether fresh or salt, is in the same profusion.
“In a word, Bengal abounds with every necessary of life; and it is this abundance that has induced so many Portuguese, half-casts, and other Christians, driven from their different settlements by the Dutch, to seek an asylum in this fertile kingdom.
“...the rich exuberance of the country, together with the beauty and amiable disposition of the native women, has given rise to a proverb in common among the Portuguese, English and Dutch—the
has a hundred gates to open for entrance, but not one for departure”. Kingdom of Bengale
That is, outsiders were keen to come in, but having come, none ever wanted to depart, so prosperous was India!
Francois Bernier continues:
“In regard to valuable commodities of a nature to attract foreign merchants, I am acquainted with no country where so great a variety is found. Besides the sugar I have spoken of, and which may be placed in the list of valuable commodities, there is in Bengal such a quantity of cotton and silks, that the kingdom may be called the common storehouse for those two kinds of merchandise, not of Hindostan only, but of all the neighbouring kingdoms, and even of Europe. I have been sometimes amazed at the vast quantity of cotton cloths, of every sort, fine and coarse, white and coloured, which the Dutch alone export to different places, especially to Japan and Europe. The English, the Portuguese, and the native merchants deal also in these articles to a considerable extent. The same may be said of the silks and silk stuffs of all sorts...
“Bengal is also the principal emporium for saltpetre. A prodigious quantity is imported from Patna. It is carried down the Ganges with great facility, and the Dutch and English send large cargoes to many parts of India, and to Europe.
“Lastly, it is from this fruitful kingdom, that the best gum-lac, opium, wax, civet, long pepper and various drugs, are obtained; and butter which may appear to you an inconsiderable article, is in such plenty, that although it be a bulky article to export, yet it is sent by sea to numberless places.
“...In describing the beauty of Bengal, it should be remarked that throughout a country extending nearly an hundred leagues in length, on both banks of the Ganges, from Raja-Mahil to the sea, is an endless number of canals, cut from that river with immense labour, for the conveyance of merchandise and of the water itself, which is reputed by the Indians to be superior to any in the world. These canals are lined on both sides with towns and villages, thickly peopled with pagans; and with extensive fields of rice, sugar, corn and other species of vegetables, mustard, sesame for oil, and small mulberry trees, two or three French feet in height, for the food of silk worms. But the most striking and peculiar beauty of Bengal is the innumerable islands filling the vast space between the two banks of the Ganges, in some places six or seven days' journey asunder...”
Writes Madhusree Mukerjee in Churchill's Secret War : The British Empire and the Ravaging of India during World War II:
“...But before 1757, when General Robert Clive founded the British Empire by conquering Bengal, it was one of the richest parts of the world: ‘the paradise of the earth,’ as Clive himself described it...”
States Ernest Wood in his book ‘A Foreigner defends Mother India’:
“In the middle of the eighteenth century, Phillimore wrote that ‘the droppings of her soil fed distant regions’. No traveler found India poor until the nineteenth century, but foreign merchants and adventurers sought her shores for the almost fabulous wealth, which they could there obtain. 'To shake the pagoda tree' became a phrase, somewhat similar to our modern expression ‘to strike oil’.”
Dadabhai Naoroji (1825-1917) presented to the British people the ‘Drain Theory’, which put before them the facts and figures illustrating systematic bleeding of the wealth and resources of India. He wrote in 1901:
“I need only say that the people of India have not the slightest voice in the expenditure of the revenue, and therefore in the good government of the country. The powers of the Government being absolutely arbitrary and despotic, and the Government being alien and bleeding, the effect is very exhausting and destructive indeed.” On the Indian famine, Naoroji said: “When the British people first obtained territorial power in India , bad seeds were unfortunately sown. The Company went there solely for the sake of profit, greed was at the bottom of everything they did, and the result was that corruption, oppression and rapacity became rampant.”
Buckminster Fuller (1895-1893), philosopher, inventor, architect, engineer, mathematician, poet and cosmologist, had remarked:
“The British were perhaps the most successful pirates in history. They came to India, pillaged the country in the name of trade and then enslaved it in the name of civilization.”
By the 19th century, the India shone as the brightest jewel in the British Crown. When the traders from England's East India Company arrived on the subcontinent of India in the 17th century, they found a fascinating land of pungent spices and luxurious textiles, magnificent art and architecture, and impressive works of literature and science. India was an ‘El Dorado’ for enterprising young men in search of fortune. By the 19th century, the distant territory shone as the brightest jewel in the crown.
It remained a prize beyond comparison, valued so highly that, as British viceroy Lord Curzon stated:
“We could lose all our dominions and still survive, but if we lost India, our sun would sink to its setting.”
India till 1757 was a country of abundance (rather over-abundance, as it used to massively export its agricultural produce, silks and cotton); and hunger and famines were totally unknown to it.
The Status of India after the
British Conquest in 1757
British Conquest in 1757
The British so changed the land and revenue laws and so wrecked the economy and engaged in loot that within mere 13 years of the their rule,
Bengal faced famine of 1770—something which had never occurred
earlier! Not until the famine broke out did people in Britain realise the reason for the
extraordinary profits of East India Co.
The agricultural economy was wrecked because the English extracted usurious rents and revenues—even in the years of failure of crops, forcing farmers to sell their belongings and even children! Agriculturists and their families were even tortured to make them somehow cough up the revenue. Those who could not pay were forced out of their lands.
Clive had become one of the richest persons in
thanks to his Indian plunder. He was later booked for corruption, and
ultimately committed suicide in 1774.
Later, Warren Hastings came as the first Governor-General of India. To make up for the lost revenues of Bengal, he subjugated the nearby prosperous
, and began
extracting punishing revenues from there. Thanks to the British, like it
happened in Bengal in 1770, kingdom
of Oudh Oudh then faced
famine in 1784! And people talk of prosperity under the British!!
In fact, the impoverishment, hunger and famines in India started with the British! That was because they wrecked the rural economy through unwarranted changes for extracting maximum revenue. A large population perished in India thanks to the British brutality and deliberate creation of famines. In Palnad in Andhra, half the population was said to be have perished every ten years, during several decades after the subjugation of the areas by Britain.
