• 0 Vote(s) - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Colonial History of India
The India Act

Saturday August 3, 1935
The Guardian

The India Bill became law yesterday. The more than Herculean task which is now at last completed began with the appointment of the Statutory Commission in 1927. From first to last our statesmanship suffered because the Secretary of State for India, sitting in Westminster, was constantly tempted to think more of the difficulties in carrying a Bill through the British Parliament than of the need for devising a Constitution not only suitable to Indian conditions but also satisfactory to India's natural aspirations. Hence the original mistake of appointing a Statutory Commission composed exclusively of British Parliamentarians. Hence, too, it came that in drafting the Commissions Report Sir John Simon wrote as an Englishman addressing himself mainly to the British public, thus missing an opportunity to speak for and to India. The mistake was partially rectified and India's voice was given a hearing at the three Round-table Conferences. Better results would have been achieved had those conferences been more fully representative. But for their defects the Indian Congress must share the blame. In spite of all, these conferences made an extraordinary change in men's minds both in England and in India, and active co-operation between the Indian Princes and British India, hitherto regarded as unattainable in this generation, was surprisingly and immediately secured on the initiative of the Princes. When the design for the new Constitution left the conferences and came back to the hands of the British Cabinet, the Joint Select Committee and, and Parliament the atmosphere in India rapidly deteriorated, the old mists of mistrust and pessimism rolled up again. Few of the men of the Round Table had much heart to dispel them. Indeed, they had little chance of doing so., since in England the champions of the new Constitution had their thoughts concentrated on defeating Mr. Churchill and his cavemen. For that end they laboured mightily to prove that the reservations and safeguards gave the Governor General , the Provincial Governors, and the Princes complete control over India's future. Young India paid more attention to these arguments than did Mr. Churchill or Lord Lloyd.Advertiser links
Donate Your Car to an Animal Charity
Donate your car to a animal charity. Choose from 1 of dozens...


Adopt a Panda - World Wildlife Fund
Adopt a panda to help save this cuddly animal. Your $25, $50...


Ark RAIN Wildlife Sanctuary and Rescue
With your charitable contributions, lions, primates, and...

The contention that the new Act puts full dictatorial powers in the hands of the Governor General and the Provincial Governors is perhaps true in law. But the crucial question is: "How far will these officers find it necessary to exercise these powers?" The official answer may be: "As far as they judge it necessary and right so to do." But in practise considerations of expediency must creep in beside considerations of morality. Cabinets responsible to Indian Legislatures cannot in practice be overruled if they have behind them not merely emotional or factious excitement but the persistent will of all good Indians - that is, a genuine national will. This same will force - not so far removed from Mr. Ghandi's soul force - can make its influence felt also on the princely members of the Federation persuading them to raise the law and administration in their States up to a standard of humanity not lower than that prevailing in Britain India. Thus the first task for Indian statesmen at the Federal Centre and in the Provinces should clearly be to create such a national will, capable of overriding communal differences, the selfish interests of races, castes, and occupations and even the doubts and fears of a Governor General. The obstacles in the way of creating such a national will are many. <b>First among them some place the communal system of election which has been imposed by the demand of the Moslems, </b>But not less serious are the prevalence of poverty and weakening disease, the lack of education and knowledge of the world, especially among the women, and defective communications which breed a more dangerous form of ignorance than illiteracy itself. These evils explain why it was impossible to introduce adult suffrage and perhaps why it is undesirable that adult suffrage should be introduced till some progress has been made towards remedying them.

But Indian politicians may choose to use the new Constitution not for creating a national will but tot demand it.
Lalu, Sonia, Priyanka, Rahul in textbooks
By: Narendra Kaushik
August 1, 2004
New Delhi: “The present walks by his side and the future is in his sight. Whether it is West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh or any other corner of the country, Laluji’s name and voice draw masses...Lalu may not be a mathematician but he has left behind the best of mathematicians in solving the questions of addition, subtraction, multiplication, division etc in practical life... Like Gandhi and Nehru, Lalu bhaiya has firmed up a new relationship with the society.”

Had this been a pamphlet circulated by Railway Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav’s party Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) during the polls in Bihar, it might not be shocking. But this is a portion of what is being taught to students of class VIII in the state ruled by Lalu’s wife Rabri Devi.

Written by one Harivansh Narayan and titled Mitti Ke Gaurav, the chapter on Lalu Yadav is part of a Hindi book approved by the director of elementary, secondary and adult education of the Bihar Government.

The book has been in circulation for over a decade. Interestingly, it is Lalu and his party who have been making the loudest noises on the NDA’s changes in history books. M A A Fatmi, an RJD MP and Minister of State (MoS) in the HRD ministry, has been vociferous about a return to the earlier syllabus.

