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and Social Destruction
From Jewel in the Crown to Third
Charles Trevelyan, Finance
Minister of India in the 1860s, was anxious to see the
disappearance of the Indian weaver as a class, a development he
thought best for both Britain and India: India would benefit because the weaver,
faced with competition from machine-made goods, would be forced to give up his
craft and turn to agriculture; the increased labor supply would then raise
output and England would benefit since makers of cloth would be converted into
consumers of Lancashire goods."
History: Technology and Culture in India, China and the West
1492 to the Present Day - By Claude Alvares p.
historian William Digby ('Prosperous'
British India) and the Indian historian Rajni
Palme Dutt (India Today) would agree, the
Industrial Revolution would not have taken place had it not been for the
'venture capital' provided by loot from Bengal. Note the amazing
coincidence: the Battle of Plassey, 1757. The spinning jenny, 1764; the water
frame, 1769; the steam engine, 1785. Money chased innovations -- and the
predatory State - Rajeev Srinivasan rediff.com).
The people flock to the
factories because the land cannot support them; because it is overtaxed, because
it is overpopulated, and because the domestic industries with which the peasants
formerly eked out in winter their gleanings from the summer fields, have been
destroyed by British control of Indian tariffs and trade. For of old the
handicrafts of India were known throughout the world; it was manufactured
- i.e hand-made – goods
which European merchants brought from India to sell to the West. In 1680, says
the British historian Nicholas Orme, the
manufacture of cotton was almost universal in India, and the busy spinning
wheels enabled the women to round out the earnings of their men. But the English
in India objected to this competition of domestic industry with their mills at
home; they resolved that India should be reduced to a purely agricultural
country, and be forced in consequence to become a vast market for British
As a British historian put it: “It
is a melancholy instance of the wrong done to India by the country on which she
had become dependent….Had India been independent, she would have retaliated,
would have imposed prohibitive duties upon British goods, and would thus have
preserved her own productive industry from annihilation. This act of
self-defense was not permitted her; she was at the mercy of the stranger.”
And another Englishman wrote: “We
have done everything possible to impoverish still further the miserable beings
subject to the cruel selfishness of English commerce…..Under the pretense of
free trade, England has compelled the Hindus to receive the products of the
steam-looms of Lancashire, Yorkshire, Glasgow etc…while the hand-wrought
manufactures of Bengal and Bihar, beautiful in fabric and durable in wear, have
heavy and almost prohibitive duties imposed on their importation into
The result was that Manchester
and Paisley flourished, and Indian industries declined; a country well on the
way to prosperity was forcibly arrested in development, and compelled to be only
a rural hinterland for industrial England.
The mineral wealth abounding in India was not explored, for no
competition with England was allowed.
“India, “ says Hans
Kohn author of A
History of Nationalism in the East “was transformed into
a purely agricultural country, and her people lived perpetually on the verge of
Commerce on the sea is
monopolized by the British even more than transport on land. The Hindus are not
permitted to organize a merchant marine of their own. All Indian goods must be
carried in British bottoms, an additional strain on the starving nation’s
purse, and the building of ships, which once gave employment to thousands of
Hindus is prohibited.
As early as 1783
Edmund Burke predicted that the annual drain of Indian resources to
England without equivalent return would eventually
From Plassey to Waterloo, fifty
seven years, the drain of India’s wealth to England is computed by Brooks
Adams at two-and-a-half to five billion dollars. He adds, what Macaulay
suggested long ago, that it was this stolen wealth from India which supplied
England with free capital for the development of mechanical inventions, and so
made possible the Industrial Revolution.
of the stark statistics that reveal the colonial plunder and neglect are: At the
end of British colonial rule, life expectancy in India was 27 years and literacy
8 percent; after fifty years of independence, life expectancy is 62 years, and
literacy 52 percent."
take note: British colonial rule in India was the
organized banditry that financed England's Industrial Revolution."
Britain not only took money from India but also technology. According to
American Historian Will Durant, India had
flourishing ship building industry besides expertise in steel making and
textiles. All these came to ruin once Britain took over.
only India financed England's industrial revolution but also that of American
growth and economic prosperity. For about hundred years in 19th century US
levied stiff tariffs on any goods imported from Britain. Usually this calls for
reciprocal measures. But Britain did not care since it had the empire to absorb
the iniquity. And Americans thus enjoyed advantage in trade with Britain. India
thus financed American economy as well.