Wrote WS Lily:
“During the first 80 years of the 19th century 18,000,000 of the Indian people perished of famine. In one year alone—the year when Her Majesty, Queen Victoria, assumed the title of the Empress—5,000,000 of the people of Southern India were starved to death. In the District of Bellary, with which I am personally acquainted—a region twice the size of Wales—1/4 of the whole population perished in the famine of 1876-77. I shall never forget my own famine experience; how, as I rode out on horseback, morning after morning, I passed crowds of wandering skeletons, and saw human corpses by the roadside, unburied, uncared for, half devoured by dogs and vultures; and how—still sadder sight—children, 'the joy of the world' as the old Greeks deemed them, had become its ineffable sorrow there, forsaken even by their mothers, their feverish eyes shining from hollow sockets, their flesh utterly wasted away, only gristle and sinew and cold shivering skin remaining, their heads mere skulls...”
Writes Francois Gautier:
“According to British records, one million Indians died of famine between 1800 and 1825, 4 million between 1825-1850, 5 million between 1850-1875 and 15 million between 1875-1900. Thus 25 million Indians died in 100 years! The British must be proud of their bloody record. It is probably more honourable and straightforward to kill in the name of Allah, than in the guise of petty commercial interests and total disregard for the ways of a 5000 year civilization. Thus, by the beginning of the 20th century, India was bled dry and there were no resources left.”
One British historian noted in 1901:
“Time was, not more distant than a century and a half ago, when Bengal was much more wealthy than was Britain.”
The Bengal Famine of 1943-44 was totally man-made, rather British-made, in which 3.5 million Indians perished. It exposed the callousness, total disregard for Indian life, cruelty beyond compare, and lamentable administrative incompetence of the British. Even as people were dying, food was exported from India abroad to feed the army engaged in World War II. When appraised of the Bengal Famine crisis, Prime Minister Winston Churchill cruelly commented that as far as he was concerned “the starvation of anyhow underfed Bengalis is less serious than...” and that Indians would anyway “breed like rabbits”. In response to the telegraphic request from India for food shipment for famine, Churchill heartlessly responded: “Is Gandhi still alive!”
It has been claimed that Britain's Industrial Revolution could not have taken off without the influx of money that followed the conquest of Bengal. A British writer observed:
“Very soon after Plassey [in 1757], the Bengal plunder began to arrive in London, and the effect appears to have been instantaneous, for all the authorities agree that the 'industrial revolution'... began with the year 1760.... Possibly since the world began no investment has ever yielded the profit reaped from the Indian plunder.”
That the Industrial Revolution in Britain would not have taken place had it not been for the ‘venture capital’ provided by the loot from Bengal was agreed to both by the British historian William Digby and the Indian historian Rajni Palme Dutt.
With the British in control, the enormous manufacturing and trade balance advantages that India had enjoyed for over 2,500 years were wiped out. India at almost the end of the Mughal power in 1750 was still producing about one-fourth of the world's manufactured goods. It was only by the 19th century that British manufacturers could cheaply produce cotton cloth that equalled Indian quality. By using Indian-grown cotton to make cloth by machine in England, the British finally ended India monopoly. With increasing political control, the British were even able to force Indian consumers to buy inferior British fabrics. By 1850, with the establishment of British control over political and economic life, India's share of world manufacturing had sunk to a mere 8.6 percent of world production. By 1947, India was producing only 1.5% of the world manufactures.
Net result: Colonialism had ‘underdeveloped’ India as an economic giant.
As per an estimate by Angus Maddison, a Cambridge University historian, “India's share of the world income fell from 22.6% in 1700, comparable to Europe's share of 23.3%, to a low of 3.8% in 1952.” So much for the progress under the British!
So, this is how
India was before the English came.
Just imagine how much better it must have been before even the north and the
west Asians came in the wake of Mahmud Ghaznavi in the 11th century
and carried out large scale destruction. India had been subject to a millennium
of loot and subjugation.
When one talks of the Indian misery and poverty one has also to talk of over 1000 years of loot and plunder prior to its independence in 1947.
Wrote Arvind Kumar in DNA of August 13, 2012 in his article, How British socialism created poverty and caste inequality: “The role of British policies in the destruction of India’s economy was well known in the nineteenth century, but this angle has been ignored in recent times. These policies caused widespread poverty and created caste inequality in the country. The castes were similar to the economic guilds of medieval Europe and thrived until their occupations were destroyed by the British. The Banias formed the trading guilds and suffered when trading activities were taken over by the British. The Shudras who formed the manufacturing guilds suffered when the British systematically destroyed the manufacturing sector. Kshatriyas lost their livelihoods when they were disarmed. Only the Brahmins could get measly clerical posts as their traditional focus on education was made the prerequisite for such jobs.”
Exemplifying the terrible social cost of colonialism, historian William Digby estimated that the population of Dhaka dropped from 200,000 to 79,000 between 1787 and 1817. The export of Dacca muslin to England that amounted to 8 million rupees in 1787 was reduced to nil by 1817. The fine textile industry, the livelihoods of thousands, and the self-sufficient village economy, were systematically destroyed.
Edward Thompson and GT Garrett, the English historians, described the early history of British India as:
“Perhaps the world's high-water mark of graft”; “a gold-lust unequalled since the hysteria that took hold of the Spaniards of Cortes' and Pizzaro's age filled the English mind”; “Bengal in particular was not to know peace again until she has been bled white.”
English merchant William Bolts wrote in 1772:
“Various and innumerable are the methods of oppressing the poor weavers...such as by fines, imprisonments, floggings, forcing bonds from them, etc.” “The oppression and monopolies” imposed by the English “have been the causes of the decline of trade, the decrease of the revenues, and the present ruinous condition of affairs in Bengal”.
Warren Hastings was impeached in
UK, and was accused, among other
things, of venality and brutality in forcible collection of revenues by Edmund
Burke. It was the British policy of capturing all the trade, destroying the
indigenous industry, and extracting as much as possible, from as many as
possible, and in as short a time as possible, to make maximum gains that India
went from one of the most prosperous countries to a basket case.
And look at the venality and cunning of the British. Rather than laying the blame on their own disastrous policies, they started painting
as a country which had always been poor and gone case—the reason being that its
people were lazy, divided, illiterate, and had a backward religion. That
English had come not to exploit, but to uplift Indians. Of course, unlike the
Portuguese, the British were anxious to clothe their greed in lofty ideals: the
"white man's burden" of civilizing (and, naturally, Christianizing)
less enlightened races, the "divinely ordained mission" of bringing
to India the glory of Europe's commercial and industrial civilization, and so
This lie was propagated so well through books, newspapers, “research”, teachings in school and colleges through the decades that even many Indians began to believe it.
