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Colonial History of India
<b>Rediscovering India</b> by Dharampal, Courtesy and Copyright Society for Integrated Development of Himalayas (SIDH)

A number of us who were born after Independence & grew up in urban India have little idea about how rural India lives, either now or before. We are told that it is the British who made us civilized, gave us a political system, modern education, science etc. We are continuously criticized for caste, dowry & zamindari systems, treatment of backward classes called dalits today and low agricultural productivity etc. Was India always like this!

· Did we not have a system of community based living?

· Was the caste system as wretched as it is made out to be?

· Were members of the Backward Classes always poor & lacked education?

· Did India have an indigenous schooling system in 1800?

· What was the state of Indian agriculture & industry around 1800.

I had numerous questions but could never find comprehensive answers. Not only did the book answer my questions but enlightened me on matters that I was ignorant about. http://www.esamskriti.com/html/new_inside....id=1039&sid=170.

<b>Bullet Point Summary of key points. </b>

· To the British darkness and ignorance had wholly different meanings and to the majority of them, these terms conveyed not any ignorance of arts and crafts or technology, or aesthetics but rather the absence of the knowledge of Christianity and its scriptural heritage.

· Peasants, artisans, those engaged in the manufacture of iron and steel, or in the various processes of its flourishing indigenous textile industry, or its surgeons and medical men, even many of its astronomers and astrologers belonged to this predominant section i.e. Sudras is unquestionable.

· Some of the important changes brought about the British were (i) revenue enhancement and centralization, (ii) attempts at breaking the sense of community (geographical, or based on occupation or kinship) amongst the people of India, (iii) reducing their consumption to the minimum through higher taxation and lowering of wage rates, and (iv) an imposition of newer concepts of property rights and laws.

· They created a system of landlordism, ryotwari and peasant indebtedness.

· Deliberate & planned lowering of the wages of Indians.


· When the British began to conquer India, the majority of the rajas in different parts of India had also been from amongst such castes which have been placed in the sudra varna.

Yet it can, perhaps also be argued that the existence of caste has added to the tenacity of Indian society, to its capacity to survive and after lying low to be able to stand up again.
The British demonized caste because it stood in the way of their breaking Indian society, hindered the process of atomization, and made the task of conquest and governance more difficult.
Today’s backward classes or Sudras cultural and economic backwardness is post 1800 due to impact of British economic policies.
Madras Presidency 1822 survey showed sudras and castes below formed 70 per cent to 80 per cent of the total students in the Tamil speaking areas.
Some of today’s Bihar’s notified tribes were whose ancestors were warriors and gave unceasing battle to the British till they got exhausted and succumbed to the overwhelming British power. Besides being warriors, their main occupations are said to have been of ironsmith (Iuhar) etc.
· In 1804 according to The Edinburgh Review wages of the Indian agricultural laborer were also much more than British counter part.

· There is a paper by Capt. Halcott on the drill plough employed in south India. He has said that he never imagined a drill plough considered as a modern European invention, at work in remote village in India

· High Yields were on account of the variety of seeds available to the Indian peasant, the sophistication and simplicity of his tools, and the extreme care and labor he expended in tending to his fields and crops.


Around 1800 India had 15-20 lakh weavers with mining being major industrial activity. Due to British policies by 1820 Indian industry was on its knees.
There are accounts of the Indian process of making steel which was called ‘wootz’. The British experts who examined samples of ‘wootz’ sent to them by one Dr. Helenus Scott have commented that it is decidedly superior compared in any other steel they have seen.
· Incidentally, modern plastic surgery in Britain is stated by its inventor to have been derived from and developed after the observation and study of the Indian practice from 1790 onwards.

Because of the British desire to invest newly acquired British capital, a new structure of industrialization began to be established in various parts of India, especially round Calcutta and Bombay, by about 1880.
The larger proportion of the historical and traditional professionals of Indian Industry however, even today, work outside the modern industrial complex, and mostly work individually and on their own. In the idiom of today they would form a fairly large proportion of the ‘Backward’ and ‘Other Backward’ castes.
According to current findings the India-China region produced around 73 per cent of the industrial manufactures of the world around 1750.
· Cloth was manufactured in practically all the 400 districts. Many districts of south India had 10,000 to 20,000 looms in each district even around 1810. Also India had some 10,000 furnaces for the manufacture of iron and steel. Indian steel was considered of very high quality and in the early decades of the nineteenth century, it was being used by the British for the making of surgical instruments.

In 1763 smallpox was consciously and deliberately introduced in North America by the British military commander to kill local population.
See you at the site, Share
From England - With Love
Legal Virginity Tests for all India Women entering England - with
love from Britain

By POI Staff

What we see here is the total failure of civility and break down of
administration because of spine less leaders and administrators who
worry more about their jobs and political power than any values.
Total inhuman aboriginal treatment of women of all ages for more
than 4 years went un reported under the pretext of law. This
incident happened when women prime ministers were ruling in the
world right under their supervision to their subjects. Dozens of
concerned news papers television channels reported this incident all
across Europe but none in India ever made a passing mention of the
incident. The reason the wire networks that `sell' their news to
Indian counter parts felt the it was inappropriate to tell Indians
about the incident. The media dons of India be it English or Local
never cared to collect this news and felt worthy reporting it.
Probably they might never knew or they thought it is not wroth the
space. Hundreds of embassy/high commission staff including high
commissioners never felt worth mentioning the issue to the people of
India lest we loose respect towards English babus.

The incident never occurred when east india companies were ruling.
Nor it is not the time when English collectors regularly ordered
molestation and rape of Indian women to get their freedom fighting
husbands or to scare away Indian kings from attacking British
soldiers. Nor any disgruntled would be mother in law ordered this.
But it is the British who `humanitarian grounds' banned
the `barbaric practice of sati' did some thing special.

This special of `with love from England to Indian women' was a
heinous act law passed under immigration law and implemented for
full three years from 1979-1982 when Ms. Margaret Thatcher a `noble
woman and iron lady' was prime minister of England and
another `noble lady Queen Elizabeth' was head of the state of
England. This law simply demanded virginity tests for all Indian and
black African women upon their entry in Heathrow International
Airport. Many in India feels that England constitution is based
on `case laws' rest of the countries were written. But this law like
the banishment of the Jews from England enacted under British
parliament during the years 1200-1300 is completely racist,
discriminatory, and biased against women and shows total dis respect
towards the modesty and chastity of women.

According to this law/act in order to stem illegal immigration
British figured out that all women coming from India need to be
done `Virginity Tests'. During the above said period hundreds of
thousands of Indian women were forced to undergo compulsory
virginity tests under British male doctors if they want to enter
England on any visa even on tourist visas. This was not told to them
when they got visa in India for England. It was told to them in the
airport when they landed there.

The rationale for tests served two purposes. First to determine
whether an women applicant entering in England on tourist visa will
go back to India or not after tourist visa duration expires. In
order to determine this they `scientifically figured out' that if a
women is a `virgin' she will by hook or crook stay in England and
marry some body to get permanent residency. But if a women is not
a `virgin' then she will go back.

The second purpose that this tests served was to determine the bride
status of any Indian women entering England. If a woman is coming to
England to marry any England born/residing non resident Indian then
she has to be `virgin'. If she is not `virgin' then the marriage is
not genuine and the woman is faking the marriage to illegally reside
in England.

In the 1979, Home Secretary, Merlyn Rees, forced Hindu fiancées to
undergo medical examination to see if each were a "bona fide
virgin". Male doctors performed virginity tests on women entering
Britain from India to marry Asian British nationals or residents. If
a woman was not "virgo intacto", immigration officers assumed she
was not a "bona fide" fiancée. The Guardian 1/02/1979.

The reason for such practices was given by the Home Secretary of
current prime minister Tony Blair, David Blunkett believes he speaks
for "the majority". According to him, his is the voice of the
voiceless white working class frustrated by crime and illegal
economic migrants masquerading as asylum seekers (The Guardian
30/09/03). A Guardian editorial describes him as being "proud of his
working-class roots and more than ready to represent poor,
marginalized white people" (The Guardian 7/09/02).

Though this practice continued for more than three years none in
India were ever aware of this practice. Neither the nationalists who
raise hue and cry that Indian women were raped by terrorists nor the
secularists who fire at will that minority women were molested by
nationalists never ever uttered a word about this practice. Worst
none of the women who underwent this heinous crime committed against
them never reported or even if reported never taken seriously.

Today this practice is discontinued but not banned like the
banishment of Jews from England because of many British women
protested this crime. But we still think that Britain is the only
country that can offer solution for India's problems and will make
India Shine as they did under East India Companies.

Is Immigration the problem or any other sinister motive behind the
virginity tests ?
According to a study that examined the sex lives of 12,000
adolescents, conducted by Peter Bearman, the chair of Columbia
University's Department of Sociology, who co-authored with Hannah
Bruckner of Yale University, found the following

Pledger: Who took a vow that he will not have sex until marriage

Non-Pledger-Who never took a vow that he will not have sex until

99 percent of non-pledgers and 88 percent of pledgers have sex
before marriage.

28 percent of female non-pledgers were tested for STDs in the
previous year, compared to 14 percent of female pledgers.

41 percent of the male non-pledgers tested positive for STDs and 60
percent of the male pledgers tested positive for STDs.

Given this glorious statistics in America and England did the
immigration officials any DNA tissues from the hundreds of thousands
of STD free Indian women for medical purposes or for developing
vaccination purposes or for growing such cultures in the labs to be
used later for virology experiments of either civilian or military
vaccination purposes ? Only time will answer this.

The following news papers reported this incident during the period.

(1) The Guardian 30/09/03
(2) The Guardian 7/09/02
(3) The Guardian 9/09/02
(4) The Guardian 30/09/02
(5) The Guardian 19/12/00
(6) The Observer, 13/10/02
(7) The Guardian 19/02/02.
(8) The Times 31/10/03
(9) The Guardian 8/02/02
(10) The Times 1/06/02
(11) The Guardian 16/09/02
(12) The Guardian 1/02/1979
(13) The Times 31/10/03
(14) The Observer 22/04/01
(15) BBC News 17/09/01
(16) Blink 30/08/02
(17) BBC News 17/04/03
(18) The Guardian 23/10/03
(19) The Observer 13/10/02
(20) The Telegraph 6/09/02
British Sources Confirm Atrocities against Indians

"With the disappearance of the native Court, trade languishes, the
Capital decays and the people are impoverished. The Englishman
flourishes and acts like a sponge, drawing up the riches from the
banks of the Ganges and squeezing them down upon the banks of the
Thames."1850s British Writer and Traveler John Sullivan

A Report By Vrin Parker (VP Vedic Friends Association)

The following is from the book Rani of Jhansi-LAKSHMI BAI by E. Paul
and published by Lotus Collection Roli books. In this book are
authentic quotes from British authors and witnesses to the many
massacres carried out by the British in mid 19th century India. These
incidents are not denied they are just ignored. The fact is the world
has yet to come to terms with the horrific record of the British
Empire. Whether it's the infamous tea-clippers that were really opium
runners or the intentional distribution of small pox infected
blankets to the Red Indians, and many other crimes against humanity
too numerous to mention here, the British record is horrific. There
are those who will try to deny any connection between this and the
ongoing Vedic renaissance. The fact is a correct understanding of the
brutish British record allows one to differentiate between fact and
fiction. To this day India and Hinduism in particular, is burdened by
many false accusations. If we can understand that much of this burden
has been artificially imposed upon Indian society by the policies and
actions of the British administration we will able to understand the
trauma of modern India. Even on the economic level we find that
before British rule, India was responsible for nearly a 3rd of world
trade output. Agriculturally, India was a bountiful bread basket.
However the British enforced the growing of crops such as cotton,
tea, opium etc. and thus nearly destroyed India's natural
agricultural rhythm and self sufficiency. Only now, starting in the
year 2001 has India been able to catch up and become the agricultural
power house it had been throughout history.

All through history, India has been recognized as a land of plenty, a
realm overflowing with fabulous wealth. That is one of the reasons
conquerors such as Alexander the Great and Julius Caesar tried to
reach India. It was Cleopatra's supposed knowledge of a route to
India that first attracted Caesar to her. India has always been a
target for trade, conquest and knowledge. Again it was Columbus's
belief that he could reach India that led to the European discovery
of the Americas. Scholars of today are loath to admit this and will
use terms such as "Columbus's search for the Indies etc." Actually he
was trying to reach INDIA, the same India the Portuguese had reached
earlier under Vasco de Gama. The fact is, the British stripped India
of its wealth, massacred its people and set up a strategy that has
now placed the world on a path towards Armageddon. Pakistan, a
British-Saudi-US creation, is the legacy of the British Empire and a
kind of poison apple now stuck in the throat of the world.

The sooner we can expose the British record; the sooner humanity
will be able to unravel the hell we have inherited. Whether it's
Israel/Palestine, India/Pakistan, Iraq/Kuwait, Greek/Turk Cypriots,
N. Ireland Catholic/Protestant or Zimbabwe/Rhodesia, the world has
been burdened by the policies of the British. We can also thank the
British for the ongoing violence of Afghanistan. Current events in
Afghanistan are rooted in the "Great Game" of Empire played out
between the British and Russian Empires during the 1800s. It was the
British who built up the Japanese military as a deterrent to Russia.
The Japanese then went on to massacre thousands of Chinese, Koreans
and others. Rather than the British, it was thousands of young
Americans who died in the effort to contain the Japanese
Imperialists. On the intellectual and academic level, again we find
that some of history's most barbaric philosophies found their genesis
within British Imperial circles. The Eugenics movement and the Aryan
Racial concept were both British creations. The atrocities committed
by the Nazis have a direct connection to the policies and philosophy
of the British Imperialists.

Through knowledge of the history of a problem, society can find just
solutions. As the physician is empowered by the knowledge of a
patient's history, in the same way, knowledge of the past will
empower society to overcome the burdens of the past.

It is also important to recognize that it is the policy of the
British elite that is to be condemned and not the British people. No
race or nation has a monopoly on nobility or inhumanity. But the
record of the British in India has never been clearly and accurately
presented. Any true student or researcher of history would demand to
know the facts as they were. It is in this spirit that I share this
information. Below is some information on the acts of the British in
India during the late 1850s. Vrin Parker March 23, 2004


"In May 1857, Colonel James Neil, a Scotsman, arrived in Benares with
the 1st Madras European Fusiliers and unleashed the most hideous
terror in the province. Colonel Neil's "hangings" became notorious
and are described thus and quoted in M. Edwards' book Red Year:
"Volunteer hanging parties went out into the districts and amateur
executioners were not wanting to the occasion. One gentleman
(original word used by British author) boasted of the numbers he had
finished off in an artistic manner with mango trees for gibbets and
elephants for drops, the victims of this wild justice being strung
up, as though for pastime, in the form of a figure eight."

