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Being Indian – 4 : The Ultimate Triumph Of The West

Published July 23, 2015 by vishalvkale

This is the 4th article in the Being Indian Series : carrying on from the previous one – Being Indian – 3 : The 1000 Year Slavery, where I examined our so-called slavery of a 1000 years.
The impact of Colonialism on the psyche of a people and a society is a tale that needs to be told, highlighted so that firstly, healing can start; and secondly, harmful and at times divisive ideas and ideologies can be nipped in the bud. The rising feeling of a so-called ‘Hindu’ resurgence /  freedom for 1000 years of slavery / rising sectarianism / other factors, has its roots in the colonial experience, the true extent of which is not known to Indians even in the modern day; if they do know, the realization of its import is sadly absent, as shown by current events.

The assumption, gaining popular ground increasingly in a currently niche segment of our population, that we have been slaves for a 1000 years, is sadly not based on facts; this is a telling failure of our education system, which has done an admittedly laudable job of not feeding hatred against anyone; the unfortunate result of this has been an incomplete understanding of our history, particularly the history of the British rule. Further, the education system has also not been able to keep track of the socio-political changes that are being wrought  by the rise of various forces. But that is another story, to be taken up in another series. Let us leave this thought here for the time being.

Before we move into Colonialism, let us ask ourselves one question: was so-called Muslim rule, or were the Muslim dynasties really as harmful as the British? Second, why did the Muslim rulers gain a footage in this land? What did they cart away, and what did they give back to society? And what is the comparison with the British period? The hard reality is that for most of our history, it has always been the internal traitor – who was like as not a “Hindu”, who was also responsible somewhere along the line! Remember Jaichand? Hasn’t it always been our penchant to call the outsider? Furthermore, we were always divided as a people – can we run away from that? Why did we not wake up and build defences – it took 17 attacks by one particular Gentleman from the Middle East to awaken us – ­­several hundred years later? Even after innumerable attacks – Greeks, Huns, etc : we were still asleep and mindless of our own vulnerability? What were we doing all these years? Sleeping?

Not only that, Muslim rule was built upon alliances and relationships with Non-Muslim rulers as well; and large tracts of India were consistently out of Muslim yoke. I am not denying the excesses that took place; I am only saying while acknowledging the excesses, also acknowledge that good that happened; that will put the entire matter in the proper perspective. In the case of The British period, we are quick to point out the good  – democracy, unity, railways, administration etc, without conceding the bad, or analyzing the extent of the good and the bad, and the intent behind the good. By contrast, nothing good apparently happened in Muslim ruled areas, if you believe some people. Is that a fair assessment?

It is a known historical fact that in the lead-up to British rule, our international trade relationships were strong; be it spices, or be it textiles. In fact, Shivaji Maharaj actually started building a strong navy for the express purpose of defending traders from British and European piracy on the high seas. Keep in mind that the British came to India for trade, or to put it more accurately, under the guise of trade. We were known exporters with a large share of world trade and GDP; these profits from this trade stayed within India, and were not drained out to alien lands.

There was no attempt to play with the socio-cultural fabric of the society; which, given the collusion of Islamic rules with local chieftains, kings and nobility, was a given. Politically there were issues, true; there were instances of persecution, and sad happenings like Jizyaa tax, and the sporadic odd ruler who was a fanatic, like Aurangzeb. Granted. But the people were, by and large, much better off under the previous political setup than in the later British period. And that is the key to the matter! Local industries thrived; agriculture was productive, and taxation which varied from mild to slightly excessive, was not even a patch on that exploitation under British rule. There was no attempt to divide the people, or to create religious and caste tensions.

But what happened in British rule? The Bengal experience and example shows in vivid detail the pillage that occurred in economic terms, leading to a massive famine, and the ruin of a once-rich land to a condition of penury. A land where famine was sporadic, now was jolted by famine after famine every few years, as documented history tells. An estimated 40-60 Million Indians are supposed to have died due to famines alone.  These weren’t just Hindus – they were Indians of all castes, religions. Taxation increased to  50-80% of the produce; farmers were not free to grow what they wanted- cropping changes were forced; these are just 2 examples of the interference that happened. This did not happen during Muslim rule, and that is a fact.