British never did any industrialisation worth the name. Even the licenses that they gave for setting up of steel plant by Tata or textile mills by private Indian entrepreneurs, they did most reluctantly.
Said Will Durant, the famous American historian and philosopher: “British rule in India is the most sordid and criminal exploitation of one nation by another in all recorded history. I propose to show that England has year by year been bleeding India to the point of death... But I saw such things in India as made me feel that study and writing were frivolous things in the presence of a people – one fifth of the human race – suffering poverty and oppression bitterer than any to be found elsewhere on the earth. I was horrified. I had not thought it possible that any government could allow its subjects to sink to such misery... The civilization that was destroyed by British guns... has produced saints from Buddha to Gandhi; philosophy from the Vedas to Schopenhauer and Bergson, Thoreau and Keyserling, who take their lead and acknowledge their derivation from India . ( India , says Count Keyserling, ‘has produced the profoundest metaphysics that we know of”; and he speaks of ‘the absolute superiority of India over the West in philosophy’)...
“The more I read the more I was filled with astonishment and indignation at the apparently conscious and deliberate bleeding of India by England throughout a hundred and fifty years. I began to feel that I had come upon the greatest crime in all history...
“The British conquest of India was the invasion and destruction of a high civilization by a trading company utterly without scruples or principle, careless of art and greedy of gain, overrunning with fire and sword a country temporarily disordered and helpless, bribing and murdering, annexing and stealing, and beginning that career of illegal and ‘legal’ plunder which has now gone on ruthlessly for one hundred and seventy-three years, and goes on at this moment while in our secure comfort we write and read.
“Aurangzeb, the Puritanic Moghul emperor who misgoverned India for fifty years when he died the realm fell to pieces. It was a simple matter for a group of English buccaneers, armed with the latest European artillery and morals to defeat the petty princes. It was the wealth of 18th century India which attracted the commercial pirates of England and France . This wealth was created by the Hindus’ vast and varied industries and trade. It was to reach India of fabulous wealth that Columbus sailed the seas. It was this wealth that the East India Company proposed to appropriate...”
Comments by Rajeev Srinivasan:
“A strong case has been made by William Digby quoting Brooks Adams that the Industrial Revolution (circa 1760) could not have happened in Britain had it not been for the loot that came in from India. It is indeed a curious coincidence: Plassey (1757); the flying shuttle (1760); the spinning jenny (1764); the power-loom (1765); the steam engine (1768).
“...Digby estimated in 1901 that the total amount of treasure extracted from India by the British was 1,000,000,000 pounds—a billion pounds. Considering the looting from 1901 to 1947 and the effects of inflation, this is probably worth a trillion dollars in today's money. Serious money, indeed. Shouldn't we ask for some reparation?”
Edmund Burke had predicted in 1783 that the annual drain of Indian resources to England without equivalent return would eventually destroy India. In 1901, Rajni Palme Dutt estimated that one-half of the net revenues of India flowed annually out of the country, never to return: “So great an economic drain out of the resources of the land would impoverish the most prosperous countries on earth; it has reduced India to a land of famines more frequent, more widespread, and more fatal, than any known before in the history of India or of the world.”
Cruelty against Indian Men, Women & Children
Warren Hastings was the Governor General of Bengal between 1774 and 1785. Edmund Burke (1729-1797) was a famous British statesman, parliamentary orator and political thinker. During the trial of Hastings in 1787, Burke charged him not only with promoting the economic rape of India but also with the literal rape of Indian women. Burke accused Hastings of not only using sexual violence as a strategy of control by his colonial subordinates but that he had also personally “undone women of the first rank” in India, noting especially his humiliation of the Princesses of Oude.
The following extracts are from the speech of Edmund Burke in the House of Commons that vividly catalogued the barbaric treatment meted out to the Indians at the hands of Hastings and his men:
“...My lords, I am here obliged to offer some apology for the horrid scenes I am about to open... I would rather wish to draw a veil over them, than shock your feelings by a detail. But it is necessary for the substantial ends of justice and humanity, and for the honour of government, that they should be exposed, that they should be recorded, and handed down to after ages...
“My lords, when the people [Indian peasants] had been stripped of everything, it was, in some cases suspected, and justly, that they had hid some share of the grain. Their bodies were then applied to the fiercest mode of torture, which was this : they began with winding cords about their fingers, till the flesh on each hand clung and was actually incorporated. Then they hammered wedges of wood and iron between those fingers, until they crushed and maimed those poor, honest, and laborious hands, which were never lifted up to their mouths but with a scanty supply of provision. My lords, these acts of unparalleled cruelty, began with the poor ryots; but if they began there, there they did not stop. The heads of the villages, the leading yeomen of the country, respectable for their virtues, respectable for their age, were tied together, two and two, the unoffending and helpless, thrown across a bar, upon which they were hung with their feet uppermost, and there beat with bamboo canes on the soles of those feet, until the nails started from their toes, and then with the cudgels of their blind fury these poor wretches were afterwards beat about the head, until the blood gushed out at their mouth, nose, and ears.
“My lords, they did not stop here. Bamboos, wangees, rattans, canes, common whips, and scourges were not sufficient. They found a tree in the country which bears strong and sharp thorns not satisfied with those other cruelties, they scourged them with these. Not satisfied with this, but searching everything through the deepest parts of nature, where she seems to have forgot her usual benevolence, they found a poisonous plant, a deadly caustic, that inflames the part that is bruised, and often occasions death. This they applied to those wounds. My lords, we know that there are men (for so we are made) whom bodily pains cannot subdue.
“The mind of some men strengthens in proportion as the body suffers. But people who can bear up against their own tortures, cannot bear up against those of their children and their friends. To add, therefore, to their sufferings, the innocent children were brought forth, and cruelly scourged before the faces of their parents. They frequently bound the father and the son, face to face, arm to arm, body to body, and then flogged till the skin was torn from the flesh : and thus they had the devilish satisfaction of knowing, that every blow must wound the body or the mind ; for if one escaped the son, his sensibility was wounded by the knowledge he had that the blow had fallen upon his father; the same torture was felt by the father, when he knew that every blow that missed him had fallen upon his unfortunate son.
