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Anglicists versus Orientalists

The contribution of British Orientalists in the second half of the 18th century to the growth of self-awareness and pride in their past cultural achievements among educated Hindus is well known. As David Kopf, author of British Orientalism and Bengal Renaissance: The Dynamics of Indian Modernization 1773-1835, has put it: " The intellectual elite that clustered about Hastings after 1770 was classicist rather than 'progressive' in their historical outlook, cosmopolitan rather than nationalist in their view of other cultures, and rationalist rather than romantic in their quest for those 'constant and universal principles' that express the unity of human nature."

 Much of this was to change for the worse in the 19th century when nationalism and racism came to dominate the West European mind. The earliest expression of this change in our case is James Mill's History of India published in 1817. It was, in large part, written to refute the views of Sir William Jones. Though Mill spoke no Indian languages, indeed had never been to India, his damning indictment of Indian society and religion had become the standard work - required reading for all who would serve in India. It marked the triumph of the Anglicists (read detractors of India) over the Orientalists who were admirers of Indian civilization.

Thomas Babbington Macaulay (1800-59) is best known for introducing English education in India. Macaulay was the first Law Member of the Governor-General's Legislature. He clinched the issue in favor of the Anglicists with his famous minute of 1832. English was to become the medium of instruction and not Sanskrit or Persian which the Orientalists had favored. In the House of Commons, Macaulay directed his attack towards Hinduism:

 "In no part of the world has a religion ever existed more unfavorable to the moral and intellectual health of our race." 

(source: India Discovered -
By John Keay   77-78).

He wrote in his notorious 1835 Minute that Hinduism was based on " a literature admitted to be of small intrinsic value ...(one) that inculcates the most serious errors on the most important subjects ... hardly reconcilable with reason, with morality...fruitful of monstrous superstitions. " Hindus had therefore been fed for millennia with a "false history, false astronomy, false medicine company of a false religion." 

"A war of Bengalees against English men was like a war of sheep against wolves, of men against demons."

Dismissing with incredible arrogance the profound speculation and beautiful language of the Sanskrit classics, he said, " I doubt whether the Sanskrit literature be as valuable as that of our Saxon and Norman progenitors." 

(source: India: A World in Transition - By Beatrice Pitney Lamb  p. 194)). Refer to chapter on First Indologists.

Oriental Renaissance began to invite opposition. Missionaries were one obvious source of it. Another source was Imperialism. European powers were becoming self-conscious imperialists and they could not rule with a clean conscience over people who were proud possessors of great cultures. Another source, a natural result of Imperialism, was growing Eurocentricity. Europe became less and less inclined to believe that anything worthwhile could be found anywhere outside of Europe

Therefore, the Oriental Movement began to be downgraded. It was called “romantic” and even “fanatic”; its fascination for India was a form of “Indo-mania”.  

Indians were allowed to possess the Vedas, the oldest literature of the Aryans, but the Aryans themselves were made to migrate, this time from Europe to India as conquerors. Thus the tables were turned. Migration remained but its direction changed. India which was hitherto regarded as the home of European languages and people now became the happy hunting ground of the same people who came and conquered and imposed their will and culture on India

The theory of Aryan invasion was born.  

(source: On Hinduism Reviews and Reflections  - By Ram Swarup  p. 107 - 108). Refer to chapter on First IndologistsWatch Scientific verification of Vedic knowledge

In the 1830's, Macaulay had poured scorn on Asian cultures: "A single shelf of a good European library he held to be worth the whole native literature of India and Arabia..."  

Ever since the days of Macaulay's reform in the 1830's, all higher education in India had been conducted in English. Anglomania became the fashion among the social and intellectual elite, whose derision of their own Indian culture was a token of their Europeanization.  It produced a generation of young Indians who found themselves rootless, out of touch with their own country and its enduring culture..."

It had been Macaulay's aim to train a large class of men who would be: "Indian in blood and color, but English in taste, in opinions, in morals and in intellect," who would stand between the British and the illiterate masses.."

