Indpendence Struggle

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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…

        

Casteism – A Fresh and Objective Analysis

Published March 9, 2015 by vishalvkale

This is an analysis of casteism that seeks to challenge both narratives in vogue – one, that it is centuries old, and the other that it is recent. The reality, in my opinion, has to be different; what follows is my opinion based on my extensive reading on a variety of topics. Further, at no point is it my contention that the current system of casteism is defensible – it isn’t; it is an insult to humanity. And at no point is it my intention that people did not suffer; they did…

 THE BEGINNING

The ancient system was the Varnic system, which is completely different from casteism; varnas where the result of deeds, not vice-versa. Then came the commercial and political structures stated below, which existed for 1500 years minimum, leading to internal marriages, and the evolution of distinct identities due to a common gene pool caused by intermarriage. 

At this point and for some time afterwards, there was no hint of casteism. The slow degeneration started in only the 2nd millennium, with the rapid socio-political changes that shook India. This was added to by inbreeding, hereditary vocations, and increasing difficulty in moving outside your vocation. The literary record bears proof that earlier, it was possible for a shift; the same record also faithfully records increasing hardline tendencies over time, over a period of millennia. 

The caste system is, in some ways, also misunderstood and mixed up with the commercial and vocational guilds that were common across ancient India. This was a linked network of commercial interests based on cultural contacts, wherein it made sense to be culturally tied due to economic sense. A study of everything from commerce to financing of wars by merchants brings that out in detail, irrefutably. 

The landless labour did not exist before the British; that is a known fact. Commercial, busines guilds, work environment of the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries have been extensively documented that bear mute testimony to the truth. The caste system hardened into its current shape in the 19th century. EIC school records of the Indian system of education clearly show a caste-neutral participation among students, with all castes being equally represented.


AN ECONOMIC CRITIQUE

A rudimentary mental math is enough to take raise some serious questions on the casteism myth, and that large populations were oppressed, at least in economic terms :  

Fact 1 : 121 Million Agricultural Land Holdings, NSS 2005 survey. 

Fact 2 : Between 65-75% of India is Backward + OBC + SC etc castes as per various current surveys. 

Fact 3 : Creation of Landless Labour – Dadabhai Naoroji, RC Dutt 1906, Durant 1930, Habib 2012 and others, tracing fall in productivity {earlier among the highest on the planet} indigo, non-payment of dues; rise in taxes to 50-80% of produce; destruction of primary secondary and tertiary markets; Institutionalisation and hardening of Ryotwari and Zamindary from its old form to the British form 

Fact 4 : Creation of jobless class, through closure of industrial units {we had every known manufacture in India, Fact}, leading to vast swathes of jobless skilled labourers 1800 – 1840 Habib et al 

Fact 5 : existence of commercial guilds and hereditary vocations spanning thousands of years, Romila Thapar 2005 {approx} et al; {Habib 2012}


Fact 6 : Destruction of sea trade routes through piracy by the English; loss of land trade routes due to political forces 1600-1700, leading to Merchant shipping, trade and commernce losses, losses to weavers and rural traders {Tope 2012 and others} 

121 Million, family size assumed 4 = nearly 500 Million agriculture-focussed population. Add the transient landless labour. {you can access MNREGA records for this} {Reality check current employment in agriculture @ 55-60% basis various economic data.} Now compare with data of backward castes in India; that makes around 45%. Backward : 41%, SC : approx 20%, others : 8% in one survey, which I regard as conservative. 


Put the two together. Reality stares at you. Most of the backward classes have to be in Agriculture currently {If 70% of the population is SC-ST-OBC, and 60% of population is in agriculture, the inference is straightforward}, although they are now spread across the land of India. The historical data clearly shows vitality of artisans, traders and agricultural classes, and their earnings. While it is true that by the turn of 14th-18thcenturies, they would not have found it easy to move away from agriculture; they were earning and were better off than the current situation. 

The data, when you look at it from an economic critique, doesnt add up and support the hypotheses of centuries of oppression of the vast  majority of the population. It shows a people who were well-off, and not oppressed. Extensive economic and industrial data is available. The people were well off, both relatively speaking as well as on an absolute scale. True – it was exceptionally hard to break into an occupation from outside, and it worked both ways, but that does not mean they were hand-to-mouth. Further, it was increasingly also exceptionally hard to change vocations as socio-political changes rocked India in its long history – which was the biggest problem.