“My lords, this was not, this was not all ! The treatment of the females cannot be described. Virgins that were kept from the sight of the sun, were dragged into the public court that court which was intended to be a refuge against all oppression and there, in the presence of day, their delicacies were offended, and their persons cruelly violated, by the basest of mankind. It did not end there : the wives of the men of the country only suffered less by this : they lost their honour in the bottom of the most cruel dungeons, in which they were confined.
“They were then dragged out naked, and in that situation exposed to public view, and scourged before all the people. My lords, here is my authority for otherwise you will not believe it possible. My lords, what will you feel when I tell you, that they put the nipples of the women into the cleft notches of sharp bamboos, and tore them from their bodies. What modesty in all nations most carefully conceals, these monsters revealed to view, and consumed by burning tortures, and cruel slow fires ! My lords, I am ashamed to open it horrid to tell ! These infernal fiends, ...”
[Here Mr. Burke dropped his head upon his hands, unable to proceed, so greatly was he oppressed by the horror which he felt at this relation. The effect of it was visible through the whole auditory... Several women in the gallery fainted.]
Incidentally, Warren Hastings, despite the above horrible, unpardonable offences in India, was ultimately acquitted by the British “Justice” System in 1795, after a trial that lasted seven years. So much for the great British Judicial System!!
“Every day ten or a dozen niggers are hanged. [Their corpses hung] by two's and three's from branch and signpost all over town ... For three months did eight dead-carts go their rounds from sunrise to sunset, to take down corpses which hung at the cross-roads and the market places, poisoning the air of the city, and to throw their loathsome burdens into the Ganges.”
– Lieutenant Pearson, on the punishment of rebels in Allahabad, in a letter to his mother.
In Delhi, one English eyewitness boasted:
“All the people found within the walls when our troops entered were bayoneted on the spot...These were not mutineers but residents of the city, who trusted to our well-known mild rule for pardon. I am glad to say they were disappointed." At the site of the massacre of women in Cawnpore, the British made their captives lick the dried blood off the floor before hanging them. The war rumbled on until late in 1858, but the executions continued until well into 1859, rebels being hanged or shot without trial, convicted mutineers being lashed to the muzzles of guns and blown to pieces...”
“Women were dragged out screaming and pounced upon in bazaars, so that the word “rape” itself acquired a plurality, a collective connotation, and people spoke of villages and townships raped, not a single women.”
– Manohar Malgonkar’s writing on 1857.
“In my own city and district of Allahabad and in the neighborhood, General James Neill (1810 - 1857) held his ' Bloody Assizes.' Soldiers and civilians alike were holding Bloody Assize, or slaying natives without any assize at all, regardless of age or sex. It is on the records of our British Parliament, in papers sent home by the Governor-General in Council, that "the aged, women, and children are sacrificed as well as those guilty of rebellion." They were not deliberately hanged, but burnt to death in villages - Volunteer hanging parties went into the districts and amateur executioners were not wanting to the occasion. One gentleman boasted of the numbers he had finished off quite "in an artistic manner," with mango trees as gibbets and elephants for drops, the victims of this wild justice being strung up, as though for pastime, in the form of figures of eight...British memorials of the Mutiny have been put up in Cawnpore and elsewhere. There is no memorial for the Indians who died...”—Jawaharlal Nehru.
Butcher of Amritsar
On the promise of democratic reforms after World War I (WW-I), India had massively contributed to the British war efforts in WW-I. India provided more soldiers than the combined contribution of all other colonies. Over a million Indians served/fought in the war. Despite chronic impoverishment, thanks to the British, India contributed about 100 million pounds to the war effort. Further 2.1 million pounds were raised by the princely states and people of India for war funds and charities. Debt burden on India was a massive 128 million pounds because of the war.
Despite the above huge economic and manpower contribution by poor India, and despite the solemn assurance the British had given, the deceitful, dishonest British reneged on the promise of democratic reforms, and instead came up with the draconian Rowlatt Act on 21 March 1919.
Mahatma Gandhi gave a call for peaceful protest against the above Act. In Punjab, two Congress leaders, Dr Satyapal and Dr Saif ud-Din Kitchlew, from Amritsar were arrested and deported. On the Baisakhi religious day of 13 April 1919 a large unarmed crowd gathered at the Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar to peacefully protest the arrest of the two leaders. And, what did the British beasts do?
Jallianwala Bagh was a large open space enclosed on three sides by high walls/buildings with only one narrow exit. Brigadier General Reginald Dyer, the military commander of Amritsar, surrounded the Bagh with his troops and armoured cars, closed off the exit and then ordered his soldiers to shoot into the crowd with their machine-guns and rifles, without giving the slightest warning to the peaceful crowd to disperse. The trapped crowd had nowhere to run or hide. Men, women and children ran helter-skelter, some jumping into the well to escape the volley of bullets. Dyer personally directed the firing towards the exits where the crowd was most dense; “the targets,” he declared, were “good”. General ordered the firing to continue until all ammunition the soldiers had brought with them was exhausted. He then ordered his men to leave the area, his ghastly deed done. Dyer forbade his soldiers to give any aid to the injured, and by ordering all Indians off the streets, prevented relatives or friends from bringing even a cup of water to the wounded who were piled up in the field. The massacre toll: 1,200 killed, and 3,600 wounded.
A reign of terror followed. Gen Dyer issued an order that Indians using the street should crawl on their bellies; if they tried to rise on all fours, they were struck by the butts of soldiers guns. He arrested many teachers and students and compelled them to present themselves daily for roll-calls, forcing many to walk sixteen miles a day. He had hundreds of citizens flogged in the public square. He built an open cage, unprotected from the sun, for the confinement of arrested persons; other prisoners he bound together with ropes, and kept in open trucks. He had lime poured upon the naked bodies of Sadhus, and had them exposed to the sun. He cut off the electric and water supplies from Indian houses.
The British did their best to suppress this news of barbaric orgy of military sadism, and managed to delay its spread.
Britain gave India a great judicial system, it is said, and that they treated people fairly. However, these are what the discerning Englishmen themselves commented:
“We, the English, ignorantly assumed that the ancient, long civilized people of India, were a race of barbarians who had never known what justice was until we came among them...The people of India possess an instinctive capacity for local self-government. It is by the reason of the British administration, only, that the popular authority of the village headman has been sapped, and the judicial power of the Panchayat, or Committee of Five has been subverted.”