However, Lalu Yadav is not the only ruling politician trying to capture the imagination of the next generation. From West Bengal and Gujarat to Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu to Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka, or any other state, textbooks and examination papers have become a tool in the hands of ruling class to promote themselves or their ideology.

How else would you explain A Family Tree, a chapter in a class V textbook, written by Annie Koshi, principal, and two other teachers of St Mary’s school, Delhi. It requires students to remember the names of Priyanka Vadra, husband Robert Vadra and brother Rahul Gandhi.

Additionally, they are also asked to stick their photos in boxes provided against the names. Rahul Gandhi has made it to the current Lok Sabha but Priyanka and Robert are yet to have a contribution written against their names.

Similarly, in Karnataka, the state ruled by the Congress-JD (S) combine, Hindi textbooks of class X place Sonia Gandhi beside Rani Laxmibai of Jhansi in the chapter Bharatanari. Gandhi has been described as a great woman working for the emotional integration of the nation through Rajiv Gandhi Pratisthan (Rajiv Gandhi Foundation).

It might be interesting to see how many people have heard of the RGF or its contribution to the country’s social fabric.

Communists spearheading the campaign for restoration of books of Left historians are no less at fault. In fact, when Atal Behari Vajpayee took oath as Prime Minister in 1999, they used textbooks to make fun of India’s alleged subjugation to America.

Class VI students of the Municipal Corporation’s medium high school in Bardwan (West Bengal) talked about a picnic put together by Pervez (Musharraf), Atal and Bill (Clinton).

For the picnic, Bill lent equal amounts of money to the other two to buy provisions. The question then specifies Pervez and Atal’s purchase amounts and students are asked to calculate how much Bill gave them.

Another inter-school higher secondary test examination of Hindi asks the students to write on ‘Lal kile par laal nishan, maang raha hai Hindustan’ (India is demanding communist rule).

Ironically, the promotion of ruling politicians in textbooks is an issue that raises the hackles of all historians, and even disparate saffron and communists join hands to decry it.

“There is no sense in teaching day to day history. Politicians like Laloo are bent upon destroying history. You find this problem in all the states — may be in different degrees,” says Delhi University professor and an anti-saffron historian D N Jha.

Sandhya Jain, a critic of the Left historians, agrees. “It is not normally done. It should not be done. It’s too political to evaluate current politicians,” said Jain, while talking to this correspondent.

Fight club

HRD minister Arjun Singh has ordered that books written by Left historians be brought back in 2005-06, provoking saffron historians and the Sangh Parivaar to launch a movement for continuation of curriculum formulated by the NCERT under Murli Manohar Joshi.

President A P J Abdul Kalam has given a new twist to the controversy by criticising ‘indiscriminate and too frequent’ changes in school textbooks.

Last heard, the Cabinet Committee on Appointments (CCA) was to decide on the appointment of Delhi University professor Krishna Kumar to the post of NCERT director.

Earlier, the HRD ministry recommended Kumar’s name to the CCA from a panel of historians comprising Krishna Kumar, Vinod Raina and Vijay Kumar.

Sonia Gandhi

Hindi textbooks of class X, in Karnataka, place Sonia Gandhi beside Rani Laxmibai of Jhansi in the chapter Bharatanari. Gandhi has been described as a great woman working for the emotional integration of the nation through Rajiv Gandhi Pratisthan (Rajiv Gandhi Foundation)

Lalu Prasad Yadav

Titled Mitti Ke Gaurav, a Hindi textbook in Bihar has a chapter on Lalu Yadav. The textbook has been approved by the director of elementary, secondary and adult education of the Bihar Government and has been in circulation for more than a decade.

Priyanka Gandhi

Although they have not made it to the Parliament, they have made it to the history textbooks of class V students in New Delhi. The textbook requires students to remember the names of Priyanka Vadra and husband Robert Vadra

Rahul Gandhi

A history textbook in New Delhi asks students to stick Rahul’s photo in a box provided against his name

The Sangh Parivar’s transgressions

Like the communists and Congressmen, politicians owing allegiance to Sangh Parivaar too have missed no opportunity to propagate their ideology. Gujarat is often cited as an example where history has allegedly been communalised and minorities treated like foreigners.

According to Professor Arjun Dev, a historian in the national capital, there were allegations against Tamil Nadu chief minister Jayalalithaa in the early 90s that she was getting the school syllabus rewritten to boost her rating.

Dev was then member secretary of National Steering Committee, which was supposed to review the textbooks with a view on national integration. The committee was denied extension by Murli Manohar Joshi, the Human Resource Development (HRD) minister of Vajpayee government.

Joshi has been charged with showing bias against Left historians in reviewing textbooks. J S Rajput, then director of the National Council of Education, Research and Technology (NCERT), who claimed to have got the entire syllabus up to XII rewritten, ordered deletion of several portions from history books authored by the Left-oriented historians. These portions were related to Sikh guru Teg Bahadur, Jat rulers of Bharatpur, Ayodhya, Mathura and Aryans.

