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Colonial History of India
In India, dialect change after every 30 miles. Sanskrit was Indian sub continent main language and it got mixed with local tribe initial language. Sanskrit was mainly used by litereate or teachers language.
After repetitive invasion other language got mixed with local language. Hindi was commonly spoken in central India and which is much closer to other dialects.
After Independence special efforts were made to use one language for official purpose and to bind India together.
Urdu is always linked with Muslim ruler language. Before Independence, In North Indian schools it was only language taught beside English. Ploy to suppress Hindu language, that was Sanskrit.
But some section of society always protested and always gives credential to foreign writer logic.
Some people use foreign writer reference just to give credit to their logic.

I have asked linguist to give more details on this matter.
This again from internet site which consider Aryans came from Europe

Hindi is a modern Indo-Aryan language (belonging to the family of greater Indo-European languages) and is a descendent of Sanskrit, the earliest speech of the Aryan settlers in the north-west frontiers of India. Passing through various stages of evolution over the period of time -- from Classical Sanskrit to Pali-Prakrit and Apabhransha, the emergence of Hindi in its earliest form can be traced back to the 10th century A.D. (Bhandarkar 1929, Chatterji 1960). Hindi, sometimes, is also refered to as Hindavi, Hindustani and Khari-Boli. Hindi written in Devanagari script (which is the most scientific writing system among the existig writing systems of the world) is the National Official Language of the Republic of India and is ranked as the Òthird most widely spoken languges of the worldÓ (Bhatia 1996). In addition, Hindi is also the state language of the state of Bihar, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan. Approximately six hundred million people across the globe speak Hindi as either a first or second language. The literary history of Hindi can be traced back to the twelfth century and in its modern incarnation Hindi has an approximately three hundred year old, well attested rich literary and grammatical tradition.

Three distinct phases in the development of Indo-Aryan languages have been suggested by the cholars.They are : (a) the Ancient (2400 BC - 500 BC), (B) the Medieval (500 BC - 1100 AD) and © the Modern (1100 - ). The ancient period is the period of the Vedic and Classical Sanskrit which resulted in the evolution of Pali, Prakrit and Apabhransha langauges during the medieval period. Most of the modern Indo-Aryan languages of south Asia, like Hindi, Bangla, Oriya, Gujrati, Nepali, Marathi, Panjabi, evolved in the 'modern' period.

It is very difficult to say as to when exactly Hindi as a language came into picture and acholars are divided in their opinion on this issue. But the trace of Hindi is obvious in the langauge of the Siddh saints of century 8 - 9 AD. Noted Hindi scholar Acharya Ramchandra Shukla begins his description of the history of Hindi literature ('Hindi Sahitya ka Itihas'). In order to make their teaching easily undestandable to the common ordinary people, the kind of language Siddha saints used is can undoubtedly be called the one of the authentic earliest forms of Hindi. We can also find the glimpse of early Hindi in the langauge of the Jain poets (like Hemchandra and Dharma Suri), Vidyapati, Abdurrehman Khankhana and Swayambhu. The more stablished form of Hindi (the 'khari boli') is visible in the creations of Sharfuddin, Khusro, Banda Niwaz Gailurdaz, Wjahi Ali, Sultan Kuli Qutabshah, Shah Turab etc.
Link to other lies about Hindi <!--emo&:thumbdown--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/thumbsdownsmileyanim.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='thumbsdownsmileyanim.gif' /><!--endemo-->
Lot of westener belongs to this school of thought.
The Hindustany or Hindi Language,
The Greatest Islamicate Language in the World :friusty
The results of Aryan invasion theory now morphed into Aryan Migration theory, <!--emo&:thumbdown--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/thumbsdownsmileyanim.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='thumbsdownsmileyanim.gif' /><!--endemo-->


by Mahatma Phule


Since the advent of the rule of Brahmin for centuries (in India), the Shudras and the Ati-sudras are suffering hardships and are leading miserable lives. To draw people's attention to this, and that they should think over their misfortune, and that they should eventually set themselves free form this tyranny of the Bhats (Brahmins) perpetrated on them - is the main aim of (writing) this book. More than three thousand years may have elapsed since the advent of the rule of Brahmins in this land. They came to India from a foreign land (they were aliens to India), and they subjugated the original inhabitants of India and perpetrated a vile tyranny over them. When they realised that the original inhabitants had forgotten all about this, the alien Bhats (Bhramin) skillfully managed to hide from the natives the true state of affairs (having conquered them and turned them into helots). In order to impress them with their own superiority, the conquerors devised many ways to perpetuate their own interests by various ways.

Unfortunately, all of them succeeded in their objects, because the original inhabitants were already a conquered race, and were kept in perpetual darkness by being deprived of (the light of) Knowledge by the Brahmin, That is why the poor people could not understand their conqueror' wiles and guiles. In order to overpower the and to keep them thraldom for ages, they (the Aryans) produced many spurious religious tracts and claimed to have received them directly from God as revelations. The poor ignorant folk were persuaded to swallow this lie. They further concocted many legends in their (divine) books to the effect that the conquered people should serve the usurpers faithfully so that God would be pleased, and that the main object of creating the depressed people was serving the usurpers faithfully which would be a consummation devoutly to be desired, as per 'divine dispensation'. They highlighted this fiction in their spurious tracts.

Even a cursory and causal acquaintance with these spurious tracts is enough to explode the myth of their divine origin. Even to out clever Bhat-Brethren (whom we are ashamed to term as 'brethren') the writing of such spurious tracts brings great discredit and contempt to the omnipotent Creator of this universe and of men and things, and Who has the same love and regard for all creation. Even our so-called learned Bhat (Brahmin) brethren would gladly acknowledge this. We are ashamed to own them as our' brethren' because they oppressed the down-trodden greatly at one time, and even now we are labouring under great disabilities in the name this 'so called religion' and it is a universal truth the fraternal religion has no place for mutual oppression. We are forced to own them as our 'brethren', being the children of the same Creator. But the usurpers should not think only of their own selfish interests but must think in a just and fair manner. Wise English, French, German, American and other scholars will surely opine that these religious books (produced by the Brahmins) are spurious because they try to impress upon the people's mind the greatness of the Brahmins by palming off the fiction that the Brahmins are superior even to the omnipotent Creator Himself.. Some English authors in their historical treatises have already expressed their view that the Bhat authors have enslaved the `natives' in order to promote their own interests. Little do the Bhat authors realise how they have belittled and demeaned the splendour and majesty of God through their mean productions! God has granted the freedom to all people (including the depressed and down-trodden) to enjoy equitably all things created on this earth (animate and inanimate). But the Bhat authors have concocted spurious tracts in the name of God, dispossessed the common people of their legitimate rights, and assumed a pre- eminent place (in the hierarchy of society) for themselves.

Some of our Bhat brethren may well ask at this point, 'supposing these religious tracts were spurious, how did the forebears of the depressed and down-trodden believe in them and how do some of them continue to believe in them even now?' The simple answer to this is as follows: In these modern time when we have the freedom to speak out (or express) in writing our thoughts freely, if a deceitful person were to take a letter purporting to be from a respectable person to a wise person, even if that letter be spurious, the wise person tends to believe in it for the time being and thus is duped for the time being. The depressed and down trodden who were kept ignorant by the Bhats, being caught in their shrewd trap, were deceived and were made to believe in the spurious religious books, stating loudly that they were in their best interests. The Bhats are deceiving the ignorant folks even now. This deception practised on the simple folks is of a piece with the deception described above.. (This practice stands to reason). There is nothing to doubt this nefarious practice.

The Bhats in order to feather their own interests tender advice to the ignorant down-trodden people time and again. That is why the poor people begin to respect the (so-called learned) Bhats. By this means the Bhats have compelled the Shudras to accord honour to them which is really due only to God. This is a great injustice indeed! Surely, the Bhats will be answerable to God Himself. So deep has been the impress of the deceitful teachings of the Bhats on the minds of the Sudras, that they were prepared to oppose (fight) the very people who were trying to free the shackles imposed on them by the Bhats. (This is exactly the way the Negroes in America reacted to those kind souls who tried to free them from the bonds of slavery). They are not content with telling their benefactors' "Do not try to oblige us. We are quite content with our present lot (of Slavery)", but go a step further and pick up quarrels with them. It is a very strange thing indeed! Be it noted that the benefactors of the ignorant folk do not stand to gain anything by their noble action. On the contrary, some of them have to sacrifice their lives, and also to endanger their own safety and interests. Why are they actuated by these philanthropic urges? A little introspection will tell us that `freedom' is imperative to man, and it is the duty of every gentleman to bestow this freedom on those who are deprived of it. When a man is free, he is able to express his innermost thoughts orally or in writing to others. Even important beneficial thoughts cannot be communicated to others for want of freedom (of expression) and thus they evaporate in course of time. The Creator of this world, Who is also Omnipresent, has conferred some precious human rights upon all mankind (all men and women). But the selfish and cunning Brahmins have kept the people in the dark about their human rights. A truely liberated man will never hesitate to demand these human rights from his oppressors for himself. Due rights confer happiness on people. The philanthropic people are inspired to confer freedom on every one and then to make him happy by releasing him from unjust oppression. They reck not the dangerous risks involved in such work. How noble and philanthropic is such work! As their objects and aims were noble, God crowned their efforts with success wherever they strove to this end. We pray to God to shower His blessings on their noble efforts. May they prosper wherever they strive in this good cause!

The nefarious practice of capturing poor people and enslaving them has been in for many centuries in the continents of Africa and America. Some advanced nations (people) in Europe and elsewhere were genuinely ashamed of themselves for this heinous crime. Many liberal minded souls in England and America tried hard to abolish this bad practice by waging wars against the oppressors. They cared not even for their own safety or interests. Many slaves were cruelly separated from their own kith and kin (parents, brothers, sisters, offspring and friends) and thus were passing through hell-fires. As a result, they pined away and were on the point of death. Just then they were reunited to their dear and near ones (through the kind ministry of these noble souls). All praise to those selfless American reformers for their noble deeds! But for their kind efforts and ministration, the unfortunate slaves would have died without being united to their kith and kin. Were those who enslaved them treating them humanely? No! No! A recital of the cruel ways will wring tears even from the stony hearts. The slave-owners used to kick them routinely as if they were brutes. Sometimes they used to yoke them to the ploughs and make them plough their lands in the burning sun. If they shirked a bit, they were whipped mercilessly. They did not care to feed them properly. Many times they had to starve. The meager food that was served to them was most unsatisfactory and insufficient for their needs. Sometimes even this was not served to them. The slaves were compelled to put in hard work throughout the day till they broke down completely and were condemned to the stables for their nightly rest. They would lay down their tired limbs on the insanitary floors of the stables half-dead. Even the sweet balm of sleep was denied to them. How could they sleep there? They were in terror of the call of the slave-owner at any time (in the night). Sleep eludes empty stomachs. Their bodies used to ache from the whip- lashes rained on them by day and they tossed from side to side. To make matters worse, the very thought of their dear and near ones from whom they were so cruelly torn apart wrung 'tears of molten lead' from their tired eyes. In this helpless plight, they used to pray to the Almighty to take pity on them and to deliver them from this hell on earth. 'This is unbearable! Please send Thy angel of Death to us and deliver us' they prayed. Thus they passed the miserable hours of the night. Words fall short to describe their agonies, miseries and hellish torture!

The good people of America have abolished this pernicious practice of slavery prevalent there for centuries and have freed many poor slaves from the clutches of the slave owners' tyranny. The depressed and down-trodden people of India feel specially happy at this suspicious development, because they alone or the slaves in America have experienced the many inhuman hardships and tortures attendant upon slavery. The only difference between these two categories of slaves is this: former were first conquered and then enslaved, while the latter were captured (in Africa) and were enslaved in America. The miserable condition of both types of slaves is identical. The hardships heaped upon the slaves in America were also suffered by the depressed and down- trodden people in India at the hands of the Bhats, Nay, even more! A mere mention of their cruel hardships will break the hearts of even the stony hearted. Streams of tears will burst forth from within the black hard rock (granite) which will inundate the whole earth. It will appear as a veritable 'deluge' to some of the descendants of the Bhat brethren, who dehumanised the Shudras, if they possess some modicum of humanity -- so glaringly different from the other segment of the same fraternity.

If the British (rulers) conduct an impartial inquiry into the true state of affairs regarding the Shudras, they will get a clear idea about the tortures and tribulation heaped upon the Shudras (the depressed and down-trodden) by the Bhats, and will be convinced that important chapters from the history-books of India written so far have been deleted.

A correct perception of the miseries suffered by the depressed and down-trodden people is bound to affect their literature also. The history of the Shudras (of India) will be very valuable as a portrayal of the inhuman conditions to which these Shudras were condemned for centuries by their wicked oppressors. The tender-hearted (poet) will be shocked beyond words. Out of evil cometh good! Poets so far had to invent imaginary episodes to create genuinely tragic emotions (in their readers). The poets will now be spared that exercise in view of the tragic conditions of the Shudras.

If the foreigners are so grief-stricken over the miseries suffered by the Shudras of India, how much be the magnitude of the mental torture experienced by the present descendants of the original Shudras (of India) at the thought of their forefathers' miseries. A mere remembrance of the inhumanity practised on the Shudras by their masters (the Brahminical autocracy) makes the hair stand on end. And we instinctively feel that if only the remembrance of their misery causes such sorrow to us, what hellish fires must the victims have gone through themselves! How Parashuram, the chief (executive authority) of the Bhats of India persecuted the original inhabitants of India - The Kshatriyas (the warrior class) will be described in due course in this treatise of ours. He massacred the Kshatriyas and deprived their poor womenfolk of their babes in-arms and perpetrated `the massacre of the innocents'! He went one step further. He hunted down the pregnant wives of the Kshatriyas who were running helter-shelter to save themselves as also the babies in their wombs, and captured and imprisoned them. If they delivered baby- boys, Parashuram would rush there and kill the new - born. It is futile to expect to get a factual and impartial history from the Bhat persecutors of the Kshatriyas. Bhat historians may have deleted this sinister chapter form their history books as nobody likes to own up his wicked deeds. Still it is very surprising that some of their (chroniclers) have recorded this despicable episode in their historical works (such as they are)!

The Bhat Chroniclers have recorded in their books that Parashuram defeated the Kshatriyas twenty-one times and massacred the young ones of the Kshatriyas widows as a brave exploit for the delectation of future readers. But as the radiance of the Sun cannot be obscured by the palm of one's hand (truth cannot be hidden or suppressed for ever), they might have been forced to record a partial account of the original inhumanity - [as 'truth, like murder, will always (be) out!]

Even a cursory glance at the account of the inhumanity perpetrated by Parshuram saddens out hearts even today. What agony must the pregnant mothers have gone through when they were pursued by Parashuram (and his hordes). Women are not expert runners (are not use to running). Some of them who were the consorts of noblemen were used to spend their days, confined to their homes. The pregnant women who led luxurious lives under the protection of their husbands till then, should have been forced to run for their lives (to protect the babies in their wombs) is the height of misfortune! Some of them may have tripped and dashed against rough stones on the moor (being unused to run outdoor). They must have sustained bodily injuries (on their elbows, foreheads, knees etc.) and bled profusely, but the fear of the relentless pursuer -- Parshuram -- would not let them rest. Their soles must have been pierced by thorns, their clothes torn, and their bodies bruised by the brambles - resulting in inevitable blood-letting. The exertion of running in the fierce heat of the sun must have scorched their feet and also their tender (lotus-like) complexions. They may have foamed at the mouth and their eyes brimmed with salt tears. Not having obtained even a drop of water for days on end, their stomachs must have turned sorely. They may have prayed that the earth should (split) open and swallow them up (as in the case of Sita) to save themselves from their relentless pursuer, 'O Lord! why hast Thou brought us to this pass? ', so may have prayed some of them. `Defenceless that we are, we are still more defenceless in the absence of our husbands. Why do you prolong our agony? O Omnipotent Lord! Why have You become a silent spectator when we are being butchered by this friend, who has murdered our husbands and is now persecuting us?' Parashuram may have captured and carried away some of them as they prayed as above. Some of the women may have entreated him humbly, while others may have breathed their last in anguish and in pain. They may have entreated Parashuram to spare their unborn babies. "We beg of you, on bended knee, (this favour). You may kill us but at least spare our babies. You have rendered us hapless widows. We will not be able to bring forth any more children hence forth. We are looking forward to the birth of this last child. Why would you drown us in an ocean of sorrow by killing our foetuses? Please grant this favour to us who are like your daughters". But these entreatise had no effect on the stony hearted Parashuram. When Parashuram (Kamasa-like) may have snatched their new-born from them, the mothers might have bent over them protectively and might have prayed to him to spare their young ones. But to no avail! (Our pen is powerless) to describe the tragic scene (of Parshuram robbing the mothers of their new-born). When he killed those children under their mothers's noses, some of them may have beaten their breasts, some torn their hair, some may have ended their lives in sheer grief and some may have gone mad with grief and wandered abroad disconsolate, lamenting their irreparable loss. It is useless to expect from the Bhats a faithful record of this dark chapter in our history.

The Bhats have brain-washed the depressed and down-trodden people to acknowledge Parashuram, their commander who had massacred hundreds of Kshatriyas and who was responsible for the miseries inflicted on their wives and children as the Omnipotent Creator of this Universe. It is indeed, a great marvel! The Bhats who came after Parshuram continued to torture the Kshatriyas still further, We shall allude later on in this treatise, how the Bhats used to bury alive Kshatriyas in the foundation of buildings. If a Bhat happened to pass by a river where a Shudra was washing his clothes, the Shudra had to collect all his clothes and proceed to a far distant spot, lest some drops of the (contaminated) water should be sprayed on the Bhat. Even then, if a drop of water were to touch the body of the Bhat from there, or even if the Bhat so imagined it, the Bhat did not hesitate to fling his utensil angrily at the head of the Shudra who would collapse to the ground, his head bleeding profusely. On recovering from the swoon the Shudra would collect his blood- stained clothes and wend his way home silently. He could not complain to the Government Officials, as the administration was dominated by the Bhats. More often than not he would be punished stringently for complaining against the Bhats. This was the height of injustice!

It was difficult for the Shudras to move about freely in the streets for their daily routine, most of all in the mornings when persons and things cast long shadows about them. If a `Bhat Saheb' were to come along from the opposite direction, the Shudra had to stop by the road until such time as the `Bhat Saheb' passed by - for fear of casting his polluting shadow on him. He was free to proceed further only after the `Bhat Saheb' had passed by him. Should a Shudra be unlucky enough to cast his polluting shadow on a Bhat inadvertently, the Bhat used to belabour him mercilessly and would go to bathe at the river to wash off the pollution. The Shudras were forbidden even to spit in the streets. Should he happen to pass through a Brahmin (Bhat) locality he had to carry an earthen-pot slung about his neck to collect his spittle. (Should a Bhat Officer find a spittle from a Shudra's mouth on the road, woe betide the Shudra!) The Shudra suffered many such indignities and disabilities and were looking forward to their release from their persecutors as prisoners fondly do. The all-merciful Providence took pity on the Shudras and brought about the British raj to India by its divine dispensation which emancipated the Shudras from the physical (bodily) thraldom (slavery). We are much beholden to the British rulers. We shall never forget their kindness to us. It was the British rulers who freed us from the centuries-old oppression of the Bhat and assured a hopeful future for our children. Had the British not come on the scene (in India) (as our rulers) the Bhat would surely have crushed us in no time (long ago.)