Neil next moved to Allahabad and the town was bombarded and
set on fire. As the inhabitants tried to escape, they were mowed down
by grapeshot. The surrounding villages were attacked and set on fire,
while European British troops ringed the villages and anyone who
tried to escape the fire was shot down.

In a few months Colonel Neil was promoted to the rank of
General. But he got his just deserts when he was ambushed by the
Sipahis (Sepoys) in the streets of Lucknow and shot through the head.
Queen Victoria awarded Neil a posthumous knighthood and his praises
were sung by many British writers.

There were hundreds of others as diabolical as Neil,
massacring old men and helpless women. The British were bent on
paying off scores making up for one British life by killing fifty
Indians. To kill an Indian became the "Best Sport". Thousands
perished at Varanasi (Benares) and "their corpses hanging from branch
and signpost all over town….For three months did eight dead carts
daily go their rounds from sunrise to sunset to take down the corpses
which hung at the crossroads and marketplaces poisoning the air of
the city and to throw their loathsome burdens into the Ganges," wrote
Bholanath Chander in the Travels of a Hindu.

One of the most gruesome punishments adopted by the British
was the blowing away of rebels from the mouths of cannons. The victim
was lashed to a cannon, the small of his back or the pit of his
stomach against a muzzle and then, "he was smeared with the blood of
the Englishmen murdered by the rebels." When the gun was fired, the
head of the victim, hardly disfigured, would fly through the smoke
and then fall to the ground slightly blackened, followed by the arms
and leg, which would also only be partially mutilated. The trunk
would, of course, be shattered giving off a "beastly smell" and
pieces of flesh and intestines and blood would fall on the gunners
and the eager spectators who had ventured too close. The vultures
flying above would, with amazing skill, snap up the bits of flesh in
their beaks.

An eyewitness account of this punishment quoted by Sir John
Smythe from the History of the 86th regiment, British Infantry, is
worth reproducing here….
"It was indeed a fearful sight. The square was formed on
three sides, the fourth being occupied by the artillery with a field
piece which was about to blow the poor wretch to eternity. I must
confess I felt a shiver of horror when I beheld the doomed man
approach. He was a splendid looking fellow, the perfect cut of a
Hindoo high-caste soldier. He stepped firmly and resolutely as if on
a parade, not a shake or shiver of his limbs, not a trace of emotion
on his countenance denoting the slightest fear of the frightful fate
he was about to encounter. He did not appear to be more than twenty-
five years of age. He placed himself composedly before the gun to
which he was fastened. Although perfectly aware that he might expect
the word "Fire" that would blow him into a thousand pieces, his face
never altered, but a slight sneer might be traced on his upper lip.
It was a moment of horror to all, and when the word "Fire" was given
it was almost a relief. We heard a dull "thud", a Scotch word more
expressive than any English one I could give, and after a second or
two, the remains of the Hindoo soldier were falling to the ground
like large hailstones, and particles of bone and muscle struck my
officer and men who were stationed behind the gun. There was dead

(Note: The above incidents took place after the war of 1857 had
begun, the incidents below preceded the outbreak of war)

…What further fuelled the people's hatred for the British was their
worsening economic situation. The administrative setup of the
Maharaja of Jhansi was dismantled by the British as a result of which
several people became unemployed. Many landowners suffered and some
were dispossessed of their land. British Major Erskine, the
commissioner of Sagar and Narbada territories, also ordered that all
land granted by the Rani of Jhansi must be confiscated. The Jhansi
army had already been disbanded and the soldiers were unemployed. The
cumulative effect of all these measures was that the purchasing power
of the elite declined and the economy of Jhansi suffered, adding to
the woes of the people. D.B.Parasnis in his book Jhansi ki Rani, 1894
quotes John Sullivan who wrote, "With the disappearance of the native
Court, trade languishes, the Capital decays and the people are
impoverished. The Englishman flourishes and acts like a sponge,
drawing up the riches from the banks of the Ganges and squeezing them
down upon the banks of the Thames (river in London)."

Another measure which was particularly galling to the Rani of
Jhansi, as to all Hindus, was the introduction of cow slaughter to
Jhansi. In all Hindu states of the country, cow slaughter was
strictly prohibited and the introduction of this in Jhansi showed
total British disregard of the religious sentiments of the people.
Further offense was given to the Rani and the people by the British
measures relating to the beautiful Mahalakshmi temple. This temple,
built beside a lake on the outskirts of the city, was a place of
worship for a majority of Jhansi inhabitants. The Rani also
worshipped there regularly. The former Maharaja had granted two
villages in perpetuity two villages to this temple and the revenues
were used for its upkeep. The British ruled that these two villages
must be resumed along with the rest of the State of Jhansi. This
would have dire consequences for the temple. The Rani's protests were
in vain. Already there were sinister rumours among the people all
over north and central India that both Hindus and Muslims were being
forcibly converted to Christianity. In Jhansi, the measures against
the temple and introduction of cow slaughter fanned this widespread

In the case of Nagpur, where the Bhonsle family had ruled,
the British annexation was implemented in a way which gave great
offense to public feeling. Despite the protests of the ladies of the
royal household, the elephants, the horses and even the bullocks were
sold off to cattle dealers at the price of carrion. The furniture was
removed from the palace and these, along with the jewels of the
Bhonsle family, were sent for sale to the Calcutta market. These
actions created a worse impression on the surrounding provinces than
the British seizure of the kingdom itself.

It was during the time of Lord Dalhousie was Governor-General
(1847-56) that a stupendous growth took place in the British
territory in India. Dalhousie annexed several Indian States under the
policy of lapse, whereby on the failure to produce natural heirs, the
sovereignty of the `dependent' states lapsed to the British
government. It also did not acknowledge the right of those states to
adopt heirs, which had been a long standing practice among Hindus,
without the consent of British authorities. Consequently, whenever a
ruler died without a natural heir, the British got an opportunity for
territorial aggrandizement.

S.N. Sen, the historian, has offered the provocative
assessment of the impact of Dalhousie's policy. In his view,
annexation contributed unwittingly to the political unification of
India and thus became the foundation of the modern Indian nation.
Dalhousie's policy led to a strong sense of insecurity and injustice
among the rulers of various Indian states. Many discontented princes,
expropriated landlords and their followers and retainers were thus
driven to join the revolt against British rule. Dalhousie left India
a year before the 1857 war broke out, ravaged by disease, and died a
few years later at the early age of forty-seven. After the outbreak
of hostilities, he was bitterly criticized in Britain for his
policies, particularly the policy of lapse. As a result he stopped
keeping copies of his private correspondence and forbade publication
of his private papers until fifty years after his death. Ironically
Dalhousie had no sons and his own titles became extinct on his death.
It would seem that even the Gods disapproved of his policy.

These and other British policies led to the cause of India's
1857 War for Independence. The British, to this day, try to portray
the whole affair as simply a mutiny. However the fact that the
British went on a massive genocidal campaign and massacred thousands
of non-combatants proves they recognized the true nature of the
struggle. In a mutiny only the mutineers are targeted. However wars
of liberation are national efforts that encompass all members of a
community. Thus the British targeted all members of the community in
their drive to strike fear and terror into the hearts and minds of
one and all.

Another crucial point to recognize is that the 1857 struggle
was a united effort. Whether Hindu or Muslim, they all saw themselves
as Indians and worked together to liberate India from the British.
When the Indian Sepoys in the British army rebelled they issued a
proclamation, "The people are God's, the country is the King's and
the two religions Govern." In other words, all are children of God;
it didn't matter if God was called Allah or Rama. All, Hindu and
Muslim both, agreed to accept the Moghul Emperor, Bhahadur Shah as
Sovereign and to recognize both Hindu and Islam as the official State
religions. It was this spirit of unity that was destroyed by the
British in the years following the 1857 war. It was the result of
this policy that led to the creation of Pakistan. When it was
created in 1947, 30% of its citizens were Hindus. Within a few years,
the Hindu population dropped to 3%. On the other hand, India
maintained its tradition of inclusiveness without regard for
religious identity. Thus, today, modern India has more Muslim
citizens than even Pakistan and has the world's second largest Muslim
population. While not one Muslim nation has had a Hindu in its
government, India has had four Muslim Presidents. The Hindu
perception of Nationality encompasses all of its citizens. Hindu
Civilization recognizes all of its citizens to be Indians. All are
accepted regardless of religion, race, social status, caste or

(Note: The incidents below took place after the British
falsely accused the Rani of Jhansi of massacring British citizens and
after the outbreak of the 1857 War of Indian Independence. It took
nearly two weeks for the British to storm Jhansi. Even then they only
succeeded with the help of a traitor, Dulaji Thakar. The British
later awarded him an estate for his betrayal of Jhansi.)


Halwaipura, an elegant locality, where the Sardars and other wealthy
people lived, had been looted by the British soldiers and then set on
fire. Men, women and children in their hundreds were burnt to death.
Shrieks of agony, crying and wailing could be heard in the fort along
with the sounds of fighting, shooting and pillaging….

Heavy street fighting continued in Jhansi for two whole days. No
quarter was given even to women and children. Those who could not
escape threw their women and babes down wells, and then jumped down
themselves. The British were not just intent on capturing Jhansi but
on destroying the people-they were out for revenge. "No maudlin
clemency was to mark the fall of the city," wrote British Dr
Lowe. "The Jezebel of India was there, the young, energetic, proud,
unbending, uncompromising Rani."

Looting and massacre were freely allowed. British soldiers dived into
every house and searched its dark corners and pulled down walls. All
gold and silver articles were taken, even the deities of Gods from
temples. They pulled jewelry off women's ears and necks. One Indian
eyewitness, Vishnu Godse, a Brahmin priest, described how one band of
British soldiers would descend on a house and the inmates, in fear of
their lives, would hand over all their valuables, but along would
come a second band and not finding anything of value, would put them
to the sword anyway.

After the fall of Jhansi to the British, it was the turn of the
inhabitants of this city to be put through the horror of wholesale
slaughter and looting. English writers have maintained a discreet
silence about this and the only one person to have mildly suggested
that there was looting was the assistant surgeon accompanying British
troops, Dr. J.H. Sylvester. "So as soon as the fighting had ceased,
officers and men began to look about them with that spirit of
curiosity. They dived into every house and searched its dark corners
and pulled down walls, all in this self same spirit of curiosity…not
to loot of course. One class of articles, however, seemed to me to be
looked on as fair loot by even the most scrupulous, these were the
gods found in temples."

Vishnu Godse, who went through the nightmare of the killing and
looting by the British in Jhansi, has painted a grim
picture: "Everyone thought they were standing at the edge of the
graveyard." He asked his host, "How are we going to save ourselves
from being massacred?" His host Keshav Bhat told him not to worry as
in a nearby haveli (mansion), there were bakhars or recesses built
into the thick walls where no one would find them. These recesses
were dark and stifling but that was where they must hide. That night
Godse looked at the city from the roof-top and the whole of Jhansi
looked like a cremation ground with the fires blazing everywhere. In
the light of these fires he would see people in the streets crying
pitifully and hugging the corpses of their loved ones. In Halwaipura,
the elegant havelis of the rich were on fire, the flames leaping to
the skies. There was no way they could be extinguished and the fires
were spreading from one house to the next. "That night, says
Godse, "the gunfire was incessant. I could not sleep; I lay
trembling, my mouth and throat dry."

The next day, Godse and his hosts fled their home and crept to their
hiding place. When they got there it was crammed with people and they
forced their way in. Vishnu Godse, with a tinge of humor says that
the niche in which he took shelter was very small and he was squeezed
against a couple of attractive young women for several hours but not
one carnal thought entered his mind, He could only visualize the
horror outside.

In three days of looting, the white soldiers had emptied the houses
of all valuables: gold, silver and gems. After that came the Indian
contingents of Madras and Hyderabad and they made off with brass and
copper vessels, clothes and even grain stored in houses. On the
eighth day an amnesty was declared. It was the month of April and it
was hot. Hundreds of dead bodies lay rotting in the streets and a
loathsome stench pervaded the city.

The main royal palace of Jhansi had the accumulated wealth of several
generations of Maharajas. The British denuded it of all its
treasures, the Panna diamonds and other gems, the priceless carpets
and miniature paintings and other artifacts. The greatest loss was
the library. This had been damaged in the bombardment but many
manuscripts and books could have been saved. But now the European
soldiers attracted by the rich and beautiful cases and silk bindings
in which the manuscripts were kept, tore out the pages and took away
the cases. These books were irreplaceable and Indian writer Parasnis
says this wanton destruction was worse than the ancient depredation
of the Mongols. The library had been founded by the Rani's late
husband, Maharaja Gangadhar Rao, who had obtained rare manuscripts in
Sanskrit, Hindi and Marathi from centres of learning in North India
as well as the Deccan. The Rani continued this splendid institution
and helped to increase its collection. Unfortunately, the library was
destroyed during the British bombardment and the world is the poorer
for it.

The loot from the royal palace of Jhansi, the horses and elephants
and other treasures, were auctioned by the British. Scindia of
Gwalior, a British ally, delightfully snapped up most of the prize
animals and other precious items from the palace.

By Sep 22 1857, Delhi had been reoccupied. Delhi then suffered its
reign of terror. There was no sanctity of life or property. The
innocent suffered along with the rebel-they were shot and strung up
on gibbets; the revenge was bloody and cruel. Ghalib, the great poet
wrote, "Here is a vast ocean of blood before me. God alone knows what
more I have to behold….thousands of my friends are dead. Whom should
I remember and to whom should I complain? Perhaps none is left even
to shed tears on my grave." The Moghul Emperor Bahadur Shah was made
a prisoner and his three sons were killed although they had
surrendered on the condition that their safety would be guaranteed.
Twenty one other princes of the royal family were hanged. The three
sons were killed in cold blood after putting their faith in British
honor. The Emperor was tried in court and banished to Rangoon, Burma
where he died a few years later, far from his home and his family,
unhonoured and unsung.End Quotes from the book, Rani of Jhansi-
Lakshmi Bai.

Some have tried to whitewash the British actions as an example
of `collateral damage' frequently sustained in combat conditions.
They highlight atrocities committed by Indians and completely ignore
the fact that these acts were generally carried out by individuals
and groups acting independently. Whereas the British atrocities were
part of official State policy the Indian atrocities had no official
sanction. Some have even suggested that the Rani of Jhansi, Lakshmi
Bai, was implicated in the massacre of British women and children. We
only need to read a letter to Damodar Rao, the adopted son of the
Rani of Jhansi, written by T.A. Martin, one of the Englishmen at
Jhansi who managed to escape the massacre. Martin wrote the letter in

It says, "Your poor mother was very unjustly and cruelly
dealt with and no one knows her true case as I do. The poor thing
took no part whatever in the massacre of the European residents of
Jhansi in June 1857. On the contrary, she supplied them with food for
two day after they had gone into the fort, got one hundred matchlock
men from Kurrura, and sent them to assist us. But after being kept a
day in the fort they were sent away in the evening. She then advised
Major Skeene and Captain Gordon to fly at once to Duttia and place
themselves under the Raja's protection-but this even they would not
do-and finally, they were all massacred by our own troops-the police,
jail and customs etc. (all in the employ of the British.) How could
the poor Rani have succoured them?"