Portions deleted from the textbooks under the NDA

*In 1675, Guru Teg Bahadur was arrested with five of his followers, brought to Delhi and executed. The official explanation for this, as given in some later Persian sources, is that after his return from Assam, the guru, in association with one Hafiz Adam, a follower of Shaikh Ahmad Sirhindi, had resorted to plunder, laying waste the whole province of Punjab.

*Meat was served as a mark of honour (although in later centuries Brahmanas were forbidden to eat beef)... If a man killed another man, he had to give a hundred cows to the family of the dead man as punishment (Ancient India by Romila Thapar, p.40-41).

*They (Jats) founded their State of Bharatpur wherefrom they conducted plundering raids in the regions around and participated in the court intrigues at Delhi. (Modern India by Arjun Dev and Indira Arjun Dev, p.21).
8The Puranic tradition could be used to date Rama of Ayodhya around 2,000 BC, but diggings and extensive explorations in Ayodhya do not show any settlement around that date... Similarly, although Krishna plays an important part in the Mahabharata, the earliest inscriptions and sculptural pieces found in Mathura between 200 BC and AD 300 do not attest his presence. (Ancient India by R S Sharma, p.20-21)

*The cattle wealth slowly decimated because the cows and bullocks were killed in numerous Vedic sacrifices. (Ancient India by R S Sharma, p-90).

*People (living in the old age in South-eastern Rajasthan, western Madhya Pradesh, western Maharashtra and elsewhere) certainly ate beef, but they did not take pork on any considerable scale (Ancient India by R S Sharma, p.45).

*The anti-sacrifice attitude of Buddhism and of Ashoka naturally brought loss to the Brahmanas, who lived on the gifts made to them in various kinds of sacrifices. Hence in spite of the tolerant policy of Ashoka, the brahmanas developed some kind of antipathy to him. (Ancient India by R S Sharma pp.137-138).

*What was done by slaves and other producing sections in Greece and Rome under the threat of whip was done by the Vaishyas and Shudras out of conviction formed through brahmanical indoctrination and the Varna system. (Ancient India by R S Sharma, pp.240-241).
<span style='font-size:14pt;line-height:100%'><b>The Life and Death of Wāsudeo Balwant Phadke</b></span>

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->“Even as the nation celebrates its 57th Independence Day, with the usual accolades being showered upon the father of the Nation, who wielded the remarkable weapon of Satyagraha against the might of the British Empire, it may also be worth remembering some of the other unsung heroes of the Freedom Struggle, whose intentions, aspirations, and sacrifices were equally noble, though their means of execution often violent.”<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

As noted above, it may be worth our while spending some time tracing the origins of militant or armed nationalism and the relative rôle that it played in the Indian Freedom Struggle. While this movement as such belongs to 20th century (which produced such a plethora of revolutionaries), instances of armed resistance to British authority are many in the latter half of the 19th century, and manifested in forms like Wahabism, the Kuka revolt in Panjāb, the Birsa Movement in Chotanāgpur etc. To this may be added the repercussions of the Indigo planatation outrages (one of the blackest chapters of the British rule) and the agrarian riots of Poona (1875). Also, as I observed elsewhere, Wahabism, which some have equated with a Muslim national movement, was basically a religious movement which transferred its aggression from the Sikhs to the British.

What all these mass rebellions tried to achieve, one single man in Maharashtra attempted, by single handedly taking on the British, aided by the strength of his arms alone! Incongruous as it sounds, Wāsudeo Balwant Phadke (1845–1883) has gone down as one of the (relatively) unsung heroes of the Freedom Struggle. I have to say that the tale of Wāsudeo Balwant Phadke is not a very romantic one; on the contrary, it has a rather abrupt and tragic ending. But, nonetheless, it does raise some philosophical questions as regards to the means that may be employed to achieve a political end.

It is not my intention to lionize or glorify him out of proper proportion or commend some of the methods he employed, which were often barbaric and unsuited to the times. Indeed, in the final analysis, one of the most tragic aspects of Wāsudeo’s unsuccessful attempt was that his final victims were hapless Baniyas and other townsfolk of Maharashtra, while his actual enemies, the British, he could never touch. Yet, he left a legacy which within a quarter of a century would spread all over India and attain menacing proportions.

A very interesting echo or parallel to his life may be found in Bankim Chandra’s 1882 novel “Anandamath”, which describes the doings of a heroic band of brigand sanyasis, looting government treasuries and bravely fighting the British Empire. Indeed, some of the scenes of Anandamath – like revolutionaries hiding in remote forests and temples, enlisting the support of local militias, swooping down upon government hoards, and using the money to train an army – are all very reminiscent of Wāsudeo’s own deeds and settings. Another interesting parallel is that Phadke’s hatred towards the British was inflamed by the famine which ravaged western India in 1876-77. Bankim’s militant sanyasis too were deeply stirred by the terrible Bengal famine of 1772. It is quite amazing how Bankim’s novel, embedded the great song “Bande Mātaram”, went on to inspire a whole generation of patriots, not just from Bengal, but all over India!