Some may well wonder as to how the Bhats managed to crush the depressed and down-trodden people here even though they (the Shudras) outnumbered them tenfold. It was well-known that one clever person can master ten ignorant persons (e.g. a shepherd and his flock). Should the ten ignorant men be united (be of one mind), they would surely prevail over that clever one. But if the ten are disunited they would easily be duped by that clever one. The Bhats have invented a very cunning method to sow seeds of dissension among the Shudras. The Bhats were naturally apprehensive of the growing numbers of the depressed and down- trodden people. They knew that keeping them disunited alone ensured their (the Bhats') continued mastery ever them. It was the only way of keeping them as abject slaves indefinitely, and only thus would they be able to indulge in a life of gross indulgence and luxury ensured by the `sweat of the Shudras' brows. To that end in view, the Bhats invented the pernicious fiction of the caste-system, compiled (learned) treatises to serve their own self-interest and indoctrinated the pliable minds of the ignorant Shudras (masses) accordingly. Some of the Shudras put up a gallant fight against this blatant injustice. They were segregated into a separate category (class). In order to wreak vengeance on them (for their temerity) the Bhats persuaded those whom we today term as Malis (gardeners), Kunbis (tillers, peasants) etc. not to stigmatise them as untouchables. Being deprived of their means of livelihood, they were driven to the extremity of eating the flesh of dead animals. Some of the members of the Shudras community today proudly call themselves as Malis (gardeners), Kunbis (peasants), gold-smiths, tailors, iron smiths, carpenters etc, on the basis of the avocation (trade) they pursued (practised), Little do they know that our ancestors and those of the so-called untouchables (Mahars, Mangs etc.) were blood-brothers (traced their lineage to the same family stock). Their ancestors fought bravely in defence of their motherland against the invading usurpers (the Bhats) and hence, the wily Bhats reduced them to penury and misery. It is a thousand pities that being unmindful of this state of affairs, the Shudras began to hate their own kith and kin.

The Bhats invented an elaborate system of caste-distinction based on the way the other Shudras behaved towards them, condemning some to the lowest rung and some to a slightly higher rung. Thus they permanently made them into their proteges and by means of the powerful weapon of the `iniquitous caste system,' drove a permanent wedge among the Shudras.

It was a classic case of the cats who went to law! The Bhats created dissensions among the depressed and the down- trodden masses and are battening on the differences (are leading luxurious lives thereby).

The depressed and down-trodden masses in India were freed from the physical (bodily) slavery of the Bhats as a result of the advent of the British raj here. But we are sorry to state that the benevolent British Government have not addressed themselves to the important task of providing education to the said masses. That is why the Shudras continue to be ignorant, and hence, their 'mental slavery' regarding the spurious religious tracts of the Bhats continues unabated. They cannot even appeal to the Government for the redressal of their wrongs. The Government is not yet aware of the way the Bhats exploit the masses in their day to day problems as also in the administrative machinery. We pray to the Almighty to enable the Government to kindly pay attention to this urgent task and to free the masses from their mental slavery to the machinations of the Bhats.

I am deeply beholden to Shri Vinayak Babji Bhandarkar and Rao Saheb Shri Rajanna Lingu for their continued encouragement to me in the writing of this treatise.

1st June, 1873.
British Historian Hugh Trevor-Roper: " It is European techniques, European examples, European ideas which have shaken the non-European world out of its past- ouf of barbarism.."

WKC Guthrie in his tome History of Greek Philosophy:" The motives and methods of the Indian schools, and the theological and mystical background of their thought are so utterly different from those of the Greeks that there is little profit in the comparison."

Pierre Bayle "India is a place of incredible extravagances not to be taken seriously".
The Nationalist Movewment in India
by Jabez T. Sunderland
The Atlantic
October 1908

THE Nationalist Movement in India may well interest Americans.
Lovers of progress and humanity cannot become acquainted with it
without discovering that it has large significance, not only to
India and Great Britain, but to the world. That the movement is
attracting much attention in England (as well as awakening some
anxiety there, because of England's connection with India) is well
known to all who read the British periodical press, or follow the
debates of Parliament, or note the public utterances from time to
time of Mr. John Morley (now Lord Morley), the British Secretary of
State for India.

What is this new Indian movement? What has brought it into
existence? What is its justification, if it has a justification?
What does it portend as to the future of India, and the future
relations between India and Great Britain?

In order to find answers to these questions we must first of all
get clearly in mind the fact that India is a subject land. She is a
dependency of Great Britain, not a colony. Britain has both
colonies and dependencies. Many persons suppose them to be
identical; but they are not. Britain's free colonies, like Canada
and Australia, though nominally governed by the mother country, are
really self-ruling in everything except their relations to foreign
powers. Not so with dependencies like India. These are granted no
self-government, no representation; they are ruled absolutely by
Great Britain, which is not their "mother" country, but their
conqueror and master.

As the result of a pretty wide acquaintance in England, and a
residence of some years in Canada, I am disposed to believe that
nowhere in the world can be found governments that are more free,
that better embody the intelligent will of their people, or that
better serve their people's many-sided interests and wants, than
those of the self-ruling colonies of Great Britain. I do not see
but that these colonies are in every essential way as free as if
they were full republics. Probably they are not any more free than
the people of the United States, but it is no exaggeration to say
that they are as free. Their connection with England, their mother
country, is not one of coercion; it is one of choice; it is one of
reverence and affection. That the British Government insures such
liberty in its colonies, is a matter for congratulation and
honorable pride. In this respect it stands on a moral elevation
certainly equal to that of any government in the world.

Turn now from Britain's colonies to her dependencies. Here we find
something for which there does not seem to be a natural place among
British political institutions. Britons call their flag the flag of
freedom. They speak of the British Constitution, largely unwritten
though it is, as a constitution which guarantees freedom to every
British subject in the world. Magna Charta meant self-government
for the English people. Cromwell wrote on the statute books of the
English Parliament, "All just powers under God are derived from the
consent of the people." Since Cromwell's day this principle has
been fundamental, central, undisputed, in British home politics. It
took a little longer to get it recognized in colonial matters. The
American Colonies in 1776 took their stand upon it. "Just
government must be based on the consent of the governed." "There
should be no taxation without representation." These were their
affirmations. Burke and Pitt and Fox and the broaderminded leaders
of public opinion in England were in sympathy with their American
brethren. If Britain had been true to her principle of freedom and
self-rule she would have kept her American colonies. But she was
not true to it, and so she lost them. Later she came very near
losing Canada in the same way. But her eyes were opened in time,
and she gave Canada freedom and self-government. This prevented
revolt, and fastened Canada to her with hooks of steel. Since this
experience with Canada it has been a settled principle in
connection with British colonial as well as home politics, that
there is no just power except that which is based upon the consent
of the governed.

But what are we to do with this principle when we come to
dependencies? Is another and different principle to be adopted
here? Are there peoples whom it is just to rule without their
consent? Is justice one thing in England and Canada,and another in
India? It was the belief that what is justice in England and Canada
is justice everywhere that made Froude declare, "Free nations
cannot govern subject provinces."

Why is England in India at all? Why did she go there at first, and
why does she remain? If India had been a comparatively empty land,
as America was when it was discovered, so that Englishmen had
wanted to settle there and make homes, the reason would have been
plain. But it was a full land; and, as a fact, no British emigrants
have ever gone to India to settle and make homes. If the Indian
people had been savages or barbarians, there might have seemed more
reason for England's conquering and ruling them. But they were
peoples with highly organized governments far older than that of
Great Britain, and with a civilization that had risen to a splendid
height before England's was born. Said Lord Curzon, the late
Viceroy of India, in an address delivered at the great Delhi Durbar
in 1901: "Powerful Empires existed and flourished here [in India]
while Englishmen were still wandering painted in the woods, and
while the British Colonies were a wilderness and a jungle. India
has left a deeper mark upon the history, the philosophy, and the
religion of mankind, than any other terrestrial unit in the
universe." It is such a land that England has conquered and is
holding as a dependency. It is such a people that she is ruling
without giving them any voice whatever in the shaping of their own
destiny. The honored Canadian Premier, Sir Wilfred Laurier, at the
Colonial Conference held in London in connection with the
coronation of King Edward, declared, "The Empire of Rome was
composed of slave states; the British Empire is a galaxy of free
nations." But is India a free nation? At that London Colonial
Conference which was called together for consultation about the
interests of the entire Empire, was any representative invited to
be present from India ? Not one. Yet Lord Curzon declared in his
Durbar address in Delhi, that the "principal condition of the
strength of the British throne is the possession of the Indian
Empire, and the faithful attachment and service of the Indian
people." British statesmen never tire of boasting of "our Indian
Empire," and of speaking of India as "the brightest jewel in the
British crown." Do they reflect that it is virtually a slave empire
of which they are so proud; and that this so-called brightest jewel
reflects no light of political freedom?

Perhaps there is nothing so dangerous, or so evil in its effects,
as irresponsible power. That is what Great Britain exercises in
connection with India -- absolute power, with no one to call her to
account. I do not think any nation is able to endure such an ordeal
better than Britain, but it is an ordeal to which neither rulers of
nations nor private men should ever be subjected; the risks are too
great. England avoids it in connection with her own rulers by
making them strictly responsible to the English people. Canada
avoids it in connection with hers by making them responsible to the
Canadian people. Every free nation safeguards alike its people and
its rulers by making its rulers in everything answerable to those
whom they govern. Here is the anomaly of the British rule of India.
Britain through her Indian government rules India, but she does not
acknowledge responsibility in any degree whatever to the Indian

What is the result? Are the interests and the rights of India
protected? Is it possible for the rights of any people to be
protected without self-rule? I invite my readers to go with me to
India and see. What we find will go far toward furnishing us a key
to the meaning of the present Indian Nationalist Movement.

Crossing over from this side to London, we sail from there to India
in a magnificent steamer. On board is a most interesting company of
people, made up of merchants, travelers, and especially Englishmen
who are either officials connected with the Indian Government or
officers in the Indian army, who have been home on furlough with
their families and are now returning. We land in Bombay, a city
that reminds us of Paris or London or New York or Washington. Our
hotel is conducted in English style. We go to the railway station,
one of the most magnificent buildings of the kind in the world, to
take the train for Calcutta, the capital, some fifteen hundred
miles away. Arrived at Calcutta we hear it called the City of
Palaces; nor do we wonder at the name. Who owns the steamship line
by which we came to India? The British. Who built that splendid
railway station in Bombay? The British. Who built the railway on
which we rode to Calcutta? The British.

To whom do these palatial buildings belong? Mostly to the British.
We find that Calcutta and Bombay have a large commerce. To whom
does it belong? Mainly to the British. We find that the Indian
Government, that is, British rule in India, has directly or
indirectly built in the land some 29,000 miles of railway; has
created good postal and telegraph systems, reaching nearly
everywhere; has established or assisted in establishing many
schools, colleges, hospitals, and other institutions of public
benefit; has promoted sanitation, founded law courts after the
English pattern, and done much else to bring India into line with
the civilization of Europe. It is not strange if we soon begin to
exclaim, "How much are the British doing for India! How great a
benefit to the Indian people is British rule!" And in an important
degree we are right in what we say. British rule has done much for
India, and much for which India itself is profoundly grateful.

But have we seen all? Is there no other side? Have we discovered
the deepest and most important that exists? If there are signs of
prosperity, is it the prosperity of the Indian people, or only of
their English masters? If the English are living in ease and
luxury, how are the people of the land living? If there are
railways and splendid buildings, who pay for them? and who get
profits out of them? Have we been away from the beaten tracks of
travel ? Have we been out among the Indian people themselves, in
country as well as in city? Nearly nine-tenths of the people are
ryots, or small farmers, who derive their sustenance directly from
the land. Have we found out how they live? Do we know whether they
are growing better off, or poorer? Especially have we looked into
the causes of those famines, the most terrible known to the modern
world, which have swept like a besom of death over the land year
after year, and which drag after them another scourge scarcely less
dreadful, the plague, their black shadow, their hideous child? Here
is a side of India which we must acquaint ourselves with, as well
as the other, if we would understand the real Indian situation.

The great, disturbing, portentous, all-overshadowing fact connected
with the history of India in recent years is the succession of
famines. What do these famines mean ? Here is a picture from a
recent book, written by a distinguished British civilian who has
had long service in India and knows the Indian situation from the
inside. Since he is an Englishman we may safely count upon his
prejudices, if he has any, being not upon the side of the Indian
people, but upon that of his own countrymen. Mr. W. S. Lilly, in
his India and Its Problems,writes as follows: --

"During the first eighty years of the nineteenth century,
18,000,000 of people perished of famine. In one year alone -- the
year when her late Majesty assumed the title of Empress --
5,000,000 of the people in Southern India were starved to death. In
the District of Bellary, with which I am personally acquainted, --
a region twice the size of Wales, -- one-fourth of the population
perished in the famine of 1816-77. I shall never forget my own
famine experiences: how, as I rode out on horseback, morning after
morning, I passed crowds of wandering skeletons, and saw human
corpses by the roadside, unburied, uncared for, and half devoured
by dogs and vultures; how, sadder sight still, children, 'the joy
of the world,' as the old Greeks deemed, had become its ineffable
sorrow, and were forsaken by the very women who had borne them,
wolfish hunger killing even the maternal instinct. Those children,
their bright eyes shining from hollow sockets, their nesh utterly
wasted away, and only gristle and sinew and cold shivering skin
remaining, their heads mere skulls, their puny frames full of
loathsome diseases, engendered by the starvation in which they had
been conceived and born and nurtured -- they haunt me still." Every
one who has gone much about India in famine times knows how true to
life is this picture.

Mr. Lilly estimates the number of deaths in the first eight decades
of the last century at 18,000,000. This is nothing less than
appalling, -- within a little more than two generations as many
persons perishing by starvation in a single country as the whole
population of Canada, New England, and the city and state of New
York, or nearly half as many as the total population of France! But
the most startling aspect of the case appears in the fact that the
famines increased in number and severity as the century went on.
Suppose we divide the past century into quarters, or periods of
twenty-five years each. In the first quarter there were five
famines, with an estimated loss of life of 1,000,000. During the
second quarter of the century there were two famines, with an
estimated mortality of 500,000. During the third quarter there were
six famines, with a recorded loss of life of 5,000,000. During the
last quarter of the century, what? Eighteen famines, with an
estimated mortality reaching the awful totals of from 15,000,000 to
26,000,000. And this does not include the many more millions (over
6,000,000 in a single year) barely kept alive by government doles.

What is the cause of these famines, and this appalling increase in
their number and destructiveness? The common answer is, the failure
of the rains. But there seems to be no evidence that the rains fail
worse now than they did a hundred years ago. Moreover, why should
failure of rains bring famine? The rains have never failed over
areas so extensive as to prevent the raising of enough food in the
land to supply the needs of the entire population. Why then have
people starved? Not because there was lack of food. Not because
there was lack of food in the famine areas, brought by railways or
otherwise within easy reach of all. There has always been plenty of
food, even in the worst famine years, for those who have had money
to buy it with, and generally food at moderate prices. Why, then,
have all these millions of people perished? Because they were so
indescribably poor. All candid and thorough investigation into the
causes of the famines of India has shown that the chief and
fundamental cause has been and is the poverty of the people, -- a
poverty so severe and terrible that it keeps the majority of the
entire population on the very verge of starvation even in years of
greatest plenty, prevents them from laying up anything against
times of extremity, and hence leaves them, when their crops fail,
absolutely undone -- with nothing between them and death, unless
some form of charity comes to their aid. Says Sir Charles Elliott
long the Chief Commissioner of Assam, "Half the agricultural
population do not know from one halfyear's end to another what it
is to have a full meal." Says the Honorable G. K. Gokhale, of the
Viceroy's Council,"From 60,000,000 to 70,000,000 of the people of
India do not know what it is to have their hunger satisfied even
once in a year."

And the people are growing poorer and poorer. The late Mr. William
Digby, of London, long an Indian resident, in his recent book
entitled "Prosperous" India,shows from official estimates and
Parliamentary and Indian Blue Books, that, whereas the average
daily income of the people of India in the year 1850 was estimated
as four cents per person (a pittance on which one wonders that any
human being can live), in 1882 it had fallen to three cents per
person, and in 1900 actually to less than two cents per person. Is
it any wonder that people reduced to such extremities as this can
lay up nothing? Is it any wonder that when the rains do not come,
and the crops of a single season fail, they are lost? And where is
this to end? If the impoverishment of the people is to go on, what
is there before them but growing hardship, multiplying famines, and
increasing loss of life?

Here we get a glimpse of the real India. It is not the India which
the traveler sees, following the usual routes of travel, stopping
at the leading hotels conducted after the manner of London or
Paris, and mingling with the English lords of the country. It is
not the India which the British "point to with pride," and tell us
about in their books of description and their official reports.
This is India from the inside, the India of the people, of the men,
women, and children, who were born there and die there, who bear
the burdens and pay the taxes, and support the costly government
carried on by foreigners, and do the starving when the famines

What causes this awful and growing impoverishment of the Indian
people? Said John Bright, "If a country be found possessing a most
fertile soil, and capable of bearing every variety of production,
and, notwithstanding, the people are in a state of extreme
destitution and suffering, the chances are there is some
fundamental error in the government of that country."

One cause of India's impoverishment is heavy taxation. Taxation in
England and Scotland is high, so high that Englishmen and Scotchmen
complain bitterly. But the people of India are taxed more than
twice as heavily as the people of England and three times as
heavily as those of Scotland. According to the latest statistics at
hand, those of 1905, the annual average income per person in India
is about $6.00, and the annual tax per person about $2.00. Think of
taxing the American people to the extent of one-third their total
income! Yet such taxation here, unbearable as it would be, would
not create a tithe of the suffering that it does in India, because
incomes here are so immensely larger than there. Here it would
cause great hardship, there it creates starvation.

Notice the single item of salt-taxation. Salt is an absolute
necessity to the people, to the very poorest; they must have it or
die. But the tax upon it which for many years they have been
compelled to pay has been much greater than the cost value of the
salt. Under this taxation the quantity of salt consumed has been
reduced actually to one-half the quantity declared by medical
authorities to be absolutely necessary for health. The mere
suggestion in England of a tax on wheat sufficient to raise the
price of bread by even a half-penny on the loaf, creates such a
protest as to threaten the overthrow of ministries. Lately the
salt-tax in India has been reduced, but it still remains well-nigh
prohibitive to the poorer classes. With such facts as these before
us, we do not wonder at Herbert Spencer's indignant protest against
the "grievous salt-monopoly" of the Indian Government, and "the
pitiless taxation which wrings from poor ryob nearly half the
products of the soil."