In 1901 Dutt estimated that
one-half of the net revenues of India flowed annually out of the country, never
to return. “So great an economic drain out of the resources of the land,”
says Dutt, “would impoverish the most prosperous countries on earth; it has
reduced India to a land of famines more frequent, more
widespread, and more fatal, than any known before in the history of India
or of the world.”
From such poverty come
ignorance, superstition, disease and death. A people reduced to these straits
cannot afford education, they cannot afford the taxes required
to maintain adequate schools.
When the British came there
was, throughout India, a system of communal schools, managed by the village
communities. The agents of the East India Company destroyed these village
communities, and took steps to replace the schools; even today, after a century
of effort to restore them, they stand at only 66% of their number a hundred
years ago. Hence, the 93 % illiteracy of India.
Instead of encouraging
education, the Government encourages drink. When the British came India was a
sober nation. “The temperance of the people,” said Warren Hastings, “is
demonstrated in the simplicity of food and their total abstinence from
spirituous liquors and other substances of intoxication.” With the first
trading posts established by the British, saloons were opened for the sale of
rum, and the East India Company made handsome profits from the trade.
Seven thousand opium shops were operated in India,
by the British Government in the most conspicuous places in every town.
Thus the health, courage, and character of the Hindu people have been undermined
through this ruthless drugging of a nation by men pretending to be Christians.
Case for India - By Will Durant Simon and Schuster,
New York. 1930
Naipaul said in 1967: "Indians
are proud of their ancient, surviving civilization. They are, in fact, its
books in my own or my children’s student days echoed the British, therefore
the ruler’s, take on events. Here is an effort to interpret British rule in
terms of how it benefited the British but harmed India and the people England
ruled. The book offers some harsh facts about the negative
impact of British rule on Indian economy, agriculture, crafts, and development.
time, one had to wait to read Economic
History of India at the graduate level before getting an inkling
of the exploitative impact of British policies.
The textbook speaks bluntly of the racialism practised
by the British, rather than the one-sided ‘fair and enlightened rule’
gibberish we were fed with. "
our story - by Neera K Sohoni - indianexpress.com).
The Raj and the
Conservative Minister for Kensington and Chelsea in the British government, in
early 1995 compared one-time British government in
India - the so-called 'Raj' - with the Nazi regime.
The fact remains that British rule
in India was largely rule with an iron fist, even though it may most often have
been in a velvet glove. As an conquering and occupying power, the British East
India Company were largely free from legal control from Britain and could
virtually make their own laws to subdue, divide and rule these states and their
peoples. These laws were made just as draconian as the demand for control of
India's resources, draining its economy for huge profits and ensuring the
ascendancy of the British white man demanded.
the so-called 'Mutiny' the British lived more and more as an isolated ruling
caste, with all too widespread disdain and hardened attitudes towards most
peoples in the sub-continent. The British thought and behaved as a 'master race'
towards their subordinates. Among the many sins of the British was the
recruitment under false pretences and promises of Indian workers to labor in
their other colonies in Africa and the West Indies. Their exile was permanent as
they could not get the means to return to India and were exploited thoroughly - bonded
laborers under virtual slavery in all but name, often held in their
places by systems of unjust debts.
In Place of
Slavery - Indentured laborers
Slavery was abolished in Suriname in
1863. Between 1873 and 1940 more than 34,000 British Indians entered Suriname
and effectively replaced the former slaves. Deplorable condition of Indian
"Under the colour of a Bill for
protecting the Indian labourers, it is proposed to legalize the importation of
them into the colonies." "Hundreds of thousands of poor helpless women
and children are now to be abandoned to want, that the growth of sugar in the
West Indies may not languish." Indentureship recruitment, the
Indo-Trinidadian scholar Kenneth Permasad
reminds us, "took place in an India reeling under
the yoke of colonial oppression." Colonialism induced massive
transformations in Indian economy and society, and the increase in famines under
colonial rule, the destruction of indigenous industries, and the proliferation
of the unemployed all attest to the heartlessness of colonial rule. From
Calcutta and Madras Indian men, and a much smaller number of women, especially
in the first few decades of indentured migration, were herded into
"coolie" ships, confined to the lower deck, the women subject to the
lustful advances of the European crew. Sometimes condemned to eat, sleep, and
sit amidst their own waste, the indentureds were just as often without anything
but the most elementary form of medical care. Many did not survive the long and
brutal "middle passage"; the bodies of the dead were, quite
unceremoniously, thrown overboard.
