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Reflections on Childhood

Published November 13, 2017 by vishalvkale

Childhood memories are very strong and potent – and not easy to forget; for they form the strongest associations in our mind, and are the strongest elements in our personality makeup. I am no different from the norm; and harbor a series of strong memories both good, bad as well as ugly. I can truthfully state that these were central to me becoming what I am today. While I bear no grudge today for the bad / ugly, it is important to point out that these memories remain etched the strongest. As to the good, I can honestly state that I remember them – almost as strongly
THE BAD & THE UGLY
Lets get this out of the way. My memories of my childhood, on the negative side, in this are of one thing, and one thing only. Being bullied, brutally bullied by self-styled Rambos, so-called machos who thought the world of themselves, and cared little for the feelings of others. The bullying was constant – not just of me – but of other students like me. I haven’t forgotten; neither will I ever forget. But that hasn’t affected my adult relationships; I now have a very strong bond with one such former bully.
I remember talking to one girl in the class – this happened twice in two schools. Now these were innocent discussions between two students around class and studies only. But I remember with clarity being razzed for it all year in both schools. I could not then understand, nor do I fathom now – what is the whole issue if a boy talks Physics notes with a Girl, or Math problems with a girl? Why does this world look at everything from a coloured, tinted and biased lens? Where did these kids pick up such dirty thoughts from – I wonder? I certainly didn’t think it otherwise if people from one sex had an innocent chat with people of the other sex – and I still don’t, by the way!
If you start assuming or even teasing boys just cause they talk to any girl, you are being stupid, and showing your own mentality. It is eminently feasible for a man and a woman to have a positive healthy and friendly relationship. I am now 40+, but still find this behaviour ridiculous. But that is the way our Indian Society is… is the lesson I learnt from it. This is what re-inforces societal stereotypes & mores. It also has long-term impact on the mental process of an individual – not just of the bullied person – but more so of the bully, who is further emboldened by his thoughtless words and deeds.
I recall an incident in school, which taught me the real face of humanity in all its magnificent ugliness. Two incidents, rather. The first was I had falled unconscious due to illness, and I noted – I still recall the intense feeling – that not one person from my so-called close friends came to help. The classmates who did help, remained close to me till we parted. That taught me the art of judging the real true friend. Another incident I recall was the inhuman act of setting bees into a class when girls and a few simple boys were present inside – some of the bullies in our class would do it regularly. That shows us the sick mentality of bullies, and what sickening abnormal amorality they called fun. I remember thinking of them as being mentally unstable and sick idiots – with crystal clarity.
THE GOOD
The good, I can write pages and pages on; that will, however, be for my son’s eyes only, as I hand him over my diary of personal notes when I am no more. There isn’t anything a person can learn from the good as much as from the bad. And who to pick out and who to leave in a long list? But even in all these, I must mention the one who is no more, as per information available to me – Ashok. He was my first real friend, Ashok taught me what friendship really is. No one before him connected; not that he wouldn’t tease me, or I him – but he connected, despite lying to me!
There is a fine line between fun and harassment – he knew that line well. That taught me a lot; it is a lesson I still draw inspiration from – there is a fine line between fun/motivation/drive/follow-up & harassment. And when Gunjan Bisaria told me of his demise – I cried, despite not having met or heard of him for 30 years… that is true friendship. To the first friend in my life,  first friend – Thanks, Ashok!
CONCLUSION
I have taken a negative approach; my objective isn’t to lay open my life. That is why, the Good need not enter into it at all. My objective is to draw attention to the smaller, tiny social mores, behaviours and attitudes that determine personality and mental make-up. The two or three examples given show what I can only call an evidence of a sick mentality – setting bees on classmates. How can that be attributed to fun? How is merely talking to a Girl, an evidence of a love affair? Are you mentally sick, a retard?