Another cause of India's impoverishment is the destruction of her
manufactures, as the result of British rule. When the British first
appeared on the scene, India was one of the richest countries of
the world; indeed it was her great riches that attracted the
British to her shores. The source of her wealth was largely her
splendid manufactures. Her cotton goods, silk goods, shawls,
muslins of Dacca, brocades of Ahmedabad, rugs, pottery of Scind,
jewelry, metal work, lapidary work, were famed not only all over
Asia but in all the leading markets of Northern Africa and of
Europe. What has become of those manufactures? For the most part
they are gone, destroyed. Hundreds of villages and towns of India
in which they were carried on are now largely or wholly
depopulated, and millions of the people who were supported by them
have been scattered and driven back on the land, to share the
already too scanty living of the poor ryot. What is the
explanation? Great Britain wanted India's markets. She could not
find entrance for British manufactures so long as India was
supplied with manufactures of her own. So those of India must be
sacrificed. England had all power in her hands, and so she
proceeded to pass tariff and excise laws that ruined the
manufactures of India and secured the market for her own goods.
India would have protected herself if she had been able, by
enacting tariff laws favorable to Indian interests, but she had no
power, she was at the mercy of her conqueror.

A third cause of India's impoverishment is the enormous and wholly
unnecessary cost of her government. Writers in discussing the
financial situation in India have often pointed out the fact that
her government is the most expensive in the world. Of course the
reason why is plain: it is because it is a government carried on
not by the people of the soil, but by men from a distant country.
These foreigners, having all power in their own hands, including
power to create such offices as they choose and to attach to them
such salaries and pensions as they see fit, naturally do not err on
the side of making the offices too few or the salaries and pensions
too small. Nearly all the higher officials throughout India are
British. To be sure, the Civil Service is nominally open to
Indians. But it is hedged about with so many restrictions (among
others, Indian young men being required to make the journey of
seven thousand miles from India to London to take their
examinations) that they are able for the most part to secure only
the lowest and poorest places. The amount of money which the Indian
people are required to pay as salaries to this great army of
foreign civil servants and appointed higher officials, and then,
later, as pensions for the same, after they have served a given
number of years in India, is very large. That in three-fourths if
not nine-tenths of the positions quite as good service could be
obtained for the government at a fraction of the present cost, by
employing educated and competent Indians, who much better
understand the wants of the country, is quite true. But that would
not serve the purpose of England, who wants these lucrative offices
for her sons. Hence poor Indian ryots must sweat and go hungry, and
if need be starve, that an ever-growing army of foreign officials
may have large salaries and fat pensions. And of course much of the
money paid for these salaries, and practically all paid for the
pensions, goes permanently out of India.

Another burden upon the people of India which they ought not to be
compelled to bear, and which does much to increase their poverty,
is the enormously heavy military expenses of the government. I am
not complaining of the maintenance of such an army as may be
necessary for the defense of the country. But the Indian army is
kept at a strength much beyond what the defense of the country
requires. India is made a sort of general rendezvous and training
camp for the Empire, from which soldiers may at any time be drawn
for service in distant lands. If such an imperial training camp and
rendezvous is needed, a part at least of the heavy expense of it
ought to come out of the Imperial Treasury. But no, India is
helpless, she can be compelled to pay it, she is compelled to pay
it. Many English statesmen recognize this as wrong, and condemn it;
yet it goes right on. Said the late Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman:
"Justice demands that England should pay a portion of the cost of
the great Indian army maintained in India for Imperial rather than
Indian purposes. This has not yet been done, and famine-stricken
India is being bled for the maintenance of England's worldwide
empire." But there is still worse than this. Numerous wars and
campaigns are carried on outside of India, the expenses of which,
wholly or in part, India is compelled to bear. For such foreign
wars and campaigns -- campaigns and wars in which the Indian pcople
had no concern, and for which they received no benefit, the aim of
which was solely conquest and the extension of British power --
India was required to pay during the last century the enormous
total of more than $460,000,000. How many such burdens as these can
the millions of India, who live on the average income of $6 a year,
bear without being crushed?

Perhaps the greatest of all the causes of the impoverishment of the
Indian people is the steady and enormous drain of wealth from India
to England, which has been going on ever since the East India
Company first set foot in the land, three hundred years ago, and is
going on still with steadily increasing volume. England claims that
India pays her no "tribute." Technically, this is true; but,
really, it is very far from true. In the form of salaries spent in
England, pensions sent to England, interest drawn in England on
investments made in India, business profits made in India and sent
to England, and various kinds of exploitation carried on in India
for England's benefit, a vast stream of wealth ("tribute" in
effect) is constantly pouring into England from India. Says Mr. R.
C. Dutt, author of the Economic History of India(and there is no
higher authority), "A sum reckoned at twenty millions of English
money, or a hundred millions of American money [some other
authorities put it much higher], which it should be borne in mind
is equal to half the net revenues of India, is remitted annually
from this country [India] to England, without a direct equivalent.
Think of it! One-half of what we [in India] pay as taxes goes out
of the country, and does not come back to the people. No other
country on earth suffers like this at the present day; and no
country on earth could bear such an annual drain without increasing
impoverishment and repeated famines. We denounce ancient Rome for
impoverishing Gaul and Egypt, Sicily and Palestine, to enrich
herself. We denounce Spain for robbing the New World and the
Netherlands to amass wealth. England is following exactly the same
practice in India. Is it strange that she is converting India into
a land of poverty and famine?"

But it is only a part of the wrong done to India that she is
impoverished. Quite as great an injustice is her loss of liberty,
-- the fact that she is allowed no part in shaping her own
political destiny. As we have seen, Canada and Australia are free
and self-governing. India is kept in absolute subjection. Yet her
people are largely of Aryan blood, the finest race in Asia. There
are not wanting men among them, men in numbers, who are the equals
of their British masters, in knowledge, in ability, in
trustworthiness, in every high quality. It is not strange that many
Englishmen are waking up to the fact that such treatment of such a
people, of any people, is tyranny: it is a violation of those
ideals of freedom and justice which have been England's greatest
glory. It is also short-sighted as regards Britain's own interests.
It is the kind of policy which cost her her American Colonies, and
later came near costing her Canada. If persisted in, it may cost
her India.

What is the remedy for the evils and burdens under which the Indian
people are suffering? How may the people be relieved from their
abject and growing poverty? How can they be given prosperity,
happiness, and content?

Many answers are suggested. One is, make the taxes lighter. This is
doubtless important. But how can it be effected so long as the
people have no voice in their own government? Another is, enact
such legislation and set on foot such measures as may be found
necessary to restore as far as possible the native industries which
have been destroyed. This is good; but will an alien government,
and one which has itself destroyed these industries for its own
advantage, ever do this? Another is, reduce the unnecessary and
illegitimate military expenses. This is easy to say, and it is most
reasonable. But how can it be brought about, so long as the
government favors such expenses, and the people have no power?
Another thing urged is, stop the drain of wealth to England. But
what steps can be taken looking in this direction so long ns India
has no power to protect herself? It all comes back to this: the
fundamental difficulty, the fundamental evil, the fundamental
wrong, lies in the fact that the Indian people are permitted to
have no voice in their own government. Thus they are unable to
guard their own interests, unable to protect themselves against
unjust laws, unable to inaugurate those measures for their own
advancement which must always come from those immediately

It is hard to conceive of a government farther removed from the
people in spirit or sympathy than is that of India. There has been
a marked change for the worse in this respect within the past
twenty-five years, since the vice-regal term of Lord Ripon. The
whole spirit of the government has become reactionary, increasingly
so, reaching its culmination in the recent administration of Lord
Curzon. The present Indian Secretary, Lord Morley, has promised
improvement; but, so far, the promise has had no realization.
Instead of improvement, the situation has been made in important
respects worse. There have been tyrannies within the past two
years, within the past three months, which even Lord Curzon would
have shrunk from. There is no space here to enumerate them.

Fifty years ago the people were consulted and conciliated in ways
that would not now be thought of. Then the government did not
hesitate to hold before the people the ideal of increasing
political privileges, responsibilities, and advantages. It was
freely given out that the purpose of the government was to prepare
the people for self-rule. Now no promise or intimation of anything
of the kind is ever heard from any one in authority. Everywhere in
India one finds Englishmen -- officials and others -- with few
exceptions -- regarding this kind of talk as little better than
treason. The Civil Service of India is reasonably efficient, and to
a gratifying degree free from peculation and corruption. But the
government is as complete a bureaucracy as that of Russia. Indeed
it is no exaggeration to say that, as a bureaucracy, it is as
autocratic, as arbitrary in its methods, as reactionary in its
spirit, as far removed from sympathy with the people, as determined
to keep all power in its own hands, as unwilling to consult the
popular wishes, or to listen to the voice of the most enlightened
portion of the nation, even when expressed through the great and
widely representative Indian National Congress, as is the Russian
bureaucracy. Proof of this can be furnished to any amount.

It is said that India is incapable of ruling herself. If so, what
an indictment is this against England! She was not incapable of
ruling herself before England came. Have one hundred and fifty
years of English tutelage produced in her such deterioration? As we
have seen, she was possessed of a high civilization and of
developed governments long before England or any part of Europe had
emerged from barbarism. For three thousand years before England's
arrival, Indian kingdoms and empires had held leading places in
Asia. Some of the ablest rulers, statesmen, and financiers of the
world have been of India's production. How is it, then, that she
loses her ability to govern herself as soon as England appears upon
the scene? To be sure, at that time she was in a peculiarly
disorganized and unsettled state; for it should be remembered that
the Mogul Empire was just breaking up, and new political
adjustments were everywhere just being made, -- a fact which
accounts for England's being able to gain a political foothold in
India. But everything indicates that if India had not been
interfered with by European powers, she would soon have been under
competent governments of her own again.

A further answer to the assertion that India cannot govern herself
-- and surely one that should be conclusive -- is the fact that, in
parts, she is governing herself now, and governing herself well. It
is notorious that the very best government in India to-day is not
that carried on by the British, but that of several of the native
states, notably Baroda and Mysore. In these states, particularly
Baroda, the people are more free, more prosperous, more contented,
and are making more progress, than in any other part of India. Note
the superiority of both these states in the important matter of
popular education. Mysore is spending on education more than three
times as much per capita as is British India, while Baroda has made
her education free and compulsory. Both of these states, but
especially Baroda, which has thus placed herself in line with the
leading nations of Europe and America by making provision for the
education of all her children, may well be contrasted with British
India, which provides education, even of the poorest kind, for only
one boy in ten and one girl in one hundred and forty-four.

The truth is, not one single fact can be cited that goes to show
that India cannot govern herself, -- reasonably well at first,
excellently well later, -- if only given a chance. It would not be
difficult to form an Indian Parliament to-day, composed of men as
able and of as high character as those that constitute the fine
Parliament of Japan, or as those that will be certain to constitute
the not less able national Parliament of China when the new
constitutional government of that nation comes into operation. This
is only another way of saying that among the leaders in the various
states and provinces of India there is abundance of material to
form an Indian National Parliament not inferior in intellectual
ability or in moral worth to the parliaments of the Western world.

We have now before us the data for understanding, at least in a
measure, the meaning of the "New National Movement in India." It is
the awakening and the protest of a subject people. It is the effort
of a nation, once illustrious, and still conscious of its inherent
superiority, to rise from the dust, to stand once more on its feet,
to shake off fetters which have become unendurable. It is the
effort of the Indian people to get for themselves again a country
which shall be in some true sense their own, instead of remaining,
as for a century and a half it has been, a mere preserve of a
foreign power, -- in John Stuart Mill's words, England's "cattle
farm." The people of India want the freedom which is their right,
-- freedom to shape their own institutions, their own industries,
their own national life. This does not necessarily mean separation
from Great Britain; but it does mean, if retaining a connection
with the British Empire, becoming citizens,and not remaining
forever helpless subjectsin the hands of irresponsible masters. It
does mean a demand that India shall be given a place in the Empire
essentially like that of Canada or Australia,with such autonomy and
home rule as are enjoyed by these free, self-governing colonies. Is
not this demand just? Not only the people of India, but many of the
best Englishmen, answer unequivocally, Yes! In the arduous struggle
upon which India has entered to attain this end (arduous indeed her
struggle must be, for holders of autocratic and irresponsible power
seldom in this world surrender their power without being compelled)
surely she should have the sympathy of the enlightened and
liberty-loving men and women of all nations.

The Atlantic Monthly; October, 1908; The New Nationalist Movement
in India; Volume 102, No. 4; pages 526-535
<b>The Condition of Hindus under Muslim Rule</b>

Dr. Jadunath Sarkar

(This article by Dr. Jadunath Sarkar first appeared in the 1950 Puja Annual number of the Hindusthan Standard of Kolkata.)
This is best suited for Pakistan thread but it links to colonial game plan also
Op-ed: <b>Pakistan and South Asian Muslims</b>
Ishtiaq Ahmed

The Muslims of South Asia do not have any automatic right to enter Pakistan as the Jews have to enter Israel under the so-called Law of Return. Is this consistent with the founding ideology of Pakistan, the two-nation theory?

Among the various tragedies attendant upon the break-up of Pakistan in 1971, when East Pakistan became Bangladesh, is the unresolved status of some 250,000 Biharis stranded in Bangladeshi refugee camps. The Biharis, an Urdu-speaking people originally from the north-eastern Indian state of Bihar, migrated to East Pakistan when the subcontinent was partitioned in 1947 between Hindu-majority India and Muslim-majority Pakistan.

Most of the Biharis sided with Pakistan during the 1971 Bengali uprising. That made them a pariah group in Bangladesh. Most of them want to immigrate to Pakistan and have refused to acquire Bangladeshi citizenship, claiming that they are Pakistanis and therefore entitled to set up hearth and home in Pakistan. Under international law, if the Biharis wish to remain Pakistanis there is no reason to refuse them permission to settle in Pakistan. Some Bihari families have been allowed to join their kin in Pakistan but the bulk has been denied this birthright.

Does this make sense? No. We have brought Pakistan almost to the point of veritable economic ruination by our uncompromising support for the Kashmiris’ right of self-determination but we do not give most of our bona fide citizens their basic right to clean water, education and a meal because our priority is ‘defence spending’ for an inevitable war with arch-enemy India.

But letting Biharis relocate in Pakistan would surely not cost dearly. They are only 250,000 altogether. Thanks to lack of education about family planning we are adding 250,000 babies every week if not every day to our burgeoning population, so why not let the Biharis who fought alongside our glorious army to save Pakistan, become Pakistanis in the proper sense? There is no reasonable answer. There cannot be one.

From what I have gathered listening to well-informed Pakistanis the implicit understanding is that since Bangladesh is a Muslim country the Biharis should seek Bangladeshi citizenship and try becoming a part of that nation –which would mean learning Bengali and assimilating into that culture. This is perfectly reasonable advice and the Biharis must consider it seriously.

But we don’t give a similar advice to the Kashmiri Muslims to seek a future within the Indian union. The reason ostensibly is that India is not a Muslim state and therefore the situation of Biharis is not comparable. Granted that is true, but what about Indian Muslims wanting to come to Pakistan? Well, they did not do that in 1947 and now it is too late. Moreover, they are 140 million and that is too many!

The only conclusion we can draw from such evasive gibberish is that the Muslims of South Asia do not have any automatic right to enter Pakistan as the Jews have to enter Israel under the so-called Law of Return. Is this consistent with the founding ideology of Pakistan, the two-nation theory?

When Iqbal in 1930 presented his idea of a Muslim state (confined only to north-western India, excluding the Muslims of Bengal and the Hindu-majority provinces) at the annual session of the All-India Muslim League in Allahabad the quorum of 70 members was not complete. Hafeez Jalladhari had to keep on reciting his ‘Shah Nama’ while the organisers frantically searched for individuals to fill the quorum so that the resolution could be passed.

Chowdhari Rahmat Ali coined the name PAKISTAN in 1933. His idea was dismissed as a student’s wild dream. That did not discourage Rahmat Ali who developed a whole range of pious names — Siddiqistan, Farooqistan, Hyderastan, Osmanistan and so on — for independent Muslim enclaves in Hindu majority areas. He even proposed a Guruistan for Sikhs and some name for a state for the Dravidian peoples of South India. The Muslim League leaders dismissed him as an eccentric and a charlatan and he in turn never forgave Jinnah for accepting a Pakistan consisting only of the north-eastern and north-western zones of India.

With the wisdom of the hindsight we can argue that Jinnah’s Pakistan was more realistic even though its realisation resulted in a huge loss of life and the biggest forced migration in history. Rahmat Ali’s scheme of mini Muslim states amid predominantly Hindu-majority regions would certainly have multiplied communal killings and magnified the scale of ethnic cleansing. Such a scheme would have surely hurt Muslims the most since they were surrounded by Hindu majorities.

That did not deter Rahmat Ali. He wrote letter after letter to conservative British lords pleading for their support and patronage for his idea of several Muslim states. Why he should have hoped for the support of arch imperialists is a mystery which has never been clarified. Some people allege that Rahmat Ali was in the pay of the colonial office which used him from time to time to say things that would keep Hindus and Muslims at loggerheads. However, there is no solid evidence to prove this.

Apart from East Punjab where ethnic cleansing was almost complete, several of the staunchest protagonists of the Pakistan demand, among them Raja Sahib Mahmudabad, Hasrat Mohani, Begum Aizaz Rasul, Nawab Mohammad Ismail Khan, Raja of Pirpur (author of the Pirpur Report of 1937) and Mohammad Asadullah of Assam, chose to stay in India. Some left for Pakistan later but others who had gone to Pakistan returned to India. Why? I don’t know, but it is something on which more research needs to be done. On the whole it was primarily the upper middle-class and the salariat that immigrated to Pakistan.

Pakistan came into being in those areas where Muslims were in a majority. Such areas did not need as much protection from Hindu Raj as those in which Muslims were in a minority. Most of them were converts from Dalit and other depressed sections of society. They needed more help than anyone else in coming to Pakistan, but they were advised to become good and loyal Indians. I am sure the Biharis stranded in Bangladesh also come from the poorest sections of society and therefore they too have no takers in Pakistan.

The author is an associate professor of Political Science at Stockholm University. He is the author of two books. His email address is Ishtiaq.Ahmed@statsvet.su.se
Swami Vivekananda

the Aryan Invasion Theory
(Extracts from: 1. A translation of a Bengali article titled, “The East and the West”, CW, Vol. 5, p. 436-439, Mayavati Memorial Edition, 1947, Advaita Ashrama, Almora and 2. Lectures from Colombo to Almora, p. 221-223)

And what your European Pundits say about the Aryan’s swooping down from some foreign land, snatching away the lands of the aborigines and settling in India by exterminating them, is all pure nonsense, foolish talk! Strange, that our Indian scholars, too, say amen to them; and all these monstrous lies are being taught to our boys! This is very bad indeed.