Sir Robert Hamilton, an Agent of the Governor–General for
central India had met the Rani on several occasions. He says, "Not a
paper incriminating the Ranee did I find nor did there appear any
evidence that she desired or was privy to the murder of any
Europeans….the English were induced to leave the fort (and thus
massacred) by the persuasion of the Darogah (warden) of the jail and
by a Rissaldar of the Irregulars. The Ranee was not present nor any
man on her behalf."

General Sir Hugh Rose, the leader of the Jhansi campaign had this to
say about Lakshmi Bai, the Rani of Jhansi. "The most important result
was the death of the Ranee of Jhansi who although a lady, was the
bravest and best military commander of the rebels."

Yamuna Sheorey, a grand-daughter of the Rani's uncle gives the
following account on the death of the Rani. "The Rani had already
donned her red soldier's uniform. The bombardment from the British
cannons began. The Rani mounted her steed and plunged into battle. As
the hand to hand fighting developed, a white soldier lunged at the
Rani with his bayonet and pierced her below the chest. She turned
like a lioness and struck the man down. She saw her companion, Mundar
Bai, killed by a bullet. Another bullet hit the Rani on her left
thigh. She dropped the sword in her left hand and pressed the wound
and with the second sword in her right hand slashed and hit a
soldier. A third assailant struck the Rani on the head with his
sword, cutting the right side of her face and eye wounding her
mortally. Her followers valiantly extracted her from the battle and
carried her to the hut of Baba Ganga Das and the Sadhu put Ganges
water in her mouth. She was heard to mutter, `Har Har Mahadev' before
passing into eternal sleep. A funeral was hurriedly made up of dry
grass and her wish that her body not fall into British hands was

British Military Secretary to the Commander in Chief in India, Sir
O.T. Burne wrote in his book Clyde and Strathnairn, published in
1891, "This Indian Joan of Arc was dressed in a rd jacket and
trousers and a white turban. She wore Scindia's celebrated pearl
necklace she had taken from his treasury. As she lay mortally
wounded, she ordered these ornaments to be distributed among her
troops. The whole rebel army mourned her loss."

Let me conclude by offering a couple glimpses from the life of Queen
Lakshmi Bai of Jhansi. The first incident took place at the beginning
of her reign and the other on the eve of her final battle.

"Twice a week, the Rani and her son, Damodar, went in procession to
the Mahalakshmi temple, with its lake filled with lotus flowers. The
procession was an impressive one and wound through the main streets
of the city. Sometimes she went on horseback and at other times in a
palanquin decorated with curtains and gold brocade. Her ministers,
feudatories, and other officials mounted on horses accompanied her.
At the head of the procession were a drummer and a flag bearer while
the rear was taken up by a mounted escort of soldiers in Maratha
uniforms. A further touch of glamour was added by her beautifully
attired handmaidens who walked alongside her palanquin. If it became
dark men baring flaming torches lit the way. At the palace gates, the
melodious notes of the shenai greeted her return.
One cold wintry evening, while returning from the temple, she saw the
poor of the town in coarse cotton garments huddling around hastily
built fires in the by lanes of the city. She got down from her
palanquin and asked them all to come to her palace in four days time.
All the tailors of the town were kept very busy for those four days.
When the poor in their hundreds gathered in front of the palaces,
every one of them was handed over a woolen jacket, cap and a blanket."

"…as a morale-boosting measure, she decided to make the annual
ceremony of Haldi Kunku into a far more brilliant function than
usual. As this ceremony is only for women, Lakshmi Bai invited most
of the women of Jhansi from all walks of life, caste and creed, Hindu
and Muslim alike. The wives of the noblemen and officials arrived in
richly hung palanquins with liveried attendants whilst the majority
walked to the palace. An image of Goddess Gauri adorned with diamond
jewelry was installed and the Durbar Hall of the palace was
resplendent with brocade curtains, rich carpets, fragrant flowers and
brilliantly lit chandeliers. One hundred handmaidens were in
attendance passing around silver trays laden with sweetmeats, haldi
kunku, sandalwood paste and flowers. The function continued from two
in the afternoon to nine at night. The women were dressed in
shimmering silk saris or brocade lenghas and cholis and gorgeous
jewelry. The function achieved its objective of restoring confidence,
as the women, on returning home, talked of her warm hospitality and
her determination to win the forthcoming battle."
Contempt For Budhists As The Root Of Untouchability

By B. R. Ambedkar

THE Census Reports for India published by the Census
Commissioner at the interval of every ten years from
1870 onwards contain a wealth of information nowhere
else to be found regarding the social and religious life
of the people of India. Before the Census of 1910 the
Census Commissioner had a column called ‘Population
by Religion’. Under this heading the population was
shown (1) Muslims, (2) Hindus, (3) Christians, etc.

The Census Report for the year 1910 marked a new
departure from the prevailing practice. For the first
time it divided the Hindus under three separate categories,
(i) Hindus, (ii) Animists and Tribal, and (iii) the
Depressed Classes or Untouchables. This new
classification has been continued ever since.

This departure from the practice of the previous Census
Commissioners raises three questions. First is what
led the Commissioner for the Census of 1910 to introduce
this new classification. The second is what was the
criteria adopted as a basis for this classification.
The third is what are the reasons for the growth of
certain practices which justify the division of Hindus
into three separate categories mentioned above.
The answer to the first question will be found in the
address presented in 1909 by the Muslim Community
under leadership of H.H. The Aga Khan to the then Viceroy,
Lord Minto, in which they asked for a separate and
adequate representation for the Muslim community in
the legislature, executive and the public services.

In the address there occurs the following passage: "The
Mohamedans of India number, according to the census
taken in the year 1901 over sixty-two millions or
between one-fifth and one-fourth of the total population
of His Majesty’s Indian dominions, and if a reduction be
made for the uncivilised portions of the community
enumerated under the heads of animist and other
minor religions, as well as for those classes who are
ordinarily classified as Hindus but properly speaking
are not Hindus at all, the proportion of Mohamedans
to the Hindu Majority becomes much larger. We
therefore desire to submit that under any system
of representation extended or limited a community
in itself more numerous than the entire population
of any first class European power except Russia
may justly lay claim to adequate recognition as an
important factor in the State.

"We venture, indeed, with Your Excellency’s permission
to go a step further, and urge that the position
accorded to the Mohamedan community in any kind
of representation direct or indirect, and in all other
ways effecting their status and influence should be
commensurate, not merely with their numerical
strength but also with their political importance and
the value of the contribution which they make to the
defence of the empire, and we also hope that Your
Excellency will in this connection be pleased to give
due consideration to the position which they occupied
in India a little more than hundred years ago and of
which the traditions have naturally not faded from
their minds."

The portion italicised by me has a special significance.
It was introduced in the address to suggest that in
comprising the numerical strength of the Muslims
with that of the Hindus the population of the animists,
tribals and the Untouchables should be excluded. The
reason for this new classification of 'Hindus' adopted by
the Census Commissioner in 1910 lies in this demand
of the Muslim community for separate representation on
augmented scale. At any rate this is how the Hindus
understood this demand.

Interesting as it is, the first question as to why the
Census Commissioner made this departure in the
system of classification is of less importance than the
second question. What is important is to know the
basis adopted by the Census Commissioner for
separating the different classes of Hindus into
(1) those who were hundred per cent Hindus and
(2) those who were not.

The basis adopted by the Census Commissioner for
separation is to be found in the circular issued by
the Census Commissioner in which he laid down
certain tests for the purpose distinguishing these two
classes. Among those who were not hundred percent
Hindus were included castes and tribes which:

(1) Deny the supremacy of the Brahmins.
(2) Do not receive the Mantra from a Brahmin or other
recognized Hindu Guru.
(3) Deny the authority of the Vedas.
(4) Do not worship the Hindu gods.
(5) Are not served by good Brahmins as family priests.
(6) Have no Brahmin priests at all.
(7) Are denied access to the interior of the Hindu temples.
(8) Cause pollution (a) by touch, or
(B) within a certain distance.
(9) Bury their dead.
(10) Eat beef and do no reverence for the cow.

Out of these ten tests some divide the Hindus from the
Animists and the Tribal. The rest divide the Hindus from
the Untouchables. Those that divide the Untouchables
from the Hindus are (2), (5), (6), (7), and (10). It is
with them that we are chiefly concerned.

For the sake of clarity it is better to divide these tests
into parts and consider them separately. This Chapter
will be devoted only to the consideration of (2), (5),
and (6).

The replies received by the Census Commissioner to
questions embodied in tests (2), (5) and (6) reveal
(a) that the Untouchables do not receive the Mantra
from a Brahmin; (B) that the Untouchables are not
served by Brahmin priests at all; and © that
Untouchables have their own priests reared from
themselves. On these facts the Census Commissioners
of all Provinces are unanimous.

Of the three questions the third is the most important.
Unfortunately the Census Commissioner did not
realise this. For in making his inquiries he failed to
go to the root of the matter to find out: Why were
the Untouchables not receiving the Mantra from the
Brahmin? Why Brahmins did not serve the Untouchables
as their family priests? Why do the Untouchables
prefer to have their own priests? It is the ‘why’ of
these facts which is more important than the existence
of these facts. It is the ‘why’ of these facts which
must be investigated. For the clue to the origin of
Untouchability lies hidden behind it.

Before entering upon this investigation, it must be
pointed out that the inquiries by the Census
Commissioner were in a sense one-sided. They showed
that the Brahmins shunned the Untouchables. They
did not bring to light the fact that the Untouchables
also shunned the Brahmins. Nonetheless, it is a fact.
People are so much accustomed to thinking that the
Brahmin is the superior of the Untouchables and the
Untouchable accepts himself as his inferior; that this
statement that the Untouchables look upon the
Brahmin as an impure person is sure to come to them
as a matter of great surprise. The fact has however
been noted by many writers who have observed and
examined the social customs of the Untouchables.
To remove any doubt on the point, attention is
drawn to the following extracts from their writings.

The fact was noticed by Abbe Dubois who says: "Even
to this day a Pariah is not allowed to pass a Brahmin
Street in a village, though nobody can prevent, or
prevents, his approaching or passing by a Brahmin's
house in towns. The Pariahs, on their part will under no
circumstances, allow a Brahmin to pass through their
paracherries (collection of Pariah huts) as they firmly
believe it will lead to their ruin."

Mr. Hemingsway, the Editor of the Gazetteer of the Tanjore
District says: "These casts (Parayan and Pallan or
Chakkiliyan castes of Tanjore District) strongly object
to the entrance of a Brahmin into their quarters believing
that harm will result to them therefrom."

Speaking of the Holeyas of the Hasan District of Mysore,
Captain J.S.F. Mackenzie says: "Every village has its
Holigiri as the quarters inhabited by the Holiars,
formerly agrestic serfs, is called outside the village
boundary hedge. This, I thought was because they
were considered as impure race, whose touch carries
defilement with it."

Such is the reason generally given by the Brahmins who
refuse to receive anything directly from the hands of a
Holiar, and yet the Brahmins consider great luck will wait
upon them if they can manage to pass through the Holigiri
without being molested. To this Holiars have a strong
objection, and, should a Brahmin attempt to enter their
quarters, they turn out in a body and slipper him,
in former times, it is said, to death. Members
of the other castes may come as far as the door,
but they must not enter the house, for that
would bring the Holiar bad luck. If, by chance,
a person happens to get in, the owner
takes care to tear the intruder's cloth, tie up some
salt in one corner of it, and turn him out. This is
supposed to neutralise all the good luck which might
have accrued to the trespasser, and avert any evil
which ought to have befallen the owner of the house.

What is the explanation of this strange phenomenon?
The explanation must of course fit in with the situation as
it stood at the start, i.e., when the Untouchables were not
Untouchables but were only Broken Men. We must ask
why the Brahmins refused to officiate at the religious
ceremonies of the Broken Men? Is it the case that the
Brahmins refused to officiate? Or is it that
the Broken Men refused to invite them? Why
did the Brahmin regard Broken Men as impure?
Why did the Broken Men regard the Brahmins as impure?
What is the basis of this antipathy?

This antipathy can be explained on one hypothesis. It is
that the Broken Men were Buddhists. As such they did not
revere the Brahmins, did not employ them as their
priests and regarded them as impure. The Brahmin on
the other hand disliked the Broken Men because they
were Buddhists and preached against them contempt
and hatred with the result that the Broken Men came to
be regarded as Untouchables.

We have no direct evidence that the Broken Men were
Buddhists. No evidence is as a matter of fact necessary
when the majority of Hindus were Buddhists. We may
take it that they were.

That there existed hatred and abhorrence against the
Buddhists in the mind of the Hindus and that this
feeling was created by the Brahmins is not without

Nilkant in his Prayaschit Mayukha a verse from Manu
which says: "If a person touches a Buddhist or a flower
of Pachupat, Lokayata, Nastika and Mahapataki, he
shall purify himself by a bath."

The same doctrine is preached by Apararka in his Smriti.
Vradha Harit goes further and declares entry into the
Buddhist Temple as sin requiring a purificatory bath for
removing the impurity.

How widespread had become this spirit of hatred and
contempt against the followers of Buddha can be observed
from the scenes depicted in Sanskrit dramas. The most
striking illustration of this attitude towards the Buddhists
is to be found in the Mricchakatika. In Act VII of that
Drama the hero Charudatta and his friend Maitreya are
shown waiting for Vasantasena in the park outside the city.
She fails to turn up and Charudatta decides to leave the
park. As they are leaving, they see the Buddhist monk
by name Samvahaka. On seeing him, Charudatta
says: "Friend Maitreya, I am anxious to meet Vasantsena ...
..Come, let us go. (After walking a little) Ah ! here's
an inauspicious sight, a Buddhist monkcoming towards us.
(After a little reflection) well, let him come this
way, we shall follow this other path. (Exit.)"

In Act VIII the monk is in the Park of Sakara, the King's
brother-in-law, washing his clothes in a pool. Sakara
accompanied by Vita turns up and threatens to kill the
monk. The following conversation between them is

"Sakara: Stay, you wicked monk.

Monk: Ah! Here’s the king’s brother-in-law! Because some
monk has offended him, he now beats up any monk he
happens to met.

Sakara: Stay, I will now break your head as one breaks
a radish in a tavern. (Beats him).

Vita: Friend, it is not proper to beat a monk who has
put on the saffron-robes, being disgusted with the world.

Monk: (Welcomes) Be pleased, lay brother.

Sakara: Friend, see. He is abusing me.

Vita: What does he say?

Sakara: He calls me lay brother (upasaka). Am I a barber?

Vita: Oh! He is really praising you as a devotee of the

Sakara: Why has he come here?

Monk: To wash these clothes.

Sakara: Ah! you wicked monk. Even I myself do not bathe
in this pool; I shall kill you with one stroke."