These are extracts from the reports of the various daily newspapers of the British times:
“No man in this [India] country can knock an Englishman down without promptly being arrested and sent to jail. But an Englishman may knock a dozen Indians down and go scot-free... An Englishman kicks a sweeper, rupturing his spleen, which results in his death, and is ordered to pay a fine of 50 rupees with no imprisonment. Yet in another case, an Indian is sentenced to 20 years imprisonment for attempting to rape an Englishwoman, while in the same province an Englishman who gags and rapes a Hindu girl of 18 is acquitted, with no punishment at all... In November 1923, some British soldiers who had been out fox-hunting near the village of Lohagaon, in the vicinity of Poona, fell into an altercation with the villagers, when one of the villagers was shot dead by a soldier named Walker. The soldier was tried by the Sessions Court before European jurors and British judges and acquitted.”
Another extract on the web says:
Mr. K. C. Kelkar, President of the Poona City Municipality commented, “Such farces of trials of Europeans accused of crimes against Indians are not new among us. They date back to the times of Warren Hastings. The thing to be most regretted is that with such things taking place before their very eyes, there are persons who keep singing the praise of British justice.”
What did the “famed” British judicial system do to Reginald Edward Harry Dyer, the butcher of Amritsar, who massacred over a thousand and injured many more by ordering firing at an unarmed and peaceful crowd at Jallianwala Bagh in 1919, and who gave a “crawling order” whereby all Indians using a certain prominent street in Amritsar had to crawl 200 yards on all fours, lying flat on their bellies? Nothing! He was tried by the Hunter Commission, but got away without any punishment—he was only censured. As if that was not enough, upon his return to Britain, Dyer was felicitated by the British parliament, given an honourable discharge, a purse of 80,000 pounds and a bejewelled sword inscribed ‘Saviour of the Punjab’! In the film Gandhi of David Attenborough, the director shows the trial of Dyer to impress the audience the world over the grandness of the British judicial system; without revealing that Dyer received no punishment, and was rewarded back home!
You hear educated people talk appreciatively of the author Rudyard Kipling. But, what that character, without any conscience, had done? Claiming that Dyer (of Jallianwala massacre) was the man who had saved India, he had started a benefit fund for Dyer, raising over £26,000! A class of Indians is so shameless, slavish, and lacking in self-respect that it wanted to convert the house where Kipling lived in India into a museum!
Kipling used to take pleasure in heaping ridicule upon the Indian people by the use of contemptuous expressions such as “a lesser breed without the law”, “new-caught sullen people half devil and half child”. Professor Gilbert Murray had said about Kipling: “If ever it were my fate to put men in prison for the books they write, I should not like it, but I should know where to begin. I should first of all lock up my old friend, Rudyard Kipling, because in several stories he has used his great powers to stir up in the minds of hundreds of thousands of Englishmen a blind and savage contempt for the Bengali…”
Even Warren Hastings, the Governor General, despite his horrible, unpardonable offences in India, was ultimately acquitted by the British “Justice” System in 1795, after a trial that lasted seven years.
Mr. John Dickinson, in his book, “Government of India Under a Bureaucracy”:
“We, the English, ignorantly assumed that the ancient, long civilized people of India, were a race of barbarians who had never known what justice was until we came among them, and that the best thing we could do for them was to upset all their institutions as fast as we could, among them their judicial system, and give them instead a copy of our legal models at home...it would have been the grossest political empiricism for force it on a people so different from ourselves....and the reader may conceive the irreparable mischief it has done to India...”
British Hatred & Humiliation of Indians
Here are some samples of the British attitude.
Our TV and print media keeps referring to the area of Raisina Hill, Rajpath, and places around as Lutyens’ Delhi, after the British architect, Edwin Lutyens, and there have even been grand receptions for his descendents in Delhi from the President down; little realising that Lutyens had utter contempt for India and the Indians, and wrote very insultingly about them like: “...but the low intellect of the natives spoils much and I do not think it possible for the Indians and whites to mix freely and naturally... They [about an Indian minion] ought to be reduced to slavery and not given the rights of man and beaten like brute beasts and shot like man eaters...’
Dogs and Indians Not Allowed!
Sign-boards displaying “Dogs and Indians Not Allowed!” were put up on many clubs.
There were exclusive, well-taken-care-of railway carriages, retiring rooms, benches in parks, and so on that were reserved for the British, and to which the Indians were barred. Even people other than the British—German, Italians, Pole, Romanians, etc.—were allowed access, but the Indians, whose country it was—were barred!
William Archer wrote in 1914 about the famous Yacht Club of Bombay thus:
“No one of Indian birth except the servants, not even the Rajput princes or the Parsee millionaire may set foot across its threshold. It is the same with the Byculla Club; indeed, every club in India practically follows this model and makes itself a little England representing exactly the interests, the comforts and the vulgarities of an English Club.”
Railway carriages and waiting rooms meant for the Indians were deliberately totally neglected, with no facilities, and were allowed to get filthy and in a state of disrepair.
Hatred, Humiliation & Ill-treatment
Wrote Sir Thomas Munro in 1817:
“Foreign conquerors have treated the natives with violence, but none has treated them with so much scorn as we; none have stigmatized the whole people as unworthy of trust, as incapable of honesty, and as fit to be employed only where we cannot do without them. It seems not only ungenerous, but impolite to debase the character of a people fallen under our dominion.”
“I hate Indians (read Hindus). They are a beastly people with a beastly religion.”
– Winston Churchill
“In fact I was coming round a little to your view of the Indian or anyhow the Hindu character – that it is unaesthetic. One is starved by the absence of beauty. The only beautiful object I can see is something no Indian has made or touched...”
– EM Forster (1872 - 1970), an English novelist,
writing contemptuously about Indians to GL Dickenson in 1921.
writing contemptuously about Indians to GL Dickenson in 1921.
“The very thought of equality rankles in the Englishmen’s minds; the more intelligent, cultured or intellectual the Indians are the more they are disliked.”
– Sir Henry Cotton
Here are extracts from “The Blood Never Dried: A People’s History of the British Empire” by John Newsinger:
“The East India Company collected taxes by the use of torture. If you could not pay, they hung you up with your heads downward in the burning sun, lashed you, tortured you, tied scorpions to the breasts of your women, committed every atrocity and crime...
“...What did this torture involve? It ranged from rough manhandling through flogging and placing in the stocks and then on to more extreme measures: Searing with hot irons… dipping in wells and river till the victim is half suffocated… squeezing the testicles… putting pepper and red chillies in the eyes or introducing them into the private parts of men and women… prevention of sleep… nipping the flesh with pincers… suspension from the branches of a tree... imprisonment in a room used for storing lime...”