The best way to narrate Phadke’s tale is to weave in excerpts from his own diary and biography :
[This account is largely drawn from RC Majumdar’s “British paramountcy and Indian Renaissance”, (Vol IX of “The History and Culture of the Indian People”, Bharati Vidya Bhavan, ed. RC Majumdar)]

“Born in1845 in the district of Kolaba near Bombay, Wāsudeo Balwant did not receive much education, but just enough knowledge of English to secure a government service, which he did in his teens.” [From early childhood, he never had any great inclination towards studies.] “In 1863, he joined the Commissariat (Military Accounts) and continued there for over 15 years.”

“Extremely sensitive and impulsive by nature, Wāsudeo had developed a feeling of profound dislike for the British government and that feeling deepened into hatred when in 1869 there was some delay on part of his superiors in granting him leave for which he had applied on account of his mother’s illness. It was sanctioned too late and when he rushed to his mother’s bedside she was already dead.”

This apart, his feelings of hatred were further stirred by the terrible famines of 1867-77 and he grew firmly convinced that the British were the sole cause of India’s miseries. It occurred to him that if only he could stir up the minds of youths and make them aware of the injustice and oppression they were subject to, he would soon be able to organize a militia which would rise in rebellion against the British. To this end, he began organizing and training a band of young men in the use of arms. But his passionate appeals found little sympathy among the educated people and he had to garner support from the lower or backward communities of Maharashtra like the Ramoshis.

Practical considerations led him to realize that the only way he could raise a militia was by acquiring money through dacoity. He gave lectures in Pune and other places to expound this idea. From his autobiography we get a glimpse of the workings of his febrile mind, fully consumed as he was by the thought of ruining the British. He writes:

“First of all, having gone to Narooba’s Wada, I performed prayers. Going and coming on the road, I poisoned the minds of the people against the Europeans. My mind turned against the English and I wished to ruin them. From morn to night, while bathing, eating, and sleeping I was constantly brooding over this – how will I destroy the British. I used to get up at midnight and rave as one mad.”

He seems to have had some innate skill in arms, coupled with a warlike urge. He writes: “I have a great love for weapons and always kept 2 or 3 guns, 5-6 swords, pattas (long swords), spears, etc by my side”
[This was subsequently corroborated by the search results of his house in Pune by the Police.]

Finally, on 20th February 1879, having obtained some money from a Sāwarkar, he decided to put his scheme of dacoity into practice. He held a large scale meeting at a village called Loni Khand, 12 miles from Pune on the Nagar road. Here he expounded to his followers his ambitious plans of disrupting the British trains, telegraph, and postal systems. Further, he described how he would fall upon the prisons and set all the convicts free, and then plunder the treasury with the help of an armed band. Again and again, in passionate terms, he elucidated to his band the need to raise money.

Two days later, theory was put into practice as he and his men committed a dacoity in the village of Dhamari. He describes how he broke into nearly all shops and looted about Rs 400 and had a short skirmish with the police. The terror stricken inhabitants fled, but public support was not all together lacking for his enterprise. It is said that a lady of a distinguished family prepared food for Phadke’s party while they were hiding in the ravines.

He soon received intelligence that the cavalry were coming after him, but managed to avoid the police by seamlessly drifting into the local populace. He tried hard to befriend them and elicit their sympathies with his exhortations: “Trust me and have no fear of me… the day of comforts for ryots has come…” Accordingly, some villagers brought him milk and curds.

In this vein Phadke continued his spate of dacoities and several villages were looted. But his ambitions of looting the Government Treasury received a setback when he painfully realized that he could hardly depend upon his raiding Ramoshis for such a major enterprise. They were hardly inspired by patriotic feeling and had joined him out of selfish interests – that is, to partake in the plunder. He expresses his bitterness and frustration at his rabble thus:

“Seeing what had occurred in the last 10 days, I began to seriously consider what all this would end in, and how I could ever accomplish anything with such people (Ramoshis), who on committing a dacoity first of all rob and make away with the booty and then bully for their share of the division. Under such circumstances, how can 200 men be collected?” He further laments: “If only I had 200 men, I would have looted the Khed treasury. With this, I could have raised a cavalry of 500 horses. If only I had horsemen, they would have been good men, not deceitful like these Ramoshis, who fear to go before guns, but have such great avarice for money!”
[In this respect, they were not unlike the raiding cavalry of the Holkars which a century earlier had terrorized many lands.]