There is no way we can stop bullying; that is an unfortunate human trait that people with lesser mental capability adopt to vanquish an intellectually superior person is one way I like to counter it. One insult deserves another! I plan to share this in my school groups as well 😃. But what most people miss is the powerful longer term implications of this behaviour – not just for the bullied person, but also for the bully. 
The bullied person actually develops a strong, rock-solid coping mechanism that prepares him for life, helps him maintain a balance in the ups and downs. But the bully has to learn the hard way –  for the simple reason that for every bully the world has a stronger bully!! And it is this behaviour that translates into adult interactions; a person incapable of softer interactions & softer emotions will always be a bully! 
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When Mountains Shake Hands With The Clouds

Published July 27, 2016 by vishalvkale

These are a set of Snaps Clicked on my Mobile Camera en-route to Baroda for a family function; a scene I found breathtaking and mesmerising, as it seemed as though the clouds had descended to the Earth to shake hands with the mountains, creating a stunning visual imagery with a captivating beauty and awe-inspiring visual delight.

Regretfully, I was in an AC compartment, meaning the full impact of the beauty of Mother Nature was muted in these images… but what is there is, I believe, sufficiently captivating… these have been clicked on a Panasonic Eluga Switch mobile phone in auto mode…



Ranaangan : Third Battle of Panipat, Drama Review

Published April 5, 2015 by vishalvkale


Ranaangan – Marathi Natak
Artist – Avinash Narkar, Ashok Samarth, Shreekant Desai
Drama Director: Vaman Kendre
Video Director: Shweta Parulkar
Story: Vishwas Patil

Synopsis:-
The Third Battle of Panipat took place on 14 January 1761.The battle pitted the artillery and cavalry of the Marathas against the Afghans. Ranaangan is the brave portrayal of the Maratha Soldiers who fought the war with true grit.


THE BACKDROP
Ranaangan is the background story of the battle of Panipat, and a look at why The Maratha Confederacy lost; a heart-rending tale of treachery, deceit, courage, valour, back-stabbing, infighting, internecine issues, and lack of a common narrative. A tragic tale of  the defeat of a superior force, and an even more tragic tale of the descent of India into chaos! It is also a tale of a superb leader of men, a far-sighted genius {Bhausaaheb}, & a tale of the unknown hero in Jankoji Shinde and Dutta Shinde – whose progeny were yet again to feature in another pivotal battle, 1857; and who would be wrongly understood for centuries {as per me}, a product of the disturbed narrative we are exposed to…
It is also a stunning revelation to those who arent aware of the Maratha Power, or that The Mughal throne was actually put up and supported by Maratha Power by the mid of the 18th century, or that there was a treaty between The Maratha and The Mughal for the protection of Delhi. The real national power were The Maratha Confederacy; and in the Maratha Confederacy you get to see how India came to be subjugated by a completely inferior British Man… 

For that was what this battle meant : it meant an easy path to the rule of India by the British; The 3rd Battle of Panipat will always remain etched in our history as one of the most epochal battles to have determined the fate of India. After Panipat, while the Marathas were still strong, the aura had diminished; it was just a matter of time before they were vanquished, as the Anglo-Maratha wars were to subsequently prove!


THE PLOT AND THE REVIEW

Portraying a historical event on the limited creative platform of a stage is always a massive challenge for any number of reasons; the limitations imposed my time, space, content mean that telling the story in a clear and precise manner is rather hard, to put it frankly. This calls for a script that is woven with great care and attention to the requirements of the overall plot. 

The plot here is the run-up to the 3rd Battle Of Panipat, the sequence of political and military events that led to the battle; the planning of the battle; the various historical figures and their roles; the internal relationships and internecine problems; and finally the battle itself. The script has been handled exceptionally well, given the wide and extensive scope of the plot of the play; the entire historical narrative has been adapted to the theatre with remarkable aplomb. 

The direction : excellent, period. This is not an easy play to perform; it ranks as one of the most difficult stage adaptations I have encountered in my life. Every aspect – the props, the stage and the character intonations and delivery  are excellent and top-notch. Getting everyone to gel together for 3 long hours of continuous performance must have been exceptionally challenging. What got my admiration was the blocking: the usage of the limited space, which was sheer class. It has to be seen to be believed; and how it actually adds to the story in places!