(source: The Soul of India - By Amaury de Riencourt   p. 288 - 292).

In this new Anglicist discourse, India was misunderstood, misrepresented and run down in almost every conceivable way. This shameful history of the imperialist and hegemonic discourse and perversion in the name of knowledge made it out that Hindu society had got frozen just above the primitive level. This distortion produced alienation in the Hindus, if anything, has grown since independence. 

(source: The Hindu Phenomenon -
By Girilal Jain p. 38-40. Jain, was doyen of Indian journalists and editor of The Times of India from 1978-1988). Refer to chapter on First Indologists. For more information refer to chapter on First Indologists. Refer to QuickTime trailer and Part One of the film The God Awful Truth. Watch An Invasion through Conversion -


No Ten Commandments east of the Suez Canal?

Sahibs of British India

Swami Vivekananda explained the effects of British education in these words:

“Oh, India, this is your terrible danger. The spell of imitating the West getting such a hold upon you, that what is good or what is bad, is no longer decided by reason, judgment, discrimination or reference to the Sastras.

‘Whatever ideas, whatever manners the white men praise or like, are good; whatever things they dislike or censure, are bad! Alas! What can be a more tangible proof of foolishness than this?”


Edmond Taylor writes: "In the golden age of empire, both in official propaganda and in their private mythologies of the white man's burden, the sahibs placed the main emphasis upon their own superiority rather than the natives inferiority. 

"The sahib is accustomed to being obeyed, to being feared, to being surrounded with deference and servility. He belongs to the British middle-class himself but in the East his life is filled with the symbols of domination and grandeur. He may not be enjoying fantastic luxury but deference is a more deeply rooted symbol of power than luxury, and on the scale of deference, as far as his relations with the natives go, he lives like a pre-revolutionary grand duke of Russia." 

"The British have set themselves up as the master race in India. British rule in India is fascism, there is no dodging that."

(source: Richer By Asia - Edmond Taylor p. 105 and 248).


European Imperialism - A Christian Enterprise was backed and blessed by the Pope

The Romanus Pontifex, also issued by Pope Nicholas V in 1455, sanctioned the seizure of non-Christian lands, and encouraged the enslavement of non-Christian people.

Enslaving the Heathens? An Englishman getting a pedicure from his Indian servants.

The Tyranny of British Rule: "The British have set themselves up as the master race in India. British rule in India is fascism, there is no dodging that." 

"It is in India, of all places on the earth, that the superiority of the white over the colored races is most strikingly demonstrated."

"According to British history, there was no freedom movement in India, no man made famines, no transfer of huge resources from India to Britain , no destruction of Indian industries and agriculture by the British rule, but only a very benign and benevolent British rule in India ."

Refer to Loot: in search of the East India Company - By Nick Robins and How India became poor - and Why Indians Should Reject St. Thomas And Christianity - By Koenraad Elst


A German professor, George Wegener, expressed the heart of the matter as far back as 1911:

"It is in India, of all places on the earth, that the superiority of the white over the colored races is most strikingly demonstrated. If the Asiatics were to succeed in destroying English mastery there, then the position of the whole white race throughout the world would be fatally undermined."

(source: The Case for India - By Will Durant  Simon and Schuster, New York. 1930 p. 178).

The Hindi word loot entered English lexicon after the Battle of Plassey. English historian William Digby estimated in 1901 that the amount looted from India was 1 billion dollars.

"If British empire-builders could have kept racialism out of their policy, I'm sure they could happily have stayed on in India to this day.
That racial discrimination was absolutely blatant as and when Indian fighting forces came in contact with the British fighting forces. If an Indian had any kind of self-respect, he couldn't help resenting it. Even today, after so many years, I hesitate to go to any white man's country. During that impressionable period of my life, the treatment I got from Britishers, from white people, was so bad that even today I fear I might meet the same thing."  - B.C. Dutt (ex-rating the Royal Indian Navy and a leader of the Mutiny of 1946).