Despite these difficulties Phadke seems to have continued his guerilla movement through the 1870s. Repeatedly he pleaded to the people that all human endeavors start small, but soon swell in force, and that some day the tide would definitely turn against the British. These pleas often fell deaf ears, but he found some support from the Dhangar community. On the night of March 29th, 1879, Phadke committed two dacoities, but soon after brawls broke out over the distribution of the plunder. Phadke realized that the Ramoshis had misappropriated part of the loot without even informing him.

Fully disgusted and disillusioned by this, Phadke decided to abandon his plans and live the life of a wandering mendicant. He was so distraught that all his high ideals had come to nothing that he even seems to have contemplated ending his life. In the guise of a mendicant, wearing long disheveled hair, he wandered through many regions like Nasik, Nagar, Khandesh, Berar, Indore, Ujjain, Kolhapur, Tasgaon, Miraj, Sangli, Baroda etc. Finally, he retired to remote shrine in the Kurnool district. And there, fully weighed down by his self-appointed task of fighting the might of the British Empire, an air of resignation and despair seems to have come over him. He laments pathetically:
“Finding no success to be to be obtained in this world, I having gone to world above should plead on behalf of the people of India…” Then, dreading the consequences of the British rule he says “It is not my life alone, but thousands of others will be killed for I am not alone in this struggle.” Thus, despite masterminding brutal crimes, in the core of his heart he always seemed to have the larger end in view and his depth of feeling for his fellow countrymen is quite touching: “I have only seven days to live. So I bow before the feet of all of you, my dear brethren, citizens of India and give up my life for you. I pray to God that he may take my life as a sacrifice for your welfare. I will remain pleading for you in the just court of God.”

But suddenly all this despondency seems to worn off and he was back to his normal self again. He made his way to a Ghanur, village near Sholapur and soon he came in contact with one Raghunath Moreshwar Bhatt. The latter turned out to be the very ally Phadke had needed all these years. But his position was now quite desperate, with a highly tempting government reward of Rs 3000 hanging for his head.

Bhatt promised him 200 men, though it must be said that the choice of the men was rather dubious. He introduced Phadke to one Ismail Khan, a Rohilla brigand. The Rohilla chief agreed to supply Phadke 500 Rohillas at a rate of Rs 10 per mensem each. A formal agreement was signed to this effect.
[This sudden, unnatural friendship with the Rohillas strikes one as the most bizarre part of the tale. It is very strange how Phadke – who would definitely have retained some historical memories – could have even thought of forging an alliance with the Rohillas, the avowed enemies of the Marathas at the battle of Panipat.]

Be that as it may, Raghunath also managed to muster a few other men, and finally it all totaled to a band of 900 armed men, including the 500 Rohillas. But alas, Phadke’s dream of putting these men to good use would never come true. The British, who by now had got full wind of all his activities, were in hot pursuit. Major Daniel, on the information supplied by spies arrived at Ghanur and surrounded the village. Phadke managed to escape but to his ill luck, his papers fell into the hands of Daniel. Raghunath’s mother had actually thrown them into the river but they were recovered by Daniel. Among the documents salvaged, were a Bombay army map, a diary, and several proclamations offering rewards with sums of Rs 10,000 or 5000, etc for the Governor’s head, and similar incentives for the lesser Europeans. Another very curious document was recovered which sheds some light about what could have proved to be the actual undoing of Phadke. There was a letter written by an astrologer recommending Phadke to Maulvi Mahmood Sahib, who as the head of the Rohillas and Arabs in the Nizam’s service.
[The whole thing sounds very unnatural. There is little doubt that Phadke was betrayed by one of his own militia men, lured by the prospect of a handsome government reward, rather than dying for the country. There was definitely someone somewhere in his loop playing a dirty double game.]

Phadke fled from place to place, but was relentlessly hunted by Major Daniel and Abdul Haque, a henchman of the Nizam, until they finally came across him lying asleep in the precincts of a temple in the remote village of Dever Nadigi in the Kaladgi district of Hyderabad, at 3 am on 21st July 1879. Thus ended the tale of the unfortunate Wāsudeo Balwant Phadke.

The rest may be told very briefly. He was tried under various sections of the law for collection of men, arms, and ammunition with the intent of waging war against the Queen, and for exciting feeling of disaffection against the Government. All these charges were amply proved by his diary, his autobiography and his own confessions. He was sentenced to transportation for life, with the Government deciding to send him to Aden rather than the Andamans (where Veer Sāwarkar another heroic revolutionary had to eke out his miserable days, churning the oil mill). He was fettered, trussed and placed in solitary confinement in a small cell in Aden. But even in such straits, Phadke managed to pull off a miraculous escape by wrenching a door off its hinges and using the hinge to break his fetters! The spirit and courage of the man is truly admirable! Unfortunately, though, he was recaptured the very next day. Now Phadke’s spirit was at last broken and by August 1882 he reduced his food by half and developed Phthisis. Gradually he sank and died on February 17th 1882.