“...One last point is worth noting here: the extent to which everyday relations between the British and Indian subjects were characterized by abuse and violence. Servants were routinely abused as “niggers” and assaulted and beaten by their masters... Lord Elgin...described British feelings towards the Indians as consisting of ‘detestation, contempt, ferocity’. Their feelings were ones of ‘perfect indifference’, treating their servants ‘not as dogs because in that case one would whistle to them and pat them, but as machines with which one can have no communion or sympathy’. This indifference when combined with hatred produced ‘an absolute callousness...which must be witnessed to be understood and believed’. The war correspondent William Howard Russell witnessed a fellow Briton attacking with ‘a huge club’ a group of coolies for idling, leaving them maimed and bleeding. He thought murder might have been done had he not intervened to restrain the assault. Sometimes there was regret. One British officer confided to his diary how he had kicked and injured his servant: ‘I must never kick him or strike him anywhere again, except with a whip, which can hardly injure him.’
“This everyday abuse and violence continued until the end of the British Raj... What is remarkable is how little this regime of torture has figured in accounts of British rule in India... It is a hidden history that has been unremarked on and almost completely unexplored. Book after book remains silent on the subject. This most surely calls into question the whole historiography of the Raj.”
Sadly, even Indian historians have failed to do justice to the above after independence. Is more proof required of the (lack of) professional competence, honesty and integrity of our Nehruvian-Marxist-Socialist historians lording it out in the academe and research establishments?
Lording it Out
A handbook published in 1878 recommended twenty-seven servants for a well-to-do British family in Calcutta and fourteen for a bachelor.
Destructive British Policies
Divide & Rule
“The existence side by side of these (Hindu and Muslim) hostile creeds is one of the strong points in our political position in India. The better classes of Mohammedans are a source of strength and not weakness. They constitute a comparatively small but an energetic minority of the population whose political interests are identical with ours.”
– Sir John Stratchey,
the Finance Member of the Government of India in 1874.
the Finance Member of the Government of India in 1874.
The First War of Independence, 1857 was fought by the Hindu-Muslim combine against the British, hence post-1957 the British reorganised the British Indian army on caste and communal lines, and did all they could to draw a wedge between the two communities.
Anglo-Muslim alliance was forged through the M.A.O. College that later became the AMU—Aligarh Muslim University. The British actively helped and encouraged formation of All-India Muslim League in 1906 which, according to the diary of Lady Minto, “cut off sixty million Muslims from the seditious ranks of the Hindus”!
Lord Canning (1812 - 1862), Governor General of India from 1856 - 1862 and the first Viceroy in India:
“As we must rule 150 millions of people by a handful (more or less small) of Englishmen, let us do it in the manner best calculated to leave them divided (as in religion and national feeling they already are) and to inspire them with the greatest possible awe of our power and with the least possible suspicion of our motives.”
Winston Churchill did not favour co-operation and unity among different religions in India as that would have been “fundamentally injurious to the British interests.” He had said: “I am not at all attracted by the prospect of one united India, which will show us the door.” He had opined that promoting harmony between Hindus and Muslims was “to my mind distressing and repugnant in the last degree.”
Distortions of History
There has been little genuine work in Indian history after independence. No worthwhile books on Indian history come from the Indian academe. Those that have been authored by the so-called “reputed” or “eminent” Indian historians are generally insipid, superficial, wanting in serious research and lacking in insight. Going by the contents of their works, the use of the adjectives “great” or “outstanding” or “eminent” for them is highly inappropriate. The major source therefore continues to be foreign books and foreign writers—so sad!
Things have been so manipulated over the last two centuries that anything Indian has been shown in bad light, and anything English as something superior. And it has been so skilfully done that foreigners or English do not have to do it anymore, it is the Indians themselves who have become self-abusive, and appreciators of all things English or Western.
Part of the reason is that the economy did so badly under the Nehru-Gandhis and India became so pathetic that people felt there was something intrinsically deficient about India and the Indians. Rather than realising that the Indian misery was thanks to Nehru-Indira-Dynasty misgovernance and their poverty-perpetuating-but-vote-getting socialistic-claptrap, people began to blame India and the Indians themselves. Had India done well after independence, the impression would have been diametrically opposite.
If you have to exploit nations and subjugate its people on a long term basis—for decades and centuries—you can’t do it by brute force alone. You have to shake the confidence of people in themselves. You have to make them feel they are nothing—and that they were nothing—before the aggressors. To this end you have to rewrite and reinterpret their history, religion and culture to show how worthless it is in comparison to that of the exploiter. This is what the British politicians, bureaucrats, army-men, writers and historians did.
You say what you read, and are taught and told. Many books were written by the English and other foreigners like Max Mueller, a German, parts of which were either incorrect, on account of limited or deficient research, or deliberately biased and false to serve the imperial or the religious interest. In the absence of books depicting correct position, these books came to be read widely, and some of them became text-books too. You have been taught and told what the English and the Christians desired and manufactured to serve their interests. You came to believe it. So did others—people abroad in other countries also read these books. Down the generations all started believing the lies as truth.
Many Indian writers too based much of their contents on these books written by foreigners, rather than on new research. So, the writings of the Indian authors also started suffering from the same deficiencies.
After independence, one of the tasks should have been to provide all possible academic encouragement, financial help, incentives, ample opportunities, and rewarding career for collection and compilation of all available source materials, engaging in intensive research, and writing of history and social and economic life of India through the ages in as unbiased a manner as possible, pointing out of flaws and gaps and errors in the existing historical works, and supplementing them; and making available the new researched material and the corrected works in various forms: detailed, academic work, for further research; text-books for schools and colleges; books for general reading in an interesting form; and illustrated books for children. Historical fiction too should have been encouraged: we need quality books like that from Amitav Ghosh.
Rather than doing the above, the concerned establishments came to be dominated by the leftists, Nehruvians and self-seekers who vitiated all research and writings; and by babus, who bureaucratised the academics and ensured emasculation of the direction to what suited the ideas and the convenience of the Establishment. ICHR, NCERT and other government agencies supported and promoted only those who toed the ill-conceived official line, even if they were substandard as scholars. As a result, what we have been having are political hangers-on rather than capable scholars. They have made no significant contributions, yet they have survived because of their monopoly hold over the establishment. Several have engaged in even creative rewriting of history!