The performances are all top-class; among these, performances of the characters of Jankoji Shinde, Datta Shinde, Malharrao Holkar, Abdali & Vishwasrao deserve a special mention. But the one man who stands above all is Avinash Narkar, portraying Bhausaaheb, the titular leader of the Maratha Force; Avinash has brought forth the sheer power of the character, personifying the adroit skill with which he wields these infighting people into battle-ready mode, with tremendous skill; you can feel the power and the conviction of the performance!


THE LEARNING

This is a drama that shatters several myths, and takes more than several reputations head-on! A story of how even people with good intentions, as shown by Holkar, Gaikwad, Vinchurkar, Bhausaheb, Gardi, Jankoji Shinde, etc lead to collective disaster, as infighting destroys morale, leading to defeat – even of a much superior strategy and a comparable strength. It also gives a completely different look at the Shindes of Gwalior… as well as the entire ensemble. 

This is a chilling and blunt portrayal… a story of infighting, deceit and high treason… the true story of Panipat; the story of the infighting among the Holkars and the Gaikwad’s on one side and the Peshwa’s emissary Bhausaaheb and Jankoji Shinde on the other side, with planned backstabbing in Pune to boot… a story of how lack of internal trust and teamwork combined with vested interests and lack of knowledge in some key generals was to lead to a superior force being decimated. 

It is the story of how one mistake can cause disaster- leaving a man {Najib} due to his being supported by Holkar, despite anger of Shindes of Gwalior, Peshwas of Pune… one mistake. Najib was later to prove instrumental in both killing Datta Shinde and retaining Abdali back in India at a crucial juncture when he had given up… Just one mistake – compounded again and again and again by the infighting… a tragic story of infighting!  It is the story of how The Holkar and The Gaikwad group’s lack  of trust in Ibrahim Gardi was to lead to disaster…

This battle left India open and defenceless; had The Maratha Confederacy managed to rise above its internal squabbles, maybe, just maybe, history would have been different. We shall never know now; but we can all learn from this sad episode – Divided We Fall, United We Stand. The old maxim is spot-on accurate… watch this drama to understand exactly why… 

I normally base my historical articles on evidence-based books; this is based only on the presented drama, linked above. Thus, I make no claim of its historical accuracy; but have taken the trouble of watching a news presentation {linked below}, which tallies in all essential details with the drama; further, it also tallies with what I have read in some other pedigreed historical books reviewed on my blog. But to say more, I will need to study the history in a good and pedigreed book. 



Ghar Waapsi : The True And Only Ghar Waapsi…

Published February 15, 2015 by vishalvkale

“Ghar Waapsi” has become, sadly, the flavor of the season, with the Media going gaga over it, thanks largely to some disturbing antics of some sections of our society. If we are focusing on returning to our roots, the question arises is just what are those roots? How do we define those roots? The question arises, what is the true Ghar Wapsi? The true return home? Are we, the people who are supposedly at home, truly at home? Or are we in some land that is neither here nor there?

Saying that people should return to their roots is fine, but are we ourselves close to our roots? Is our society – be it Hindu, or Christian, or Muslim or Sikh – really truly back to their roots in national terms, in cultural terms? Have we fully jettisoned our various inferiority complexes and hang-ups? Let us take a lookat some of the more delightful aspects of this society of ours :

We are in a world where anything to do with culture is considered being fundamentalist at worst or old-fashioned at best, where jabbering in English is a sign of education and intelligence, where listening to western music is considered the in thing, where any attempt to portray or look at Indian culture is termed exotic and quaint, where you can find Shakespeare in any book store across the land but will not find one single copy of the Vedic texts, Upanishads, or anything else ancient or medieval Indian literature, not even the Baburnama or the Akbarnama, Abhigyaan Shaakuntalam, Kabiror anyone else.

We are in a world where you are termed naive and foolish for not having read western classics and books, where people look down on you for not watching the latest hollywood flick, where people freely insult themselves and their country by terming our films Bollywood {which was originally {and still is IMO} an insult}, where you find the most ludicrous and idiotic scene of constant, never ending non stop comparisons with The West on everything, except the economy : which is compared with China!,

We are living in a society  where you have to be as good as the West in anything and everything, where you are termed old-fashioned, quaint, or caricatured simpleton for going the culture way, in a world whose schools teach Dickens but not Indian classics, in a world where the education system goes gaga over Western developments and culture while completely omitting Indian developments and culture, and in a land supposedly Indian and yet requiring spoken English as a prerequisite for success!