Indian Tales of the Raj - By Zareer Masani p.120).


Greed and Arrogance was the hallmark of European Imperialism


A painting by an Indian artist showing a British child accompanied by three Indian servants, enjoying a horseback ride in Calcutta gardens in 1840s.


A handbook published in 1878 recommended twenty-seven servants for a well-to-do British family in Calcutta and fourteen for a bachelor.

(source: Colonial Overlords: Time Frame Ad 1850-1900 - Time-Life Books. The Scramble for Africa ASIN 0809464667 p. 8-27).


A Nation of Shopkeepers wants to rule India

Sir Josiah Child, appointed chairman of the East India company, had once declared, " the time was ripe to lay the foundation of a large, well-grounded, sure English dominion in India for all time to come."

(source: Colonial Overlords: Time Frame Ad 1850-1900  - Time-Life Books. The Scramble for Africa ASIN 0809464667 p. 13).

Sir William Joynson-Hicks, Home Minister in the Baldwin Government, expressed : "I know it is said in the missionary meetings that we conquered India to raise the level of the Indians. That is cant. We conquered India as an outlet for the goods of Great Britain. We conquered India by the sword, and by the sword we shall hold it."

(source: The Case for India - By Will Durant Simon and Schuster, New York. 1930 p.163-164 and India in Bondage: Her Right to Freedom  - By Jabez T. Sunderland p.138).

As the 19th century progressed, British power and population increased: The Moghal empire shrank to an impotent enclave around Delhi; and independent princes, one by one, became British clients. Indian participation in government was reduced to a minimum; social intercourse was limited and distant. The British began to see- and treat-all Indians as an inferior and conquered people, and to make maintenance of British power and aloofness a policy. The spread of the evangelical movement, with its horror of the non-Christian, only added to Britons' concept of their inherent superiority.

(source: What Life Was Like in the Jewel of the Crown: British India AD 1600-1905 - By The Editors of Time-Life Books. p. 93).

According to Indian Labor Journal, "For the same amount of work a white man got three times the salary as an Indian would get." 

(source: Indian Labor Journal, was founded during the peak of Freedom Movement, a weekly tabloid that stopped publication on the eve of Independence in 1947. Its founder-editor, the late G V Rahgavan managed to rattle the British with his telling commentaries in the column Epistles Brief and Frank. Raghavan, who was initiated into politics by C Rajagopalachari, was one of the famous socialist leaders and freedom fighters of the region. Closely associated with Mahatma Gandhi, Subhash Chandra Bose, Jawaharlal Nehru, Jay Prakash Narayan and V V Giri, he served in the Bengal Nagpur Railways for three decades and initiated many welfare measures for the employees.  


Birds of Passage and of Prey

The British who go to India to carry on the government never for a moment think of the country as home; it is merely their temporary tarrying place, their "inn". Edmund Burke described these British countrymen of his by the striking phrase, "birds of passage and prey." The British in India are no part of India; they do not settle down to make homes there; they make their 'piles' and return to their country, where all who have been in government service continue all the rest of their lives to draw  fat pensions from India.

(source: India in Bondage: Her Right to Freedom  - By Jabez T. Sunderland p. 299).

Speech in House of Commons on India, 1783 - By Edmund Burke:

Despite the act if 1773, there were still concerns about the administration of India.

" ... Our conquest there, after twenty years, is as crude as it was the first day. The natives scarcely know what it is to see the grey head
of an Englishman. Young men (boys almost) govern there, without society, and without sympathy with the natives. They have no more
social habits with the people, than if they still resided in England; nor, indeed, any species of intercourse but that which is necessary to making a sudden fortune, with a view to a remote settlement.. Animated with all the avarice of age, and all the impetuosity of youth, they roll in one after another; wave after wave; and there is nothing before the eyes of the natives but an endless, hopeless prospect of new flights of birds of prey and passage, with appetites continually renewing for a food that is continually wasting. Every rupee of profit made by an Englishman is lost for ever to India."

(source: Internet Modern History Sourcebook).




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