Discipline was enforced with an iron
hand, and the whip cracked generously: as a number of Indian laborers in Surinam
were to state in a complaint in 1883, "if any coolie fails to work for a
single day of the week, he is sent to jail for two or four days, where he is
forced to work while day and night kept under chains. We are tortured very much.
For this reason two to three persons died by swallowing opium and drowning
themselves." Indians are apt, like many other people, to associate the
phenomenon of slavery solely with Africans, but it is not realized that
indentured labor was only, in the words of Hugh Tinker,
"a new form of slavery".
- Indentured Labor).
more information refer to chapter on Glimpses
of inferiority in Indians
Corbett, the renowned tiger hunter even commented that the Indians
were so obedient that otherwise it was impossible for 30,000 to rule 300
The abject feeling of inferiority in India was the result of
a different set of circumstances, brought about
principally by total subjection to British rule. Unlike the Chinese,
Indians adapted at first to the roles that Empire required. The psychological
and moral effects of British conquests and Indian subjection gradually spread
and deepened. The disappearance of the warrior element
in Indian society (the Kshatriyas) marked the disappearance too of
basic components such as courage and encouraged more superficial doubts among
Indians about their technical ability to do anything about the overthrow of
Memsahib with her Tailor and This lithograph of first-class travel, a
privilege of "whites-only" is from the 19th
British rule succeeded in making clear to the Indians
themselves that they lacked power, and it strengthened the imperial opinion that
qualities of passivity, weakness, and cowardice were in fact norms of Indian
culture and character. The process no doubt aided when the British concentrated
on providing educational and related service opportunities that required the
tamer skills and temperament of the office rather than the scepter and sword. On
the other hand, Britons were led to think that the superiority
of English power and culture was an inherent rather than a historical
phenomenon. What is even more surprising, the
devaluation of Indian culture led to a contempt for the Indian physique.
“The physical organization of the Bengali is feeble even to
effeminacy. He lives in a constant vapor bath. His pursuits are sedentary, his
limbs delicate, his movements languid. ….” Wrote John
Strachey in his book, India,
its administration & progess which was written at the turn of
the century and a standard training assignment text at the time for Englishmen
undergoing probation in the Indian Civil Service.
History: Technology and Culture in India, China and the West
1492 to the Present Day - By Claude Alvares p. 186-187).
administrators, missionaries, and European Indologists -- Arun Shourie cites
extensively from historical documents to establish that these three groups
colluded in essential agreement that "India is a den of ignorance, inequity
and falsehood; the principal cause of this state of affairs is Hinduism;
Hinduism is kept going by the Brahmins; as the people are in such suffering, and
also because Jesus in his parting words has bound us to do so, it is a duty to
deliver them to Christianity; for this, it is Hinduism which has to be
notorious minute instituting English as the medium of instruction in India, says
Shourie, "was laced with utter contempt for India,
in particular for Hinduism, for our languages and literature: of
course, Macaulay did not know any of those languages... his ideas about Hinduism
had been formed from the calumny of missionaries .... But the breezy, sweeping
damnation-- even a century and a half later, the imperialist swagger takes one's
in India - By Arun Shourie).
Conquest of India
James M. Thoburn
(1836-1922) wrote in his book, The
Christian Conquest of India
in 1906, about the Millions Waiting to be converted in the British
“In her most palmy days Rome ruled over only one hundred
and twenty million people, while in India today nearly three hundred
million souls are subject, more or less directly, to the rule of the
King-Emperor. China alone among the great kingdoms and empires of
the world can compare with India in population at the beginning of
this new century, and this splendid realm has opened all her gates
and doors to the Christian missionary. Instead of the wretched
little vessels in which Paul coasted around the Mediterranean ports,
the Indian missionary has floating palaces to convey him at sea,
while palatial cars await him when he wished to travel by land. God
has opened his pathway to even the most remote tribes, while a
sympathetic and enlightened government protects him from hostile
persecution, or even the menace of danger. The original commission
to evangelize the nations still stands, while God, who rules over
all nations, sets an open door before his servants who are willing
to enter and evangelize the waiting millions.”