You cant have a fire without there being combustible material; same applies here. The Raj exploited existing faultlines and resulted in their becoming deeply entrenched. Genetic evidence states that inbreeding among castes is not a recent phenomenon, and has a founder event going back centuries – which is the most oft-quoted argument against my presentation above. 

The earlier casteism was softer, and did not acquire its present shape then. It was entrenched in a system of hereditary vocations, with relevant skills for each vocation being passed from generation to generation. This built deep intra-caste relationships and inter-caste dependencies, based not on oppression but on a workable and eminently but brutally efficient methodology, that rivals and beats any and every modern system with a modicum of ease. 

Sadly, over time, it meant that the system became unfair to the lowermost sections of society, who would have found it hard to grow beyond their vocations. It also meant that you had to toe the lines set by societal norms. Did this stifle innovation and entrench roodhivaad or rote? That is a tantalizing thought – it tallies perfectly with our fall in scientific knowledge from the second half of the second millennium. It also gives us a more precise timeline for the problem…

This is what ensured India’s dominance for close on 9000 years – it built a system that was extraordinarily hard for anyone to break into. The proof of this is the presence of guilds that existed for centuries {Thapar, 2004/05 – will need to check precise year of her book}. Another proof comes in the writings of Sujan Rai from 1689 or 1696, who has described a flawless system of cash transfers that puts our modern IT hot-shots and western / eastern management geniuses to shame. {Habib, 2012} \


Blunt, Frank and Straight : The West or The Modern East has yet to design any system or theory or strategy that can rival this in terms of cost efficiency, effectiveness & perfection. It was exceptional, and impossible for an outsider to crack into. Evidence of this can still be seen in Modern India – with each vocation being dominated by a specific set of people.

It was this system that created the conditions for disaster, but that is not fully relevant here. What is relevant is that there was differentiation that was systemically entrenched, while not strictly oppressive. Adding slow fuel to the fire was the increasing gap between the wealthy and the others. The financing of 1857 was bankrolled by Merchants across India {Tope 2012}. This gives us a hint to both the power structure, as well as the gap in earnings. While this was between 1845-1854 {yes, the war was planned for years}, the existence of such a set of dependencies tell us that this was not a recent phenomenon. 

While people were well off {extrapolated from Habib 2012}, it is a foregone conclusion that this earnings gap would have led to a rising feeling of discontent with the existing order. The proof of this is the simple fact that what was looted from India was massive… it would not be an exaggeration to state today that every single brick in the USA and the UK has been funded by India, especially if you calculate NPV of the proceeds of the loot. I did in a rudimentary fashion… at 8% it calculates to 473 Trillion Dollars just from available numbers of a few years. {Numbers sourced from Mukherjee-2011, RC Dutt-1906, Durant-1930} 

{This calculation cannot be definitive, of course – available inflationary trends fluctuate wildly from 2-17% for the period; and it is in addition hard to calculate over such a long period – but we cannot forget that the looted money was used to build the same facilities and amenities that people now enjoy in The West, esp USA – UK.} 


What is relevant is that this tells us the difference between the everyday person and the leaders. That is one. Two, the increasingly entrenched specialisation was good for every layer of society- but the menial labour at the bottom, while not oppressed, would have found it hard to get into specialised vocations, agriculture apart. {In percentage terms, it stands to reason that they cant have been 70% of population; but again – that is no defence. 1 or 1million, differential treatment is differential treatment} 


Agriculture also slowly, over time, developed into a super-specialised vocation, creating its own ecosystem of interdependencies. This created a system that was exceptionally resilient, and hard – with each layer hopelessly intertwined with the others, creating a system of interdependencies that was virtually unassailable – while also having the potential to collapse with the right crack. 

The collapse of the prevalent socio-economic structure {Habib, Dutt, Naoroji, Tope, Mukherjee, Verma, Misra, Mishra} caused the entire system to come apart…  That is why I presented the modern scenario in agriculture to drive home the point that the current hyper-one-sided narrative of centuries of oppression that is so prevalent in The West is nonsense. Add to this the Raj tactics, which led to people trying to curry favour for benefits, leading to a stampede into social disaster – as, for the first time, it was a political intervention that was strengthening the already present fault-lines, and deepening them.  

The proof is again provided by Tope-2012, in endnotes and annotations – school enrollment was caste neutral, meaning there was no rigidity in attending school or inequality in the sense of the late 19th century. These numbers were from the 18th century, and provide an irrefutable rebuttal to the centuries of oppression theory.