We are living in an environment where reading itself is considered passe, where a well-read man or woman with a passion for reading is considered impractical and a liability. We are in an era where people dont read religious books, or are not interested in historical and cultural aspects of life and society, where the focus is on materialism. We are living in a world where being decent, good and honest is considered a sign that a person is bookish, impractical and a fool, and where the average Indians knowledge of his or her roots and history is abysmal!

We are in a world where the focus is on gratification of the self, not on the society and the community, where the focus is on feeding the body and making its environs comfortable; not on feeding the mind and developing its finer aspects, in a world where living with a partner without social sanction is considered a sign of development and being oh-so-modern, where sleeping with several partners is considered being modern, and having several girlfriends a sign of modernity, achievement and development, and not a sign of decadence!

If we are truly get back home, it is far better to forget the conversions issue, which can give rise to needless tensions and passions, thereby disturbing the equity that is increasingly to be found in Modern India,  a land where everyone is free to practice his or her own religion, a lovely land where each religion is free! And if you have to right historical wrongs, why not go after the incipient and far more damaging westernization of our society?


If people are so concerned about historical wrongs, why not right the Colonial rape, which was demonstrably damaging, vis-à-vis the exaggerated wrongs of the Muslim period? How many of us have actually read The Shrimad Bhagwat Geeta? The Ramayan? The Mahabharat? The Upanishads? The Puranic texts? Let alone reading – which is an educated activity for enlightened broadened minds – how many among us display the stupidity and the inferiority complexes and open westernization noted above?  

The true way forward, one that represents real Ghar Waapsi, will be if the Indian {The majority} can place equal {Not even greater} but equal emphasis on Mother Tongue with English, where we read Shakespeare with as much elan as we do Kabir; where we watch Hindi, English and Vernacular movies and songs with equal relish without needless comparisons and condescending treatment. The real Ghar Waapsi will be when the Indian appreciates – truly appreciates – Indian Culture, and foregos some of the above small minded habits.

The true Ghar Waapsi will be when the Indian stops giving bribes, recreating the India that was observed in writings of the 1600s, which show a stunningly honest land. The true Ghar Waapsi will be when women get their due in India, as was the case in Vedic times. The true Ghar Waapsi will be when the Indian stops drooling over Western Culture, and faces the West with pride and confidence, confidant and calm, effectively saying : This is me, this is the way I am, take it or soak your head!

The true Ghar Waapsi will be when we can find our ancient and medieval literature in equal volumes and strength on book shelves, when we can actually try and decipher the wonders contained in our ancient literature without the fear that we will be the butt of jokes and condescension, when we can place greater credit on our Mumbai and Chennai film industries, when we can place our own film awards as more important an event from our perspective, rather than devaluing and insulting ourselves by doing the reverse!


That represents the true Ghar Waapsi… the question is, will it happen?