“The time is auspicious, and the missionaries of India
should not lose a day or an hour in sounding the trumpet for a great
forward movement. As Paul, the ideal missionary for all lands and
all times, aimed first at Greece and next for Rome, so should the
missionaries of our modern day aim for all the great centers of
population, commerce, and political rule in the empire. This does
not mean that outlying and distant places are to be negated, but
only that the great centers of power and influence should be quickly
seized and strongly held. A wide and firm grasp is needed. The
word should be passed all along the line that India is to be won for
Christ, and that the greatest movement ever attempted in the history
of Christianity is now at hand. Nothing in all modern history,
nothing since the day of Pentecost, has been equal to the present
The old may rejoice that they have lived to see this day, but
the young may rejoice still more in the hope of seeing a day when a
million souls will be found inquiring the way to Zion in North
India, a million in
West India, a million more in Burma, and still a million more in
South India. A million? Why not ten million? Why
not the Christian Conquest of India?
(source: The Christian Conquest of
India - By Bishop James M. Thoburn p. 244-245). Refer
Christ: Artifice for Aggression - By Sita Ram Goel
All Roads Lead to the
survived, and then thrived, through identification, within the subcontinent, of
various ethnic and sub-ethnic groups and their conflict points; and then,
exploited those conflict points to keep the groups divided and hostile to each
and the other South Asian nations failed to comprehend that it was suicidal to
allow a degenerate colonial power to pursue such policies against their nations.
die was cast in the subversion of the sovereignty of an independent
by the British Raj in 1862, when it laid down the law of apartheid,
to isolate “the tribal groups.” The British came into the area
in the 1820s, following the Burmese conquest of Manipur and parts of
. The area had become unstable in the latter part of the 18th
Century, following the over-extension of the Burmese-based Ahom
kingdom, which reached into
. The instability caused by the weakening of the Ahom kingdom
prompted the Burmese to move to secure their western flank. But the
Burmese action also helped to bring in the British. The British East
India Company was lying in wait for the Ahom kingdom to
The British plan to cordon off the north-east tribal areas was part of its
policy of setting up a multicultural human zoo, during the 1850s, under the
premiership of Henry Temple, the third Viscount Palmerston. Lord
Palmerston, as Henry Temple was called, had three “friends” - the
British Foreign Office, the Home Office, and
The apartheid programme eliminated the North-east
Frontier Agency from the political map of
, and segregated the tribal population from
, as the British had done in southern Africa and would later do in
. By 1875, British intentions became clear, even to those Englishmen who
believed that the purpose of Mother England’s intervention in
, and the North-east in particular, was to improve the conditions of the
also helped the British to function freely in this closed environment. Soon
enough, the British Crown introduced another feature: It allowed Christian
missionaries to proselytize among the tribal population and units of
the Frontier Constabulary. The Land of the Nagas was
identified as “virgin soil” for planting Christianity.
“Among a people so
thoroughly primitive, and so independent of religious profession, we might
reasonably expect missionary zeal would be most successful,” stated the
1875 document, as quoted in the “Descriptive Account of Assam,” by
William Robinson and Angus Hamilton.
were also encouraged to open government-aided schools in the
. Between 1891 and 1901, the number of native Christians increased 128%. The
chief proselytizers were the Welsh Presbyterians,
headquartered in Khasi and the Jaintia Hills. British
Baptists were given the franchise of the Mizo (Lushai)
, and the Baptist mission was set up in 1836.
Asian Terrorism: All Roads Lead to the
- By Ramtanu Maitra -
Sanderson has written:
"The British army in India
expressed most of the crude realities of militarism. The bayonet was within
striking distance of every man, woman, and child in India. British militarism in
India was founded upon a principle which tolerated swift and ruthless
destruction of civilian life and property. The purpose of militarism in India
was to compel obedience by terror. Massacres, bombings, and other atrocities
occurred frequently enough to spread fear and submissiveness. Protected by
British bayonets, tax gatherers, plantation owners, police, judges, prison
keepers, and British citizens were able to carry their purpose with impunity.