To summarise, there were internal issues and faultlines in our societal structure, which did not change fast enough. In the altered political atmosphere of The Raj, these were brought to the fore very quickly, and became entrenched. 

I have tried to present a rational and objective critique based on solid evidence spanning economic, social as well as psychological factors; hope this makes sense. I may of course be wrong; that I readily admit. But this is the point at which my study is as of now. References provided in brackets, but not limited to these; there are other books as well, like Maria Misra’s work, or Pavan Verma or others which also gave me clues…  This is a continuing study for me, for frankly, no modern theory makes sense or explains all questions. Not to my mind. 

Our Forgotten Freedom Fighters : Do We Really Care?

Published September 13, 2014 by vishalvkale

Our Forgotten Freedom Fighters
Do We Really Care?

Place : Nagpur
Location : Zenda Chowk, Mahaal

I was visiting a prospective business partner in the Central Indian city of Nagpur, when my eyes chanced upon a well-constructed building lying nearly vacant unvisited, with a statue. In a spare moment I walked upto the statue : that of a freedom figher, inaugurated by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. Interesting part is, the featured person in the statue is Shahid Shankar Maahle, about whom there is no detail; only that the statue has been inaugurated by Pandit Nehru!


I asked around the shops nearby; apparently this building – The Shaheed Smaarak – was one of 4 such memorials made to freedom fighters in India {I have not been able to find internet resources to support these 4 buildings; I can only report what I have seen with my own eyes}. The lament in the people nearby was that people have forgotten about this, and the building now lies unvisited, and is used for Ganapati Pandals. The unvisited part I know for a fact, for I saw precisely no one visit there in the 3 plus hours I spent in front of the building. This was also supported by the caretaker, who showed me around the building. 

Well done, India.  This is how you value your freedom fighters, Keep it up. You cannot even spare a few minutes to visit such monuments {I have written another such memoir about a monument in Juhu Beach, Mumbai about a police officer}, even when you pass by it. How long does it take to stroll through such a building? These are the people who gave their lives, and their freedom so that we can have ours. And they lie forgotten 

Take a look at these photographs, at least… spare that much time for your saviours, people who gave their all for you!


The Building is a 2-storied structure laid with photographs and oil paintings on the freedom struggle; could it have been better? Decidedly so. But fact remains that there is zero interest in memories of the brave fighters for our freedom. It isnt my contention that giving attention to monuments and visiting them is a litmus test of patriotism; one can be equally patriotic without visiting them. 

But that does in no way mean that we totally ignore these people and their memories… we can surely spare a few minutes from our schedule; or take an hour on a Sunday; or organise a school visit for the students… then and only then can we demand a better more modern and technically superior memorial; then and only then will there be an interest in creating modern memorials to our freedom fighters.

The Massacres of 1857…

Published June 8, 2014 by vishalvkale

This is based on the book referenced below; I have also read one of the books the main source I have referred to, which has also been linked below. This is an unknown part of Indian History… The First War Of Independence in 1857, and how the British won it…
This is what I call The Genocide of Indians in 1857 – 59 : This took place in 2 waves – and was planned at the topmost levels of the British Hierarchy. Village after village were targeted in a cold-blooded manner, and emptied of its citizens through murder – planned, brutal and cold-blooded murder. This was not an impassioned outrage {albeit fanned by vested interests}, nor was it done as a result of a conquerers victory in war.

What makes it mind-numbingly shocking and stunning is the simple fact that this was planned, and perpetrated as a vicious punishment, as a war strategy to take the war to civilian non-combatants with an intention of defeating the enemy – against a people who were fighting for independence, in their own country – and it was done by a people who had no business being here in the first place

This was supported – believe it or not – by legal acts which were drawn up solely to provide a legal cover for the same. The shocking content of those acts – no less than 4 in number – virtually gave a free hand to the wholesale slaughter of an entire people. This was repeated across innumerable villages, where countless men, women and children were wantonly put to death in 1857-58. This was a shocking saga of wholesale and planned Genocide that surpasses belief.

The impact of the same was immediate: the first wave of retaliation resulted in the collapse of the War effort in 1857. The planners resurrected; the British responded again. Jhansi was reduced to rubble, the majority of its citizens reduced to dead bodies. The brutality at Jhansi was unparalleled; so much so, none of this reached the official historical record.