I am, an ignoramus myself; I do not pretend to any scholarship; but with the little that I understand, I strongly protested against these ideas at the Paris Conference. I have been talking with the Indian and European savants on the subject, and hope to raise my objections to this theory in detail when time permits. And this I say to you¾to our Pundits¾also, “You are learned men, look up your old books and scriptures, please, and draw your own conclusions. And this is very significant, since we have all along been trained to tell parrot-like whatever the British had to say about us, without cogitating the least as to what it conveys and if it is the truth. On the contrary it is venerated as the Vedic dictum¾the ultimate truth. Never have our historians tried to unravel the veil of myth woven around the nation’s heritage, culture and history¾all by themselves, instead of hankering for authentication by an ‘elite’ alien race. And this has proved to be our undoing, with so many divisions perpetrated long after the very raison d’etre for these have been obliterated by a vigilant and agile national leadership. The bourgeois politicians have everything to gain by way of trumpeting this cacophony and camouflaging their miserable failures in the milieu that ensues. An astute mass should be the last to succumb to such divisive ‘philanthropy’ of these ‘bountiful’ philanderers.

Whenever the Europeans find an opportunity, they exterminate the aborigines and settle down in ease and comfort on their lands; therefore they think the Aryans must have done the same! The Westerners would be considered wretched vagabonds if they lived in their native homes depending wholly on their own internal resources, and so they have to run wildly about the world seeking how they can feed upon the fat of the land of others by spoliation and slaughter; and therefore they conclude the Aryans must have dome the same! But where is your proof? Guess-work? Then keep your fanciful guesses to yourselves!

In what Veda, in what Sukta, do you find that the Aryans came into India from a foreign country? Where do you get the idea that they slaughtered the wild aborigines? What do you gain by talking such nonsense? Vain has been your study of the Ramayana; why manufacture a big fine story out of it?

Well, what is the Ramayana? The conquest of the savage aborigines of Southern India by the Aryans! Indeed! Ramachandra is a civilised Aryan king and with whom, is he fighting? With King Ravana of Lanka. Just read the Ramayana., and you will find that Ravana was rather more and not less civilised than Ramachandra. The civilisation of Lanka was rather higher, and surely not lower, than that of Ayodhya. And then, when were these Vanaras (monkeys) and other Southern Indians conquered? They were all, on the other hand, Ramachandra’s friends and allies. Say which kingdoms of Vali and Guhaka were annexed by Ramachandra?

It was quite possible, however, that in a few places there were occasional fights between the Aryans and the Aborigines; quite possible, that one or two cunning Munis pretended to meditate with closed eyes before their sacrificial fires in the jungles of the Rakshasas, waiting however, all the time to see when the Rakshasas would throw stones and pieces of bone at them. No sooner had this been done than they would go whining to the kings. The mail-clad kings armed with swords and weapons of steel would come on fiery steeds. But how long could the aborigines. fight with their sticks and stones? So they were killed or chased away, and the kings returned to their capital. Well, all this may have been but does this prove that their lands were taken away by the Aryans? Where in the Ramayana do you find that?

The loom of the fabric of Aryan civilisation is a vast, warm, level country, interspersed with broad, navigable rivers. The cotton of this cloth is composed of highly civilised, semi‑civilised, and barbarian tribes, mostly Aryan. Its warp is Varnashramachara, and its woof, the conquest of strife and competition in nature.

And may I ask you, Europeans, what country you have ever raised to better conditions? Wherever you have found weaker races, you have exterminated them by the roots, as it were. You have settled on their lands, and they are gone for ever. What is the history of your America, your Australia, New Zealand, your Pacific Islands and South Africa? Where are those aboriginal races there today? They are all exterminated¾you have killed them outright, as if they were wild beasts. It is only where you have not the power to do so, and there only, that other nations are still alive.

But India has never done that. The Aryans were kind and generous; and in their hearts which were large and unbounded as the ocean, and in their brains, gifted with superhuman genius, all these ephemeral and apparently pleasant but virtually beastly processes never found a place. And I ask you, fools of my own country, would there have been this institution of Varnashrama if the Aryans had exterminated the aborigines in order to settle on their lands?

The object of the peoples of Europe is to exterminate all in order to live themselves. The aim of the Aryans is to raise all up to their own level, nay, even to a higher level than themselves. The means of European civilisation is the sword; of the Aryans, the division into different Varnas. This system of division into different Varnas is the stepping stone to civilisation, making one rise higher and higher in proportion to one’s learning and culture. In Europe, it is everywhere victory to the strong and death to the weak. In the land of Bharata, every social rule is for the protection of the weak.

In connection with this I want to discuss one question which has a particular bearing with regard to Madras. There is a theory that there was a race of mankind in Southern India called Dravidians, entirely differing from another race in Northern India, called the Aryans, and that the Southern India Brahmins are the only Aryans that came from the North, the other men of Southern India belong to an entirely different caste and race to those of Southern India Brahmins. Now I beg your pardon, Mr. Philologist, this is entirely unfounded. The only proof of it is that there is a difference of language between the North and the South. I do not see any other difference. We are so many Northern men here, and I ask my European friends to pick out the Northern and Southern men from this assembly. Where is the difference? A little difference of language. But the Brahmins are a race that came here speaking the Sanskrit language! Well then, they took up the Dravidian language and forgot their Sanskrit. Why should not the other castes have done the same? Why should not all the other castes have come one after the other from Northern India, taken up the Dravidian language, and so forgotten their own? That is an argument working both ways. Do not believe in such silly things. There may have been a Dravidian people who vanished from here, and the few who remained lived in forests and other places. It is quite possible that the languages may have been taken up, but all these are Aryans who came from the North. The whole of India is Aryan, nothing else.

Then there is the other idea that the Shudra caste are surely the aborigines. What are they? They are slaves. They say history repeats itself. The Americans, English, Dutch, and the Portuguese got hold of the poor Africans, and made them work hard while they lived, and their children of mixed birth were born in slavery and kept in that condition for a long period. From that wonderful example, the mind jumps back several thousand years and fancies that the same thing happened here, and our archaeologist dreams of India being full of dark‑eyed aborigines, and the bright Aryan came from¾the Lord knows where. According to some, they came from Central Tibet, others will have it that they came from Central Asia. There are patriotic Englishmen who think that the Aryans were all red-haired. Others, according to their idea, think that they were black-haired. If the writer happens to be a black-haired man, the Aryans were all black-haired. Of late, there was an attempt made to prove that the Aryans lived on the Swiss lakes. I should not be sorry if they had been all drowned there, theory and all. Some say now that they lived at the North Pole. Lord bless the Aryans and their habitations! As of truth of these theories, there is not one word in our scriptures, not one, to prove that the Aryans ever came from anywhere outside of India, and in ancient India was included Afghanistan. There it ends. And the theory that the Shudra caste were all non-Aryans and they were a multitude, is equally illogical and equally irrational. It could not have been possible in those that a few Aryans settled and lived there with a hundred thousand slaves at their command. These slaves would have eaten them up, made “chutney” of them in five minutes. The only explanation is to be found in the Mahabhirata, which says that in the beginnin of the Satya Yuga there was one caste, the Brahmins, and then by difference of occupations got themselves into dif­ferent castes, and that is the only true and rational explanation that has been given. And in the coming Satya all the other castes will have to go back to the same condition.
<b>Dissenters and Mavericks</b>
Writings about India (1765-2000)

The Sun Never Set on the British Empire,
"Dominion over palm and pine"

The sun never set on the British Empire
because the sun sets in the West
and the British Empire was in the East.
Anonymous Student

Far-called, our navies melt away;
On dune and headland sinks the fire:
Lo, all our pomp of yesterday
Is one with Nineveh and Tyre!
Judge of the Nations, spare us yet,
Lest we forget -- lest we forget!
Rudyard Kipling, "Recessional," 1897

<img src='http://www.friesian.com/images/maps/britishv.gif' border='0' alt='user posted image' />
Discovery of an elephant remains excites archaeologists

Archaeologists currently engaged in excavation work of Barabati fort in Cuttack, erstwhile capital of Orissa, have found skeletal remains of an elephant, possibly belonging to the medieval period. The excavation work at Barabati fort on the bank of river Mahanadi was re-launched last November after a gap of nearly a decade.

According to officials of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) which is conducting the excavation work, the pachyderm which was apparently given a burial after a natural death, possibly belonged to 15th or 16th century. However, the actual period of the elephant death and its subsequent burial could only be established after related tests, says Mr P K Trivedi, the Superintending archaeologist in ASI’s Bhubaneswar office.

The skeleton is yet to be taken out fully. It would be sent for carbon dating once it is dug up completely, ASI sources said.

The Barabati fort, believed to have been built by King Anaga Bhima Dev III of Ganga dynasty, who ruled Orissa between 1231 and 1238 AD, had been declared a protected area in 1915 by the British rulers. The ASI started excavation work of the fort for the first time in December 1989 on the occasion of the millennium celebration of Cuttack city, one of the oldest cities in the country.

However, the excavation work had to be stopped midway in 1993-94 because of encroachments made on both sides of the fort. The second phase of excavation work was resumed last November after authorities cleared some of the encroached areas following a court order.

The findings during the first phase of excavation included the remains of a temple, a palace complex and a citadel around the palace. A silver coin belonging to the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, had also been discovered from the site. Besides, 400 pieces of sculpture depicting erotic figures of female dancers, musicians, heads of ornamented female figures with different hairstyles as well as mutilated idols of Ganesha and Surya were also discovered from the site during the first phase of excavation.

According to history books, the Barabati fort had remained centre of major political and social activities for nearly 500 years when different kings ruled Orissa from Cuttack. However, it had reached the peak during the period of Mukunda Dev who ruled Orissa from 1560 AD till he was killed in the battlefield in 1568 by one Sultan Sulaiman Karani from neighbouring Bengal. The Britishers took over the fort in 1803.

Historians and archaeologists in the state feel that further excavation work at the historic site will bring to light more interesting findings.

The leaders of the movement were:

1.Nana Sahib Peshwa 2) Tantia Tope 3) Lakshmi bai, the Rani of Jhansi
4) Nahar Singh, the Jat ruler f Ballabhgarh, 5) Kunwar Singh, the
Raja of Jagdishpur (in Bihar) 6) Aji Mullah, 7) Two leaders of the
Sarvkhap, Nahar Singh and Harnam Singh 8) Baktah Khan Pathan.


What is not commonly known is the Independence movement was led and
organized by four great Sadhu yogis. The prime organizers of the 1857
Independent struggle were four Yogi Sanyasis.

The first: Swami Omanand of the Himalayas. In 1857 he was 162 years

The second; His disciple Swami Purananand of Kankal (Haridwar, U.P.),
who was 100 years old.

The third was Purananand's student and disciple Swami Virajanand, who
was 79 years old.

The fourth was Swami Virajanand's student and disciple, Swami
Dayanand Saraswati who was 33 years old. Swami Dayanand was the
founder of the Arya Samaj movement.

These four great persons, through their teachings organized 2000
Sadhus and Sants, to spread the message for the liberation of the
country. In this group there were Sants from Hindus and Muslims and
all Mutts. These Sadhus propagated the anti British message in the
Cantonments of the native soldiers, and among the revolutionaries, in
the various pilgrimage places and fairs, that were held at Ganga
River, Haridwar, Garh Mukteshwar, Mathura etc. They were the secret
agents who would gather and provide the information about the British
movements to their Sadhu organization.


Swami Omanand was 160 years old at that time. He together with Swami
Purananand and the other Sadhus chose two symbols for the resistance
movement, one the" Lotus Flower" and the other a " Roti"
or "Chapati"(Flat bread).

The lotus flower would be circulated in all army units where the
soldiers had decided to support the revolution. One soldier of a unit
would pas the lotus flower to the next unit and so on. This meant
that all soldiers in that unit were ready to take part in the
revolution. In this manner, thousands of lotus flowers were spread
from Peshawar to Barrackpore (Calcutta) in all the units of the army.

The other symbol the ROTI was passed from one village to another. It
meant that the entire village was ready to support the war. In a few
months the Roti had been spread across hundreds of thousands of
villages across the country.

In the Assembly, Swami Omanand said, " Keep you self respect high.
Trust in God. Treat every citizen of your motherland as your brother
or sister, get ready for independence"

In this assembly, the following were also present: Feroze Shah, the
son of Bahadur Shah (the last Mogul Emperor), Bala Sahib Maharatta,
Rungo Babu, Maulana AjiMullah, RamJaan Baig, Nana Sahib Peshwa etc.

The Assembly consisted of about 1500 attendees. From each Jati
(community) there were 15 ladies over the age of 50.

Nana Sahib Peshwa and Price Ferozshah donated 5,000 rupees to the
Sadhu organization.


On October 5, 1855, an assembly was help at the Garh Ganga Mela
(Fair), under the chairmanship of Swami Purananand. The vice chair
was Sai Fakhru u din. He was highly respected in the Delhi Court.
There were about 2,500 attendees. On this occasion there were many
speeches against the British on both religious and political grounds.

A brief summary of the speech of Swami Purananand is as follows: -

"Do not leave the nation in the hands of in the trust of foreigners.
They are not Rajas (kings/ governors), but are bandits, and looters,
and they worship only material wealth. They are enemies of the every
member of the society; they will drink your blood and eat your flesh.
Beware of them for else they will destroy your race and they will
take over and occupy our lands. They must be driven out of our land"


This assembly was held six days later, on October 11, 1855 AD, and
was organized by Swami Purananand in the hills near Haridwar. 565
Sadhus attended this meeting. In this assembly there were 195 Muslim
Sadhus, and 370 of the Hindu Dharam. Among these the blind Sadhu
Virajanand and Swami Dayanand were also present.

The Mantri or premier of the Haryana Sarv Khap, Mohanlal Jat, the
Army chief Sheoram Jat, the vice-chief Bhagwat Gujar, and Pandit
Shobaram were also present.

The official recorder and messenger of the Sarv Khap, Mir Mustaq
Mirasi was also present.

In the assembly Sai Fakrudin and Swami Purananand gave their views.

Swami Purananand not only wished to encourage the feeling for Dharam,
religion and duty, but also the uplift of the nation. In 1855 Swami
Dayanand (first name Shudh Chaitanya) arrived at the Kumbh Mela
(fair), to be with Swami Purananand. He obtained the learning of
Sanyas from him. Swamiji named Chaitanya - Dayanand Saraswati. Swami
Dayanand said that he wished to study the true Shastras (scriptures)
of the Vedas. Swami Purananand replied that he was now too old to
teach him. He suggested that Swami Dayanand goes and sees his
disciple Swami Virajanand Saraswati who lived in Mathura. He
suggested to Swami Dayanand, that prior to his devoting his time to
studying the Shastras and spirituality he should devote his efforts
to the uplift of the nation.

Swami Dayanand went immediately to Mathura to the hermitage of Swami
Purananand, and there was part of a secret meeting In this secret
meeting were also the 40 year old Chaudhry Mohar Singh Jat of Shamli
(District Muzzafarnagar), 42 year old Jat Dada Sahaimull of Bijraul
(district Meerut), Chaudhary Daya Singh Jat of Dhakauli, (district
Meerut), The Delhi Emperor BahadurShah, Nana Sahib, Tantia Tope, Raja
Kunwar Singh, the Nawab of Lucknow's wife Begum Hazratmahal, Maulana
Aji Mullah, Rungo Babu Kayasth of Bengal, the Rani of Jhansi etc.

The Jat Dada Sahaimull became a martyr fighting with the British
troops at the head of 300 warriors of the Sarvkhap, in a pond near
the village of Bardhka near Baraut (U.P,). The Chaudhary Mohar Singh,
in the same manner gave his life along with his companions near
Shamli (District Muzzafarnagar, U.P.). The Shamli Kisan Dharmshala
(Shamli Farmer Society) raised a monument to his memory on April 4,


In 1856 the main leaders of the freedom movement gathered under the
leadership of Swami Virajanand, and chalked out the form the freedom
movement of 1857 would take.

Mir Mustaq Mirasi (MirElahi) was present at this gathering, and his
eyewitness account is given below:

This account of Mir Mustaq has previously been published in the Urdu
language paper " Milap" published from Jalandhar, Punjab, on October
12, 1969, and in the Hindi magazine "Arya Maryada" published from
Delhi. The " Raja Mahendra Pratap Abhinanadan Granth" authored by
Ramnarayan Agarwal includes this account of Mir Mustaq too.

The account of MirElahi is as follows: -

" In 1856 AD, Samvat 1913, a panchayat was held at the pilgrimage
place of Mathura.
Hindus, Muslims, and other communities took part. In this panchayat a
blind Hindu Sadhu Virajanand was brought in a palanquin. When he
arrived all present paid him their respect. When he sat down on the
dais, all the Hindu and Muslim fakirs kissed his feet as sign of

Nana Sahib Peshwa, Maulvi Aji Mullah Khan, Rungo Babu, and the son
of the Emperor Bahadur Shah, gifted Asharfis, (gold coins), with
great respect.

Then one Hindu and one Muslim fakir stood up and told the audience,
that they must listen with patience to what their leader had to say
from his own mouth - "What he will say will be of great benefit for
this nation. The great master Sadhu, is also the master of many
languages, and is the elder of our nation. Thanks to the grace of
god, we have such an elder in our midst."


He first praised God, and then said:

" Independence is wealth and slavery is false, deceitful. The rule of
the land by indigenous people is a hundred times better than rule by
foreigners. Slavery of others is a cause of disrespect and shame. We
have no hatred of any other community, people, or country. We ask God
for the well being of and his blessings on the people. However these
brutal people rule our land by force, they disrespect our kings, and
though they may praise themselves, they treat our people worse than
animals. In God's eyes all people are equal, but these brutal
foreigners, do not treat them as equals but as slaves.

In no religious book is it written that, the people must be treated
badly or that the order of God should not be followed. The foreigners
have some good qualities, but the truth is when the essence of the
matter is reached, they change their tune, and rebut our sane advice
and goodness of nature. These foreigners do not think of our land as
their own home. Even if every child of our land looks after their
well being, still they will think better of their dogs than of our
human beings. These are the causes of the shortcomings. These
foreigners only love their own land, and therefore we appeal to the
people of this land, that it is the duty of each citizen to be a
patriot, and treat each other as brothers. All those who live in
Hindustan are bothers, and Shahnshah Bahadur Shah Zafar is your
Emperor." Written by MirElahi and Mir Mustaq Mirasi - Sarv Khap

From this account of MirElahi it is evident that the driving force of
the first revolution was Swami Virajanand, and he was such a great
and evolved person, that he awakened the people of Hindustan.

This speech ignited the desire for freedom in the people, and caused
them to turn against the British.

Swami Virajanand gave this undertaking the name" Raj Badlo Kranti",
or " revolution to change the regime" or " Swatrasangram" -
"independence movement".


Swami Dayanand was fully aware of this Independence struggle.

In the month of May 1856 AD, he went to the house of Nana Sahib in
Kanpur, and for four or five months traveled between Kanpur and
Allahabad. (Swami Giriraj in his book " Sun 1857 ke Swatantrasangram
se Swarajyapravartaka Maharishi Swami Dayanand Sarasvati ka
kriyatamak yogdan", (Maharishi Swami Dayanand's contribution to the
1857 Independence struggle) on page 12 presents the details).