Tragic though his end was, Wāsudeo did play his part in sowing the seeds of militant Indian nationalism, which, in conjunction with the “Civil Disobedience” and “Non-cooperation” movements would very soon threaten the existence of the British Empire in India. He was thus a worthy predecessor to the likes of Bhagat Singh and Chandrashekar Azad who sacrificed their lives in the great struggle.

Finally, as the great historian RC Majumdar sums up, Wāsudeo’s life raises some philosophical questions about the eternal problem of “how far the end justifies the means.” The Indian freedom struggle produced great heroes at both ends of the spectrum, with the Mahatma on the one hand and Subash Bose on the other. Inspiring as their individual lives may be, it is still a perennial problem as to what constitutes a mature human response to tyranny, hegemony, and oppression. Wasudeo’s life also illustrates how difficult it is to secure support even for just causes. While many may condemn the sorry state of affairs vociferously, how many actually have the guts to sacrifice their lives for a cause? But wait a moment. I think I should actually recant that statement -- given the recent plethora of suicide bombings, jihads etc in various parts of the world. It is probably much easier to sacrifice one’s life than to actually get down and dirty with the bureaucratic machinery. This is especially relevant in the context of the apathetic response to the many social, political, and environmental challenges that Indian society faces. Very soon, one realizes to one’s despair that just like Wasudeo, any attempt at change will most likely result in a sordid end. "Things will never change". So, why not just keep quiet and accept things as they are? Yet, it takes but one spark to set ablaze a haystack; So too, it takes just a few men to inspire an entire nation.... (Or so the idealist would think.)
This is from "Imagining Hinduism" pp 46-49. [not verbatim, except when it is quotes...]

William Jones: Within a short time of coming to India he bagan
composing hymns to female deities. He appropriates Hindu goddesses and constructs a different Hinduism in the process. <b>Three hymns are discussed - two of which are concerned with pragmantic matters (British Rule in India) while the other one is abour recovering for Hindus their glorious past.</b> It is ironic that Jones sought "pagan" deities' favor in order to legitimize colonial authority.

His appeal to lakshmi (1799) is because of the appeal lakshmi has in her representation and usefulness in establishing the colonial rule. Lakshmi symbolizes good fortune, peace, happiness, well being and harmondy. <b>So, all that lakshmi signifies for hindus, was selected to legitimize colonial project.</b>

<b>"He (Jones) implores Laksmi to instruct the "erring Hindu mind"
muddled by "priestly wiles" and urges the Hindu to look to the
British who have come to establish a just and benign rule - with "the wand of empire, not the rod". Obviously Jones sees the British government as a blessing for the natives who are still too much in their infancy to be able to manage their own affairs and who are therefore in need of the benevolent support of the colonial parent."</b>

Oh! Bid the patient Hindu rise and live
His erring mind, that wizard lore beguiles
Clouded by priestly wiles,
To senseless nature bows for nature's GOD.
Now, stretch'd o'er ocean's vast from happier isles,
He sees the wand of empire, not the rod:
Ah, may those beans, that western skies illume,
Disperse th' unholy gloom!
Meanwhile may laws, by myrriads long rever'd
Their strife appease, their gentrler claims decide;
So shall theri victors, mild with virtous pride,
To many a cherish'd grateful race endear'd
with temper'd love be fear'd:
Though mists profance obscure their narrow ken,
They err, yet feel; though pagans, they are men.
[Jones 1799c;365]"

"<i>We may be inclined perhaps to think that the wild fables of the
idolaters are not worth knowing, and that we may be satisfied with mis-spending our time in learning the Pagan theology of old Greece and Rome; but we must consider, that the allegories contained in the Hymn to Lacshmi[sic] constitute at this moment the prevailing of a most extensive and celebrated Empire, and are devoutly believed by many millions, whose industry adds to the revenue of Britain, and whose manners, which are interwoven with theri religious opinions, nearly affect all Europeans, who reside among them [<b>Jones 1799c:356</b>]"</i>

As with his hymn to ganga, Jones is concerned with the implementation of the imperial project in India. <b>One of the marks of colonialism is that it makes the vanquished participate in their defeat and offer their gratitude to those who dispossed them. In this, Jones speaks as a hindu, playing the role of a native, who welcomes the arrival of the british and their desire to govern Indian subjects. He further attributes this work to a "BRAHMEN, in the early age of ANTIQUITY".

In treating this work as of a brahmin pandit of antiquity, he not only legitimized British rule, thus presenting brahmin pandits as willing collaborators in the establishment of British Rule in India. In the last stanza to Goddess Ganga, Jones implores Ganga to be kind to the British rulers who have come from colder regions to govern the natives by their own Sanskrit Laws.</b>
Mmore on other hymns later..
Veer Savarkar in perspective by Bulbul Roy Mishra

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Veer Savarkar was no more when I was born, and hence, my understanding of him and his philosophy is entirely based on contemporary writings, current analysis, historic documents and my own perception. Born in 1883, Savarkar was fearless, determined and dedicated to the cause of liberation of his motherland from his early childhood, as is evident from the records.