After a lot of beating, the monk is allowed to go. Here
is a Buddhist monk in the midst of the Hindu crowd. He is
shunned and avoided. The feeling of disgust against him
is so great that the people even shun the road the
monk is travelling. The feeling of repulsion is so intense
that the entry of the Buddhist was enough to cause the
exit of the Hindus. The Buddhist monk is on a par with
the Brahmin. A Brahmin is immune from death penalty.
He is even free from corporal punishment. But the Buddhist
monk is beaten and assaulted without remorse, without
compunction as though there was nothing wrong in it.

If we accept that the Broken Men were the followers of
Buddhism and did not care to return to Brahmanism
when it became triumphant over Buddhism as easily
as others did, we have an explanation for both the
questions. It explains why the Untouchables regard
the Brahmins as inauspicious, do not employ them as
their priest and do not even allow them to enter into
their quarters. It also explains why the Broken Men
came to be regarded as Untouchables. The Broken Men
hated the Brahmins because the Brahmins were
the enemies of Buddhism and the Brahmins imposed
untouchability upon the Broken Men because they
would not leave Buddhism. On this reasoning it is
possible to conclude that one of the roots of
untouchability lies in the hatred and contempt which
the Brahmins created against those who were

Can the hatred between Buddhism and Brahmanism
be taken to be the sole cause why Broken Men became
Untouchables? Obviously, it cannot be. The hatred
and contempt preached by the Brahmins was directed
against Buddhists in general and not against the Broken
Men in particular. Since untouchability stuck to Broken
Men only, it is obvious that there was some additional
circumstance which has played its part in fastening
untouchability upon the Broken Men. What could that
circumstance have been? We must next direct our
effort in ascertaining it.


(Excerpted from Chapter 9 of B.R. Ambedkar’s 1948 work
The Untouchables: Who Were They and Why They Became
Untouchables? as reprinted in Volume 7 of Dr. Babasaheb
Ambedkar Writings and Speeches, published by Government
of Maharashtra 1990. Copyright: Secretary, Education
Department, Government of Maharashtra.)

More Articles By Ambedkar

Broken Men, The Pre-Untouchables

Untouchability, The Dead Cow And The Brahmin
This address is noteworthy in many respects. Tilakji was very perceptive and was a man for all seasons.

Modern History Sourcebook:
Bal Gangadhar Tilak (1856-1920):
Address to the Indian National Congress, 1907


The Indian National Congress was created by a group of English-speaking urban intellectuals in 1885. The original "moderate" leadership was soon more "militant" group, led by Bal GangadharTilak (1856-1920), which demanded "Swaraj [self-rule] for India. What follows is an excerpt from Tilak's address to Indian National Congress in 1907 calling for boycott of British goods and resistance to British rule.

<span style='color:red'>Two new words have recently come into existence with regard to our politics, and they are Moderates and Extremists. These words have a specific relation to time, and they, therefore, will change with time. The Extremists of today will be Moderates tomorrow, Just as the Moderates of today were Extremists yesterday. When the National Congress was first started and Mr. Dadabhai's views, which now go for Moderates, were given to the public, he was styled an Extremist, so that you will see that the term Extremist is an expression of progress.</span> We are Extremists today and our sons will call themselves Extremists and us Moderates. Every new party begins as Extremists and ends as Moderates. The sphere of practical politics is not unlimited. We cannot say what will or will not happen 1,000 years hence - perhaps during that long period, the whole of the white race will be swept away in another glacial period. We must, therefore, study the present and work out a program to meet the present condition.

It is impossible to go into details within the time at my disposal. One thing is granted, namely, that this government does not suit us. As has been said by an eminent statesman - the government of one country by another can never be a successful, and therefore, a permanent government. There is no difference of opinion about this fundamental proposition between the old and new schools. One fact is that this alien government has ruined the country. In the beginning, all of us were taken by surprise. We were almost dazed. We thought that everything that the rulers did was for our good and that this English government has descended from the clouds to save us from the invasions of Tamerlane and Chingis Khan, and, as they say, not only from foreign invasions but from internecine warfare, or the internal or external invasions, as they call it. . . . We are not armed, and there is no necessity for arms either. We have a stronger weapon, a political weapon, in boycott. We have perceived one fact, that the whole of this administration, which is carried on by a handful of Englishmen, is carried on with our assistance. We are all in subordinate service. This whole government is carried on with our assistance and they try to keep us in ignorance of our power of cooperation between ourselves by which that which is in our own hands at present can be claimed by us and administered by us. The point is to have the entire control in our hands. I want to have the key of my house, and not merely one stranger turned out of it. <span style='font-size:14pt;line-height:100%'>Self-government is our goal; we want a control over our administrative machinery. We don't want to become clerks and remain [clerks]. At present, we are clerks and willing instruments of our own oppression in the hands of' an alien government, and that government is ruling over us not by its innate strength but by keeping us in ignorance and blindness to the perception of this fact. Professor Seeley shares this view. Every Englishman knows that they are a mere handful in this country and it is the business of every one of them to befool you in believing that you are weak and they are strong. This is politics. We have been deceived by such policy so long. What the new party wants you to do is to realize the fact that your future rests entirely in your own hands. If you mean to be free, you can be free; if you do not mean to be free, you will fall and be for ever fallen</span>. So many of you need not like arms; but if you have not the power of active resistance, have you not the power of self-denial and self-abstinence in such a way as not to assist this foreign government to rule over you? This is boycott and this is what is meant when we say, boycott is a political weapon. We shall not give them assistance to collect revenue and keep peace. We shall not assist them in fighting beyond the frontiers or outside India with Indian blood and money. We shall not assist them in carrying on the administration of justice. We shall have our own courts, and when time comes we shall not pay taxes. Can you do that by your united efforts? If you can, you are free from tomorrow. Some gentlemen who spoke this evening referred to half bread as against the whole bread. I say I want the whole bread and that immediately. But if I can not get the whole, don't think that I have no patience.

I will take the half they give me and then try for the remainder. This is the line of thought and action in which you must train yourself. We have not raised this cry from a mere impulse. It Is a reasoned impulse. Try to understand that reason and try to strengthen that impulse by your logical convictions. I do not ask you to blindly follow us. Think over the whole problem for yourselves. If you accept our advice, we feel sure we can achieve our salvation thereby. This is the advice of the new party. Perhaps we have not obtained a full recognition of our principles. Old prejudices die very hard. Neither of us wanted to wreck the Congress, so we compromised, and were satisfied that our principles were recognized, and only to a certain extent. That does not mean that we have accepted the whole situation. We may have a step in advance next year, so that within a few years our principles will be recognized, and recognized to such an extent that the generations who come after us may consider us Moderates. This is the way in which a nation progresses, and this is the lesson you have to learn from the struggle now going on. This is a lesson of progress, a lesson of helping yourself as much as possible, and if you really perceive the force of it, if you are convinced by these arguments, then and then only is it possible for you to effect your salvation from the alien rule under which you labor at this moment.



Bal Gangadhar Tilak (1856-1920): Address to the Indian National Congress, 1907, reprinted in William T. de Bary et al., Sources of Indian Tradition (New York: Columbia University Press, 1958), pp. 719-723.


This text is part of the Internet Modern History Sourcebook. The Sourcebook is a collection of public domain and copy-permitted texts for introductory level classes in modern European and World history.

Unless otherwise indicated the specific electronic form of the document is copyright. Permission is granted for electronic copying, distribution in print form for educational purposes and personal use. If you do reduplicate the document, indicate the source. No permission is granted for commercial use of the Sourcebook.

© Paul Halsall, July 1998
What is remarkable about the quote from Tilak is, if you remove the reference of time, it could very well be Advani's reply to all the attack on BJP. Truesr words have never been spoken. I guess the next move after winning election for BJP should be to appropriate the pre-Independence Cogress leader and their idea and expose congress for what it is - A morally bankrupt dynastic politics with no connection to pre-independence Congress at best or the new muslim league (as far as their reactionary politics is concerned) of the yesteryears.

They must fight that war and win.

The only thing that is constant between that era and today is the role of so called left front and their retainers (like Bidwais,Roys .....). They were against India as a nation, as a concept and as a spirit then and they are against now.

A vignette from 1876 written by a Memsahib. It is ot very complementary to Indians, but then few of the English bothered to say anything nice about Indians in those days (perhaps true even today). I am assuming it is a autobiographical account.


Book II, Chapter XXII." by Isabel Lady Burton (1831-1896)
From: The Romance of Isabel Lady Burton Volume II, by Isabel Lady Burton, edited by W. H. Wilkins.
New York: Dodd Mead & Co., 1897. pp. 574-603

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Bombay servants are dull and stupid. They always do the wrong thing for preference. They break everything they touch, and then burst into a "Yah, yah, yah!" like a monkey. If you leave half a bottle of sherry, they will fill it up with hock, and say, "Are they not both white wines, Sá'b?" If you call for your tea, the servant will bring you a saucer, and stare at you. If you ask why your tea is not ready, he will run downstairs and bring you a spoon, and so on. As he walks about barefoot you never hear him approach. You think you are alone in the room, when suddenly you are made to jump by seeing a black face close to you, star-gazing. If you have a visitor, you will see the door slowly open, and a black face protruded at least six times in a quarter of an hour. They are intensely curious, but otherwise as stolid as owls.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
Images during the colonial period


View the Imperial Gazetteer in a digital book form. Volume 1 - The Indian Empire, Descriptive Volume 14 - Jaisalmer - Kara
Volume 2 - The Indian Empire, Historical Volume 15 - Karachi - Kotayam
Volume 3 - The Indian Empire, Economic Volume 16 - Kotchandpur - Mahavinyaka
Volume 4 - The Indian Empire, Administrative Volume 17 - Mahbubabad - Moradabad
Volume 5 - Abazai - Arcot Volume 18 - Moram - Nayagarh
Volume 6 - Argaon - Bardwan Volume 19 - Nayakanthatti - Parbhani
Volume 7 - Bareilly - Berasia Volume 20 - Pardi - Pusad
Volume 8 - Berhampore - Bombay Volume 21 - Pushkar - Salween
Volume 9 - Bomjur - Central India Volume 22 - Samadhiala - Singhana
Volume 10 - Central Provinces - Coopta Volume 23 - Singhbhum - Trashi-Chod-Zong
Volume 11 - Coondapoor - Edwardesabad Volume 24 - Travancore - Zira
Volume 12 - Einme - Gwalior Volume 25 - Index
Volume 13 - Gyaraspur - Jais



Check the ethnographic classification of Indians on color and caste
History of Mangalore during the colonial period


some tidbits of colonial history. I am assuming this is an american who apears to be very well infrmed on the subject.

The British in India Ceylon and Burma, to 1830
The Dutch in Indonesia
Iran and the Caucasus
The Ottoman Empire and Russia
The British in India and Afghanistan, 1831 to 1850
China to the First Opium War
The Crimean War
Must read
<b>William Carey and the Modernization of India</b>
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--> Posted on May 21 2004, 05:56 AM
William Carey and the Modernization of India

William Carey and the Modernization of India .

<b>I have no faith in the modern doctrine of the rapid improvement of the Hindoos, or of any other people. The character of the Hindoos is probably much the same as when Vasco da Gama first visited India, and it is not likely that it will be much better a century hence</b>.

. <span style='color:red'><b>What they had hoped to achieve in India is, two centuries later, still incomplete, substantially because Secular Humanism undermined what the Christians were seeking to do</b>.</span>

. <span style='color:red'><b>The crux of his argument was that sati was not a religious practice enjoined by the Hindu scriptures. It could therefore be banned by the Government without violating the principle of separation of religion and state</b>.</span>

<i>They believed that it was necessary for us to freely dialogue and debate truth, because we all tend to believe rationalizations that are untrue. Freedom of conscience is incomplete without the freedom to change one’s beliefs, i.e. convert. A state that hinders conversion is uncivilized because it restricts the human quest for truth and reform.</i>

<b>Today Indian historians blame the Sikhs for being traitors because they did not participate in India’s ‘First War of Independence’. The ‘blame’, in fact, belongs to those builders of modern India. Their excellent work made Sikhs then think that India’s interests at that point in history were being better served by these reformer-administrators than by the feudal lords fighting for their own rule</b>.

<b>We have seen that the scriptural mandates behind India’s social and intellectual evils worked powerfully against reforms. Even if an individual British officer believed some Hindu customs to be wicked, he could not use the State power against those customs</b>.

<b>They are forced to reject the fatalistic idea that reform is not possible. That premise had ruled Indian civilization and ruined India for two thousand years. Carey’s belief that human suffering can be and should be resisted has dominated the last two hundred years of Indian history</b>.

<b>It became possible for India to make the transition from Persian as the court language, to Urdu, and then to the regional languages (at least, in the lower courts) because of Carey’s labour and leadership in turning the vernaculars into literary languages through Bible translation</b>.

Like the growth of a tree is the development of a language . . . <b>In countries like India and China, where civilization has long ago reached its highest level, and has been declining for want of the salt of a universal Christianity, it is the missionary again who interferes for the highest ends, but by a different process</b>. .

Lord Macaulay’s Minute served as a rocket booster, launching into a sustained orbit the educational revolution of India. <b>Few Indian historians, however, seem to know that the man immediately behind Macaulay’s Minute was Carey’s younger contemporary, Alexander Duff, a close friend of Macaulay’s brother-in-law, Charles Trevelyan. Duff, who under Carey’s inspiration pioneered English education in Calcutta, also started the controversy between an Oriental and an English education for India</b>. Macaulay was asked to help resolve that controversy.

That anticipated day of India’s Independence and (Evangelical) England’s ultimate triumph finally came in 1947. <b>Macaulay had anticipated it almost prophetically more than a century earlier. India asked for and became independent of the British Raj. Yet it retained and resolved to live by the British laws and institutions, as a member of the British Commonwealth. For example, the Indian Penal Code of 1861 which is still the basis for law in Indian jurisprudence, was drafted by Macaulay himself as ‘Codes of Criminal and Civil Procedures’, when he served as India’s Law Minister</b>.
Thus India’s Independence in 1947 was not only a victory for Mahatma Gandhi and the ‘Freedom Fighters’, but even more fundamentally, a<b> triumph for Carey’s Evangelical England. It marked the victory of the early missionaries over the narrow commercial, political, and military vested interests of England, as well as a victory for the heart and mind of India</b>.
The violent movements and the human rights violations of the 1970s, ’80s and early ’90s raise serious doubts about whether or not human rights and freedoms will last for long in India. They cannot last if we choose to forget the faith and spirit of India’s modernizers.
I am going to comment on this article.
It has some wrong points and they need to be highlighted.

The article is important since it gives the foundation of the modernization of India in the last 2 centuries.

After joining the Society of Jesus in 1971, I came in contact with Goa and its History. To my great surprise I came to know through my readings that Konkani speaking Catholics of Karnataka except the local converts of 19th and 20th Centuries were originally from Goa.