If the British came across something remarkable, which showed India far ahead of the West in the past, they “discovered” its link with the West. If there was something very distinguished about the Aryans, well, they came from the West—India was subject to Aryan invasion and so on. There have been many research-findings and writings to the contrary since, and yet that false impression is allowed to continue in India even today. Apart from further archaeological revelations, an inter-continental research in cellular molecular biology has debunked the Aryan invasion theory. Of course, there is no last word on such things, but there are good reasons to believe that both the so-called Aryans and the Dravidians belonged to India only, and did not come from outside. When that racist theory was propagated, there were many takers for it among the educated Indians themselves, for they felt it enhanced their status—they were not the wretched “natives”, their ancestors came from the West! Such was the level of inferiority complex, thanks to successful British propaganda!
Even Mahatma Gandhi, during his South African days, pleaded with the British authorities there that the Indians be treated on par with the British, and not like the native South Africans, for Indians too after all belonged to the superior race, the Aryans—from the West!
See the cunning of the British. They then propounded the theory of Aryans vs. the local Dravidians. Why? Several self-serving reasons. It helped create divisions—North vs. South—among Indians, vestiges of which are still there. It helped them show that if there was something superior about the Aryans, it was because they came from the West. It also helped them show that India had been ruled by different groups who came from the West. First, the Aryans, then the Muslims, and then the British. If British were foreigners then so too were Muslims and Aryans. So why crib about foreign rule, that is, their rule—especially, when they had come only to “civilise” the natives and do good for the country!
One can understand the purpose and the motivation of the British and other foreigners; but for Indians to talk like them—that’s grossly illiterate, slavish and strange!
Colonial scholars reinforced the missionary attack by spreading the lie that India was never one country, and that it was merely a miscellany of people settled in a geographical area. They “discovered” that it had always been under the rule of foreign invaders, and had never been independent. This is where the fabricated Aryan Invasion Theory came in handy—the so-called natives of India were themselves once foreigners, having come from Eurasia. Finding the rich cultural heritage of India and its unmatched language Sanskrit, the Europeans had to somehow attribute it not to the Indians, but to Europe as the source. Therefore, in typical Eurocentric arrogance, they postulated without a shred of evidence that the Aryans came from outside India. Principal among these “scholars” were Max Muller and Monier-Williams, both dogmatic Christians and missionary supporters, committed to Proselytization by denigrating India's cultural heritage. The future native pupils faithfully swallowed the concocted bunkum and even outdid their teachers!
Wrote Max Muller:
“This edition of mine and the translation of the Veda will hereafter tell to a great extent... the fate of India, and on the growth of millions of souls in that country. It is the root of their religion, and to show them what the root is, I feel sure, the only way of uprooting all that has sprung from it during the last 3000 years.”
Sir W. M. Williams, a Sanskritist with great missionary sympathies had this to say:
“When the walls of the mighty fortress of Brahminism are encircled, undermined and finally stormed by the soldiers of the Cross, the victory of Christianity must be signal and complete.”
“Whatever misfortunes come on us as long as our empire in India continues, so long let us not forget that our chief work is the propagation of Christianity in the land. Until Hindustan from Cape Comorin to the Himalayas embrace the religion of Christ and until it condemns the Hindu and Muslim religions, our efforts must continue persistently.”
Wrote Paul William Roberts:
“Conversion has largely failed in India because Christianity offers nothing that is not already available somewhere in the many forms of Hinduism. Hinduism never rejected the teachings of Jesus. Those who have converted either agreed with a gun pressed at their skulls as in Goa, or because it provided an escape from caste tyranny, as well as a guaranteed professional advancement. Through its Vedic legacy, Hinduism respects all faiths. It clearly states that God is one, but has many forms. The Christian message must sound preposterous: that God is indeed one, but has only one recognized form, his son. The ‘savages’ of India were sophisticated—so sophisticated that the imperialist mixture of church and state in Europe could not grasp such sophistication...The sheer power of Hinduism terrified the Christian soldiers.”
“Our whole British talk about being ‘trustees of India’ and coming out to ‘serve’ her, about bearing the ‘white man's burden’ about ruling India ‘for her good’ and all the rest, is the biggest hypocrisy on God's earth.”
– Rev. C. F. Andrews, missionary and professor.
Roots of Corruption
– Thanks to the British
With no proper historical education imparted, thanks to our deficient writing of history text-books, there are ignoramuses who, lamenting the current corruption in India, talk of how things have degenerated after the British left!
They are not aware that it were the British who imported large scale corruption into India. The British East India Company [EIC], their employees, bureaucrats, army-men, ICS personnel did not come to India for charity. From their angle, it was a relatively difficult environment, with hot weather conditions. They came here to make as much money in as short a time as possible, and then live happily thereafter back in Britain. They lost no opportunity to make money. They also acted very cruelly. EIC, and later the British government, wanted to extract as much revenue from India as possible. The main occupation of the people being agriculture, that was the main source of revenue. They levied back-breaking revenues and extracted it even during famines by any means possible. That’s what they were getting paid for. Which is why the ICS guys were called collectors—collectors of revenue, rather extractors of revenue. In pursuit of higher and higher revenues, they changed the established systems and wrecked the Indian agriculture and the Indian economy.
Yet, thanks to misinformation, not rectified even by independent India, the rogues are recalled with respect and admiration.
Robert Clive’s salary when he came to India in 1744 was £5 per year, and an additional allowance of £3 per year, a total of £8 per year. However, he returned to England in 1760 with a huge fortune: £2,34,000 plus £27,000 per year for life from rental income from what was called Clive’s Jagir, a piece of land in Calcutta. If we assume modest living for Clive at the start of his career in India, he must be getting at least Rs.20,000 per month by today’s standards, that is, Rs.2,40,000 a year. That means, the £8 a year that he was getting was at least equivalent to Rs.2,40,000 a year now. He, therefore, returned to England with a fortune of £2,34,000, that is, (£2,34,000/£8)*Rs.2,40,000, which is Rs7,020,000,000, that is Rs.7.02 billion, that is, Rs.702 crores! Plus Rs.81 crores as annual rental per year!! He was again in India between 1764 and 1767. Upon his return, corruption charges were brought against him. Defending himself, he actually pleaded to the effect as to how much less he had looted compared to the opportunities he had: “...I walked through vaults which were thrown open to me alone, piled on either hand with gold and jewels! By God, Mr. Chairman, at this moment I stand astonished at my own moderation!” Clive is a shining example for our corrupt politicians and bureaucrats of today.