His "Monkey Brigade" when he was just 11, leading role in Shivaji and Ganesh Utsav when in high school, founding of the Abhinav Bharat Society while studying in a Pune college, and public bonfire of foreign clothes in 1906 bear testimony to his leadership quality and love for the motherland. As his activities were anti-British, he was expelled from college. However,hisscholastic journey to study law in London was not prevented.

While in London he wrote a biography of Gieuseppe Mazzini, the great Italian revolutionary, which became a source of inspiration for the Indian freedom fighters. His magnum opus, The Indian War of Independence, 1857, written in London but published in Holland by Bhikaji Cama without a cover or a name, and was smuggled into India by a Muslim friend, belied the British disinformation that it was just a sepoy mutiny.

Savarkar also designed the first Indian national flag while in London, and Madam Cama unfurled it at the World Socialist Conference at Stuttgart, Germany. In 1910, he was arrested in London on the charge of transporting pistols illegally to India and abetting assassination. While being deported to India for trial on the vessel Morena, he escaped through a toilet window and swam his way to Marseilles. Unfortunately, the French police arrested him and handed him over to the British. He was eventually sentenced to 50 years of rigorous imprisonment, and thrown into the dungeons of Andaman.

After 16 years in prison, Savarkar was transferred to Ratnagiri jail and later kept under house arrest. In 1937, he was unconditionally released. By that time Mahatma Gandhi's non-violent movement snatched the momentum and, therefore, leaders like Savarkar slipped into the background. During this period, Savarkar was actively associated with the Hindu Mahasabha and advocated aggressive Hindutva and the "two nations" theory. He died as a renunciant in 1966.

Though his heroics were undisputed and recognised by tall leaders of the freedom movement including Mahatma Gandhi, Nehru and Bose, Savarkar is much maligned on three counts by his detractors. First, his statement in 1937 made in the Hindu Mahasabha that India was not a homogeneous nation, but it comprised two nations in the main. Second, his mercy petitions to the British Raj from Andaman jail with a promise of loyalty. Third, his vicarious liability arising from the assassination of Gandhi by Nathuram Godse, a Savarkarite. Let us now examine the above three grounds of detraction.

Taking up the last count first, criminal laws pertaining to assassination or murder do not recognise vicarious liability. Like Marx and Lenin cannot be held liable for killings by Marxists and Leninists in India, it is illogical to condemn Savarkar for the assassination of Gandhi by Godse. Besides, even after painstaking investigation, the allegation against Savarkar was not proved. And, therefore, such baseless allegation - a mischievous political ploy - merits outright rejection.

As for his mercy petitions to the Raj, while the British were extraordinarily kind and understanding toward Gandhi and Nehru, who were often released on humanitarian grounds without asking, Savarkar could not secure his release even after promising good conduct. This proves the British did not trust Savarkar, a follower of Shivaji. The British rejected his petitions after cautious evaluation based on the report of Sir Reginald Craddock's who interviewed him in jail in 1913. Therefore, there is no justification in taking those petitions seriously. Viewed in perspective, the letters were tactically sound as Savarkar had no other escape route, and the nation needed his leadership at that juncture.

Let us now dwell on his "two-nation" theory propounded in 1937. It is undeniable that both Savarkar and the Hindu Mahasabha championed Akhand Bharat under Hindu hegemony, and were against Partition which Jinnah demanded. But it amounts to deliberate distortion of history to say that Jinnah was influenced by the "two-nation" theory of Savarkar, for then neither Savarkar nor the Hindu Mahasabha were a force to reckon with. Gandhi was the undisputed leader. The root of the "two-nation" theory lay much deeper.

Six centuries of Islamic rule in India witnessed large scale migration of Muslims to this country taking pride in their foreign blood in a land of kafirs. They never identified themselves with the rest of Indians including Islamic converts. It was predominantly the descendants of those immigrants who demanded a portion of India for themselves on religious criterion, refusing to accept domination of the Gandhian Congress which to them was a Hindu party.

Savarkar's only fault was that instead of being hypocritical, he spelt it out - called a spade a spade. His aggressive Hindu nationalism was intended to prevent Partition which he had foreseen. That he was not dogmatic is evident from his refusal to consider cow as holy and astrology as rational. He remarked, "It may be that at some time the word 'Hindu' may come to indicate a citizen of Hindustan and nothing else!" That time has since come with a vast majority of Indian Muslims sharing a common heritage, culture and tradition with Hindus and the rest, which was not the case with immigrant Muslims at the time of Savarkar. Thus, one has to understand Savarkar in perspective.