New Delhi : AAP – Massive Challenges Ahead

Published February 11, 2015 by vishalvkale

In the previous article, I detailed why the election isn’t a major worry for the BJP. In this article, I propose to outline the challenges and problems that this election has raised in front of the AAP, as well as its positives.
For starters, the AAP stands as the one single party that has been consistently ridiculed by an amazingly large number of people on social media and national media alike. This is frankly the most disturbing aspect of the entire episode. People were consistently willing to forget the mistakes of the other parties, but not the AAP.
People were scalding in their total contempt  of this party, one whose main plank was anti-corruption & clean governance. I do not deny their mistakes, my point is different : the level of ridicule and insults that targeted this party right from the start were beyond imagination. Not only that, they were pilloried left right and center, despite being the only party in Indian History to quit government on a principle. Whether they should have done so is another matter – but critically, not one person appreciated that they showed that they had no desire for power, for standing up for the people, while blaming them for faults – some real, and some imagined.
It was this absence of a balanced view of this new party that was the most disturbing aspect of the entire political discourse, a matter which is the subject of the third and concluding part of this mini-series. It was from these ashes that this party re-emerged to win New Delhi, and this despite an ugly and frankly shocking campaign that all political parties in India should be ashamed of.
PROBLEMS AND CHALLENGES
How they did it is now known, and is a matter of documented record. What is more important is the result they have achieved – 67/70, or nearly 95% seats. First, this represents a major loss for Democracy, rather than a victory. One of the founding principles of democracy is a strong and functioning opposition, which New Delhi now lacks. A strong opposition ensures proper functioning.
Next, this places the pressure firmly on them to perform; further, given that a large number of opponents are just waiting out there, ready to pounce on the first hint of non-performance, is going to be a very tall order. No one can be that good; mistakes will happen. These opponents will conveniently forget the much, much bigger mistakes of other political parties, mistakes for which even the nation has paid a high price at time, but will be all too willing to vilify the newcomer in a disgusting show of political opportunism. The AAP is best advised to gird up its lions for the tough fight ahead, that is pretty much a guarantee. We shall look into the reasons for this in the 3rd part.
That would mean it will have to stay focused on its core area of competence : New Delhi. The biggest challenge this huge result places in front of them is the development of areas outside New Delhi; this is now going to be a tough challenge to overcome, as they will need to concentrate on New Delhi. The only way forward for them is to ensure good performance in New Delhi – clean, incorrupt : let the people realize the power of a clean political party. If they now spread themselves thin, they run the risk of losing focus – this they cannot afford. That means, it has now been effectively contained to New Delhi.
Third, the vote share analysis is damning : only non-BJP segments have supported the AAP; the BJP has retained almost 97% of its base. The consolidation of the vote into one anti-BJP platform is going to be almost impossible to replicate, given the entrenched following of regional parties in other areas. The AAP will find it hard to crack that nut. Be it UP or Maharashtra, the ground realities are such  that it makes the way forward for AAP frought with massive risks.
It can be done : but not with haste. This will require careful strategic thought, and excellence in tactical execution. It will also require a long, time consuming process of development of a following among the people. The vote banks are fragmented, which means breaking into these bastions is always going to be a tall order. The key task for the AAP is now proving to the whole world that clean politics is possible, maintaining high standards and letting their work do the talking. For now, they had best be content with a regional role. This does not mean they make no efforts expand; that would be suicide. But this should be with an understanding that 2019 is not an option as of now.
THE HOPE… LIYE SAPNE NIGAHON MEIN, CHALAA HUN TERI RAAHON MEIN…
लिये सपने निगाहों में, चला हूँ तेरी राहों में
ज़िंदगी  रहा हूँ मैं \- 
 