In Samvat 1913, 1856 AD, Swami Dayanand arrived at Haridwar. He made
his residence at the Chandi Mandir (temple) on the Neel Parvat (Blue
Peak Mountain). Their Swami Rudrasen informed him that " The leaders
of the movement to arouse the people of Bharat (India) would soon be
coming to Chandi Mandir".

Three days five strangers arrived. They asked for Swami Dayanand.
Swami Dayanand cautiously asked for their introduction. They
introduced themselves as:

1) Dhondhupant (Nana Sahib Peshwa) the adopted son of Bajirao Peshwa,
the second.
2) Bala Sahib
3) AjiMullah Khan
4) Tantia Tope and
5) Kunwar Singh, Raja of Jagdishpur.

Sitting down in a secluded place, Swamiji discussed the revolution
with them for a long time. Swamiji took upon himself the role of
organizing the Sadhu organization for the independence movement, at
the request of these five. They said " Maharaj, from Peshawar to
Calcutta to Karnataka thousands of Indians are ready, but the work of
the Sadhu Samaj (organization) is not complete.

Along with these five, two other revolutionaries came in touch with
Swani Dayanand- Raja Govind Rai, and Rani Laxmi Bai.


He was of the dynasty of the famous Rani Bhavani, of the state of
Nadore in north Bengal. The British had seized his kingdom. At Chandi
Mandir he discussed the loss of his kingdom, and other matters. He
presented Swamiji with one thousand, one hundred and one Rupees.
Swami repeatedly said to him " I do not need this wealth" However
Raja Govind Rai would not hear of that, and have paid his respects,


Two or three days later, Laxmi Bai, the Rani of Jhansi, with her co
queen Ganga Bai, and three of their officials met with Swamiji. Swami
asked them to introduce themselves.

The Queen tearfully narrated her story, she said " Maharaj, I am a
childless widow. The British have announced they will seize our
kingdom from this sister of yours. They are about to mount an attack
on Jhansi with a huge army. While I am alive I will not let them,
seize my dynasty's kingdom. Give me your blessings that I may
sacrifice my life fighting as a warrior".

On hearing these words from this brave lady, Swamiji was very

He said " Lady! This body is not eternal. Blessed are those persons
who sacrifice their bodies in the cause of duty. They do not die,
they live forever, Lift up your sword and fight these foreigners with

The Queen presented Swamiji with one thousand, one hundred and one
rupees. Swamiji told her too" I do not need this wealth". The Queen
would not listen and having paid her respects, left.

Seven or eight days after Rani Laxmi Bai left, Nana Sahib etc came
to give Swamiji the latest information. Swamiji gave Nana sahib the
1101 rupees of Govind Rai, the 1101 rupees of Rani Laxmi Bai, and
rupees 633 received from the ordinary folk. In total 2,835 rupees
were given to Nana Sahib, for the cause of Independence.

Swamiji said to Nana Sahib - " Leading a people, and playing with
fire, both are dangerous. A small error can mean total destruction.
Be careful. The message of the revolution must be spread throughout
India by stealthy means."

Swamiji put his full force and efforts in organizing the Sadhus.

(Source: The records of the Haryana Sarv Khap)

We do not find any account of Swamiji's life from 1857 to 1860. This
indicates that Swamiji took a major part in the 1857 independence
movement, and for some reason did not see fit to mention his role in
his book "Satyarth Prakash". After October 1860, once more the events
of Swamiji's life are mentioned. Swamiji studied the Vedanta from
Swami Virajanand from 1860 to 1863. (Sudharak Balidan Visheshank -
Page 468, author Bhagwandev Acharya).

Swami Dayanand was not only a Dharmic Maharishi, but also a patriot
and leader of the independence movement.

In the eighth chapter of his book " Satyarth Prakash" he writes, " No
matter how much anyone does, self government is always supreme"
--- End forwarded message ---

What if INA had backfired?

Priyadarsi Dutta

Mutiny" should not be an inglorious description of 1857. One soldier rebelling was more calamitous than 10 swordsmen launching a frontal attach. Not unreasonably, Rash Behari Bose (1885-1945) had tried to apply the wisdom of 1857 "Mutiny" way back in 1915 from Lahore. Acting in league with Ghadar Party, he had meticulously planned a mutiny in army cantonments spanning from Peshawar to Singapore. However, the mutiny was betrayed deferring India's independence. In 1942, Rash Behari helped raise the INA in Singapore whose Supreme Commandership passed on to Netaji Subhas Bose in August 1943.

INA's potential should not be assessed on its face value. Were INA successful in liberating Imphal, it would have had a domino effect. The British Indian Army comprised Indians overwhelmingly. Indians would have shifted their loyalty and joined Subhas' patriotic army. No wonder, the Red Fort trial provoked the revolt of Naval Ratings in February 1946 at Bombay and Karachi docks.

Michael Edwards writes in Last Years of British India (p.93): "If Subhas and his men had been on the right side - and all India now confirmed that they were - then Indians in Indian Army must have been on the wrong side. It slowly dawned upon the government of India that the backbone of the British rule, the Indian Army might now no longer be trustworthy." Netaji shattered that backbone of this unqualified loyalty never disturbed by Congress.

But Subhasists emotionally claim that had Netaji succeeded India would not have been partitioned. Would that have been a boon or disaster? There is no gainsaying that Muslims, whose contribution to freedom movement post-1857 (under the profound impact of Sir Syed Ahmed Khan) had been next to nothing, fought valiantly in INA. Netaji could weld Hindu/Sikhs-Muslims-Christians in an exemplary brotherhood. But two big questions remain. One, could a two-year long communal honeymoon by men in uniform in South-East Asia solve 1200-old communal discord amongst 400 million Indians? Two, what would have happened if Netaji would not have been there? For example Netaji's legendary "trusted aide" Habibur Rehman fought zealously on Pakistani side in 1948 in Kashmir.

BR Ambedkar sagaciously observes in Thoughts on Pakistan, 1940 (reprinted Pakistan or Partition of India, 1946): "...the Indian Army today is predominantly Muslim in its composition. The other is that the Musalmaans who predominate are the Musalmaans from the Punjab and the NWFP. Such a composition of the Indian Army means that they are sole defenders of India from foreign invasion. So patent has this fact become that the Musalmaans from the Punjab and NWFP are quite conscious of this proud position, which has been assigned to them. For, one often hears them say that they are the "gate-keepers" of India. The Hindus must consider the problem of the defence of India in the light of this crucial fact - if Afghans singly or in combination with other Muslim states march on India, will these gatekeepers stop invaders or will open the gates and let them in? This is a question which no Hindu can afford to ignore." He adds: "To oppose Partition is to buy a sure weapon of (Hindus') own destruction. A safe army is better than a safe border."

The Muslim presence in peacetime army varied anywhere between 52 to 70 per cent by various estimates. Would army (including the vast numbers who never crossed over to INA) been eternally loyal to Netaji or the succeeding head of state? Ambedkar asks, "That the Indian Army behaves well under British control is no guarantee of its good behaviour under Indian control. A Hindu must be satisfied that it will behave as well when British control is withdrawn."

United India would have been a catastrophe ruled by a Muslim military Junta. But Ambedkar with his sound grasp of situation was academic still. Even after Partition, what would have happened if that large Muslim army turned back and conquered vast tracts of Punjab, Bengal and Assam a la Kashmir defending by a much smaller Hindu army?

The man who saved us from this situation was Veer Savarkar with his cry "Militarise Hindus" he prevailed upon Hindu-Sikh youths to enlist themselves in large numbers in the British Army during World War II. Congress was against enlistment but its writ ran only over Hindus. Yet Hindus, majority in the country, easily outnumbered Muslims once they started enlisting, encouraged by Savarkar's "whirlwind propaganda". Thus at independence the Hindu-Sikh proportion stood around 75 per cent against 25 per cent Muslim.
(From "Unsung Martyrs of 1857" by A .K Biswas, Frontier, Calcutta, 27 Feb.- 4
Mar. 2000. Abridged by Prof. I.K. Shukla)

[The sacrifices of a dedicated band of patriots led by Peer Ali Khan of Patna and of the lowly Rajwar community of Rajgir during the Revolt of Hindustan in 1857-58 remain neglected in the historiography of our First War of Independence against the Brits. This homage sets the record straight about our real martyrs and heroes.]

Posted on March 20, 2000


"I have ordered his house to be razed to the ground and a post placed on the spot with a notice, stating that he and thirteen of his accomplices have been hanged...if such a combination and conspiracy is again discovered, I will make all the ward responsible." The person referred to here was Peer Ali Khan, and the house demolished was his.

Rebellion in Patna

This sadistic savagery and brutal illegality (of destruction of property) distinguished William Tayler, the Commissioner of Patna division comprising Patna, Gaya, Shahabad, Champaran, Saran, and Tirhut, bifurcated by river Ganga from west to east. Peer Ali Khan was a bookseller of Patna. But that won't describe him fairly. Though it suggests that Patna was then a center of the intelligentsia. Raja Ram Mohan Roy, the founder of Brahmo monotheism and a social reformer, had studied Persian in Patna. Calcutta hadn't grown yet to be the big market for books. The University there was established in January 1857. Serampore, in district Hooghly, was the hub of the publishing industry.

But Peer Ali and his friends had risen against the Brits in Patna much before the revolt broke out in Shahabad, Gaya, or Danapur cantonment. This cost them dear. He, however, must be the first and the only bookseller under the sun to have been sent to the gallows for espousing patriotism. Destiny ordained that Peer Ali set a very high moral tone and stiff standards for martyrs in modern India. After his execution, Taylor recorded rather faithfully the last words of this dauntless son of Patna. In his letter of July 8, 1857 to James Frederick Halliday, the Lt. Governor of Bengal, Taylor quoted Peer Ali as saying: "There are some occasions on which it is good to give up life and that if I sacrificed thousands every day others would fill their place."

Khudiram Bose, Bhagat Singh, Rajguru, Sukhdeo, and Udham Singh - one and all- during India's freedom struggle courted death with exactly the words Peer Ali had uttered in1857. Here is Udham Singh, hanged in Pentonville Prison, London, July 31, 1940, for killing the former Punjab Governor Michael O'Dwyer for his crimes in Jalianwala Bagh on April 13, 1919: "I don'tcare about the sentence of death. It means nothing at all. I am dying for a purpose. We are suffering from the British empire...I am proud to die to free my native land, and hope that when I am gone, in my place will come thousands of my countrymen to drive you dirty dogs out...You will be cleansed out of India.." The originator of these sentiments was Patna's Peer Ali Khan.

Let us hear the testimony of Taylor on the demeanor of Peer Ali at his hanging: "He was cool and defiant to the last; though manacled and wounded, and with the sentence over him, he showed neither fear, nervousness, nor shame.. In character, appearance, and manners, he was the perfect ideal of a brutal and brave fanatic." The Patna Commissioner and the District Magistrate, comprising a special commission, had condemned Peer Ali to death. Along with him, 16 more were hanged ; 17 were imprisoned with hard labor; and two transported to penal settlements.

Why capital punishment for Ali? On 3 July 1857 near the Roman Catholic Chapel, Patna, one Dr Lyell was killed. He was the Deputy Opium Agent, Patna. Ali was charged with his murder. Also with waging war against the Crown. The correspondence of the Commissioner, Patna Division, and the Government of Bengal reveal that about 100 to 200 men "had assembled at the house of one Peer Ali, a book-seller in the town, and proceeded at once to the Roman Catholic House with the intention of murdering the priest" The Commissioner ordered the District Magistrate and the Superintendent of Police of Patna to "proceed to the spot at once with 100 Sikhs." Major-General G. W. A. Lloyd, officer commanding, Danapur Cantonment, urged "to send down 50 Europeans", rushed 60. Quoting a confidential source, Tayler writes that according to the evidence Dr Lyell was shot by Peer Ali Khan. Incidentally, Ali's house was close to the Chapel.

Ali's "crime" was compounded by the fact that he had hit at the imperial trade of opium by eliminating an important minion. The fertile Gangetic belt produced opium enough to satisfy five times the legitimate requirements of the world in the 19th century. The Bihar opium by itself could meet the global demand three times. It was immensely profitable to the Empire. Gulzarbagh, Patna, was not only the HQ of the Opium Agent in Bihar, but virtually the opium capital of the world. Job-wise, it was a coveted Agency.

Thus the rebels had struck a raw nerve. Opium was the economic strength of the Brits. Hence the alarm in the small community of the Europeans. The brave men with Peer Ali were Syed Lootf Ali Khan, the richest banker of Patna city, and Moulvi Ali Kareem, an astute organizer.

Lucknow Plot?

While his companions were hanged within three hours of the trial, Peer Ali wasn't. The Commissioner delayed his execution to ferret out from him some information about the conspiracy code-named Lucknow Conspiracy. In vain. Waris Ali, a jamadar of Tirhoot district, was arrested as a prominent conspirator and kingpin in the plot. Says Taylor: "Waris Ali is said to be related to the Royal family at Delhi and the Magistrate of Tirhoot considers that he has been for some time employed as a spy." Several letters of Ali Kareem were recovered from him. Kareem's field of operations included Saran, Champaran, Tirhoot, Patna, and Gaya districts where "seditious meetings' were held and addressed by him. A man of influence and able leadership, he had nearly 100 armed men at his command and could raise another 100 at a minute's notice.

Prior to the outbreak of revolt in Patna on 3 July 1857, the Commissioner had deputed the DM, J.M.Lowis, and the SP, Captain Rattray from Patna, accompanied by Dewan Moula Buksh to arrest Ali Kareem from his house at Dumri, near Motihari, in Champaran. They took 50 Sikhs for their mission. On arrival, they discovered that the kingpin of the plot had escaped on an elephant with several attendants. Tayler ordered his property attached and a bounty "of Rs. 2000 for his apprehension." Waris Ali was soon arrested, tried for treason, and hanged. In this context it should be remembered that the zamindar of Jagdishpur, Baboo Kunwar Singh, had a reward of Rs. 5000 on his head.

Syed Lootf Ali Khan, however, proved a hard nut to crack. Tayler sought obsessively to prosecute this famous banker so as to have him hanged, but the Sessions Judge, Patna, R. N. Farquharson, frustrated the wily Commissioner. J.M. Lowis, in his letter of 11 July 1857 wrote to the govt. "..at the request of the Commissioner Mr Tayler, I arrested (him) on the night of 5th instant. I was accompanied by Lt. Campbell with guards of Sikhs who surrounded the house; but the precaution was needless, as there was no show of resistance or attempt at escape. He at once came out to meet me, and when informed that he had been summoned by the Commissioner, he ordered his carriage, and as the coachman was not forthcoming, got himself on the box, and drove us to Mr Tayler's house. The Commissioner there informed him that he was a prisoner, and ordered me to take him at once to the Civil Jail, but as no preparations had been made for his reception, as it was past 10o' clock, I obtained permission from the Commissioner to take him to my own house where I gave him a room, and the next morning he was lodged in the Meethapur Jail." In fact, there were no grounds for his detention.

Tayler made several attempts to influence the Sessions Judge to bend the judicial process and hang Lootf Ali. But the Judge didn't succumb. The uprightness of the Sessions Judge is a tale by itself. Tayler's animus against Farquharson made him complain against the latter. Authorities turned a deaf ear to his gripes. Contrarily, Tayler was sacked from his job, his loyalty to and exertions on behalf of the Crown notwithstanding.

The charges against Lootf Ali: harboring a mutineer of the army which entailed death penalty. A leading rebel, Guseeta, in the employ of Lootf Ali, was "actively concerned not only in carrying out but in exciting the outbreak" of the revolt on the night of 3 July when Dr Lyell was murdered.

Another "hardened rebel", also named Guseeta, and his mother were too the employees of Lootf Ali. Guseeta's mother was the ayah of Lootf's mother. Besides, Mohabbat Ali Khan, or Mohib Ali, a rebel sepoy, who took part in the revolt of the 37th Regiment N I at Benares on or about 4 June1857 took shelter at Lootf's house. He was tried and hanged.

Despite Tayler's persistence the Judge acquitted Lootf and ordered him released. "This incarceration and commitment I consider improper and unjustifiable on the charge and evidences produced." A unique case of a fair trial that climaxed in the dismissal of the Commissioner, William Tayler. Bickerings between the civil and judicial authorities at Patna generated immense heat at the time, helping once in a blue moon justice prevail over highhandedness and arbitrariness.

Rajwar Villages Burnt in Anti-Revolt Reprisal

T.J.Worsely, Deputy Magistrate, Nawadah, wrote on 29 July 1858 to the DM, Gaya, suggesting savage measures against the Rajwar villages, viz., Sukerpore, Barhat and Govindpore around Rajgir in the district of Behar.

Rajwars had raised the banner of revolt against the British empire under the spirited leadership of Jawahir Rajwar, Etwa Rajwar, etc. The Brits were baffled by the guerilla tactics of the Rajwars against which their army felt ineffectual and helpless. The Dy M informed the DM Alonzo Money that "the band of men under Jawahir Rajwar near Manjhi Nadeergunj have all left and fled into the Rajgir jungle. Another leader Etwa Rajwar had also fled into the hill near Govindpore." In Sep. 1857 Worsely disclosed that Etwa had two bands - Murrraee and Kurumpore - who were moving armed. The force under Etwa comprised "50 matchlock men and some of the discharged sepoys...I have also heard that the zamindars of Mauza Sautaur have aided the rebels Jawahir Rajwar of Mauza Hureepore by furnishing them both with money and supplies and I have heard the badmashes did not plunder their villages."

Rendered desperate by their failure in nabbing the rebellious Rajwars, the Brits resorted to the most dastardly act, open only to cowards and violating norms of civilized behavior and legality. Worsely visited the villages and wrote to the DM on 22 July 1858: "as none but severe measures will keep the Rajwars in check, and hunting them down in the hills and jungles which they invariably take to would be next to impossible, I suggest that the whole Rajwars in the three above mentioned villages be razed to the ground and their property (if there be any) confiscated to the Government. Such an example may frighten other villages." The imperial terrorism did not spare even women, children, old, and infirm. This was the policy laid down by Tayler nearly a year ago.

By 31 July 1857 Shahabad district was roiling.. The Commissioner declared: "matters have now arrived at a crisis at which..all considerations yield to the one great object, viz., the prompt re-occupation of Shahabad, the arrest and execution of Kooer (Kunwar) Singh, and the infliction of terrible vengeance on the rebellious villagers of that district who have joined in the revolt." The Commissioner was informed in advance by Maj.-Genl. G.W.A. Lloyd from the Danapur Cant. that "Kooer Singh of Jagdishpur is coming to attack with mutineers from here, and from 10,000 to 20,000 Bhojpurias. Once friendly to the Commissioner, Kooer Singh,the rebel, had to be crushed.

Rajwars Stigmatized

The brutal reprisals suffered by the patriotic Rajwars of Sukerpur, Barhat and Govindpur in common with Peer Ali and his cohorts, are glowing examples of heroic men who withstood the fury of the Empire in our First War of Independence. Now forgotten, they have become faceless, nameless. Their sacrifices form a memorable chapter of the freedom struggle in Bihar in the 19th century. Their brilliant contribution to our pride as a nation remains eclipsed in the archives. Rajwars in Bihar today are treated contemptuously.