Except for 2 little details. First, an eyewitness – who survived at Jhansi, wrote a Marathi book {I have read its translation} – Mazhaa Pravaas detailing the brutal genocide in stomach-turning detail.

And second, in an effort to win the prize money {oh, yes – there was a prize money as well}, several soldiers and officers wrote to their superiors. This became a part of the archival records. Add to that the reality that more than several soldiers wrote their diaries and memoirs which were subsequently published…

This  is supported by documented evidence from a multitude of sources. The  Genocide of Indians – which no one among us knows – goes against every  grain of civilization, and humanity – and destroys the British {and, by  relation, western} homilies of being a more civilized nation. The impact  of the Genocide at Jhansi is even supported by a congratulatory letter  of the English. This was a planned, and targeted attack on the civilian  population, designed to kill the support for the war from the local  population. The inhuman strategy worked – it took more than 7 decades  for the people to rise again. It also explains why The Mahatma and other  leaders were wary of an uprising – it would only have led to wholesale  slaughter of the population. The English proved that, as late as 1919,  they had no compunction in killing unarmed and peaceful civilians. The  real tales of the murders will jolt your heart, and shock you into  numbness, so brutal were the massacres, and so terrifying their import  and inhumanity. Till the modern day, no one in the west recognises these  uncomfortable realities, and instead pontificate to the rest of the  world on the aspect of civilization!!!!! . So wondrously civilised were  our rapists, they received – and followed- orders to use their own  families as human shields in the course of the war – something which is  unknown to the Indian People in our entire history.

“Most of the citizens and all of the Queen’s soldiers in Jhansi were killed; the streets were  left thick with blood slush. Vultures darkened the skies of the city.  Hugh Rose had given strict orders not to allow the Indians to perform  the last rites of the dead. After 7 April, when the entire city was  stinking, and jackals and vultures roamed greedily in search of  decomposed bodies, did he grant permission for the last rites. –  Mahashweta Devi

And for this, he was given the Victoria Cross!  And Knighted, as well. May I remind everyone that the Victoria Cross is  highest award for valor in The United Kingdom. Contrast this with our  own Paramvir Chakra, and the people who have won it and their deeds.  Truly, his deeds were indeed brave: butchering women and children,  killing civilians… The Butcher Of Jhansi. And we Indians are blissfully  unaware of the true horror of those 4 days…

In the entire  historical record, the above does not find a mention. The record shows a  humane and tolerant treatment to the people; the record was, after all,  written by The Butcher Of Jhansi himself. According to Rose, even the  heavy shelling and cannonading targeted only men!!!!! (Wow, what  technology: and this was in 1857!). Remember that they were attacking an  entire town… further, Rose makes the claim that it was the Indian Men  who killed their women! And this found its way into the official record!  –

Why is it that the English records to this day teach of the  Black Hole etc where the English died: but is totally silent on these  atrocities? Even in the modern day, the Westerner is blissfully unaware  of the scale and scope of the horrors and genocide perpetrated in India  from 1757 to 1857! The general consensus seems to be that they brought  order to India, introduced Railways, laws, education etc! Unfortunately  for them their own meticulous records lay bare their claims – as we  shall see in my next post: The Distortions of History – And Their Modern  Repercussions… you will readily find details of Europeans being  massacred in India – but no mention is made of the people they massacred  – even today; in the internet age… That, my dear friends, is that hard  truth… as I always say,

Jaago, Sonewaalon

References :

1) Operation Red Lotus : Operation Red Lotus
2) The Real Story Of The Great Uprising : The Real Story Of The Great Uprising

Book Review : Operation Red Lotus

Published April 22, 2014 by vishalvkale

1857, The event known, till date, as the Sepoy Mutiny by a fairly large segment of our population. Even those who refer to it as a War of Independence call it a spontaneous uprising; thanks largely to the incorrect narrative of the war written and recorded by the English, and dutifully followed by Indian Historians inspite of pervasive evidence to the contrary. Even the most balanced of books on the national movement refer to the presence of some form of conspiracy, but leave it at that, saying no proof exists. Surprisingly, they did not need to look any further than an existing book – Mazhaa Pravaas – an eyewitness account of the events, that lay bare the reality. I have read and reviewed its English translation on my Blog, so am aware, and recognise the need for an honest investigation into the reality of 1857. The current book under review, is a truly commendable start in that direction.