Abu Abdullah Mohammed (1304-1358) known by his family name Ibn Bututta set out from his home town of Tangier in Morocco in 1325 on pilgrimage to Mecca. He visited Canara on his way from Hanavar to Malabar. In his travel account says, "The first town in the land of Mulaybar (Malabara) that we entered as the towm of Abu-Sarur (Barcelor), a small place on a large inlet and abounding in coco palms" (Gibb, 1986:233).

The Portuguese official Duarte Barbosa was in India from about 1500 till about 1517. He visited Barcelor. In his account he says "…. The other Bracalor which pertain to the Kingdom of Naryngua (i.e. Vijayanagara)…. Here is much good rice, which grows in the lands there by, and many shios from abroad, and many as well of Malabar, take in cargoes there of, and take it away. Great store thereof they carry hence to Ormus (Hormuz in Saudi Arabia), Aden (South Yemen), Xaer, Cananor and Calecut, and they barter it for copper, coconuts (and the oil thereof), and molasses" (dames, 1918:193-194).

Pietro Della valle an Italian traveler who traveled India visited Barcellor on November 26, 1623 on his way from Keladi to Mangalore. He writes in his diary, " Thence we came by a short cut to Barcelore, called the Higher i.e. within land, belonging to the Indian and subject to Venk-tapa Naieka (Venkatappa Nayaka), to distinguish it from the lower barcellor on the Seacoast belonging to the Portugal's. For in almost all Territories of Indian near the sea coast there happen to be two places same place of, one called the Higher, or In-land, belonging to the natives, the other the Lower, near the sea, to the Portugal's, where they have footing. Having dined and rested a good while in higher Barcelor, I took boat and rowed down the more Southern stream; for a little below the said Town it is divided into many branches and forms divers little fruitful islands. About an hour and half before night I arrived at the Lower Barselor of the Portugals, which also stands on the Southern bank of the River, distant two good Cannon-shot from its mouth;……….The Fort of the Portugals is very small, built almost in form of a Star, having not bad walls, but wanting ditches, in a Plain and much exposed to all sorts of assaults. Such Portugals as are married have Houses without the Fort in the Town, which is pretty large and hath good buildings" (Grey, 1892:296-297). Pietro then describes how he enjoyed the hospitality of Atonio Borges and how his ship met with an accident near the river mouth of Barcelor.

" I have not seen a more beautiful country than this, and an old fort, situated a little higher up than the town commands one of the finest prospects that I ever held. The people here seem to have no knowledge of anything that happened before the conquest by Sivuppa Nayaka" These were the comments written by Dr. Francis Buchanan in his diary on February 15, 1801, when he visited Kundapura in his journey from Madras through the countries of Mysore, Canara, and Malabar (Buchana, 1807:105).

<b>In the Imperial Gazetteer of India Volume 11 (new edition) published in 1908 in pages 1-3 we read that in 1901 the population of Kundapura was 3984. On the sand-spit to the west of Kundapura town lies a small fresh water reservoir containing a variety of fish locally know as the hu-mi-nu (flower fish) running upto to three feet in length, which were especially reserved for Tippu's table during Mysore rule. </b>

All these accounts and facts made me curious to discover further the history of Kundapura and its church where I was born and baptized. I was also equally keen to locate in Goa the ancestral village of our Carvalho Family. Thus my historical search began to discover my roots. Since of the old records relating to the history of Canara and the Canara Christians are in Portuguese, to do the serious research, the knowledge of old Portuguese is really essential. Since I do not know Portuguese, I have relied on English records and translations. I hope that some day a competent person will do research on Kundapura and the history of Christianity in Kundapura. One can excellent Ph. D. research on Kundapura and its history.

Including the Mangalore diocesan authorities many others believe that Kundapura Church was built at present site by Venerable Fr. Joseph Vaz in 1681 when he was in Canara during the period 1681-1685 as Vicar Forance of Canara. This belief is due to ignorance. I have found out from the historical documents available in Goa archives and from the other historical sources the following things of which some important points I have communicated to the Mangalore Bishop.

In Portuguese records Kundapura is know as Barcelor (pronounced as Barselor) and Basrur is called Barcelor de sima (upper Barcelor). Fr. Henry Heras, the well known Jesuit Historian of Bombay came to Kundapura 1928 summer and studied Kundapura and Basrur. Since Basrur has Maintained a number of old Hindu temples and a number of stone inscriptions Fr. Heras came to the definite conclusion that Basrus was never under the Portuguese, otherwise all these temples and antiquities would have perished at their hands. Hence he concluded that Barcelor of 16th Century is Modern Kundapura and Upper Basrur (Heras, 1930:182-184).

The Portughues discovered the sea route to India at the end of 15th Century. Vasco Da Gama reached Calicut by ship on may 20, 1498 (Costa, 1982:132). In 1510 they conquered Goa from the Bijapur Sultan Adil Shah. Gradually the Portuguese extended their activities along the Canara coast to control the trade. They were keen to conquer Onor (Honavar), Batecala or Baticala (Bhatkal), and Manglor (Mangalore).

They captured Bhatkal in 1542, Mangalore in January 20, 1568 (built a fort and named it as St, Sebestian's fort because the foundation stone was laid on 20th January the feast of St. Sebestian), and Honavar on November 25, 1569 (Meersaan, 1962:299). The excisting small fort was named Santa Catharina (Sumrahmanyam, 1984:445). To escape from the harassment of the Portuguese the local merchants of Cambolim (Ganguli) and Barcelore began to pay annual tribute to Portuguese. This custom of an annul tribute went back to 1542, when Martim Affonso de Souza began his punitive expedition to the Canara coast in 1542. At that time, to avoid further clashes, the merchants of Barcelor had agreed to make a voluntary annual payment of 700 bales of rice (one bale weight 33 kgs). The bale was known as mud in Kannada. This agreement was subsequently renegotiated in 1549, and the tribute was redured in 500 bales (Subramayam, 1984:445). In exchange, the Portuguese promised to protect shipping from the port and to grant cartazes (sailing permit). These negotiations shed light on the internal administration of Barcelor Port. The merchants of the port are referred to by the Portuguese collectively as the "chatins de Barcelor' (Shetty of Barcelor). The chronicler Diogo do Couto states specifically that unlike other regions along the coast, the settlers of Barcelor "governed themselves like a Republics, and paid some tributes to the King" (i.e. Vijaynagara). The power in the city is described as being in the hands of a collective of 'governadores' (governors) or ' ragedores' (administrators), who on specific occasions such as the treaty of 1549 appointed agents from the merchant community to prosecute negotiations. This version of the administration of the port is confirmed by a Portuguese description from 1580, which states that the port was "terra franca (Independent land) governed like a Republic , without having any other subjection or recognizing any form of over lordship except for a small tribute that is paid to the kings of Nasin(i.e. Vijayanagar) (Subrahmanyam, 1984-446).

Dom Luiz de Ataide, the Portuguese Viceroy to India sent Pedro da Silva e Menwith thirteen sail to Barcelore (Danvers, 1894a:545). The Portuguese landed at Barcelore in 1569 with large army and occupied the fort (which was a mud for close to Basrur) at nigh through the traitorous conduct of the Killedar (captain) of the fort. Those days the depth of the river was on the side of Kundapura and the river mouth was at the present Havealive village (hale allive, which means old river mouth). The Portuguese army plundered the town. The Tolar, the native ruler summoned Honnaya Kambli, the chief of Hosangadi. Perduru chief joined them with a large army . A fierce battle was fought between the native rulers and the portughese. Both sides lost heavily. Kambli was killed. The Portuguese were forced to retire to Goa leaving back their guns and ammunition. But in November 1569, the Viceroy came to Barcelore with his army. The Tolar and the Kambli kings went with any army of 11000 men but were defeated . They lost 200 soldiers. The Portuguese captured some of their works. The native rulers and their army abandoned the fort and left it in the land of Portuguese. Tolar and Kambli Kings attacked the fortress once again on a very dark night, but found its commander, Pedro Lopes Rebello with his 200 men, quite ready for them. The enemy, having lost 300 men, agreed to pay subsidy to the Portuguese to buld a fort of their own at Kundapura. More than a month was spent in building a new fortress in a more convenient place, between the city and the mouth of the river. Antonio Botelho was appointed a captain of the fort (Danvers,. 1894a:547). It was called fort of Sancta Luzia (now it is in ruin and still known as Kote Bagilu i.e. the entrance of the Port).

The location of this fort was good. The viceroy, before leaving had an interview with Tolar and Kambli princes and with the queen of Cambolim (Ganguli). Fresh treaties concerning tribute payments were signed, involving the delivery of not only rice, but of pepper, at a certain fixed price. Together with this, two customs-houses were also set up, one in Mangalore and other in Barcelor. While the customs-house in Mangalore continued to be existence until the 1650s, that at Barcelor had a relatively short life. In 1570, the Barcelor customs-house amounted to some 5000 pardaus (an Indo-Portughuese gold coin) annually, mainly on import duties on horses from Hormuz (in Saudi Arabia). Beside a sum of 1000 tangas (an indo-Portuguese silver coin) was collected annually on exports, mainly rice (Subrahmanyam, 1984:446).

In 1571 Portuguese fortified the fort and entered into treaty with the Tolar chieftain. During the battle of Kundapura Jesuit priests Sebestia`o Gonzales, S. J. and Martin Silva S.J. set up a hospital in a tent and ministered the wounded Fr. Martin died in Kundapura. The Jesuits came to Kundapura in 1570, by the order of the Provincial of Goa. They built a church and dedicated it to Our Lady of Holy Rosary. The Jesuit, however did not establish a residence there. According to Regimento que o Viceroy Dom Luis detaide fez pere a fortaleza de Barcelore dated March 30, 1570 the Viceroy Luize de Athaide, enacted for Kundapura that a vicar would appointed to serve the garrison and any Christian who might settle in the neighbourhood. This document gives clear instructions regarding the administration of the fort and the church. From the document it is certain that Kundapura Church was built at Kote Bagillu in 1570 by the Jesuits. Kundapura Church was the second church built by the Portuguese in 16th Century. The first church was Our Lady of Holy Rosary at St. Sebestian's port at Mangalore build by the Dominicans during the period 1568-1569. Adil Khan of Bijapur attacked Goa on December 12, 1570 with a large army (Costa, J. 1982:182-183). Goa inquistion was established in 1560 (Priolkar, 1961:ix). Due to this in 1574, many Christian families from Goa settled in Kundapura (Silve, 1958:45).

Antonio Bocarro the Portuguese chief record keeper of the Goa Archives writing in 1635 mentions the existence of two churches at Barcelor (Shastry, 1981:233). The first one was named the See (main church) inside the fortress meant for captians, soldiers, and other within the fort. The second church was named Mia (Mother) just outside the fortress and it was meant for casados (married people of Portuguese orgin).

The Portuguese came to India primarily for trade and commerce. Their commercial activities in Canara from 1500 AD to 1750 AD form an interesting study. Pepper and rice were the two important articles of trade which attracted them to the region. The Portuguese depended heavily upon the rice supplies from Canara. They secured much of the commodity by way of tributes from local chiefs. The rest they bought. By 1554 the chief of Barcelore was bound to pay annual rice tribute of 500 bags (Shastry 1981:203). Ample references can be found in Portuguese chronicles and documents regarding the Portuguese buying rice from Kanara. In 1525 Simao de Menezes was sent to Barcelore for provision and he actually secured rice (Shastry, 1981:203). The

central Canara ports such as Bhatkal, Barcelor, and Barkur were exporters of fine white rice. The rice was carried in both in Malabar as well as to the north Konkan, and to the Persian Gulf and even the Red Sea ports (Subramanyam 1984:442) Besides rice, pepper, coconuts, sugar, choir wood, timber and other products were carried in open craft. In exchange of the commodities which they purchased in Kanara the Portuguese sold there several things which they brought with them from Portugal and other countries. Horses for use in the cavalry, silk, aromatics, gold, copper, coral, lead, vermilion, salt were the important articles sold in the region. It is difficult to have a clear picture of statistics regarding the quantity of goods exchanged between the Portuguese and the Canara year by year. By 1554 the farmer obtained 6500 bags of rice annually from Honavar, Bhatkal, Gersoppa and Basrur. By mean of agreements. The Portuguese secured by means of treaties the monopoly of pepper supplies from Gersoppa and Basur. Merchants of Barcelor were paying to Portuguese their annual due of rice faithfully in contrast to the rulers of Mirjan, Batkal and Gerosoppa. By the 1580's the customs-house at Barcelor had been removed, and this can be seen as part of the attempt to centralize the import of horses from Persia to Goa (Subrahmanyam, 1984:447). The accquisition of Canara forts also proved crucial for the Portughuese to procure pepper. Honavar the main source for pepper trade. Barcelore, however, was scarcely of importance in the pepper network of the Portuguese; for them it was the rice port par excellence. In the year 1620 the Ganguli Barcelor region alone exported annually 1500 Khandis (One khandi is equal to 220.32 kgs) of pepper (Shastry, 1981:207).

The Portuguese were notorious for their malpractice's and ill-treatment of the Canara merchants and their ships. Francisco de Mello Sampalo, who become captain of Barcelore in 1583, damaged the trade of port so much by forcibly taking goods at a low price that the local merchants attempted to drive the Portuguese away from there. But thy did not succeed. There were also instances of captains who levied and collected illegal imports from merchants at Barcelor, contrary to Viceroy's orders. A document dated October 13, 1591 informs us that 5 larins (they were silver coins originally minted at La-r on the Persian mainland, not far from Hormuz) were collected illegally from the Muslim merchants for every korji (a measure meant for rice which is equal to 1640-52 kgs) of rice purchased by them at Barcelore (Shastry 1981:214).

Between 1600 and 1620, Venkatappa, the ruler of Ikkeri acquired control over large portion of the coast and hinterland, defeating and reducing many of the petty coastal rulers in the process, and together with Wodeyar ruler of Mysore, becoming the de facto ruler of the western potion of what in 1500 had been under Vijayanagara empire. Having achieved major gains on the cost, Venkatappa made an offer to the Portuguese Governor of Goa in 1608, suggesting that the Portuguese once aset up a customs-house at Barcelor (Subrahmanyam, 1984:448). The offer was accepted and a code formulated regulating duties, and other details of the fuctioning of customs-house.

The Portuguese become week when the Dutch challenged them in India in the 17th century. Their colonial rivalry had commended in 1568-69 and it endED IN 1669 in Dutch favour. Shivappa Nayaka of Keladi, ecouraged by the Dutch, fully exploited their week and losing position. He attacked their forts in Kanara and tool tehm one by one. Kundapura fell to him in

August 1652, Ganguli in January 1653, Managlore in August 1653 (Shastry, 1981:59). The Portuguese reoccupied the Barcelo fort in October 1664 according to the promise of Mallappa the minister (Shejwalkar,1943:143). On September 21, 1712 Vasco Fernandes Cesar de Menezes became the 38th Viceroy of Goa. Shortly afterwards he fell out with the king of Kanara, whereupon he proceeded with a small squadron to Barcelo and having dismntled the fortress at the place, he burnt all the village along the river banks, and killed all who attempted to offer any opposition (Danvers, 1894b:376).