The first systematic census of 1871 called them semi-Hinduised aboriginal numbering 53,000, who swelled to 132,000 in 1911, and 237,370 in 1981. Their anti-imperialist struggles during the Revolt of Hindustan did not make them socially respectable, nor was it at all deemed worthy of record or notice in history. Socially ostracized , they were for ever dogged by degradation and destitution. No good Brahman ever served them as family priest. The ten-fold indicators of social status or stigma for a Hindu were enunciated by the Census Commissioner E .A. Gait, ICS, in 1911. One was the Brahmanical yardstick - whether a person is served by a good Brahmin as a family priest. It was regarded an indicator of social dignity. Otherwise, one would be held in low esteem. In post-colonial India Rajwar is a Scheduled Caste in Bihar. They never received the benefit of education in the 50 years of "freedom". They are as ignored and exploited now as in Brit India.

And, those loyal to the Crown were sumptuously rewarded. Who were they? Upper caste, upper class predators and parasites. The DM, Gaya, received a delegation on 1 August 1857 of Gayawal Brahmins who offered to supply, in concert with the zamindars, 3000-4000 men to fight against the freedom fighters. This development was avidly reported the same day by DM Alonzo Money to A.R.Young, Secy. To Government in Calcutta. The feudal lords - zamindars, talookdars, thikadars, and even the intelligentsia, with no shame or embarrassment, flaunted their loyalty to the beastly British aliens. Arrayed against their country and fellow nationals.

The Gayawals were the custodians of Gaya shrines, a centre of pilgrimage for the Hindus offering pind dan to their dead ancestors. Gaya was close to Rajgir where Rajwars had risen in revolt. The Brits could not conceal their glee. This was the elitist treason that has marked the upper classes and upper castes ever since. In post-colonial India the British rule is identified with subjugation of Indian aspiration, exploitation, and tyranny. But the Gayawals had no compunction in siding with the enemy. Those holy men of Gaya redefined the meaning of treason (and thought it patriotism to sell the nation to foreigners, just like today).

To cite another example, Raghunandan Singh, the Maharaja of Darbhanga, offered rewards of Rs 30 to anyone capturing an army deserter or a mutinous sepoy! His gesture was loudly cheered by the beleaguered Brits and duly reciprocated with conspicuous marks of imperial favour. But these were not solitary or stray instances. There were many others - influential, powerful, and reputed - in various walks of life, who financially and materially supported the British - the foreign invaders. They haven't suffered any stigma in public or official dispensation. Many hogged encomiums and limelight for their "unique contributions and sacrifices to the cause of national freedom" when India celebrated her 50th anniversary of Independence!

The nation that substitutes its patriots with traitors, that denigrates its heroes, and anoints slave-owners, remains enslaved.
Adam Smith
The Wealth of Nations: Of Colonies

*** Quote * Context ***

Of the advantages which Europe has derived from the discovery of America.

Those advantages may be divided, first, into the general advantages which Europe, considered as one great country, has derived from those great events; and, secondly great events; and secondly, into the particular advantages which each colonizing country has derived from the colonles which particulars belong to it, in consequence of the authority or dominion which it exercises over them.

The general advantages which Europe, considered as one great country, has derived from the discovery and colonization of America, consist, first, in the increase of its enjoyments; and, secondly, in the augmentation of its industry.

The surplus produce of America, imported into Europe, furnishes the inbabitants of this great continent with a variety of commodities which they could not Otherwise have possessed, some for conveniency and use, some for pleasure, and some for ornament, and thereby contributes to increase their enjoyments.

The discovery and colonization of America, it will readily be allowed, have contributed to augment the in dustry, first, of all the countries which trade to it directly; such as Spain, Portugal, France, and England; and, secondly, of all those which, without trading to it directly, send, through the medium of other countries, goods to it of their own produce; such as Austrian Flanders, and some provinces of Germany, which, through the medium of the countries before mentioned, send to it a considerable quantity of linen and other goods. All such countries have evidently gained a more extensive market for their surplus produce, and must tonsequently have been encouraged to increase its quantity.

But, that those great events should likewise have contributed to encourage the industry of countries, such as Hungary and Poland, which may never, perhaps, have sent a single commodity of their own produce to America, is not, perhaps, altogether so evident. That those events have done so, however, cannot be doubted. Some part of the produce of America is consumed in Hungary and Poland, and there is some demand there for the sugar, chocolate, and tobacco, of that new quarter of the world. But those commodities must be purchased with something which is either the produce of the industry of Hungary and Poland, or with something which had been purchased with some part of that produce. Those commodities of America are new values, new equivalents, introduced into Hungary and Poland to be exchanged there for the surplus produce of those countries. By being carried thither they create a new and more extensive market for that surplus produce. They raise its value, and thereby contribute to encourage its increase. Though no part of it may ever be carried to America, it may be carried to other countries which purchase it with a part of their share of the surplus produce of America; and its may find a market by means of the circulation of that trade which was originally put into motion by the surplus produce of America.

Those great events may even have contributed increase the enjoyments, and to augment the industry of countries which not only never sent any commodities to America, but never received any from it. Even such countries may have received a greater abundance if other commodities from countries of which the surplus produce had been augmented by means of the American trade. This greater abundance, as it must necessarily have increase their enjoyments, so it must likewise have augmented their industry. A greater number of new equivalents of some kind or other must have been presented to them to be exchanged for the surplus produce of that industry. A more extensive market must have been created for that surplus produce, so as to raise its value, and thereby encourag its increase. The mass of commodities annually thrown into the great circle of European commerce, and by it various revolutions annually distributed among all the different nations comprehended within it, must have been augmented by the whole surplus produce of America. A greater share of this greater mass, therefore, is likely to have fallen to each of those nations, to have increase their enjoyments, and augmented their industry....

The particular advantages which each colonizing country derives from the colonies which particularly belong to it, are of two different kinds; first, those common advantages which every empire derives from the provinces subject to its dominion; and, secondly, those peculiar advantages which are supposed to result from provinces of so very peculiar a nature as the European colonies of America...

The discovery of America, and that of a passage to the East Indies by the Cape of Good Hope, are the two greatest and most important events recorded in the history of mankind. <span style='color:red'>Their consequences have already been veryb great: but, in the short period of between two and three centuries which has elapsed since these discoveries were made, it is impossible that the whole extent of their consequences can have been seen. </span>What benefits, or what misfortunes to mankind may hereafter result from those great events, no human wisdom can foresee. By uniting, in some measure, the most distant parts of the world, by enabling them to relieve one another's wants, to increase one another's enjoyments, and to encourage one another's industry, their general tendency would seem to be beneficial.

In the mean time, one of the principal effects of those discoveries has been to raise the mercantile system to a degree of splendour and glory which it could never otherwise have attained to. It is the object of that system to enrich a great nation rather by trade and manufactures than by the improvement and cultivation of land, rather by the industry of the towns than by that of the country. But, in consequence of those discoveries, the commercial towns of Europe, instead of being the manufacturers and carriers for but a very small part of the world (that part of Europe which is washed by the Atlantic ocean, and the countries which lie round the Baltic and Mediterranean seas), have now become the manufacturers for the numerous and thriving cultivators of America, and the carriers, and in some respects the manufacturers too, for almost all the different nations of Asia, Africa, and America. Two new worlds have been opened to their industry, each of them much greater and more extensive than the old one, and the market of one of them growing still greater and greater every day....

Adam Smith
The Wealth of Nations: Of Colonies

*** Quote * Context ***

The countries which possess the colonies of America, and which trade directly to the East Indies, enjoy, indeed, the whole show and splendour of this great commerce. Other countries, however, notwithstanding all the invidious restraints by which it is meant to exclude them, frequently enjoy a greater share of the real benefit of it. The colonies of Spain and Portugal, for example, give more real encouragement to the industry of other countries than to that of Spain and Portugal. . .

After all the unjust attempts, therefore, of every country in Europe to engross to itself the whole advantage of the trade of its own colonies, no country has yet been able to engross to itself anything but the expense of supporting in time of peace, and of defending in time of war, the oppressive authority which it assumes over them. The inconveniencies resulting from the possession of its colonies, every country has engrossed to itself completely. The advantages resulting from their trade it has been obliged to share with many other countries.

At first sight, no doubt, the monopoly of the great commerce of America naturally seems to be an acquisition of the highest value. To the undiscerning eye of giddy ambition, it naturally presents itself amidst the confused scramble of politics and war, as a very dazzling object to fight for. The dazzling splendour of the object, however the immense greatness of the commerce, is the very quality which renders the monopoly of it hurtful, or which makes one employment, in its own nature necessarily less advantageous to the country than the greater part of other employments, absorb a much greater proportion of the capital of the country than what would otherwise have gone to it. .

It is not contrary to justice that . . . America should contribute towards the discharge of the public debt of Great Britain. . . . a government to which several of the colonies of America owe their present charters, and consequently their present constitution; and to which all the colonies of America owe the liberty, security, and property which they have ever since enjoyed. That public debt has been contracted in the defence, not of Great Britain alone, but of all the different provinces of the empire; the immense debt contracted in the late war in particular, and a great part of that contracted in the war before, were both properly contracted in defence of America. . .

If it should be found impracticable for Great Britain to draw any considerable augmentation of revenue from any of the resources above mentioned; the only resource which can remain to her is a diminution of her expense. In the mode of collecting, and in that of expending the public revenue; though in both there may be still room for improvement; Great Britain seems to be at least as economical as any of her neighbours. The military establishment which she maintains for her own defence in time of peace, is more moderate than that of any European state which can pretend to rival her either in wealth or in power. None of those articles, therefore, seem to admit of any considerable reduction of expense. The expense of the peace establishment of the colonies was, before the commencement of the present disturbances, very considerable, and is an expense which may, and if no revenue can be drawn from them ought certainly to be saved altogether. This constant expense in time of peace, though very great, is insignificant in comparison with what the defence of the colonies has cost us in time of war. The last war, which was undertaken altogether on account of the colonies, cost Great Britain . . . upwards of ninety millions. The Spanish war of 1739 was principally undertaken on their account; in which, and in the French war that was the consequence of it, Great Britain spent upwards of forty millions, a great part of which ought justly to be charged to the colonies. In those two wars the colonies cost Great Britain much more than double the sum which the national debt amounted to before the commencement of the first of them. Had it not been for those wars that debt might, and probably would by this time, have been completely paid; and had it not been for the colonies, the former of those wars might not, and the latter certainly would not have been undertaken. It was because the colonies were supposed to be provinces of the British empire, that this expense was laid out upon them. But countries which contribute neither revenue nor military force towards the support of the empire, cannot be considered as provinces. They may perhaps be considered as appendages, as a sort of splendid and showy equipage of the empire. But if the empire can no longer support the expense of keeping up this equipage, it ought certainly to lay it down; and if it cannot raise its revenue in proportion to its expense, it ought at least, to accommodate its expense to its revenue. If the colonies, notwithstanding their refusal to submit to British taxes, are still to be considered as provinces of the British empire, their defence in some future war may cost Great Britain as great an expense as it ever has done in any former war. The rulers of Great Britain have, for more than a century past, amused the people with the imagination that they possessed a great empire on the west side of the Atlantic. This empire, however, has hitherto existed in imagination only. It has hitherto been, not an empire, but the project of an empire; not a gold mine, but the project of a gold mine; a project which has cost, which continues to cost, and which, if pursued in the same way as it has been hitherto, is likely to cost, immense expense, without being likely to bring any profit; for the effects of the monopoly of the colony trade, it has been shown, are, to the great body of the people, mere loss instead of profit. It is surely now time that our rulers should either realise this golden dream, in which they have been indulging themselves, perhaps, as well as the people; or, that they should awake from it themselves, and endeavour to awaken the people. If the project cannot be completed, it ought to be given up. If any of thee provinces of the British empire cannot be made to contribute towards the support of the whole empire, it is surely time that Great Britain should free herself from the expense of defending those provinces in time of war, and of supporting any part of their civil or military establishments in time of peace, and endeavour to accommodate her future views and designs to the real mediocrity of her circumstances.

'Dowry Murder: Imperial Origins of a Cultural Crime' by Veena Talwar. Have uploaded excerpts from the book, my own analysis and renamed article as 'How the British created the Dowry System in Punjab' since the book refers to undivided Punjab ie modern day Indian states Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh & Pakistan's Punjab.
To read summary see Veenaji's interview below as appeared in Times of India on 31.1.03.

The dowry system is a result of the socio economic changes brought about the British in Punjab. They promoted masculinization of society by making men owners of agricultural land and responsible for payment of land revenue. They codified customary laws by excluding women totally. This lowered the status of women significantly. The British blamed caste, dowry etc for female infanticide so that they could justify their annexation of Punjab. They sought to make dowry & high marriage expenses the reason for peasant indebtedness when actually it was on account of high land revenue payable on fixed dates & in cash.

The article also gives you the pre-colonial system of land ownership and dowry, why did Punjabis want to have more sons, how & why the British created this myth that Punjabis are the only martial race in India - Muslim / Jat vs Khatri rivalry (includes Dr B R Ambedkar's views on the subject), why did the British allow only Jats & Muslims to own land in undivided Punjab ie the Land Alienation Act 1900, why Khatris/Arora etc castes made their first son a Sikh.
Interview Q. “You blame the British for the accentuation of the dowry problem.

A. Prior to the arrival of the British in India, land was not seen as a commodity which could be bought and sold. Notionally, the land belonged to the king and no one could be evicted from it. Kings showed concern for the peasantry and, when required, were prepared to live more frugally. Ranjit Singh, for instance, waived tax collections for a year, to compensate for lack of rains. The produce of the land was meanwhile shared by all the villagers.

Putting landed property exclusively in male hands, and holding the latter responsible for the payment of revenue had the effect of making the Indian male the dominant legal subject. The British further made the peasants pay revenue twice a year on a fixed date. Inability to pay would result in the land being auctioned off by the government. As a result, peasant were forced, during a bad year, to use their land as collateral to borrow from the moneylender, in order to pay taxes. Chronic indebtedness, instance, became the fate of a large number of peasants who possessed smallholding in Punjab. The British resolve to rationalize and modernize the revenue was particularly hard on women. From being co-partners in pre-colonial landholding arrangement, they found themselves denied all access to economic resources, turning them into dependents. In the event they faced marital problems, they were left with no legal entitlements whatsoever.

Q. Basically what you are saying is that the entire economy became ‘masculine’.

A. Precisely. This was one of the key factors that made male children more desirable. Also, the increasing recruitment of Punjabi peasants into the army saw more and more families practice selective female infanticide. The newly enhanced worth of sons saw families demand cash, jewellery or expensive consumer durables at the time of marriage. The situation has steadily worsened since then but rather than calling it ‘dowry problem’, we should call it the problem of paying,’ groom price’.

The pre-colonial logic for female infanticide was unwittingly strengthened by imperial and land-ownership policies even though the British outlawed the practice in 1870. The British charged heavy fines and apprehended and imprisoned culprits perpetuating such a crime. They did not however think it worth their while to examine the social effects of their own methods of governance that led to an intensification of these problems.

Q. Are you trying to say there was no practice of dowry before the British arrived in India?

A. No, I am not saying that, Dowry, or dahej as it is called in Hindi, has today become a convenient peg on which to hang all explanations about discrimination against women. But in its origins dowry was one of the few indigenous, women-centered institutions in an overwhelmingly patriarchal and agrarian society. Historically, it was an index of the ‘appreciation’ bestowed upon a daughter in her natal village, and not a groom’s prerogative to make demands on the girl’s family. The dowry-infanticide blight was used to justify the annexation of India. Colonialism, it was claimed was a civilizing mission.

Q. How did the codification of customary law affect women?

A. The problem of women worsened following the British decision to codify all customary law. A key word like ‘local’ which meant village in customary law, came to be transformed to mean ‘caste’ or ‘tribe.’ This shift in terminology had implications for women, since they were now seen to belong to patriarchal lineage rather than localities. The whole attempt was to translate social and customary practice, which was flexible, into legal codes from which women were excluded.

Even more significant was the act that colonial administration replaced the indigenous version of democracy in which villagers had representatives with mechanisms of direct control. The British courts replaced the authority of the village panchayat with the patwari-the man who kept village records-by making him a paid employee of the state. This conferred enormous powers on someone who was earlier seen as a servant of the farmers.

Q. Why has modern, independent India failed to get rid of the problem of dowry?

A. We haven’t realised that making a dowry demand is a cultural oxymoron that bears no resemblance to the historical meaning and practice of this institution. Dowry demand must be tread on a par with crimes such as blackmail, extortion or insurance fraud. Instead, they are put in the straitjacket of a dowry case. No wonder the law takes no note of the pain and psychological trauma that a woman suffers in a failed marriage. In other words, we will not be in a position to address the problem of dowry unless the state begins to take a wholly different view of it”.
<i>My grandmother narrated this story thousand times to us(cousins), when we were kid</i>.

Bhai Haqiqat Rai was born at Sialkot in 1724 A.D. His father was Bhai Bhag Mall Khatri. His maternal grandparents were Sikhs and he was married at a young age to Durgi the daughter of Sardar Kishan Singh. During Mughal rule, children used to go to mosques to study Persian from Maulvis (Muslim priests). Bhai Haqiqat Rai was also learning Persian from a maulvi. He was the only Hindu while all his other class-mates were Muslims. One day, the maulvi had gone out. Bhai Haqiqat Rai-had a quarrel with a boy. In order to tease Bhai Haqiqat Rai, he called bad names to mother goddess. In anger, Bhai Haqiqat Rai called name to Bibi Fatima in retaliation. When the Muslim boys heard him calling name, all of them gave him a sound thrashing. He returned home weeping.

In the evening, the Muslim boys got together, went to the maulvi and said, "Today, when we said to Haqiqat Rai that their gods and goddesses are made of clay and all are false, he said Bibi Fatima to be false and called her names." The maulvi said, "Did that infidel call Bibi Fatima names?" The boys exaggerated the event and said, "When we said to him that we would complain to the maulvi, he replied that he was not afraid of him. His maternal uncles and inlaws are Sikhs. He will get the maulvi eliminated through them." The maulvi was greatly enraged on hearing this. He said to the boys, "Call that infidel and bring him to me."

At the message from the boys, Bhai Haqiqat Rai and his father went to the maulvi. As soon as they arrived, the maulvi caught hold of Bhai Haqiqat Rai and started beating him The maulvi beat him to unconsciousness but his anger did not subside. He arrested Bhai Haqiqat Rai and sent him to Amir Beg, the administrator of Sialkot. The next day the qazi said to Bhai Haqiqat Rai in the court, "You have hurt the feelings of believers by calling names to Bibi Fatima for which you should be given severe punishment. For this sin you can be burnt alive after pouring oil on you. you can be torn apart alive from dogs. But your sin may be pardoned if you embrace Islam." Bhai Haqiqat Rai refused to become a Muslim. By order of Amir Beg, Bhai Haqiqat Rai was hanged feet up from a tree and beaten but he did not agree to embrace Islam.