This book goes much further than that one single source stated above; to prove its point, it sources innumerable bits of period evidence – EEIC records, letters and statements from before, during and after the war; British Govt Letters and records, books by Englishmen who fought in the war; British Parliamentary proceedings, Indian Books – official as well as individual, communication letters of the so-called “rebels”, and much much. This solid supporting proof has been extremely well documented in the Bibliography and Appendix, and weaves a web of the intricate nature of the the entire war plan.

The book starts with the period prior to the war, and traces the rising resentment against the British basis Religious, Economic and Political Parameters. This part, though not known to many Indians, is pretty well known and extremely welll documented by Indian Historians – although Western Historians and people still cling to the idiotic belief that British Rule was good for India. It looks at the planned and systematic destruction of the Economy, and the hardships faced by Indians {as reviewed previously by myself on Irfan Habib’s book}. It looks at the rising anger due to this phase of the British Rule, and the total lack of morality of the British. Most critically, this is the first book to explicitly state that the English Civilization was less advanced culturally and socially than the highly developed Indian Civilization. The nearest anyone has come to such a clear statement has been Shashi Tharoor, who was bluntly called the Indian Civilization as one being a highly advanced civilization in an advanced state of decay.

The book next looks at 2 critical plans of the British : to Christianise the country – the entire length and breadth of the nation. It provides categorical proof of the plan to attack the religious foundations of our nation, which was driven from the highest levels. The second abortive plan was a suggestion to raise a European element in the Indian Population. To those of you to whom this sounds fanciful, please take a look at some other colonies of the British as confirmation. What is more, the book leaves no doubt that 1857 – 59 torpedoed both plans permanently. And that is how we won the First War Of Independence – despite having lost it on the battlefield.

The main thrust of the book is the circulation of Red Lotuses and Chapaties just before the events of 1857. These circulations went on for nearly one year. Furthermore, they were reported only from the areas in which the so-called mutiny occurred. Not only that, there has never neen any repeat occurence of these rotis and lotuses before, or since 1857. And, despite this, few people have given credence to these events – despite the fact that the reverberations of these lotuses and rotis reached the British Parliament, and caused a comment – an acerbic comment and a warning from no less a personality than Benjamin Disraeli. What did the lotuses and rotis have to do with war? Read the book to find out! Unlike other reviewers, I am not going to be the one to spoil your fun!

The book traces the entire war from start to finish in a fascinating narrative, engaging and deeply absorbing, and lays bare several historical inaccuracies – using, by and large, sources from the English themselves! The alliances between hindu and muslim rulers, as well as active participation of the entire people is well covered and proven, laying well and truly bare the claim of this being a soldiers’ war. The total lack of humanity in the English is brought out in a shocking series of genocides carried out by the English forces, when entire villages were destroyed, and its inhabitants brutally murdered as retribution for the war.

This is supported by documented evidence from a multitude of sources. The Genocide of Indians – which no one among us knows – goes against every grain of civilization, and humanity – and destroys the British {and, by relation, western} homilies of being a more civilized nation. The impact of the Genocide at Jhansi is even supported by a congratulatory letter of the English. This was a planned, and targeted attack on the civilian population, designed to kill the support for the war from the local population. The inhuman strategy worked – it took more than 7 decades for the people to rise again. It also explains why The Mahatma and other leaders were wary of an uprising – it would only have led to wholesale slaughter of the population. The English proved that, as late as 1919, they had no compunction in killing unarmed and peaceful civilians. The real tales of the murders will jolt your heart, and shock you into numbness, so brutal were the massacres, and so terrifying their import and inhumanity. Till the modern day, no one in the west recognises these uncomfortable realities, and instead pontificate to the rest of the world on the aspect of civilization!!!!! . So wondrously civilised were our rapists, they received – and followed- orders to use their own families as human shields in the course of the war – something which is unknown to the Indian People in our entire history.

The book traces the events of the war, and leaves no doubt of the scale of the entire war, which had large parts of India aflame, and up in arms in a total uprising against British Rule, and looks at how the British came within an inch of losing India. Not only that, it also proves the Russian interest in India, as it was willing to help Indian rulers in their efforts, and the British Worry of the same. This is the precise worry that led, 50 years later, to the British actively supporting, planning, aiding and abetting the partition of the nation. The book also has you laughing at the ineptitude of our great, civilised geniuses who taught us – aah – civilization {Yup. Killing innocents, murdering non-combatants, and peaceful protestors, creating famines etc is civilised, you know} – as they try to apprehend Tatya Tope, whose stupendous planning and bravery will bring a smile to your lips, a prayer to your heart.