The Portuguese and Gangulli

Around the end of sixteenth and early of seventieth century, due to a storm, the entrance to the Barcelor harbour was shifted and the original channel partially silted up, making it impossible, except with extremely high tides, for ships to reach the old landing places. Moreover a new channel appeared the other side at Ganguli (in Portuguese documents it is called Cambolim becasuse of Kambli Native chiefs).Henceforth many Malabarian ships made use of it and the new docking facilities to avoid Portuguese control, as the artillery of the old fort which so long had served to deter them, could no longer reach them. It was for this reason, to regain control of the shipping, that the Viceroy, Dom Miguel de Noronha (1629-1635) decided to execute the plan which had already been approved and recommended by the King and build new fort at Gangulli (Meersman, 1971:252-253). Beside, Venkatappa Nayaka, the powerful king of Keladi, to whom Ganguli belonged, died on November 10, 1629. His successor Virabhadra Nayaka, was attacked by the Adil Shah of Bijapur and other neighbouring kings. What is more , feudatory of Keladi raised the banner of revolt everywhere and a relative of Virabhadra claimed the throne of Keladi, thus launching upon a civil war (Shastry, 1982:55). The Portughuese fully exploited the situation to conquer Ganguli. The local Chettis (Shetty, merchant caste) approved the plan under condition that the Portuguese would defend them against Virabhadra Nayaka. Early 1630 Portuguese took possession of Ganguli and began to erect fort. When Virabhadra heard this he moved Gangulli but when he realized how little he gained, he relented and allowed the Portuguese to complete the construction of the fort and factory (Meersman 1971:253). The fort was completed in 1633 (Shastry, 1981:56). It was built along the coast, outside present Ganguli village. At present this fort is known as Tippu gudde (Tippu's hillrock). By conquering Gangulli the Portuguese expected to benefit by 20,000 bags of exportable rice from Canara (Shastry, 1891:207).

<b>Shivaji and Barcelor:

On the land Shivaji was a robber; one the sea and sea cost he was a pirate (Douglas, 1893a:113). He raided Barcelor on 13th or 15th of 1655 (Shejwalkar, 1943:142). He came with his 85 frigates and 3 gret ships (masted vessels). Shivaji reached Barcelor early in the morining and began his attack before the population knew what had happened. The raid was well planned and calculated. There is no mention of any hindrance from anybody. It is not known the value of the booty which Shivaji took. According to Sabha'sad Bakhar the booty was beyond count, the whole booty was of value of two crore Hons (eight crore rupees). The amount of two crore Hons is a fross exaggeration. The Dutch estimate of three hundred thousand guilders seems to correpond very nearly to the value of the booty (Pagadi, 1974:135). When Shivaji raided Barcelor Bhadrappanayaka of Keladi must be the ruler. One thing is certain that Shivaji never led any expeditions unless he was sure of collecting good booty I a short time without loss. He sent the main part of his fleet back to his dominions and broke his journey at Gokarna with only 12 frigates and 4000 foot soldiers. At Gokarna he performed the worship.

How conveniently he ignores the centralizing forces during the Mauryans and Gupta dynasty.


The Formation of India:
Notes on the History of an Idea

<b>For India was not naturally a country from "times immemorial"; it evolved by cultural and social developments, and closer interaction among its inhabitants, in which geographical configuration helped, but was not necessarily decisive. </b>

In the next thousand years Sanskrit literature becomes rich in allusions to the geographical terrain of India, such as in the listing of the conquests by Samudragupta (c.350) or in Kalidasa's description of the cloud's journey in Meghaduta. The stress on India is underlined further by a curious lacuna in ancient Indian writing: there is so little curiosity about what lies outside the limits of the Indian world. On this Alberuni, the Khwarizmian Scientist was to comment unfavorably in his remarkable book on India (1035). "The Hindus", he said, in an oft-quoted sentence (as translated by Sachau), "be- lieve that there is no country like theirs, no nation like theirs, no kings like theirs, no religion like theirs, no science like theirs". He did, however, add that "their ancestors were not as narrow-minded as the present generation" and quoted from Varahamihira (c.550) the assertion that "the Greeks, though impure, be honoured, since they were trained in sciences, and therein ex- celled others."

With Akbar (1556-1605), the great Mughal emperor, the perception of India as home to different traditions interacting and adjusting with each other, received a fresh reinforcement, notably under the dual impetus of pan- theism and a revived rationalism. The officially organised translations of Sanskrit works into Persian were followed by a detailed account of the society and culture of India (inclusive of its Muslim component) in Abu'l Fazl's official record of Akbar's empire, the A'in-i Akbari. Akbar's attitude towards this cultural heritage is not, however, one of uncritical sympathy. He could not accept the inequities that he felt were built into the traditions of Hindu- ism and Islam, notably in the treatment of women (child marriage, sati, unequal inheritance) and slaves (especially, slave trade). Moreover, the influence of tradition (taqlid) was too strong, and this he thoroughly disapproved of. He therefore even tried to frame a secular and scientific syllabus for education in both Persian and Sanskrit. Such groping towards a combination of patriotism with reform seems to anticipate strikingly the core of the 19th- century Renaissance that was to spread out from Bengal. Despite the later inevitable meanderings and partial disavowals, the Mughal Empire fostered a Persian and, in the 18th century, an Urdu literature in which the shared culture of India found recurring expression. One may remember that one product of that culture was Ram Mohun Roy, born and brought up in a family of former Nazimate bureaucrats. Ram Mohun Roy's very first book, the Tuhfatu’l Muwahhidin (Gift of Monotheists) (1803-4), in its rejection of image worship and its case for proximity between monotheistic Hindus and Muslims, clearly drew upon a tradition, to which Akbar, Abu'l Fazl and Dara Shukoh had already greatly contributed,

<b>If by now India achieved a transformation where its culture was multi religious or supra-religious, one could indeed consider it as analogous to the transformation of Christendom into Europe in the twilight of feudalism. This was an important prerequisite for the evolution of India into a modern nation.</b> A second pre-requisite was also possibly secured when the centralizing tendencies of the Delhi Sultanate and Mughal Empire repeatedly projected the sight of a politically unified India. As Tara Chand put it in his Influence of Islam on Indian Culture (1928), this helped "to create a political uniformity and a sense of larger allegiance". He might have added that the sense of political unity, actual or potential, was evidenced in clear terms by the writing of political histories of India as a country such as those of Nizamuddin Ahmad, in Akbar's reign (1592), followed by Firishta (1607) and Sujan Rai (1695). Written in Persian, they had no predecessors in any language.

Some pre-requisites of nationhood had thus seemingly been achieved by the time that the British conquests began: in 1357, the year of Plassey, India was not only a geographical expression, it was also seen as a cultural entity and a political unit. It is, however, important to realise that, notable as these advances were in the long process of the formation of India, these did not yet make India a nation. Different as various definitions of the term "nation" are, they emphasize that consciousness of identity must be widely spread. Stalin once described the national question essentially as a "peasant question", which implied a mass diffusion of the sense of belonging to one's country, pervasive over other loyalties. Then there was the further condition set by John Stuart Mill of the existence of a feeling widely shared that the country must be governed by those belonging to it. What perception existed of India as a country, a cultural and political unit, until the 19th century was one largely confined to the upper strata, the townsmen, traders, scholars and the like. It did not, moreover, override a series of parochial identities. With his great insight Ram Mohun Roy noted in a letter in 1830 that India could not yet be called a nation, because its people were "divided among castes" From the outside too, Karl Marx in 1853 identified castes as "those decisive impediments to Indian progress and Indian power"
Hitler, Vatican and Gandhi

March 15, 2003

Even Hitler has supporters.' That was part of an angry response to last week's commentary on this page contrasting the status given by the nation to Mother Teresa with the venom recently poured on Veer Savarkar by a political class. Another reader thought the column was 'deifying Hitler and demonising Christ.'

It is queer that Hitler should thus be invoked apropos nothing at all excepting a passing reference to the Vatican's creation of saints.

Perhaps there's a guilty conscience lurking somewhere because there is indeed a controversy over the link between the Catholic Church and Nazism -- the ideology that came to power in Germany in 1933 and ultimately led to one of the most frightening chapters in the history of mankind.

It all appears to have begun when Hitler's forces marched into Austria on March 12, 1938. Le Monde Diplomatique, 1998 (http://mondediplo.com/1998/05/04vatican) recorded that --

Cardinal Theodore Innitzer, Archbishop of Vienna, not only sought an audience with Hitler immediately thereupon, but, three days later, instructed the Catholic clergy and their congregations in the Archdiocese of Vienna and Burgenland to 'rally unconditionally to the Fuhrer and the great German state.'
Two weeks later, the Austrian episcopate issued a statement supporting Austria's entry into the German Reich, saying, 'We joyfully acknowledge the eminent work which the National Socialist movement has done...'
After the Austrians had voted 99.73 per cent in favour of their incorporation into the Reich, Cardinal Innitzer sent a message, on April 1, 1938, to Cardinal Bertram, chairperson of the Fulda Episcopal conference, expressing the hope that the German bishops would endorse the Austrian episcopate's statement on the plebiscite. His signature at the end of the message was preceded by the words 'Und Heil Hitler' written in his own hand.
The next day a Vatican newspaper wrote that the declaration of the Austrian bishops did not have the Vatican's approval.
However, according to a report by Dimitri Cavalli in the Montreal Gazette of February 17, 2002, 'the Vatican did sign concordats with Mussolini's Italy and Hitler's Germany.' (www.pius12.com/archives/00000029.html) (Available on Google Search for 'Vatican + Nazism')

However, an article attributed to The New York Times, March 17, 1998, featuring on www.mtholyoke.edu/acad/intrel/vatican1.htm reported the release by the Vatican of a 14-page statement, 11 years under preparation, which it described as 'an act of repentance' for the failure of the Roman Catholics to deter the killing of Europe's Jews during World War II. It skirted the painful issue of the Vatican's silence during the Nazi's reign of terror.

The subject has led to the book Hitler's Pope by John Cornwell becoming a best seller. The reference is to Pope Pius XII who was a Vatican diplomat in Germany from 1922 till 1939 when he became pope and served in that position till death in 1958. He was riled by some historians as one who failed to use his power to speak out against the Holocaust. In his defence, Reverend Peter Gumpel, the German investigator promoting Pope Pius XII's case for sainthood, said in an article for a British publication that Pius couldn't speak out more publicly because he knew it would enrage Adolf Hitler and result in more Jews being killed.

Rev Gumpel may well be right. And one ardently hopes the Vatican will get a clean chit when its archives are thrown open soon.

Meanwhile, if Pope Pius XII's silence and Cardinal Innitzer's genuflection to the Reich -- for whatever reasons -- are to be construed as 'support' to Hitler, then a little known document said to be issued by an Indian ought also to be deemed as 'support' to Heil Hitler. That document was reportedly published in 1940 when Great Britain braced herself to face a German invasion. It urged 'cessation of hostilities' through an 'open letter' to 'every Briton' and said, in part, as follows:

'... I want you to fight Nazism without arms. I would like you to lay down the arms you have as being useless for saving you or humanity. You will invite Herr Hitler and Signor Mussolini to take what they want of the countries you call your possessions. Let them take possession of your beautiful island, with your many beautiful buildings. You will give all these but neither your souls, nor your minds. If these gentlemen choose to occupy your homes, you will vacate them. If they do not give you free passage out, you will allow yourself, man, woman and child, to be slaughtered, but you will refuse to owe allegiance to them... I am telling His Excellency the Viceroy that my services are at the disposal of His Majesty's Government, should they consider them of any practical use in advancing the object of my appeal.' (Stanley Wolpert's Jinnah of Pakistan, pp. 187-188 as cited on page 144 of Chapter I of Constitutional Law of India, Supplement to Third Edition, 1988, written and published by H M Seervai, a giant in the field of constitutional history.)
The author of the above 'open letter' was, not Veer Savarkar, but Mahatma Gandhi. It was a demonstration of his belief in the creed of ahimsa, non-violence. That is why, when Lord Linlithgow [Viceroy of India, 1936-1943] announced that India was at war, Gandhi refused to support the war on the ground that it involved violence and that he would not support violence even to secure the independence of India. (Seervai, page 143)

However, Seervai believes that 'Gandhi used non-violence as a political weapon, and was prepared to support, or connive at it, to secure political goals.' One example he cites is an interview that Gandhi gave to News Chronicle of London in 1944 after his release from prison when the war tide began to flow in favour of the Allies. The gist of that interview was that India could be used as a base for military operations against Germany, Japan and their allies provided that a national government was formed immediately with the viceroy as its constitutional head. (ibid, page 144).

During the First World War, too, in the middle of 1918, at a war conference presided over by the viceroy, Gandhi had forsaken the non-violence creed when he seconded the main resolution in support of recruiting Indians to the army to fight on the side of Britain and her allies. (ibid, page 143).

Again, on August 27, 1946, when Partition had become a Hobson's choice, Gandhi told Lord Wavell, the then viceroy, that 'If India wants a blood-bath, she shall have it.' (ibid, page 145). In other words, there was to be no fast unto death by the apostle of non-violence to prevent Partition and the rivers of blood that were certain to flow from it.

But, ah, who was responsible for the Partition? Was it Veer Savarkar, the one damned by today's secularists for his two-nation statement? Read on.

Britain's Cabinet Mission Plan of May 1946 provided for transfer of power to a united India but with effective safeguards for the Muslims. This was done through allowing the provinces to form their constitutions, the grouping of these provinces being designated as Section A (where Hindus had an overwhelming majority after the 1945-46 elections under the Government of India Act, 1935), Section B (where Muslims had a majority of 62 to 38) and Section C (where Muslims had a majority of 52 to 48).

Gandhi's reaction to the Plan was '...parity between six majority Hindu provinces and five Muslim majority Provinces is insurmountable. The Muslim majority provinces represent over 9 crores (90 million) of the population as against 19 crores (190 million) of the Hindu majority provinces. This is really worse than Pakistan. What is suggested in its place is that the Central Legislature should be formed on the population basis. And so too the Executive.' (ibid, page 34).

The Congress -- and the Hindu Mahasabha of Savarkar -- rejected the plan as 'undemocratic,' violative of the principle of 'one man, one vote.' Jinnah accepted it because it allayed Muslim fears of being dominated by a 'Hindu Raj.' It continued to be discussed till, failing to resolve the deadlock, Viceroy Mountbatten pronounced it dead on April 9, 1947. And once the Clement Atlee government overcame its reluctance to transfer power to India, British power came to an end on August 15, 1947. Partition had happened.