Amir Beg sent Bhai Haqiqat Rai to Zakria Khan, the Governor of Lahore. Mother Goran said to Bhai Haqiqat Rai, "Son! No doubt I shall lose a son by your death but if you give up your faith I shall be called the mother of a deserter and faithless son. I pray to God to bestow on you the will to keep your faith even if you have to sacrifice your life." When Bhai Haqiqat Rai did not agree to embrace Islam even after further torture, he was martyred by the orders of the Governor in January 1735 A.D.
In the Kingdom of Avadh
By William Dalrymple

On the eve of the Indian Mutiny of 1857, Lucknow, the capital of the Kingdom of Avadh, was indisputably the largest, most prosperous and most civilised pre-colonial city in India. Stories that have come to epitomise the fevered fantasies of whole generations of Orientalists seem for once not to have been too far removed from the clearly swaggeringly sybaritic reality.

On the eve of the Indian Mutiny of 1857, Lucknow, the capital of the Kingdom of Avadh, was indisputably the largest, most prosperous and most civilised pre-colonial city in India. Its spectacular skyline - with its domes and towers and gilded cupolas, palaces and pleasure gardens, ceremonial avenues and wide maidans - reminded travellers of Constantinople, Paris or even Venice. The city's courtly Urdu diction and elaborate codes of etiquette were renowned as the most subtle and refined in the subcontinent; its dancers admired as the most accomplished; its cuisine famous as the most flamboyantly baroque. Moreover, at the heart of the city, lay Lucknow's decadent and Bacchanalian court. Stories of its seven-hundred women harems and numberless nautch girls came to epitomise the fevered fantasies of whole generations of Orientalists; yet for once the fantasy seems to have been not far removed from the clearly swaggeringly sybaritic reality.

"But look at it now," said Mushtaq gesturing sadly over the rooftops. "See how
little is left..."

We were standing on the roof of Mushtaq's school in Aminabad, the oldest quarter
of the city and the heart of old Lucknow. It was a cold, misty winter's morning and around us, through the ground mist, rose the great swelling, gilded domes of the city's remaining mosques and imambaras. A flight of pigeons wheeled over the domes and came to rest in a grove of tamarind trees to one side; nearby a little boy flew a kite from the top of a small domed Mughal pavilion. It was a spectacular panorama, still one of the greatest skylines in all Islam; but even from our vantage point the signs of decay were unmistakable.

"See the grass growing on the domes?" said Mushtaq, pointing at the great triple dome of the magnificent Jama Masjid. "It hasn't been whitewashed for thirty years. And at the base: look at the cracks! Today the skills are no longer there to mend these things: the expertise has gone. The Nawabs would import craftsmen from all over India and beyond: artisans from Tashkent and Samarkand, masons from Isfahan and Bukhara. They were paid fantastic sums, but now no one ever thinks to repair these buildings. They are just left to rot. This has all happened in my lifetime."

A friend in Delhi had given me Mushtaq Naqvi's name when he heard I was planning to visit Lucknow. Mushtaq, he said, was one of the last remnants of old Lucknow: a poet, teacher and writer who knew Lucknow intimately yet who slightly to everyone's surprise - had chosen never to leave the city of his birth, despite all that had happened to Lucknow since Independence. Talking with my friends, I soon learned that this qualification -“despite all that has happened to Lucknow “ - seemed to be suffixed to any statement about the place, as if it was a
universally accepted fact that Lucknow's period of greatness lay long in the past.

The city's apogee, everyone agreed, was during the eighteenth century under the flamboyant Nawabs of Avadh (or Oudh) - a time when, according to one authority, the city resembled an Indian version of [pre-Revolutionary] “Teheran, Monte Carlo and Las Vegas, with just a touch of Glyndebourne for good measure”. Even after the catastrophe of the Mutiny, Lucknow had been reborn as one the great cities of the Raj.

It was Partition in 1947 that finally tore the city apart, its composite Hindu-Muslim culture irretrievably shattered in the unparalleled orgy of bloodletting that everywhere marked the division of India and Pakistan. By the end of the year, the city's cultured Muslim aristocracy had emigrated en masse to Pakistan and the city found itself swamped instead with non-Muslim refugees from the Punjab. These regarded the remaining Muslims with the greatest suspicion- as dangerous fanatics and Pakistani fifth columnists- and they brought with them their own very different, aggressively commercial culture. What was left of the old Lucknow, with its courtly graces and refinement, quickly went into headlong decline. The roads stopped being sprinkled at sunset, the buildings ceased to receive their annual whitewash, the gardens decayed, and litter and dirt began to pile up unswept on the pavements.

Fifty years later, the city is today renowned not so much for its refinement as for the coarseness and corruption of its politicians, and the crass ineptitude of its officials. What had once been regarded as the most civilised city in India - a city whose manners and speech made other Indians feel like oafish rustics - is rapidly becoming notorious as one of the most hopelessly backward and violent, with a burgeoning mafia and a notoriously thuggish and corrupt police force.

"You must have seen some sad changes in that skyline," I said to Mushtaq, as we turned to look eastwards over the monsoon-stained tower blocks which dwarfed and blotted out the eighteenth century panorama in the very centre of the city.

"In thirty years all sense of aesthetics have gone from this town," he replied. "Once Lucknow was known as the Garden of India. There were palms and gardens and greenery everywhere. Now so much of it is eaten up by concrete, and the rest has become a slum. See that collapsing building over there?"

Mushtaq pointed to a ruin a short distance away. A few cusped arches and some broken pillars were all that was left of what had clearly once been a rather magnificent structure. But now shanty huts hemmed it in on three sides while on the fourth stood a fetid pool. At its side you could see a cow munching on a pile of chaff.

"It is difficult to imagine now," said Mushtaq, "but when I was a boy that was one of the most beautiful havelis [courtyard houses] in Lucknow. At its centre was a magnificent shish mahal [mirror chamber]. The haveli covered that whole area where the huts are now and that pool was the tank in its middle: begums [aristocratic ladies] from all over Aminabad and Hussainabad would go there to
swim. There were gardens all around. See that tangle of barbed wire? That used
to be an orchard of sweet-smelling orange trees. Can you imagine?"

I looked at the scene again, trying to picture its former glory. It was very

"But the worst of it- how to put it in English?- is that the external decay of the city is really just a symbol of what is happening inside us: the inner rot."

"What do you mean?" I asked.

"Under the Nawabs Lucknow experienced a Renaissance that represented the last
great flowering of Indo-Islamic genius. The Nawabs were such liberal and civilised figures: men like Wajd Ali Shah- author of one hundred books, a great poet and dancer. But the culture of Lucknow was not just limited to the elite: even the prostitutes could quote the great Persian poets; even the tonga drivers and the tradesmen in the bazaars spoke the most chaste Urdu and were famous across India for their exquisite manners..."

"But today?"

"Today the grave of our greatest poet, Mir, lies under a railway track. What is left of the culture he represented seems hopelessly vulnerable. After Partition nothing could ever be the same again. Those Muslims who were left were the second rung. They simply don't have the skills or education to compete with the Punjabis, with their money and business instincts and garish, brightly-lit shops. Everything they have has crumbled so quickly: the owners of palaces and havelis have become the chowkidars [gate keepers]. If you saw any of the old begums today you would barely recognise them. They are shorn of all their glory, and their havelis are in a state of neglect. They were never brought up to work- they simply don't know how to do it. As they never planned for the future, many are now in real poverty. In some cases their daughters have been forced into prostitution."


"Literally. I'll tell you one incident that will bring tears to your eyes. A young girl I know- eighteen years old, from one of the royal families- was forced to take up this work. A rickshaw driver took her in chador to Clarkes Hotel for a rich Punjabi businessman to enjoy for 500 rupees. This man had been drinking whisky but when the girl unveiled herself, he was so struck by her beauty - by the majesty of her bearing - that he could not touch her. He paid her the money and told her to go."

Mushtaq shook his head sadly: "So you see it’s not just the buildings: the human beings of this city are crumbling too. The history of the decline of this city is written on the bodies of its people. Look at the children roaming the streets, turning to crime. Great grandchildren of the Nawabs are pulling rickshaws. If you go deeply into this matter you would write a book with your tears."

Mushtaq pointed at the flat roof of a half-ruined haveli: "See that house over there?" he said. "When I was a student there was a nobleman who lived there. He
was from a minor Nawabi family. He lived alone, but everyday he would come to a
chaikhana [teahouse] and gupshup [gossip]. He was a very proud man, very conscious of his noble birth, and he always wore an old fashioned angurka [long
Muslim frockcoat]. But his properties were all burned down at Partition. He didn't have a job and no one knew how he survived.

"Then one day he didn't turn up at the chaikhana. The next day and the day after there was no sign of him either. Finally on the fourth day the neighbours began to smell a bad smell coming from his house. So they broke down the door and found him lying dead on a charpoy [cot]. There was no covering, no other furniture, no books, nothing. He had sold everything he had, except his one pair of clothes, but he was too proud to beg, or even to tell anyone of his problem. When they did a post mortem on him in the medical college they found he had died of starvation.

"Come," said Mushtaq. "Let us go to the chowk: there I will tell you about this
city, and what it once was."

At the height of the Moghul Empire, said Mushtaq, Shah Jehan, the builder of the Taj Mahal, had ruled over a mighty Empire that stretched from the Hindu Kush in the North to great diamond mines of Golconda in the South. But during the eighteenth century, as the Moghul Empire fell apart, undermined by civil war and sacked by a succession of invaders from Persia and Afghanistan, India's focus moved inexorably eastwards from Delhi to Lucknow. There the Nawabs maintained the fiction that they were merely the provincial governors of the Moghuls, while actually holding a degree of real power and wealth immeasurably greater than the succession of feeble late Moghul monarchs who came and went on the throne of Delhi.

Gradually, as the Moghul's power of patronage waned ever smaller, there was a haemorrhage of poets and writers, architects and miniature painters away from Delhi to Lucknow, as the Nawabs collected around them the greatest minds of the day. They were men such as Mir, probably the greatest of all the Urdu poets, who at the age of 66 was forced to flee from his beloved Delhi in an effort to escape the now insupportable violence and instability of the Moghul capital.

The Nawabs were great builders, and in less than 50 years they succeeded in transforming the narrow lanes of a small mediaeval city to one of the great capitals of the Muslim world: "Not Rome, not Athens, not Constantinople, not any city I have ever seen appears to me so striking and beautiful as this," wrote the British war correspondent William Russell in the middle of the Indian Mutiny. "The sun playing on the gilt domes and spires, the exceeding richness of the vegetation and forests and gardens remind one somewhat of the view of the Bois de Boulogne from the hill over St. Cloud... but for the thunder of the guns and the noise of the balls cleaving the air, how peaceful the scene would be!"

After 600 years of Islamic rule in India, what the Nawabs achieved at Lucknow represented the last great swansong of Indo-Islamic civilisation, a last burst of energy and inspiration before the onset of a twentieth century holding little for Indian Muslims except division, despair and decline.

Since I had arrived in the city I had spent a couple of bright, chilly winter days jolting around the old city on a rickshaw visiting a little of what was left. The architecture of the Nawabs has sometimes been seen as a decadent departure from the pure lines of the Great Moghul Golden Age, and there is some truth in this: there is nothing in Lucknow, for example, to compare to the chaste perfection of the Taj. Moreover, in the years leading up to the Mutiny, some of the buildings erected in Lucknow did indeed sink into a kind of florid, camp voluptuousness which seem to have accurately reflected the mores of a Lucknow whoring and dancing its way to extinction. To this day a curtain covers the entrance to the picture gallery in Lucknow after a prim British memsahib fainted on seeing the flirtatiously bared nipple of the last Nawab, Wajd Ali Shah, prominently displayed in a portrait of the period. The same feeling of over-ripe decadence is conveyed in Late Nawabi poetry, which is some of the most unblushingly fleshy and sensual ever written by Muslim poets:

I am a lover of breasts
Like pomegranates;
Plant then no other trees
On my grave but these.(Nasikh)

Confronted with such verses, Mir expressed his view that most Lucknavi poets could not write verse and would be better advised to "stick to kissing and slavering". He may well have thought the same of Late Nawabi architecture with its similarly unrestrained piling on of effects. For by the end Lucknow's builders had developed a uniquely blowsy Avadhi rococo whose forms and decorative strategies seem to have borrowed more frequently from the ballrooms and fairgrounds of Europe than from the shrines and fortresses of Babur and Tamburlaine. There was no question of sobriety or restraint: even in monuments built to house the dead, every inch of the interior was covered with a jungle of brightly coloured plaster work intertwining promiscuously with gaudy curlicues of feathery stucco.

Nevertheless the best of the buildings in Lucknow- those that date from the late eighteenth century- are evidence of a remarkable Silver Age which in sheer exuberance has no equal in India. The Great Imambara complex was built by Asaf ud-Daula for Shi'ite religious discourses in 1784. One of the largest vaulted halls in the world, it was built to create employment during a famine. Here there is none of the camp doodling that would be seen on later monuments. Instead the imambara is a vast and thoroughly monumental building: long, echoing arcades of cusped arches give way to great gilded onion-domes and rippling lines of pepperpot semi-domes; at the corners soaring minarets rise to solid well-designed chattris. The whole composition exudes a bold, reckless and extravagant self-confidence. Lucknow was consciously aiming to surpass the glories of Late Moghul Delhi and the Great Imambara shows it could do so with dashing panache.

Driving today through the melancholic streets of modern Lucknow, these massive buildings dating from the days of the Nawabs rear out of the surrounding anarchy
like monuments from some lost civilisation, seemingly as disconnected from the
present as the pyramids are to modern Egypt. At times it seems almost impossible
to believe that they date from less than two hundred years ago, and that at that
period Lucknow was famed as one of the richest kingdoms in Asia. For today the
city is as shabby and impoverished as anywhere in India. Waves of squabbling cycle-rickshaw drivers pass down the potholed roads, bumping in and out of the puddles. Rubbish lies uncollected by the roadside, with dogs competing with rats to snuffle in the piles of street-side garbage. Beside them, lines of impoverished street vendors squat on dirty rush mats, displaying their tawdry collections of cheap plastic keyrings and fake Rolex watches. There is no grass in the parks and no flowers in the beds; barbed wire hangs limply around what were once beautiful Moghul gardens alive with the sound of parakeets and peacocks. Above the crumbling ruins of the old city of the Nawabs rise the charmless Monsoon-stained, smoke-blackened concrete blocks erected since Independence, and now, like the ruins, showing signs of imminent collapse, with deep fissures running up their sides.

The contrast between the magnificent follies of the Nawabs and the decayed, impoverished post-colonial intrusions which stand among them is almost unbearably painful: everywhere, it seems, there has been a universal drop in
standards and expectations.

Yet even at the time the great buildings of Nawabi Lucknow were being erected, the Kingdom of Avadh was acutely conscious that it was living on borrowed time. For before the Nawabs had even established their capital at Lucknow, their armies had already been defeated in battle by the East India Company, and over the course of the early nineteenth century the Company ate like a cancer into the territories of Avadh: in less than 50 years the British annexed more than half the Kingdom. But the Nawabs remained surprisingly well disposed towards Europeans, and delighted in the trinkets and amusements Europeans could provide for their court: jugglers, portrait painters, watch menders, piano tuners and even fashionable London barbers were all welcomed to Lucknow and well paid for their services.

If the Nawab sometimes amazed foreign visitors by appearing dressed as a British
admiral or even as a clergyman of the Church of England, then the Europeans of
Lucknow often returned the compliment. Miniature after miniature from late eighteenth century Lucknow show Europeans of the period dressed in long white Avadhi gowns, lying back on carpets, hubble-bubbles in their mouths, as they watch their nautch girls dance before them. Even those who never gave up European dress seem to have taken on the mores of Nawabi society: Major General Claude Martin, for example, kept a harem which included his favourite wife Boulone as well as her three sisters. Nor was this sexual curiosity just one way: at least two British memsahibs were recruited to join the Avadi harem, and
a mosque survives which was built by the Nawab for one of them, a Miss Walters.

Intellectually too, there seems to have been a surprising degree of intercourse between Europeans and the people of Lucknow. The greatest collection of Oriental Manuscripts in Britain - now the core of the India Office Collection - was formed by Richard Johnson while he was the Deputy to the British Resident in Lucknow. During his years in Avadh he mixed on equal terms with the poets, scholars and calligraphers of Lucknow, discussing Sanskrit and Persian literature, and forming long lasting friendships with many of them. One of these scholars, Mir Qamar ud-Din Minnat, dedicated his diwan to Johnson, later following his friend to Calcutta where Warren Hastings bestowed on him the title 'King of Poets'.

Much of the surviving architecture of the city reflects this unique moment of Indo-European intermingling. Constantia, Claude Martin's great palace-mausoleum, now the La Martiniere school, is perhaps the most gloriously hybrid building in India, part Nawabi fantasy and part Gothic colonial barracks. Just as Martin himself combined the lifestyle of a Muslim prince with the interests of a renaissance man- writing Persian couplets and maintaining an observatory, experimenting with map making and botany, hot air balloons and even bladder surgery - so his mausoleum mixes Georgian colonnades with the loopholes and turrets of a mediaeval castle; Palladian arcades rise to Mughal copulas; inside brightly coloured Nawabi plasterwork enclose Wedgwood plaques of classical European Gods and Goddesses.

Yet while Martin designed Constantia to be the most magnificent European funerary monument in India, the East India Company's answer to the Taj Mahal, it
was also intended to be defensible. The eighteenth century was an anarchic and violent time in India, and during an uprising in the 1770's, Martin once had to defend his residence with a pair of cannon filled with grape shot. It was a lesson he never forgot, and he built Constantia to be his last redoubt in case of danger. Lines of cannon crowned the facade, and thick iron doors sealed off the narrow spiral staircases which connected the different 'bomb-proof' floors. Moreover on the facade Martin erected two colossal East India Company lions which were designed to hold flaming torches in their mouths. The sight of these illuminated beasts, belching out fire and smoke on a dark night was intended to terrify would-be intruders.

In its wilful extravagance and sheer strangeness, Constantia embodies like no other building the opulence, restlessness, and open mindedness of a city which lay on the faultline between East and West, the old world of the Nawabs and the new world of the Raj. To this day the whole extraordinary creation stands quite intact, still enclosed in acres of its own parkland. As you approach on your rickshaw you pass along a superb avenue of poplar and tamarind, eucalyptus and casuarina, at the end of which you pass the perfect domed Mughal tomb which Martin built for his beloved Boulone. As he rather touchingly wrote in his will: "she choosed never to quit me. She persisted that she would live with me, and since we lived together we never had a word of bad humour one against another."

Nearby Constantia, a short rickshaw ride over the railway crossing, I stumbled across another smaller but equally remarkable building from the same period. It turned out to be the ruins of one of the Nawabs most lovely pleasure palaces, named Dilkusha or Heart's Delight. Yet despite this very Persian name, Dilkusha was in fact closely modelled on one of the great English country houses, Seaton Delavel - but with four gloriously ornate octagonal minarets added to the otherwise austere Palladian design. The whole episode was an extraordinary moment of Indo European fusion- a moment pregnant with unfulfilled possibilities, and one which is often forgotten in the light of Lucknow's subsequent history.