Warren Hastings, the Governor-General of India between 1788 and 1795 was impeached for mismanagement and personal corruption. Edmund Burke, author, statesman, political theorist and philosopher, said this about him: “...Warren Hasting has committed high crimes and misdemeanours in India. He has taken advantage as his position of governor to extort bribes from native rulers...”
“Under their dependence upon the British Government...the people of Oudh and Karnatic, two of the noblest provinces of India, were, by misgovernment, plunged into a state of wretchedness with which ...hardly any part of the earth has anything to compare.”
– James Mill, historian.
“The fundamental principle of the English has been to make the whole Indian nation subservient, in every possible way, to the interests and benefits of themselves. They have been taxed to the utmost limit; every successive province, as it has fallen into our possession, has been made a field for higher exaction; and it has always been our boast how greatly we have raised the revenue above that which the native rulers were able to extort. The Indians have been excluded from every honour, dignity or office which the lowest Englishman could be prevailed upon to accept.”
– F J Shore, British administrator in Bengal.
“It is the commonest thing to see Indian scholars and officials, of confessedly high ability, of very fine training, and of long experience, serving under young Englishmen who in England would not be thought fit to fill a government or a business position above the second or third class.
– an American missionary.
“Eminent Hindu physicians and surgeons are compelled to spend the best years of their lives in subordinate positions as ‘assistant’ surgeons, while raw and callow youths lord it over them and draw four to five times their pay.”
– Ramachandra Chaterjee.
Author Dr. V. H. Rutherford had stated that the British misgovernance was “one of the chief causes of India’s poverty... British Government in India is efficient only on behalf of British interests, only in carrying on the government and managing the affairs of the country for the benefit of Great Britain.” He had cited the Government’s neglect of education of masses; neglect of sanitation and medical services in the villages; neglect to keep order; neglect of housing of the poor; neglect to provide agricultural banks; comparative neglect to improve and develop agriculture; neglect to foster Indian industries; neglect to protect British profiteers from capturing the tramways, electric lighting and other public services; and neglect to prevent the manipulation of Indian currency in the interests of London. He had stated that the British rule as was carried on in India was the lowest and most immoral system of government in the world...”
“Discovery of India”
Thanks to British
It is pointed out that look, Indians were so backward they didn’t maintain any history or records. Whatever has been “discovered” about India, it is thanks to the British!
If indeed that was so, how come Nalanda library reportedly burned for six months after it was set ablaze by the Turkic Muslim invaders under Bakhtiyar Khilji in 1193—what burned there were thousands of precious books. The invaders destroyed India’s inheritance and books. A few books that remained were what individuals could preserve with them.
If indeed people have an iota of analytical ability and rationality they would appreciate that India remained a conquered nation and a hostage to foreign aggressors for about a millennium, and that slavery ended only about six decades back with the departure of the British. During that millennium not only was India’s wealth looted, its economy shattered, its people impoverished, its cultural and religious symbols and temples destroyed, but its wealth of knowledge and its books were also destroyed.
Old historical records could not have been protected and preserved, and new ones during the last millennium could not have been written and maintained, because Indians were not in control. It requires finance, peace and independence to do the job—none of which was there.
To understand this, take Sri Lanka. It has one of the longest documented histories of over 3000 years, thanks to the Buddhists who recorded it in Mahavansa and Dipavamsa. Buddhists went to Sri Lanka from India only. You think they would not have maintained all the records in India? Only, it got destroyed with the burning of Nalanda and other places by the aggressors. And, Buddhists emerged from the Hindu stock, who too maintained records and wrote great books.
It is just that using the power they wielded and the large finance that they had at their command—looted from India only—that the British “researchers” could command services of the many knowledgeable Indians and appropriate all the credit for the “discoveries”—as if what they “discovered” was not known to many Indians.
Here is what Patrick French wrote in his review of Charles Allen’s book, in the Hindustan Times of 21 April 2012:
“From the middle of the 18th century, the East India Company controlled most of the subcontinent—by force... Early Buddhist statues were thrown into a river to make a breakwater, pillars were pulverised by military engineers, carved stone slabs burnt for lime and ancient inscriptions cracked out by glory-hunting, hammer-wielding colonial officers. A handful of Europeans preferred to study these objects rather than destroy them. Although Indians were central to the process of discovery, they were excluded from even the most basic recognition... When the British first came to India, countless indigenous priests and scholars read Sanskrit. Along comes ‘amiable, gentlemanly and well connected Dr Wilson’—and our author labels him ‘the leading Sanskritist of the age’. If a European collects old scriptures, he is judged to be pursuing ‘a quite breathtaking range of intellectual pursuits’. When an Indian academic is mentioned, he is dismissed as a ‘native clerk’... Since important positions were open only to Europeans, the ‘clerks’ would often find newly-arrived white men in their 20s taking credit for many years of their own research... The colonial Orientalists were often monomaniacs, obsessed with trying to prove links between Indian culture and ancient Greece—stemming from the assumption that anything important in the subcontinent must have come from the West rather than from the East. As they gradually pieced together a more accurate historical account, they depended on finding documents that had never really gone missing: it was rather that the sources had never been made available in translation in an accessible language.”
While Nehruvian revisionists keep painting their distorted picture, here is what a foreigner, Peter Watson, writes in Ideas: A History from Fire to Freud:
“In the year AD 499 the Hindu mathematician Aryabhata calculated pi as 3.1416 and the length of the solar year as 365.358 days. At much the same time he conceived the idea that the earth was a sphere spinning on its own axis and revolving around the sun. He thought that the shadows of the earth falling on the moon caused eclipses. One wonders what all the fuss was about when Copernicus ‘discovered’ some of the above nearly a thousand years later. Indian thought in the Middle Ages was in several areas far ahead of European ideas. Buddhist monasteries in the India of the time were so well endowed that they acted as banks, investing surplus funds in commercial enterprises. Such details as these explain why historians refer to the reunification of north India under the Guptas (c. 320-550) as a golden era. Their dynasty, combined with that of Harsha Vardhana (606-647), comprises what is now regarded as India’s classical age. Besides the advancement of mathematics, it saw the emergence of Sanskrit literature...”
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Part of the above extracts from
“Reinforcing the Foundations of Misery, Part-II : India after Nehru"
“Reinforcing the Foundations of Misery, Part-II : India after Nehru"
by Rajnikant Puranik.
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