Local Industries were destroyed; business profits plunged to a fraction of the old within a few years of the onset of British rule; weavers – for example – reduced to beggars, creating the begging problem in a land where no beggars were known on so wide a scale; landless labour class expanded dramatically as profits from agriculture dipped, creating a massive nationwide class of landless labour; Zamindari strengthened through direct intervention; industry after industry collapsed, as the inverted duty structures made imports cheaper than home-grown products for the first time in our history; new technology inflow reduced to zero; education losing steam and focus…

Next came the interventions in Religion, and the targeted conversions that started to happen on a scale not seen before – targeting all religions; and on top of all this, was the denigration and destruction of the local arts and culture scene, with Indian habits, cultural occasions and arts being targeted and derided; the advent of cultural imperialism, and the way it interrupted the development of our arts and culture; the way an ugly combination of livelihood dependency on knowledge of the English Language, and constant debasement of everything Indian by the British became associated in the minds of the people with western superiority, giving rise to a  plethora of modern issues…

But worst of all was the destruction of the socio-political fabric of this lovely nation, a fabric that had ensured its continued dominance and survival for millennia, despite its many faults and flaws. This is to be taken up in the concluding 5th part of the Being Indian Series, so let us leave this thought here. Point to be noted here is that in Trade, Industry, Arts, Culture, Economics, Religion – in just about each and every sphere of societal and political mileu in India, it is the British Rule which stands out as being the most harmful and divisive in our long history.

No period of our history has had as many tragic stories happening simultaneously on so large a scale, as under British Rule. The period prior to British rule, while not without its issues and problems, was a period of relative prosperity and growth, the many problems notwithstanding. Merchant guilds, industries, factories, agriculture scenario, trade routes and nationwide trade networks were all vital and strong just prior to the British, that is  a fact. By contrast, under British rule, wealth- which previously stayed within India, not started going out of India…



This was both through sanctioned as well as unofficial loot. Unbelievably high taxation, paying for the enite edifice of colonialism alongwith its massive perks and high expenses through internal money, the repatriation of around a full 50% of the annual budget to England; the taxation outflows, with Indian goods taxed at 80% and imports at 20%, unpaid war debts, which were as high as 40% approximately of total British war debts {as per some estimates}; complete destruction of both agriculture as well as industry as viable professions for Indians; destructions of trade routes and networks are all of British origin, and none from so-called Muslim rule.

Add to this the slaughter : the genocide of 1857, the innumerable famines, the brutal suppression of uprisings and freedom movements across India – and you have a tale of disaster that is unparalleled anywhere. The British denuded us of our wealth, and built their own developed World on our money; not only that, they also got us to believe in our own inferiority in military, economic as well as cultural terms; this was not present earlier. This is the true victory of the British Empire : getting the strongest, most resilient and innovative people on the planet to believe they are backward, decadent, weak and defenseless, and that Western culture is superior. This continuing belief in the superiority of Western Culture is the ultimate and lasting triumph of The British Raj, alongside the absolute, complete and total success of the policy of divide and rule, getting brother to question brother, getting us to question our selves, rather than our rapists…

        
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The Great West, and Its Great Legacy…

Published September 28, 2014 by vishalvkale


The Great West… The land of development, equality and the abundance of opportunity; in the eyes of some, the land of fairness and openness, the land of open markets and free trade, the land where dreams come true, and the land which defends world peace and comes to the aid of the downtrodden. This is  the land consisting of nations that try to take the message of democracy and free trade to the rest of the planet, carrying a message of peace, rule of the law and equality of people everywhere

This is the impression, most, or perhaps all of which are shared by most people in this Great Land, judging from the limited interactions I have had with people from those lands, their news reports and analyses, and an analysis of their policies over a long period of time.  Let us not get specific as to countries and nations, and restrict ourselves to the dream, the land called The Great West.