For this process of mutual enrichening did not last. As the nineteenth century progressed, the British became more and more demanding in their exactions on the Nawabs, and more and more assured of their own superiority; they learned to scoff at the buildings and traditions of Lucknow, and became increasingly convinced that they had nothing to learn from 'native' culture. Relations between the Nawabs and the British gradually became chilly: it was as if the high-spirited tolerance of courtly Lucknow was a direct challenge to the increasingly self righteous spirit of evangelical Calcutta. In 1857, a year after the British forcibly deposed the last Nawab, Lucknow struck back, besieging the British in their fortified residency.

In the event, after nearly two years of siege and desperate hand to hand fighting in the streets of Lucknow, the British defeated the Mutineers and wreaked their revenge on the conquered city. Vast areas of the city of the Nawabs were bulldozed, and for half a century the administration moved to Allahabad. Every site connected to the Mutiny was lovingly preserved by the British- the pockmarked ruins of the besieged Residency, the tombs of the British leaders who fell in the seige, every point in the town where the relieving forces were ambushed or driven back- turning much of the city into a vast open air Imperial War Memorial, thickly littered with a carapace of cemeteries and spiked canons, obelisks and Rolls of Honour. But shorn of its court and administrative status, preserved only for the curiosity of British visitors, Lucknow gradually became the melancholic backwater it is today.

"Yet even in my childhood something of Lucknow's old graces survived," said Mushtaq. "I'll show you what I mean."

We walked together through the chowk, the narrow, latticed bazaar-labyrinth which was once the centre of Lucknow's cultural life. Above us, elaborately carved wooden balconies backed onto latticed windows. Figures flitted behind the wooden grilles. Every so often we would pass the arched and pedimented gateway of a grand haveli: the gateway still stood magnificently, but as often as not the old mansion to which it led had been turned into a godown or warehouse. A bird's nest of electricity wires were strung down the side of the chowk, many of which had been brutally punched through the walls and arcades of the old mansions.

Below the latticed living quarters were a wonderful collection of tiny box-like shops, all arranged in groups by trade: a line of shops selling home-made fireworks would be followed by another line piled high with mountains of guavas
or marigold garlands; a group of ear cleaners- whose life revolved around the patient removal of pieces of wax from the inner ear- would be followed by a confraternity of silver beaters who made their living from hammering silver into
sheets so fine they could be applied to sticky Lucknavi sweets.

"When I was a boy, before Partition, I came here with my brother," said Mushtaq.
"In those days the chowk was still full of perfume from the scent shops. They had different scents for different seasons: khas for the hot season, bhela for the monsoon and henna for the cold. Everywhere there were stalls full of flowers: people brought them in from gardens and the countryside roundabout. The bazaar was famous for having the best food, the best kebabs and the best women in North India."

"The best women?" Looking around all I could see now was the occasional black
beehive flitting past in full chador.

"Ah," said Mushtaq, "you see in those days the last courtesans were still here."


"Not prostitutes in the western sense, although they could fulfil that function."

"So what was it that distinguished them from prostitutes?" I asked.

"In many ways the courtesans were the guardians of the culture," replied Mushtaq. "Apart from anything else they preserved Indian classical music from
corruption for centuries. They were known as tawwaif, and they were the incarnation of good manners. The young men would be sent to them to learn how to behave and deport themselves: how to roll or accept a paan, how to say thank
you, how to salaam, how to stand up, how to leave a room - as well as the facts
of life.

"On the terraces of upper-storey chambers of the tawwaif, the young men would
come to recite their verses and ghazals. Water would be sprinkled on the ground
to cool it, then carpets would be laid out and covered with white sheets. Hookahs and candles would be arranged around the guests, along with surahis, fresh from the potters, exuding the monsoon scent of rain falling on parched earth. Only then would the recitations begin. In those days anyone who even remotely aspired to being called cultured had to take a teacher and to learn how to compose poetry."

We pulled ourselves onto the steps of a kebab shop to make way for a herd of
water buffaloes which were being driven down the narrow alley to the market at
the far end. From inside came the delicious smell of grilled meat and spices.

"Most of all the tawwaifs would teach young men how to speak perfect Urdu. You
see in Lucknow language was not just a tool of communication: it was a projection of the culture- very florid and subtle. But now the language has changed. Compared to Urdu, Punjabi is a very coarse language: when you listen to two Punjabis talking it sounds as if they are fighting. But because of the number of Punjabis who have come to live here the old refined Urdu of Lucknow is now hardly spoken. Few are left who can understand it- fewer still who speak it."

"Did you ever meet one of these tawwaif?"

"Yes," said Mushtaq. "My brother used to keep a mistress here in the chowk and
on one occasion he brought me along too. I'll never forget her: although she was
a poor woman, she was very beautiful- full of grace and good manners. She was
wearing her full make-up and was covered in jewellery which sparked in the light
of the oil lamps. She looked like a princess to me- but I was hardly twelve, and
by the time I was old enough to possess a tawwaif, they had gone. That whole culture with its the poetic mehfils and mushairas (levees and poetic symposia)
went with them."

"So is there nothing left?" I asked. "Is there no one who can still recite the
great poets of Lucknow? Who remembers the old stories?"

"Well there is one man," said Mushtaq. "You should talk to Suleiman, the Rajah of Mahmudabad. He is a remarkable man."

The longer I lingered in Lucknow, the more I heard about Suleiman Mahmudabad.
Whenever I raised the subject of survivors from the old world of courtly Lucknow, his name always cropped up sooner or later in the conversation. People in Lucknow were clearly proud of him and regarded him as a sort of repository of
whatever wisdom and culture had been salvaged from the wreck of their city.

I finally met the man a week later at the house of a Lucknavi friend. Farid Faridi's guests were gathered around a small sitting room sipping imported whisky and worrying about the latest enormities committed by Lucknow's politicians. A month before, in front of Doordashan television cameras, the M.L.A's in State Assembly had attacked each other in the debating chamber with microphone stands, desks and broken bottles. This led to heavy casualties, particularly among the high caste B.J.P politicians who had come to the Assembly building marginally less well armed than their low-caste rivals: around thirty had ended up in hospital with severe injuries, and there was now much talk about possible revenge attacks.

"Power has passed from the educated to the illiterate," said one guest. "Our last chief minister was a village wrestling champion. Can you imagine?"

"All our politicians are thugs and criminals now," said my neighbour. "The police are so supine and spineless they do nothing to stop them taking over the state."

"We feel so helpless in this situation," said Faridi. "The world we knew is collapsing and there is nothing we can do."

"All we can do is to sit in our drawing rooms and watch these criminals plunder our country," said my neighbour.

"The police used to chase them," agreed the first guest. "But now they spend their time guarding them."

Mahmudabad arrived late but was greeted with great deference by our host who
addressed him throughout as 'Rajah Sahib'. He was a slight man, but was beautifully turned out in traditional Avadhi evening dress of a long silk sherwani over a pair of tight white cotton pyjamas. I had already been told much about his achievements - how he was as fluent in Urdu, Arabic and Persian as he was in French and English, how he had studied post-Graduate astrophysics at Cambridge, how he had been a successful Congress M.L.A under Rajiv Gandhi - but nothing prepared me for the anxious, fidgety polymath who effortlessly dominated the conversation from the moment he stepped into the room.

Towards midnight, as he was leaving, Mahmudabad asked whether I was busy the
following day. If not, he said, I was welcome to accompany him to the qila, his
ancestral fort in the country outside Lucknow. He would be leaving at 11am; if I
could get to him by then I could come along and keep him company on the journey.

Suleiman's Lucknow pied a terre, I discovered the following morning, turned out
be the one surviving wing of the Kaiserbagh, the last great palace of the Nawabs. Before its partial destruction during the Mutiny, the Kaiserbagh had been larger than the Tuileries and the Louvre combined; but what remained more closely resembled some crumbling Sicilian palazzo, all flaking yellow plasterwork and benign baroque neglect. An ancient wheel-less Austin 8 rusted in the palace's porte cochere, beside which squatted a group of elderly retainers all dressed in matching white homespun.

Suleiman was in his study, attending to a group of petitioners who had come to ask favours. It was an hour before he could free himself and call for the driver to come around with the car. Soon we had left the straggling outskirts of Lucknow behind us and were heading on a raised embankment through long straight avenues of poplars. On either side spread yellow fields of mustard, broken only by clumps of palm and the occasional pool full of leathery water buffaloes. As we drove Suleiman talked about his childhood, much of which, it emerged, had been spent in exile in the Middle East.

"My father," he said, "was a great friend of Jinnah and an early supporter of his Muslim League. In fact he provided so much of the finance that he was made
treasurer. But despite his admiration for Jinnah he never really seemed to understand what Partition would entail. The day before the formal split, in the midst of the bloodshed, he quietly left the country and set off via Iran for Kerbala [the Shia's holiest shrine]. From there we went to Beirut. It was ten years before he took up Pakistani citizenship, and even then he spent most of his time in London."

"So did he regret helping Jinnah?"

"He was too proud to admit it," said Suleiman, "but I think yes. Certainly he was profoundly saddened by the bitterness of Partition and the part he had played in bringing it about. After that he never settled down or returned home. I think he realised how many people he had caused to lose their homes, and he chose to wander the face of the earth as a kind of self-imposed penance."

Mahmudabad lay only thirty miles outside Lucknow but so bad were the roads that
the journey took well over two hours. Eventually a pair of minarets reared out of the trees- a replica of the mosque at Kerbala built by Suleiman's father- and beyond them, looking onto a small lake, towered the walls of the qila [fort] of Mahmudabad.

It was a vast structure, built in the same Lucknavi Indo-Palladian style I had seen at La Martiniere and Dilkusha. The outer wall was broken by a ceremonial gateway or naqqar khana [drum house] on which was emblazoned the fish symbol of the Kingdom of Avadh. Beyond rose the ramparts of a medieval fort onto which had keen tucked an eighteenth century classical bow front; above, a series of balconies were surmounted by a ripple of Mughal chattris and copulas.

It was magnificent, yet the same neglect which had embraced so many of the buildings of Lucknow had also gripped the Mahmudabad qila. The grass had died on
the lawn in front of the gateway, and the remaining flowers in the beds were twisted and desiccated; bushes sprouted from the fort's roof. In previous generations the chamber at the top of the naqqar khana would have been full of
musicians announcing the arrival of the Rajah with kettle drums and shehnai. It was empty now, of course, but there was certainly no shortage of servants to fill it. As we drove into the qila's courtyard we saw a crowd of between twenty and 30 retainers massing to greet the rajah, all frantically bowing and salaaming; as Suleiman got out of the car the foremost ones dived to touch his feet.

I followed the rajah into the qila and up through the dark halls and narrow staircases of the fort; the troop of servants followed behind me. Dust lay thick underfoot, as if the qila was some lost castle in a child's fairy tale. We passed through a splintered door into an old ballroom, empty, echoing and spacious. Once its floor had been sprung, but now many of the planks were missing and littered with pieces of plaster fallen from the ceiling. A torn family portrait of some bejewelled raja hung half in, half out of its frame. It looked as if no one had entered the room for at least a decade.

Finally, Suleiman threw back a door and led the way into what had once been the library. Cobwebs hung like sheets from the walls; the chintz was literally peeling off the arm chairs. Books were everywhere, great piles of 1920's hardbacks, but you had to wipe the book with a handkerchief to read the spines and to uncover lines of classics - The Annals of Tacitus, The Works of Aristotle - nestling next to such long-forgotten titles as The Competition Wallah and The Races of the North West Provinces of India.

"This library was my ancestor's window on the world," said Suleiman, "but, like
everything, it's fast decaying, as you can see."

I looked around. There were no carpets on the floors which, uncovered, had become stained and dirty. Above there were holes in the ceiling, with the wooden beams showing through the broken plaster like bones sticking out of wounded flesh. Suleiman was at the window now, pressing the shutters to try and open them; pushing too hard, he nearly succeeded in dislodging the whole window frame. Eventually the shutter gave way and hung open, precariously attached to the frame by its one remaining hinge.

A servant padded in and Suleiman ordered some cold drinks, asking when lunch would be ready. The servant looked flustered. It became apparent that the message had not reached them from Lucknow that we would be expecting lunch;
probably the telephone lines were not working that day.

"It wasn't always like this," said Suleiman, slumping down in one of the chintzless armchairs underneath a single naked light bulb. "When the 1965 Indo-Pakistani war broke out, the qila was seized by the government as enemy property. My father had finally made the decision to take Pakistani citizenship in 1957, and although he had never really lived there, it was enough. Everything was locked up and the gates were sealed. My mother - who had never taken Pakistani citizenship - lived on the verandah for three or four months before the government agreed to allow her to have a room to sleep in. Even then it was two years before she was allowed access to a bathroom. She endured it all with great dignity. Until her death she carried on as if nothing had happened."

At this point the bearer reappeared and announced that no cold drinks were available. Suleiman frowned and dismissed him, asking him to bring some water
and to hurry up with the lunch.

"What was I saying?" he asked, distracted by the domestic chaos.

"About the sealing of the palace."

"Ah yes. The Indian armed Constabulary lived here for two years. It wasn't just neglect: the place was looted. There were two major thefts of silver- they said ten tons in all..."

"Tens tons? Of silver?"

"That's what they say," replied Suleiman dreamily. He looked at his watch. It was nearly three o'clock and his absent lunch was clearly on his mind. "Ten tons... though it's probably exaggerated. Certainly everything valuable was taken: even the chairs were stripped of their silver backing."

"Were the guards in league with the robbers?"

"The case is still going on. It's directed against some poor character who got caught: no doubt one of the minnows who had no one to protect him."

Suleiman walked over to the window and shouted some instructions in Urdu down to the servants in the courtyard below.

"I've asked them to bring some bottled water. I can't drink the water here. My stomach- you've no idea the hell I've been through with it, the pain. I have to keep taking these terrible antibiotics. I've been to specialists, but they can't do anything."

Shortly afterwards the bearer reappeared. There was no bottled water, he said.
And no, rajah sahib, the khana was not yet ready. He shuffled out backwards,
mumbling apologies.

"What are these servants doing?" said Suleiman. "They can't treat us like this."

The rajah began to pace backwards and forwards through the ruination of his palace, stepping over the chunks of plaster on the floor.

"I get terrible bouts of gloom whenever I come here," he said. "It makes me feel
so tired - exhausted internally."

He paused, trying to find the right words: "There is... so much that is about to collapse: its like trying to keep a dyke from bursting. Partly its because I don't live here enough... But it preys on my mind wherever I am. I feel overwhelmed at even the thought of this place.

He paused again, raising his hands in a gesture of helplessness: "I simply can't see any light at the end of any of the various tunnels. Each year I feel that it is less and less worth struggling for. Sometimes the urge just to escape becomes insupportable- just to leave it all behind, to take a donkey and some books and disappear.

"Come," he said, suddenly taking my arm. "I can't breathe. There's no air in this room..."

The rajah led me up flight after flight of dark, narrow staircases until we reached the flat roof on the top of the fort. From beyond the moat, out over the plains, smoke and mist were rising from the early evening cooking fires, forming a flat layer at the level of the tree tops. To me it was a beautiful, peaceful Indian winter evening of the sort I had grown to love, but Suleiman seemed to see in it a vision of impending disaster. He was still tense and agitated, and the view did nothing to calm him down.

"You see," he explained. "It’s not just the qila that depresses me. It's what is happening to the people. There was so much that could have been done after Independence when they abolished the holdings of the zamindars [the big absentee
landlords] who were strangling the countryside. But all that happened was the rise of these criminal politicians: they filled the vacuum and they are the role models today. Worse still theirs are the values - if you can call them values - to which people look up: corruption, deception, duplicity, crude, crass materialism. These are seen to be the avenues to success.

"The world that I knew has been completely corrupted and destroyed. I go into fits of depression when I see the filth and dirt of modern Lucknow and remember the flowers and trees of my youth. Even out here the rot has set in. Look at that monstrosity!"

Suleiman pointed to a thick spire of smoke rising from a sugar factory some distance away across the fields.

"Soft powder falls on the village all day from the pollution from that factory. It was erected illegally and in no other country would such a pollutant be tolerated. I spoke to the manager and he assured me action was imminent, but of course nothing ever happens."

"Perhaps if you went back into politics you could have it closed down?" I suggested.

"Never again, " said Suleiman. "After two terms in the Legislative Assembly I came on record saying I would leave the Congress Party if it continued to patronise criminals. The new breed of Indian politician has no ideas and no principles. In most cases they are just common criminals in it for what they can plunder. Before he died I went and saw Rajiv and told him what was happening. He was interested but he didn't do anything. He was a good man, but weak: unsure of himself. He did nothing to stop the rot."

"Do you really think things are that bad?" I asked

"There has been a decline in education, in health, in sanitation. There is a general air of misery and suffering in the air. It's got much, much worse in the last fifteen years. Last week a few miles outside Lucknow robbers stopped the traffic and began robbing passers-by in broad daylight. Later, it turned out that the bandits were policemen.

"When I first joined the Legislative Assembly I was elected with an unprecedented majority. Perhaps you are right: perhaps I should have stayed in politics. But what I saw just horrified me. These people... In their desire to get a majority, the rules are bent, the laws broken, institutions are destroyed. The effects are there for anyone to see. You saw the roads: they're intolerable Twenty years ago the journey here used to take an hour; now it takes twice that. Electricity is now virtually non-existent, or at best very erratic. There is no healthcare, no education, nothing. Fifty years after independence there are still villages around here which have no drinking water. And now there are these hold-ups on the road. Because they are up to their neck in it, the police and the politicians turn a blind eye."
"But isn't that all the more reason for you to stay in politics?" I said. "If all the people with integrity were to resign, then of course the criminals will take over."

"Today it is impossible to have integrity or honesty and to stay in politics in India," replied Suleiman. "The process you have to go through is so ugly, so awful, it cannot leave you untouched. Its nature is such that it corrodes, that it eats up all that is most precious and vital in the spirit. It acts like acid on one's integrity and sincerity. You quickly find yourself doing something totally immoral and you ask yourself: what next?

We fell silent for a few minutes, watching the sun setting over the sugar mill. Behind us, the bearer reappeared to announce that the rajah's dal and rice was
finally ready. It was now nearly five o'clock.

"In some places in India perhaps you can still achieve some good through politics," said Suleiman. "But in Lucknow it's like a black hole. One has an awful feeling that the forces of darkness are going to win here. It gets worse by the year, the month, the week. The criminals feel they can act with impunity: if they're not actually members of the Legislative Assembly themselves, they'll certainly have political connections. As long as they split 10% of their takings between the local M.L.A and the police they can get on and plunder the country without trouble.

"Everything is beginning to disintegrate," said Suleiman, still looking down over the parapet. "Everything."

He gestured out towards the darkening fields below. Night was drawing in now,and a cold wind was blowing in from the plains: "The entire economic and social structure of this area is collapsing," he said. "Its like the end of the Moghul
Empire. We're regressing into a Dark Age."

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