All in all, a must read book, one that succesfully challenges pre-concieved notions about the British Rule and its – aah- benefit to India, its overall inhumanity and cruelty, as well as proves beyond all doubt that without 1857, 1947 would not have happened. In the end analysis, it was the events-  the brutal murder of an entire people in village after countless village, including men, women and even children – that bludgeoned an entire nation into shocked, tortured and silent obedience.

The sheer ferocity, inhumanity and abject amorality of the Genocide leaves you in wonder – can a human do such acts? And they called US dogs! Furthermore, it was this very animal-like brutal assault that shocked an entire nation into stunned silence, and necessitated a measured and non-violent approach towards independence. Just as the British were scared of Hindu – Muslim Unity {This unity nearly kicked them out in 1857}, Indians were scared stiff of the British retaliation, which crossed all known measures of morality, humanity and decency…

Till date, no one knows how many innocent men, women and children were brutally tortured, raped and murdered by the British soldiers. If it were known, I for one would not be surprised if it were amng the largest genocides ever perpetrated on earth. May God Bless Their Souls – everyone of those who were tortured, raped and murdered, and everyone of the martyrs… Rest In Peace…

Rest In Peace. India Owes A Heavy Debt To Your Sacrifices…

Indian People – We And Our Internal Flaws Or Fault Lines

Published January 16, 2014 by vishalvkale

In this article, I have attempted to analyse our fall from the heights of the past to where we are today, and identify the most critical failings of us as a people – our fault lines

POINT 1 – THE CONCEPT OF INDIA
There is a massive difference between a cultural union and a political union; the political concept of india is relatively young: not more than a hundred years old, perhaps a little more, going back at the most to the mid-1800s. The cultural concept of India goes back thousands of years.

As I have written earlier – “it is high time we Indians took justifiable pride in the crafting of a political identity from a cultural union. Even a crude perusal of Indian History will tell you were were perennially divided; and that we have paid a heavy price for our lack of political unity. Yes – we were one people, and have been so for 8000 years. Yes, we are the ONLY surviving and unchanged ancient civilization – all others have metamorphosed; yes, apart from the gizmos and clothes and language, an Indian from 6000 years ago will find almost the same cultural practices – true; yes, there was cultural union – and it was this cultural unity that formed that basis for Political Unity. Political Unity has the potential to take us to greatness… but taking that to mean India was one is saying too much, and means belittling the contributions of our Freedom Fighters. There was a “Bharat” in the enlightened people only; and this was present across Ancient India. True, and granted. But the people at large were not educated, or aware enough, or cared enough, to accept it. They owed allegiance to the local satrap; that was their political identity”

Therein lies the biggest reason for our fall. Our lack of unity, and our lack of conceptualisation of the external threat forms the single biggest reason for our fall.

POINT 2 – GHAR KAA BHEDI
This is a vital point – for throughout history, for India, it has been the Ghar Kaa Bhedi who has caused us grief. Even today, it is the internal threat – Pakistan (a part of India in old times) that holds the biggest impediment and threat to regional peace. This is in fact so vital, that i place it as a separate point unto itself. This has been a repeated feature that has haunted India.

Throughout History, from Jaichand to The British Raj and upto Modern Times, it has been our inability to stick together, and our internecine warfare and tussles that have lead to disaster for us. This has lead to a series of successful invasions, and a loss of power and drain of wealth. Our total inability to conceptualise ourselves are one, and our readiness to take help from supposedly well-meaning external powers continues to this day, with Pakistan, people identical to us in every way including religion, resorting to The West, and creating trouble for us. You can look at it any way, blame any party-  India or Pakistan; but you cannot escape from the truth that this internecine issue is holding India back.

This is the way it has been throughout History – each and everytime we have lost (almost) a Ghar Kaa Bhedi has been involved.

POINT 3 – SCIENTIFIC DECLINE
The decline of science from the 12th century onwards, as the focus of power shifted to the Arabs and then the Mughals was another significant development. Scientific treatises by Brahmins etc were in vogue till almost 1100 AD, followed by a sudden decline from that time, as this class lost patronage. The threats to the religion from abroad combined with the inadvertent ills that has crept in by that time contributed to a hardening of norms and rituals, to the detriment of examination and investigation. We got caught in roodhivaad, and went into a general somnolent phase

The oft-repeated catch phrase that education for the masses was absent in Ancient India is just a myth; records show that each village had a school or a gurukul with equal participation from all castes in the same class or batch of shishyas – which lays bare the false claims of casteism. This was prevalent till Macaulay ripped apart this system.