The use of force to extract profits and satisfy privileged appetites is no
pretty picture anywhere.
and British Imperialism - By Gorham D. Sanderson p. 249).
Winston Churchill on Colonial
bondage and Terrorism
Winston Churchill (1874
- 1965) served as a
soldier and journalist in India. He had opposed limited self-government
for India because he cherished, Britain's imperial history. A Labour MP asked in the
British House of Commons whether the principles of the
Atlantic charter would apply to India
and elicited the celebrated reply from
Winston Churchill that he had not become the first minister of His Majesty’s
government to preside over the liquidation of the British empire.
Secretary of State at the War Office (1919), W Churchill authorized the RAF
Middle East Command to use chemical weapons "against recalcitrant Arabs as
an experiment", dismissing objections by the India
Office as "unreasonable".
do not understand this squeamishness about the use of gas.
I am strongly in favour of using poisoned gas against uncivilized tribes. (to)
spread a lively terror." (The tribes were the Kurds
of Iraq and the Afghans.) "We cannot acquiesce in the non-utilisation
of any available weapons to procure a speedy termination of
the disorder which prevails on the frontier", adding that chemical weapons are merely "the
application of Western science to modern warfare".
"I do not agree that the dog in a manger has the final right to the
manger even though he may have lain there for a very long time. I do not admit
that right. I do not admit for instance,
that a great wrong has been done to the Red Indians of America or the black
people of Australia. I do not admit that a wrong has
been done to these people by the fact that a stronger race, a higher-grade race,
a more worldly wise race to put it that way, has come in and taken their
itself on lessons learnt in its Indian colonial
possession as well as its wartime experience in Iranian Kurdistan,
Britain cast around for pliable Kurdish figures whom it could appoint to
positions of authority, focusing especially on tribal leaders - even going to
the extent of 're-tribalising': For all its talk of its 'civilising
mission' to non-Christian and non-white peoples, therefore, Britain
was deliberately attempting to turn back the clock of social development, in the
naked pursuit of its own capitalist interests.
British imperial General
Stanley Maude, who, after marching his military forces into
Baghdad in 1917 in order to establish British Empire rule, declared, “Our
armies do not come into your cities and lands as conquerors or enemies, but as
Churchill on Terrorism and
- Drunk With Thrill Of Genocide - By
Chris Floyd and
Refer to Jesus
Christ: Artifice for Aggression - By Sita Ram Goel
Churchill is named Time’ magazine’s man of the year for
and U.S. News and World Report have dubbed Winston Churchill "The
Last Hero" in a 2000 cover story).
Churchill and Mahatma Gandhi
is alarming and also nauseating to see Mr. Gandhi, a seditious Middle Temple
lawyer, now posing as a fakir of a type well-known in the East, striding
half-naked up the steps of the Viceregal palace, while he is still organizing
and conducting a defiant campaign of civil disobedience, to parley on equal
terms with the representative of the King Emperor."
India Britannica - By Geoffrey Moorhouse p.
240). For more refer to Mahatma
Churchill favoured letting Gandhi die if he went on hunger strike, newly
published Cabinet papers show. The
UK's WWII prime minister thought India's spiritual leader should be treated like
anyone else if he stopped eating while being held by the British. But his
ministers persuaded him against the tactic, fearing Gandhi would become a martyr
if he died in British hands.
The Viceroy of then British-run India, Lord Linlithgow, said he was
"strongly in favour of letting Gandhi starve to death".
"He is such a semi-religious figure that his death in our hands would be a
great blow and embarrassment to us," said Sir Stafford Cripps, then
Minister for Aircraft Production.
may have let Gandhi die - BBC).
British mentality is the same as Hitler's. In their own estimation they are the
master race born to govern. Only those who successfully show fight
get what they want from Britian. She always interferes on the side of reaction,
and the League of Nations itself is just another link in the chain of bondage,
for the status quo clause would fetter India for ever as Britain's
Reveals Herself - By Basil Matthew p. 90).
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