कई यादों के चेहरे हैं, कई किस्से पुराने हैं
तेरी सौ दास्तानें हैं, तेरे कितने फ़साने हैं  \- 
मगर एक वो कहानी है, जो अब मुझको सुनानी है
ज़िन्दगी  रहा हूँ मैं 
मेरे हाथों की गरमी से, पिघल जायेंगी ज़ंजीरें
मेरे कदमों की आहट से, बदल जायेंगी तक़दीरें \-
उम्मीदों के दिये लेकर, ये सब तेरे लिये लेकर
ज़िन्दगी रहा हूँ मैं
This is what the AAP should now take to heart – this is the one line, the one message that should be on the minds of each member of the AAP, each minister and each volunteer. They should realize that the AAP is now a shining light in the darkness for some Indians – hopefully a very large number. People who are looking expectantly towards Arvind Kejriwal and his team, hoping to watch the promise of deliverance from ugly politics come true, hoping that they will see the day corruption reduces, that the goal of equal development will happen, that money reaches the people it is meant for, and much, much more.
Secondly, this majority gives the AAP the much-needed confidence to implement the reforms they deem necessary and within its powers to do. So long as they explain and sell their message, acknowledging their mistakes, and being mature, they should be fine. They now have the mandate; they should not waste the opportunity – something which the central government is in danger of doing.
Third, the AAP should also understand that the BJP can be beaten without winning over its hardliners anywhere else, or its votebanks. So can any other existing party; all it requires is a consolidation of the vote bank, combined with a genuine attention to the ground needs of the people – which will require painstaking hard work at the field level, something which the AAP excels at, as per new reports.. This is admittedly difficult, but not impossible, given time and the right performance in New Delhi, with the needed evolution in its policies and manifesto.
If they can pull it off, they can evolve into a national outfit subsequently far more easily. This will require that the AAP evolve a credible economic policy that balances the need for equity with the need for growth; that is evolves a foreign policy and so on and so forth – and communicates it to the people. It will require all this and much much more; it is a hard long road of learning for the AAP.
But it cannot and should not forget that people now look towards the future with tremendous and fervent hope, people who are eager for a credible alternative, and who are fed up with the status quo in national political discourse. If they forget that, even for a moment – they are finished. And with them, the risk of hope dying and cynicism setting in is too high; that is not a risk we can afford. The AAP should be clear : on them rest the hopes of hundred of Millions.
The reality is that the BJP’s message still sells to its core followers. The reality is the split vote banks are still a reality. The reality is that caste still sells, and caste-based parties will still garner votes. The reality is that frivolous issues are still considered vital, over and above serious issues by some segments of the electorate. The reality is that large numbers of voters are not educated enough to understand the nuances of the policies, and can be easily converted through a one-sided loaded message. And it is in this backdrop that the AAP has to sell its dream outside New Delhi.
The future is now in the hands of the AAP; how it handles New Delhi could well be the difference between the song above, and the one below for those among the electorate who are now looking towards the AAP and its leaders with hope in their eyes, a light in their minds and joy in their hearts…
क्या शबाब था के फूलफूल प्यार कर उठा
क्या कमाल था के देख आईना सहर उठा
इस तरफ ज़मीन और आसमां उधर उठा
थाम कर जिगर उठा के जो मिला नज़र उठा
एक दिन मगर यहाँ, ऐसी कुछ हवा चली
लूट गयी कलीकली के घुट गयी गलीगली,
और हम लूटेलूटे, वक़्त से पीटे पीटे 
साँस की शराब का खुमार देखते रहे
कारवाँ गुज़र गया, गुबार देखते रहे
हाथ थे मिले के ज़ुल्फ़ चाँद की संवार दूँ
होंठ थे खुले के हर बहार को पुकार दूँ
दर्द था दिया गया के हर दुखी को प्यार दूँ
और सांस यूँ के स्वर्ग भूमि पर उतार दूँ
हो सका ना कुछ मगर, शाम बन गयी सहर,
वो उठी लहर के ढह गये किले बिखरबिखर,
और हम डरेडरे, नीर नैन में भरे,
ओढ़कर कफ़न पड़े मज़ार देखते रहे
I Would Rather Listen To The First Song, Arvindji… you are the hope of India… don’t disappoint us. With a strong ruling party- the BJP, and an equally strong opposition – The AAP {hopefully} keeping a check on each other, the future of our India will be guaranteed, with no possibility of anyone going wrong. India needs you, India needs a strong opposition as well as a strong Government!
Jai Hind! Vande Mataram!

THANKS, MSD… YOU WERE A GREAT CAPTAIN!

Published December 31, 2014 by vishalvkale



I didnt say this for Sachin, nor for Rahul… great though they were, and far better cricketers… 

But for you, MSD, A short post. A vote of thanks from my side for leading our India through thick and thin…

You, Sir, Captained Our India, and that to me personally is the most important. You were the leader! The man who represented us all in cricket, the king.. for several years… 

You were there to take the brickbats when we lost. You were there to share the spoils with the team when we won. You took the failures on the chin, and yet shepherded Team India in Cricket for several years… through the highs and the lows… through victory and defeat… in the manner of a king, a true leader… you took us to Number 1; and when the fall came… you were there equally unperturbed… in the true manner of a king! One of the finest Captains India has had! 

And that is why you deserve this… 

Thank you from a fellow Indian… 

Thanks a lot, Mr. Mahendra Singh Dhoni… Ex-Captain Of India!  