Given the above 2 facts, we can now put them together to conclude that loss of patronage,combined with a perceived as well as real threat to the way of life contributed to a decline in the investigative atmosphere, with the focus shifting towards protection of religion and the way of life, This is borne out by the steady decline in scientific works in Sanskrut etc after 1100 AD.

POINT 4 – DRAIN OF WEALTH
Post 1757, the unprecedented serial gangrape of India for a period of 190 years is the icing on the proverbial cake – or more appropriately, the last straw on the camel’s back. Entire ways of life were destroyed – artisans, farmers, teachers, painters, weavers, sculptors etc were rendered jobless by the Raj’s brutal policies. A series of famines made living itself a struggle, and each meal an achievement, Traditional means of livelihood were destroyed, new means were out of the reach of the masses, This systematic rape of India created an atmosphere of total helplessness.

http://reflectionsvvk.blogspot.in/2014/01/indian-people-we-and-our-internal-flaws.html {Please read entire story of the systematised destruction of the Indian Economy here}

“And this is the story, in a nutshell, of how one of the 2 greatest trading engines in the history of Earth crashed to its nadir. By the second half of the nineteenth century, the destruction was complete; nothing remained of the once-great Indian trading and manufacturing powerhouse. The towns fared slightly better thereafter, since the Brits needed people to run their administration; that let in modern education. This restoked the engine; the existing capital rose in the form  of some manufacturing units of initially textiles in the late nineteenth and early 20th centuries as some Indians tried to restart it.”

POINT 5 – ENTER CORRUPTION
This brings us to the final nail in the coffin – corruption. There was already a significant fault line in the Indian make-up; no one can be perfect. A people who had overcome all that was thrown their way; who had survived intact, unchanged and unchallenged for over 7500 years had to have an Achilles Heel. And that was our penchant for placing the personal above the community at the worst possible time – call it Ghar Kaa Bhedi, or call it Our Lack of Unity, Or call it our inability to see the big picture, or call it our inability to look at both external developments as well as internal realities. Call it what you will; this is a major fault line or flaw that exists in us as a people – Itihaas Gawaah Hai. This was a sporadic occurrence in Ancient India – but whenever it happened, it was extremely damaging.

And, in the atmosphere of helplessness during the Raj, this was rubbed raw, as life itself was a struggle; you had to do something to live. And, this fault line was now fully exposed, as people tried to curry favour – they had to, in order to grow, feed their family, and survive. They had no option. And, in the presence of the fault line identified, this lead to a habit of corruption that became carved into stone into Indian Psyche,Over a period of time, people became habituated to currying favour; to corruption. A small, tiny fault in the make-up in what is arguably the most successful civilization in terms of longevity, culture and spirituality was rubbed raw, and made into a defining characteristic of the Indian

A parting gift from The Raj… alongwith Macaulayism and an Inferiority Complex

And with that, we arrive in Modern India – a land struggling to find itself, to come to terms with its inarguable greatness while simultaneously struggling to come to terms with its most critical flaws; a heady but lethal combination that gives us both  the potential to arrive at the place that rightfully belongs to us – at the summit of all civilizations, while also creating a serious risk of total failure and disaster…A land that has so much to be proud of, while also having so much to be worried about; A study in contrasts; and a veritable cornuncopia of contradictions…
  