Savarkar's so-called 'two-nation' theory based on Hindu fanaticism had nothing to do with it. In fact, in his speech in Pune on August 2, 1942, he declared that the Hindu Mahasabha would support the Congress' Quit India agitation provided that the Congress solemnly guaranteed that it would irrevocably stand by the unity and integrity of India. (Page 322, Veer Savarkar by Dhananjay Keer, Popular Prakashan, Bombay, 1988).

As a matter of fact, it was neither Jinnah nor Savarkar who introduced religion into all-India politics. Rather, it was Mahatma Gandhi.

It happened with his support to the agitation led by two brothers, Mohammed Ali and Shaukat Ali, against the abolition of the Khalifate in Turkey after the First World War, for the Khalif was the spiritual head of the Muslims. The agitation was essentially religious and Gandhi believed that by supporting it he would cement Hindu-Muslim unity.

On page 22 of his Pilgrimage to Freedom, K M Munshi, a highly respected Congress leader of that period, says Jinnah warned Gandhi not to encourage fanaticism of Muslim religious leaders and their followers. So did other Congressmen. Munshi himself feared the Khilafat movement would lead the country to disaster.

His fears proved prophetic. As V Shankar, ICS, wrote, 'Some eminent leaders of the Congress and the Khilafat subsequently turned into leaders of a spirit of communalism...' (My Reminiscences of Sardar Patel, Macmillan, 1974, Volume I, page 173)

That the Khilafat movement was religious is clear from Gandhi's own statement in Young India of October 20, 1921. He wrote, 'I claim that with us both the Khilafat is the central fact, with Maulana Muhammad Ali because it is his religion, with me because, in laying down my life for the Khilafat, I ensure the safety of the cow, that is my religion.' (Seervai, page 8, quoting from page 64 of History of the Freedom Movement, Vol III, by R C Majumdar).

Note that while Gandhi considered the cow as his religion for which he would die, Savarkar believed 'it was no religion to raise the cow to the pedestal of god' just as 'it was no religion to sacrifice the cow in the name of god.' (Keer, page 294.). He was agnostic enough to ask, 'Why does God make the wicked so powerful?' (ibid, page 204). He always debunked superstition and hailed science as when he wrote in an article, 'Astrology cannot save what science has doomed and where safety is assured by science, astrology cannot endanger it.' (ibid, page 205). He even appealed to the Hindus to test all their ancient holy works on the touchstone of science. (ibid, page 206). Need more be said?

Arvind Lavakare
[Book Review] [June 12, 2004]

The Mysore Sultans
The Mysore Sultans State and Diplomacy under Tipu Sultan: Documents and Essays
edited by Irfan Habib;
Tulika Books, New Delhi, 2001;
pp 164, Rs 325.
A Satyanarayana

In recent years the problem of 18th century socio-economic and political transformation in India has attracted much scholarly attention. There has been a great deal of writing on the history of state formation and political process in 18th century and these studies have contributed new insights. In the general analysis of the nature and character of 18th century India one can identify divergent and conflicting notions and interpretations. Yet there are few comprehensive and systematic regional-level studies, especially on south India. Unless there is a detailed and concrete historical research into different regions of India it is not possible to convincingly and conclusively answer the various issues and questions raised by the debates about the nature and pace of change in 18th century India. It was a unique century `sandwiched' between the political glory of the Mughals and the humiliations of colonial domination. Available studies reveal that the performance of Indian economy varied from region to region: they have indicated that since the middle of 18th century socio-economic transformation varied across the Indian sub-continent incorporating in it different areas of buoyant expansion and areas of stagnation/crisis. Many historical studies have described the 18th century as a period of drastic and far-reaching changes in the course of Indian history. Some have stressed a more evolutionary pattern of change and perceived an important degree of continuity of pre-colonial political and economic structures under colonialism, while others maintain that a fundamental break and disjunction occurred between the Mughal empire and early colonial rule. It was supposed to be a change of such magnitude as to make both state and economy different from what each had earlier been. The dominant mainstream historiography characterised the 18th century as a `chaotic and dark' century. It has been argued that the decline of imperial power had brought about changes in the provincial system, which resulted in chaos, decadence and decline in administrative efficiency. It was an age of `political and moral decay' and the political and economic changes in this century had only a negative value. Thus "with the death of Mughal empire the middle ages in India ended and the modern age began".

In contradistinction to the above interpretations, the present volume under review edited and introduced by Irfan Habib offers new perspectives on the basis of fresh material in terms of translation of manuscripts/documents, memoirs both in Persian and French, hitherto not translated, commentaries on documents and interpretative research articles on various aspects of the history of 18th century Mysore under Tipu Sultan. An endeavour is made in this book to add new contributions and to present to the scholarly world documentary evidence that has not yet received its due in south Indian studies, with special reference to the period of Haider Ali and Tipu Sultan. It certainly marks a significant step forward
in the collection, exploration and use of source material on the regime of Tipu Sultan. In this volume, four very important documents and three essays are included. The document on War and Peace is Tipu Sultan's own memoir written around 1792. It was translated by William Kirkpatrick. It provides Tipu Sultan's account of the last phase of the second Anglo-Mysore war (1783-84) and his perceptions of events leading to the Treaty of Mangalore in 1784. The diplomatic vision of Tipu Sultan is contained in the briefs for embassies to Turkey and France, 1785-86. It was translated by Iqbal Hussain. The third document on State Intervention in the Economy contain Tipu's orders to revenue collectors, between 1792-97, and it was translated by I G Khan. The fourth one, the memoirs of Lieutenant-Colonel Russel in French concerning Mysore, was translated by Jean-Marie Lafont. Taken together, these documents provide valuable information pertaining to statecraft under Tipu Sultan. They also substantially enhance our knowledge of the political, military and diplomatic events as well as personalities and general forces at work in south India during the late 18th century.

The state of Mysore under Haider Ali and Tipu Sultan had exceptional and strikingly conspicuous features of its own. Unlike the Mughal state, it introduced and effectively managed the method of direct revenue collection – the chief source of income – abolished absentee landlord system (shambogs) and recognised the rights of ryots. It was perhaps the first Indian state that adopted advanced methods and techniques of European warfare. It was also the foremost Indian state which produced modern firearms within its territories by importing foreign (mainly French) skilled workers as instructors and supervisors. The most significant and remarkable aspect of this indigenous regime was the state's direct intervention in agricultural production, commerce and industrialisation. It also
established factories and state-owned and controlled trading companies and factories outside the territories of Mysore as well as abroad in the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf ports. The Mysore state had also the unique distinction of having successfully combined trade with government as it was done by the East India Company during the mercantilist phase. The main object of Tipu Sultan's state policy was the collective well-being of his subjects and in that he was driven by a desire to improve their economic conditions. Hence he was perceived and revered by his subjects as a popular ruler and enjoyed their unstinted support and loyalty. His `short but stormy' rule was eventful and memorable in many respects. The source material and the articles included in the present volume capture the multifarious dimensions of the state and diplomacy of Mysore under Tipu Sultan.

There has been a great deal of writing about the responses of native Indian rulers to British territorial aggrandisement and colonial expansion during the second half of the 18th century. The Bengal nawabs, in particular Sirajuddaula and the Mysore sultans seemed to have a definite policy to overthrow the British and they consistently worked towards it. The memoirs of Tipu Sultan provide a vivid description of his efforts in the second Anglo-Mysore war to defeat the British with the help of the French and the Marathas. The anti-British attitude and perception of the Mysore ruler and his resolve to confront and oust the English power is superbly portrayed in this document. "I want to expel them from India. I want to be a friend of the French in all my life" (p 99). Tipu told a French officer. In spite of the undependable and uncertain nature of alliances with the Marathas and the Nizam, Tipu Sultan was determined to go to war with the British and defeat them. He was also unhappy with the vacillating attitudes and dilatory tactics of the French and their non-cooperation, faithlessness and disloyalty. Yet he was not vindictive and revengeful against them. About a French commander he remarked, "there would have been but little difficulty in putting Cossigny and his companions to death; but, in as much as they (had) eaten (my) salt, I did not think proper to act by them in that manner" (p13).

War and Diplomacy in Mysore

The memoirs of Tipu Sultan and Lieutenant-Colonel Russel are indeed an excellent testimony to the war and diplomatic policies of the Mysore rulers during the second half of the 18th century. They contain valuable information pertaining to the Anglo-Mysore wars and the relations of the French with the Mysore sultans. Russel's memoirs have great military value and it is an authentic statement regarding the involvement of the French commanders in modernising the army of Mysore and fighting along with the Mysore forces. The Russel papers also provide certain rare insights into the colonial policies of the French in India. If this memoirs are read along with Aniruddha Ray's essay on `France and Mysore: A History of Diverse French Strategies', (pp120-40) it is possible to arrive at a meaningful understanding of the whole range of French projects and policies about Mysore during the reign of Haider Ali and Tipu Sultan. Both of them add more information and insights into French policies towards Mysore than at present available in the pioneering work of Sen's The French in India. From the evidence presented in this volume it is clear that there was no uniform French policy vis-a-vis the Mysore rulers. Ray's study brings out the competing interests and multiple voices in the French policies, especially in a context when France itself underwent far-reaching transformations both internally and externally. The various memoirs and reports of French officers serving the Mysore rulers also reveal that the French government was advised to follow many different and often contradictory policies towards India. For instance, the policies of the French government at the time of Dupleix (1742-54) were substantially different from the policies pursued in the 1780s and 1790s, in particular, during the second and third Anglo-Mysore wars. It has been mentioned in the French official documents that the instructions of Louis XVI in 1781 clearly stated that the object of the French expedition to India was to liberate the Indian rulers from the grip of the English, and not to make any territorial conquests. As Lafont points out, unlike in the 1750s there was no intention on the part of the French in the 1780s to colonise India the way they had done in North America. Following Bussy's instructions (1780-83) the French only aimed to destroy the British power in India by forming a league of Indian princes and restore the territories to the native rulers.

The diplomatic visions of Tipu Sultan were represented in the very revealing briefs/instructions (hukumnamas) to his envoys to Turkey and France in 1785-86. He prepared these briefs to be followed by ambassadors in their negotiations with the Turkish sultan and they were instructed to follow them `in letter and in spirit'. His embassy to Constantinople (Islambol) was intended to promote diplomatic relations with Turkey in order to secure both commercial and military assistance. This document, among other things, throws interesting light pertaining to the generally accepted notion that Tipu tried to secure legitimacy for his rule of Mysore from the Turkish sultan and also his permission to assume the title of independent king as well as the right to strike coins and to have the khutba read in the name of Ottoman caliph. Irfan Habib contradicts the statements of Mohibbul Hasan and Kate Brittlebank that Tipu's ambassadors "were instructed to seek the Ottoman ruler's confirmation, in his role as caliph of legitimacy of Tipu's claim and his rule of Mysore". He remarks, "Nowhere do such instructions occur anywhere in the briefs for his ambassadors. Tipu does not even designate the Ottoman ruler as khalifa (caliph), or recognise his authority outside his dominions in any way whatsoever. Throughout his instructions to his ambassadors he treats the ruler of Islambol (Istanbul) as an equal, not a superior" (p xii). The instructions of Tipu amply make it clear that as an independent ruler he proposed to drive away the British from India with the military and diplomatic support of Turkey and France. In the case of the embassy to Turkey, though he urged Turkish military expedition to India, his main object was commercial. In order to effectively implement a trade blockade against the British East India Company he sought an alternative overseas market. He hoped to secure such markets in west Asia and the Ottoman empire. Hence, he proposed to obtain the port of Basra and its adjoining places on lease (ijara)

Tipu Sultan's instructions to his ambassadors who proceeded to France mainly dealt with issues concerning British occupation of Indian territories as well as the attitudes and activities of the French military commanders in Mysore. He gave a detailed account, with a sense of bitterness, of the indifferent behaviour of certain French officials and the unilateral withdrawal of French help at a very critical time during the second Anglo-Mysore war. Tipu informed the French king Louis XVI about the "breach of promise and acts of disloyalty committed by your servants, since these unreasonable acts have perhaps been committed without your knowledge. Otherwise, this is not (according to) the ways of statesmen and persons of nobility" (p 48). He further proposed mutual military assistance, friendship and a "war of 10 years against the enemy" (the British). These instructions also reflect the anti-British attitude of Tipu Sultan and his commitment to liberate India from the yoke of British domination. He had written to both kings of France and England, about the `deceipt and treachery' as well as the "unlimited atrocities and oppression" committed by the East India Company on Indian people. Compared to many Indian potentates of the 18th century, Tipu Sultan stands as an exceptional personality on account of his consistent and resolute contestation of British dominion over Indian people.

It is evident from Tipu Sultan's instructions that along with diplomatic and military help from Turkey and France he also wished to secure experts and skilled artisans for manufacturing firearms (muskets, guns matchlock, etc,) and luxury items (clocks, glass, chinaware, etc). He also desired to import astronomers, physicians and other technicians. Tipu Sultan sought the expertise of foreign artisans because he wanted to modernise his army and economy. Tipu Sultan's agrarian and economic policies, his keenness to develop commercial ventures, foreign trade, indigenous factories and so on have been attested by the material included in the present volume. On the whole, the memoirs and documents in this volume will certainly help the scholars in putting the history of Mysore under Haider Ali and Tipu Sultan in a proper perspective and immensely contribute to correct many historiographic inaccuracies and distortions.

In his presidential address to the 49th session of the Indian history congress at Dharwad Barun De dealt with the problems of the study of Indian history with special reference to the 18th century. He opined that the specifics of the socio-economic and political formation deserve a more detailed and systematic examination. He also underlined the need to develop a comprehensive framework to analyse the pattern and pace of political formations, territorial chieftaincies and petty principalities. In fact, such an analysis, he said, will by virtue of its variegated regional and linguistic diversity require reference, exploration and use of original sources, not only in Persian but also in the regional vernacular, English and other European languages. Viewed in this perspective, the present volume under review which contains rare documents and a valuable and a thought-provoking introduction by Irfan Habib sheds new light and adds a mass of specific data pertaining to the socio- economic formation and political culture in the far south of the Indian peninsula. This volume is a welcome addition to the growing literature on the late pre-colonial and early colonial history of south India. It is also a significant addition to the recent historical scholarship on south India as it examines the dynamics of how from the middle of the 18th century the post-Mughal political order represented by the regional states was subjected to an inexorable process of subjugation and annexation by the East India Company.

Shri Madanlal Krishnalal Pahwa

Shri Madanlal Pahwa, who had exploded the gun-cotton slab on January 20, 1948, was a refugee. He came from a small town called Pakpattan in the district of Montgomery, now deep in Pakistan. He was a witness to the awful events of massacre, loot and arson. Caravans, miles together in length and comprising lakhs of human driven out of their hearth and home, were on their way to truncated India. Madanlal stated his horrible experience in his statement before the Court.
He stated on oath: " We walked night and day. There were men and women of all ages and all conditions. Many could not stand the strain. They-mostly women and children-were left on the road. I reached a place called Fazilka, in Indian territory, and discovered that another refugee column in which my father and other relatives had set out had fared much worse. They had been attacked by Muslim mobs on their way: Only 40 or 50 had survived out of 400 or 500 and even these were in hospitals. My aunt had been killed, more than a hundred girls were abducted, and my father rescued from a heap of the dead."