We are currently, as a nation and as a people, in the midst of unprecedented tumult in our immediate west {geographically speaking; as different from the Metaphorical noun The Great West} – stretching from Pakistan right upto the Middle East, with the emergence of shocking brutality and a blitzkrieg-like advance of the forces of the IS. We have been reading of the resolve of The Great West {as different from geographical west, which specifically refers to Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, Syria,, Jordan etc with reference to India} to stamp out these forces, and of the commitment to peace and stability the world over. 

This brings me to a simple thought : how did this come to pass? How and why did these human beings rise to so much hate, and had to resort to such unforgivable brutality and bloodshed? What was the causative factor behind the rise, rise and rise of these jihadists, and the entire terror machinery? War is a costly affair, and high-tech weapons are not exactly available in the nearby supermarket. Where are these fighters getting their funds from? And where are they getting their weapons from? How did they originate? What were the factors that lead to the current situation?

The answer to most of these questions  lies outside the scope of this blog; and is a specialised subject. Having said that, I have not read anyone in any Media even trying to answer these questions. It is only in Indian writings  {and a couple of Western Books, to be honest} that these questions answers’ have been attempted. But there is a vast difference between public knowledge, popular Media and specialised, esoteric books on the topic. It is only in Indian Media that this  has been stripped nude, and the reality laid bare in the history behind the creation of the Frankenstien Monster that is the current situation

Be it diplomatic staff {I have carried a reference to an interview earlier on my blog as well}, or general populace all seem to be in denial in The Great West,  at least as far as my readings go. Whereas, in India, writers from both fiction {Mukul Deva, for ex} and non-fiction {MJ Akbar, for example} have dealt with this {or parts thereof} in detail. Normal news articles etc are also present regularly in mainstream media that testify to the fact that we Indians are only too aware of the role of The Great West in the creation of this monster. 

It is known that it required 9/11 for The Great West to wake up from its slumber. As I argue in my article Terror : The Guilty And The Innnocent, “You can call these guys Jihadists, or Extremists, or Terrorists – or whatever else passes your fancy. You can now label them as an international threat, a threat to world peace, and what-not. You can now pass judgement on them, and plan their extermination and defeat – now that they are threatening you. You can now call yourselves as fighting against terror, now that the terror has come to hit your nations – I am referring to the USA and any other nations that helped these terrorists in the early days. “. Collectively, I  refer to these nations as The Great West… 

The question is their origin : and no one can deny that is the penchant of The Great West for interference in other nations that lies at the root of this problem. In nation after nation, arms were sent in to disaffected elements, fomenting rebellion and unleashing factors that caused deep socio-cultural torment and wrought destructive change in their societies. In some cases, like Pakistan, arms were sent in to train Jihadists to fight foreign enemies of The Great West – I mean Russia – with the same results as above. 

As I mentioned in my previous article as well, undeniable proof exists. This is a message and a point that bears repetition : “In 1985, at a White House ceremony in honour of several Afghan mujahideen — the jihadists out of which al-Qaeda evolved — President Ronald Reagan declared, “These gentlemen are the moral equivalent of America’s Founding Fathers.” Earlier in 1982, Reagan dedicated the space shuttle ‘Columbia’ to the Afghan resistance. He declared, “Just as the Columbia, we think, represents man’s finest aspirations in the field of science and technology, so too does the struggle of the Afghan people represent man’s highest aspirations for freedom. I am dedicating, on behalf of the American people, the March 22 launch of the Columbia to the people of Afghanistan.”