The Quit India Movement – An Important Milestone on our journey to Independence

Published December 8, 2013 by vishalvkale

The Quit India Movement – The Background
The Quit India movement was carried out in the backdrop of a rapid escalation in tensions – both with the british, and societal communal tension. Also in the background was American pressure against The British to free India,  as well as the increasing tensions caused by an attack by Japan. On top of all this came the Cripps Mission – which no nationalist would accept in his right mind. None except Jinnah, that is. 
By April 1942, it was looking as if the British would lose the war; they were under severe strain across the entire spectrum of WW2. Japan was already knocking on India’s gates, while Malaya was lost, with a humuliating British withdrawal. Everywhere one looked, from an Indian standpoint, defeat had seemed imminent. The Empire had never looked as weak as it did then
The was moving hand-in-hand with the the increasing anger in the people, as wartime restrictions began to impact the people – in a war that was basically forced onto them. The dissatisfaction rose rapidly with news from Bengal – of the confiscation of food, boats, etc in the middle of a famine – to create high levels of Anger and Dissatisfaction in the people
The final straws came in 2: first, The Atlantic Charter – when the freedom to all peoples clause was expressly denied to India by the British in the House of Commons; and the Second was the Cripps Mission, with its clear and undisguised partition agenda. The Congress was unequivocally against Partition in any form; and the Cripps agenda was a clear invitation to disaster, with its pre-condition that any state could have the option of staying out of the Indian Union. In the words of Cripps himself – “I think he {Jinnah} was rather surprised in the distance that it {the british offer} went to meet the Pakistan Agenda – Stafford Cripps, 25 March 1942”. This proved to be the last straw, in combination with a rapid deterioration in problems and escalation in provinces. 
QUIT INDIA
1) The British would have to clear out forthwith
2) If the British could not be persuaded to go, they would have to be thrown out
3) Once The British were removed, India would avoid being invaded because Japan;s quarrel was with Britain, not India
4) If Japan invaded India, it would be met with non-violent resistance
5) The stationing of foreign soldiers, including Americans, on Indian soil was a grave menace to Indian Freedom
Under pressure from a lot of ,moderates the clause relating to Japan was subsequently altered – due to the logical view that you cannot fight an invader with non-violent resistance, and subsequently the following text added in the final draft:
In places wherein The British and the invading forces are fighting, our non-cooperation will be fruitless and unnecessary. Not to put any obstacles in the way of the British forces will often be the only way to demonstrate our non-cooperation with the invader
This, then, was the complete Quit India movement. which was adopted on 8th August 1942
WHY DID IT FAIL
Treason. Sweet and simple. The draft resolution, which was sent to a closed door meeting of the Congress Working Committee at Allahabad a fortnight after the return of Stafford Cripps, fell into the hands of British Intelligence – Courtesy 2 communist members of the congress {Available in the unsealed British archives}. The Indian Communist Party had switched loyalty to the British after the attack on The Soviet Union. Thus, the plan failed before it could be officially adopted; or preparations made for its implementation. All leaders were subsequently arrested immediately. 
The plan was simple: Do, or Die. This is evident from The Mahatma’s speech o 7th August 1942. We shall either free India, or die in the attempt. There was a specifc idea of implementation in The Mahatma’s mind – government servants to openly declare allegiance with Congress; Soldiers to refuse to fire on our own people; students to give up studies etc. Unfortunately, it never got a chance to get off the ground. 
ITS IMPACT
The immediate impact was a massive set of disturbance across the length and breadth of India – Mumbai, Ahemedabad, Pune, Kanpur, Delhi, Varanasi, Allahabad, Patna, Jamshedpur etc. The spill-over effects lasted for quite a bit of time, as city after city and people after people set about letting their views known in no uncertain terms. There were rampant attacks on a huge numbers of Government offices and all signs of Government authority. There were also physical attacks on Europeans.
In the first week, 250 railway stations were destroyed or damaged, 500 post offices and 150 police stations were attacked. In Karnataka alone, there were 1600 incidents of cutting of telegraph wires. Unarmed crowds faced police and military firing on 538 occasions. They were also machine-gunned by low flying aircraft.
There was an all-India underground leadership – Sucheta Kripalani, Aruna Asaf Ali, Ram Manohar Lohia. Biju Patnaik, RP Goenka, JP Narayan etc. There was a vast and coordinated attack cycle by the people. The movement got support from a vast variety of people; it was a national uprising. Students, teachers, labourers, business people, villagers, government officials, policemen, ladies – all took part in it. 
Most critically, The Quit India movement was an important milestone since it established that The Mahatma had got the nation together as one – for the first time since 1857 in a demand for the immediate ouster of the British, and made clear that India could now only be held through brute power as the repression, with the use of brute military force, further established : that now India could only be held by Military might, It set the stage for the Indian Army Mutiny of 1945-46, and the Indian Naval Mutiny of 1946, as a result of the INA trials. From this experience during the Quit India Movement, The Raj knew that once the Armed Forces were taken, away- India was anyway out of their hands. And that, in my opinion, was the foremost achievement of the Quit India Movement
References:
1) The Shadow Of The Great Game – Narendra Singh Sarila
2) India’s Independence Struggle – Bipin Chandra et al
3) Jinnah, India, Partition, Independence – Jaswant Singh