While in Fazilka, Madanlal saw other refugee columns coming in; one of them he says was 'forty miles long', and in another marched " five hundred women who had been stripped naked.......I saw women with their breasts, noses, ears and cheeks cut........one of them told me how her child was roasted and she was asked to partake of the same.....another was ravished in the presence of her husband who was kept tied to a tree.'

Madanlal had passed his matriculation examination and had served in the Royal Indian Navy as a wireless operator. He was honorably discharged from the Navy in 1946 after end of the second world war, and had gone back to his home. A few month later, when the Hindus were routed out of his part of the Punjab, he become part of a refugee column.

After his horrifying experience in the refugee column, he finally reached India in the summer of 1947, and went to Bombay in the hope of finding a job. He choose Bombay because Bombay was not new for him; he had been for a time posted in Bombay while in the Navy.

Madanlal was now twenty years old. He was a thick-set, muscular man with dark brown hair and a wine-red smudge of a mustache who was eager to use his hands to make his living. In Bombay, Madanlal found himself shoved into the Chembur refugee camp, which was like a vast scrapheap of unwanted humanity that, for the sake of decency, had to be kept out of sight. Every morning he went out to the city to search a job, even though it was not easy to get a job at that time. However a fellow-refugee took him to Dr. Jain who taught Hindi in the Ruia College. He also was the author of several Hindi books, and was looking for a strong young man who would peddle his book from house to house. Finally, Madanlal was appointed as a salesman. There was no salary for this job, but retain a twenty-five percent commission on the sales he made. The books were not easy to sell. He worked two month as Dr. Jain's salesman and his commission had never exceed Rs. 50.

By this time Madanlal found employment in a factory which was licensed to make fire-crackers. Unfortunately, during his work in fire-crackers factory Madanlal lost the top portion of the index finger in an accident. The finger had got caught in the gears of a turntable when his hand had slipped. His assistant had immediately stopped the machinery, but the finger was wedged between the teeth of two rotary wheels.

Madanlal had to look for a new job, while his finger healed. At this time he met with Vishnu Karkare who devoted himself to help the helpless refugees. Karkare was able to persuade Madanlal to go with him to Ahmednager. He also promised to set up Madanlal in business. In Ahmednagar, Madanlal opened a fruit stall. His business was financed by Karkare. He admired Karkare for what he had done for the refugees in Ahmednagar, and himself become active in all of Karkare's schemes. Madanlal made up his mind to stay on in Ahmednagar because his business was in flourishing condition, and also fell in love with a local girl.

By this time, at least seven million refugee ( Hindu & Sikh )came to India, and more than one million were concentrated in Delhi. Here they discovered that their miseries were far from over. They were herded like cattle in barbed-wire enclosures, and even these enclosure were so overcrowded that those who came after had to live in street and under trees in cold winter.

At first, refugees merely cursed Gandhi, and the other sheep-like leaders of India who listened to his crazy counsels. Then, as they began to wander the streets of Delhi in search of food and shelter, they were horrified to see that, a large number of Muslims were living right in the heart of the city as though by right. There were influential Muslims in the Government, in the services, in the professions, in trade; in short they were everywhere. On the other hand, they (refugees) had not place to live; no food to eat; did not have enough cloth to ware in cold winter. So-called great soul came to refugee camp but not help them or to see them; he came in the camp for the avowed purpose of championing the cause of the Muslims.

Their minds filled out with rage because instead of providing food and shelter for them Gandhi and other Indian leaders were busy to defend Muslims who were living like king in India. On the other hand, they( Refugees ) were kicked out by Muslims from their home Pakistan and was also not welcomed in India. They found both India and Pakistan belongs to Muslims. The refugees were tortured, tired, homeless, helpless and extremely energy towards Indian leaders and Muslims.

It was winter, the cold become extremely severe, they needed shelters anyway, and the government had no intention to give them shelter. The angry Hindu and Sikhs refugees were starting to occupy Mosques and Muslims home to live. This was the only way of making sure of having a roof over their heads on the hard winter months. Even though Indian government did nothing save Hindus lives and properties, it didn't hesitate to show extreme cruelty against Hindu and Sikh refugees to suppress them from taking over Mosques and Muslims residences. That was not all, big surprised was still ahead. By this time, Gandhi announced that he was going to go on an indefinite fast, and he put seven conditions for giving up his fast. Every condition laid down by Gandhi for giving up his fast was against the Hindus & Sikhs as well as against humanity.

Among the seven conditions one condition was that all Muslims who left India, must be taken back, and all the mosques which were occupied by the Refugees should be vacated or got vacated and all Muslims homes which were occupied by Refugee must be emptied at any cost so that the Muslims who had left India could return and live in peace in their own house. However, unfortunately so-called great soul did not mention anything about alternative shelter for poor Hindu and Sikh refugee. The conditions was approved by the Government.

The refugees were shocked to learn about his heinous conditions. They marched to Birla house to voice their protest and shouted slogans "Gandhi-ko marne do. Ham ko makan do. (Let Gandhi die and give us shelter.)

On January 20, 1948, Madanlal, who himself was a refugee, exploded gun-cotton in Birla house to send Gandhi a message that Hindus were angry. The explosion was not aimed at Gandhi it was just a warning. Moreover, to avoid injuries of innocent people the explosive was placed on hundred and fifty feet away from the dais where Gandhi sat. Madanlal was arrested right on the spot, and was sentenced for life.

Torture in Police custody

In Police custody Madanlal was not only harassed, but also subjected to some revoltingly sadistic tortures. According to him, he was pounded on the soles of his feet with a twist of hard rope while questions were fired at him; made to lie on the floor with two legs of a charpoy [string bed} resting on his hands and on his hands and on which a policeman jumped up and down; his sexual organs were played with, abused, prodded and beaten with sticks; and something he came to dread most-he was treated to what he believes was a local specialty, 'the ordeal by ants'. They would hold big red ants in their fingers, infuriate them by spitting on them, and then release them on his naked body.
A. Subbaraya Chetty

(From Irfan Habib's "Resistence and Modernization under Haider Ali and Tipu
Writers on Tipu can be said to belong to three schools. The first school, led by
foreign writers like Wilks, asserts that Tipu was an unmitigated Muslim fanatic
like Aurangazeb or even worse. To the second school of writers belongs Mr
S.N.Sen who, commenting on Tipu's letters to the Swami of Sringeri Mutt writes,
'Tipu tolerated the practice of Hindu Religion within his own territory and
became popular with all his subjects, but the same toleration was not allowed to
the population of the enemy countries by the zealous Mohammedan ruler of
Mysore.' Writers of the third school say that since his letters to the Sringeri
Mutt date from 1791, Tipu came to have a certain amount of faith in the Hindus
in the later part of his reign only as a result of his faith in efficacy of
Hindu ceremonies of incantation, etc., to destroy his enemies which became from
1791 his one obsession.

But these writers have not gone deep enough into the matter. If they had done
so, they could have found out that Tipu from the very beginning of his rule was
as sympathetic and faithful to the Hindus as to the Muslims. The numerous
charities and endowments he made to several Hindus and Hindu institutions are
given below:

1782 (i) An order directing Haridasayya, Amildar of the Baramahal Territory to
resume for the Sarkar all the lands and franchises, except Devadayam and
Brhamadayam (Temple and Brahmin Endowments). (See Baramahal Records (B.R), Section V, p. 39).

(ii) Grant of Kothanuthala, a village in the present Cudappah district, to one Ramachar, son of Komachar, for the puja of the Anjaneyaswami temple of Gandikota (Local Records (L.R.), Vol IV, p.434).

(iii) A sanad in Marathi issued to his Amildar Konappa directing him
to allow the Swamiji of Pushpagiri Mutt to enjoy the revenues of Thongapalli and
Golapalli. (L.R., Vol. IV, p.474).

(iv) A sanad ordering the continuation of the usual worship of Venkatachalapali temple and restoration of the discontinued puja of Anjaneyaswami temple at Pulivendla in Cuddapah district (L.R., Vol. IV, p. 280).

(v) Grant of Gattupet Agraharam as 'Serva Manayam' for the expenses of
Narsimhaswami temple of that place at a lesser rate than in his predecessor's
time (L.R., Vol. IV, p.289).

1783 (i) An Agraharam grant to Himakuntala Laksminarasimha Somayyaji and five
other in the south of the village of Potladurthi, Kamalapuram taluqa (L.R..,
Vol. II, pp. 294-95).

1784 (i) A sanad granting Venktampali Agraharam to Venkatachala Sastri and a
number of Brahmins, requiring them to dedicate their time praying for the length
of his life and prosperity (B.R., Vol. V, p. 135).

(ii) On Baba Budangiri, there is what is called Dattatreya Peetah, an
inscription referring to Tipu's restoration of twenty villages given originally
by the Kings of Anegondi to the Pettah (Mysore Archaeological Report (M.A.R.) of
1931, p. 21).

1785 (i) A grant to the Naraswami Temple of Melukote of 12 elephants sent
through the naik Srinivasachar (S.R. 77, Epigraphia Carnatica, Vol. 3).

(ii) Grant of Chintagunta to Krinampatu (L.R.., Vol. 3, p. 32).

1786 (i) Grant of kettledrum to the temple of Narasimhaswami of Melkota (M.A.R.,
1916, p.39).

(ii) A Sanskrit verse in the Canarese script recording the grant of
lands to the temples and Brahmins on the banks of the Tungabhadra (L.R., Vol.
24, p. 16).

(iii) Grant of village of Ramakrishnam Botlupalli as shortryam to
Ramakrishnam Botlu (L.R., Vol. 3, pp. 31-32).

1787 Grant of permission for the construction of a mosque on the side of a Hindu
temple got from the Brahmins with their goodwill (M.A.R., 1935), p. 61, and
Miles' History of the Reign of Tipu Sultan.

1788 (i) A Marathi inscription ordering Asuf Mohamed to continue the enjoyment
of the villages of Oballapet and Koppolu to Rangacharlu and Sumati
Srinivasacharlu togrther with other allowances (Inscriptions of Madras
Presidency by Rangachari, Cud. 364).

(ii) Continuation of all manyams to Chennekeswaraswami Temple of
Machunur (L.R., Vol. 2, p. 275).

(iii) A sanad of Tipu granting a hereditary annual pension of ten
pagodas to one Narasimhajoshi, a panchangi (B.R., Section 18, p. 98).

(iv) Continuation of grant of life pension to Rama pandit, physician
(B.R., Section 18, p.98).

1789 Grant of pension to Venkannachari and Srinivasa Moorthi Achari (B.R.,
Section 18, p.111).

1790 (i) A Canarese inscription recording Tipu's grant as Inam of Kamalapuram to
Lakshmikanthachari (L.R., Vol. 10, p. 258).

(ii) An order of Tipu to Haridasayya, Amildar of Baramahal, directing
the restoration of the land attached to the Devasthanam of Chandramowliswara in
the village of Kaveripatti for the purpose of Paditharam and Dhiparadhanam on
the representation of the fact by Sankarayya Pujari of Salem District, with all
the produce that may have been collected from it in the interim, agreeable to
the established custom. (B.R., Section 5, p. 116).

1791-1799 Letters to Sringeri Mutt. 1. (1792) Supply of men and money necessary
for the reconstruction of the Saraswathi Idol pulled out during the Mahratta
raid on Mysore (M.A.R., 19 [sic], p. 74).

1793 Letter to Sringeri Swami requesting him to live in his [Tipu's] country
only and to pray to God for the increase of his prosperity.

1782-92 Directing that 1/64 of the grant made to Anandabhatt Gopalabhat of
Anyampettah must be used for the maintenance of Lakshminarasimha Pagoda of that village (B.R., Section V, p. 10).

(ii) Presentation of a Dutch bell (carried from the Christian churches of Malabar) to the Venkaramana Temple of Nagar (N.R.78, Epigraphia Carnatica, Vol. VIII, Part II).

(iii) Presentation of a silver jeweled cup to the Srikanteswara Temple at Nanjangud. (M.A.R., 1918).

(iv) A proverb in vogue in Kanakala of South Canara Didtrict----
'Tipu Sultan Ale Ruppe', referring to the silver jewels that Tipu presented to
Veera Hanuman Temple of Kanakala.

(v) Babayya Durga at Penukonda and the Durga of Sayyad Salar Masul
Sahib near Tonnur (Mysore Archaeological Survey Report of 1939, Part II, p. 27).

(vi) Pervali Kyfit--- During the rule of Tipu, at the temple of Sri Ranga of that village all the daily, annual and other periodical pujas, festivals, processions, worships, with all facilities and privileges provided for everyone connected with that temple according to traditions and all the court officials personally supported all the performances of the pujas (L.R.,Vol. 40, pp. 462-63).

(vii) In Tipu's time, the idol was installed in the Prasanna Venkateswara temple in Uratur in Kommaditima and provision was made for the expenses of daily worship and inam lands were granted to the Archakars and other servants of the temple (L.R., Vol. 10, p. 180).

(ix) On Bababudangiri there is what is called Dattatreya Peetah an inscription referring to Tipu's restoration of 20 villages given by the Kings of Aregundi to the Mutt (M.A.R., 1931, p. 21).

(x) Tipu's sanad for an annual allowance of 85 chakras to the two Pagodas of Lakshminarayana and Somasundaraswami of Doulatabad (B.R., Vol. 22, p.8).

Notes and References

S.N. Sen, Indian Antiquary, Vol. 48, p. 102.
S. Krishnaswami Iyengar, 'Sidelights on Character of Haider Ali and Tipu', The
Hindu, Madras, 2 April 1939.
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<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->The Portuguese came to India primarily for trade and commerce.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

The Portuguese rule in Goa must truly go down as one of the most barbaric periods in human history. On a smaller scale, it is reminiscent to the destruction of the South American civilizations. The dreaded inquistion of the 1560s, the wholescale destruction and plunder of thousands of Hindu temples, the ruthless conversion, rape and cultural holocaust perpetrated on the Hindus make for horrific reading, and are every bit comparable with the Islamic holocaust. At the height of the cultural holocaust, the ratio of Christians to Hindus was something like 100,000 christians to 3000 Hindus. Yet, this bitter chapter in Hindu history has largely been swept under the carpet. And for many, Goa remains a tropical utopia -- the traveler's ultimate destination of sun and tan, beach-whores and toddy.

Here are some links which describe the history of Goa in brief:

Brief Summary of the Rulers of Goa
(Describes in a nutshell how the reigns of power changed hands rapidly from Vijayanagar to Bijapur and finally to the Portuguese Barbarians)

Goa through the Ages
(A Succint summary of the history of Goa, especially the tyranny and barbarism of the Christians)

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