Book Review : Indian Economy Under Early British Rule – Irfan Habib

Published April 6, 2014 by vishalvkale

First, history… and then, to top that, Economic History. Yaaaawn, you would think; yet another long-winded treatise that is boooring, you would think. You could not be more off the mark; the current book stands as the best, most interesting and power-packed book on Indian History that I have ever encountered. It is short, to-the-point, powerful, and deeply engaging in its flawless narrative and nearly irrefutable in its scathing indictment of the British.

Next, why should you read this? Reason : because any number of educated Indians regard the British rule as either a boon, or just another subduing power. For them, this book forms the ideal vehicle; it deals with that easily understandable commodity – money, moolah, cash. Not for this book the esoteric realms of cultural subjugation a-la Pawan Verma; or the cruel horrors of imperial murder and genocide in 1857 and 1942-44 a-la other writers. This deals with a subject that is easy to explain, as well as understand and empathise with, driving home the sheer brutality of the British Rule, as well as the fact that we got nothing in return for it that we would not have otherwise got.

The most engaging and powerful part of the book is that it provides dated, irrefutable historical writings from the period being covered at the end of each chapter; each of these – called “extracts” – is both a powerful proof as well as a window into that times, the flawed and one-sided decision making, as well as a window into the India as it used to be in those days; as these extracts were written as history was taking place, much as our modern news articles.

The Indians are in many things of matchless ingenuity in their several employments… In some things the artists  India outdo all the ingenuty of Europe – John Ovington, 1689

In commercial dealings, the honesty of the people of this country is such that, let a complete stranger deposit the the sarrafs hundreds of thousands of cash….  would on demand repay the sum without any delay… honest sarrafs give in Hindwi writings…  agents throughout the country… repay on demand…  Sujan Rai, 1695-96

We are looking at a countrywide system of hundis – or cash transfer system, which is frankly stunningly flawless, forms the economic backbone of the trade. Even more amazing, bill discounting , insurance, merchants, traders and banks etc so-called western concepts were already present nation-wide. And no proofs were kept or demanded; it was based on trust – and a peice of paper. Note the commentary of the observer from 1695; one then wonders wherefrom we learnt corruption, and dishonesty that we see all around us today? This is period evidence – irrefutable.

Indeed, most of Hyder’s operations seem to be highly judicious and reasonable… respected by natives of all dewscriptions – Francis Buchanan, 1807

Tipu Sultan’s plans to introduce industrial technology – Persian MS copies of Tipu Sultan’s instructions for his ambassadors of Turkey and France… 1785 – 86. Hello, what was it about us not getting industrial technology? It appears that we were in the process of industrialising, but could not. Now why was that? Because the EIC took over, and instead of introducing technology, which local rulers were doing, took to raping the land, using it as a captive market, and as a source of raw material. Result, the annual inflow of gold and silver turned into a annual; outflow, resulting in the poverty you now see around us.

The book goes on into the impact of revenue farming from land, and the conversion of the landed labourer into beggars or landless labourers. It looks at the heart-rending situation as millions of skilled workers were rendered homeless, and without work; it looks at the losses to industrial units, which lost 73% revenue within 3 years of the advent of British Rule.

It looks at how a well-to-do nation with an advanced, a very, very highly advanced culture and internal systems was wrecked by what I call less civilized but more brutal inhuman creatures. It looks at the systematic destruction of India in every sector – industrial and agricultural. It dwells on the systematic de-industrialisation of an advanced honest and great civilization that was in most respects far ahead of Europe. And it provides irrefutable proof and evidence.

Read this book to know the India that was, the golden land, the sone ke chidiya… you will not regret it. Feel the pride at what we were, the tragic grief of our total destruction at the hands of a buccaneering and underdeveloped people, and at our crass foolishness that led to this. Read the book  to understand how India was one country, with extensive cross-border trade and advanced systems, and its ambassadorial relations with the world…

There is no reason for us to feel inferior; if anything, we were actually ahead of the west in innumerable areas, as western writers have themselves observed…