Now take a look at this shocking data sheet from India : Annual Casualities


Reproduced here : 


Incidents
Civilians
Security Force Personnel
Terrorists
Total
1988
390
29
1
1
31
1989
2154
79
13
0
92
1990
3905
862
132
183
1177
1991
3122
594
185
614
1393
1992
4971
859
177
873
1909
1993
4457
1023
216
1328
2567
1994
4484
1012
236
1651
2899
1995
4479
1161
297
1338
2796
1996
4224
1333
376
1194
2903
1997
3004
840
355
1177
2372
1998
2993
877
339
1045
2261
1999
2938
799
555
1184
2538
2000
2835
842
638
1808
3288
2001
3278
1067
590
2850
4507
2002
NA
839
469
1714
3022
2003
NA
658
338
1546
2542
2004
NA
534
325
951
1810
2005
NA
521
218
1000
1739
2006
NA
349
168
599
1116
2007
NA
164
121
492
777
2008
NA
69
90
382
541
2009
NA
55
78
242
375
2010
NA
36
69
270
375
2011
NA
34
30
119
183
2012
NA
16
17
84
117
2013
NA
20
61
100
181
2014
NA
14
29
77
120
Total*
47234
14686
6123
22822
43631


The timeline is pretty damning, when you put the 2 together {the US interference in Afghanistan, and the rise in casualty rates}. We kept informing everyone of this duplicity, but no one was interested in listening to us; the focus was on a purely imaginary Russian threat, leading to disaster for us. 

So tell me, The Great West, answer a few of my questions – the questions of an Indian : 

  • Who asked you westerners to interfere? 
  • Who asked you westerners to butt your nose where it does not belong? 
  • Who asked you westerners to send arms into a tinderbox, ensuring eventual explosion? 
  • Who asked you westerners to fan the flames of Jihad that are now consuming the world? 
  • Who asked you westerners to help when there is a multilateral body such as the now-toothless and laughing stock of the developing world, The United States Nations Organisation {UNO}? 
  • Who gave you westerners the bloody right to send in arms to diverse areas across the world, and wreck havoc in the developing world? 
  • Who gave you westerners the bloody right to interfere in international affairs, and poke your western nose where it does not belong? 
  • Who gave you westerners the bloody right to fuel secessionist movements and Jihadi movements across world, leading to untold bloodshed in those lands, while you continue to sleep soundly in your fluffy bed? 
  • Who gave you westerners the right to fuel so-called democracy in far-flung peoples, leading to genocide, bloodshed, and total destruction? 
  • Who gave you westerners the right to interfere, when you do not have even the faintest conceptualisation of how your near-criminal interference is leading to socio-cultural churn in these target nations, unleashing destructive forces as a direct consequence of your intervention? 
  • And most critically, why cry peace now that the bloodshed has reached your western lands? 


You westerners have been the indirect {some would say direct} cause of wanton destruction and bloodshed in the entire world; so now enjoy the fruits of your labour! Sad to state, but the Frankenstein you westerners created and unleashed has grown so huge, that it is now not possible to contain it any longer without further bloodshed. 

    It is a known fact that funds and arms were diverted to foment trouble in Kashmir by Pakistan; the entire world was silent. The current crisis started years ago when the USA decided that Communism was its greates existential threat, and sent in its CIA to train ISI, who then together blundered into Afghanistan. They decided to train Afghanistani people and arm them against Russia. 

    In fact, more than a few westerners still argue for Pakistan, seeing it as an ally against terror, despite persuasive evidence of the reverse being present. At that time, no one was listening to us… problem is, no one is listening to us even today, when The Great West continues to  see Pakistan as an ally rather than the problem…

    Answer these questions, please… Just dont ask India to get into the act; we have not done even one thing mentioned above; maintained equidistance, and we are the ONLY land which is a relative peace while the rest of the Islamic World self-destructs. despite have more than 145 Million Muslim Citizens. We did the right steps, and got our deserved reward : peace. You westerners can now enjoy the fun of the Dessert that is the result of your intervention. Go right ahead. Have fun. We dont want any part of it. 

    Blunt : I cant see what The Great West has to be so proud of; so stop being so bloody condescending to us Indians, will you? Remember, what goes around, comes around. You show contempt, you beget contempt. Currently I am among the few Indians who treat The West with total contempt, disdain, an ill-disguised superiority complex {I am now getting increasingly certain we are better} and condescension. 


    With time, the number of people like me will increase exponentially. Think a little… but more of that in the second part…