Veer Savarkar, a firm believer in Vivekananda's timeless, universal, non-discriminatory Vedantic Hindutva, chose to make it assertive owing to contemporary realities, until the nation would elevate to a state where all differences became apparent and not real, superficial and not substantial. Any attempt to insult this great patriot's memory either betrays ignorance or deliberate mischief.

Partition: A retrospective

Ruby Nishat

In the letter, "Misplaced assertions" (August 11), Mr KR Phanda has endeavoured to coin his theory that the Muslims demanded Pakistan and that those who feel deprived among them can undertake hijrat to that country. In the same issue, Mr DK Mittal, in his letter, "Possibly harmful intent", wrote that the status of Muslim women is woeful and the madarsas are a threat to the country. Such judgemental views display the writers' ignorance and their deep-seated phobia against Indian Muslims.

Starting with Partition, it may surprise many that a majority of Muslims were in the favour of undivided India. In Punjab and NWFP, where the first elections were held under the Government of India Act, 1935, the Muslim League lost badly to the Congress, though in both the states Muslims were in majority. It was only in Uttar Pradesh, the League won some 26 out of the 64 provincial Assembly seats reserved for Muslims.

We must remember that there was no adult franchise then and less than 10 per cent of propertied class people had the right to vote. Therefore, only 3.3 per cent of the Muslims had voted for the Muslim League, who later migrated to what is today Pakistan and Bangladesh. Muslims who remained in India had never voted for Pakistan. The Congress had many Muslim leaders like Maulana Azad, Rafi Ahmed Kidwai, Moinul Haq, etc., who strongly opposed the creation of Pakistan.

<b>Indeed, much before the Muslim League, it was Lala Lajpat Rai who had pleaded for the division of Punjab and Bengal on communal lines in a series of 13 articles in The Tribune (November 26 to December 17,1924). Later even the Hindu Mahasabha advocated the theory. </b>The copy of Hindu Mahasabha's memorandum to Stafford Cripps can be found in Government records. Therefore, it is not fair to hold Muslims solely responsible for Partition.

Coming to the issue of family planning, Muslim couples in the child bearing age practicing family planning in 1970 was nine per cent (Hindus 14 per cent) and in 1980 it was 22.5 per cent (Hindus 36.1 per cent) (Operation Research Group, Baroda 1981). Thus, the number of additional Muslims taking to family planning is keeping pace with the number of Hindus doing the same. As regards the status of Muslim women, they are much better than Hindu women because of lesser percentage of child marriages, lesser instances of divorce, absence of practices like sati, devdasi, maitrikaran, and beejdaan, etc.

<b>Cases of bride burning, female foeticide, female infanticide etc., are hardly heard among Muslims. Further, the ratio of Muslim female for every 1000 Muslim male is 935 against 930 among Hindus (Census Report 1991). According to the Report of Department of Welfare, Ministry of Education & Social Welfare (1975) during the decades 1941-51 and 1951-61 the percentage of polygamy among Hindus was 7.15 and 5.06 per cent whereas for Muslims it was found to be 7.06 and 4.31 per cent. Further, as per Census Report 1961, the polygamy percentage among Muslim was 5.7 per cent while among Hindus it was 5.8 per cent. </b>

As for madarsas, these played a vital role in the freedom struggle. <b>Deobandi ulemas stood equal with other leading freedom fighters. Many ulemas were close to Gandhi and Nehru. There were others who travelled widely in Europe soliciting support for the cause of India's freedom.</b> If madarsas are breeding ground for terrorism, then why the erstwhile NDA Government did not prosecute even a single madarsa for doing so?

First time I have heard this :
PROGRAMME 4: Monday 20th September

Housed in a vault in an obscure music library in Germany is a recording by a Luftwaffe Orchestra of the current Indian National Anthem.

This would not be noteworthy except for the year 1942, which is clearly written on the old vinyl disc. This was in the middle of World War 2 and not a time for jolly renditions of other countries national songs.

Not, that is, unless it was the anthem of an ally. Yet India at that time was ruled by Germany's enemy, Britain and still swayed to the tune of God Save the King. So what was going on?

Mike Thomson investigates the little known story of the Free India Legion made up of thousands of soldiers from the sub-continent that donned German uniforms and marched with the Nazis.

Recruited by the Indian Revolutionary leader, Chandra Bose, they teamed up with Germany in the hope of getting Hitler's help in driving Britain from India. At one point they were asked to dig in along the Atlantic Wall in France in preparation to fight the British.

Mike Thomson follows their footsteps and talks to surviving members of the legion, German soldiers who fought with them and French resistance men who fought against them.

View Hitler's Indian army image gallery
Listen to the Hitler's Indian army programme after broadcast
`Indians, not Hume, conceived Congress'
By Our Staff Reporter

MADURAI, SEPT. 28. The Indian National Congress had its origin at Mylapore in Madras, where a group of 17 Indians conceived the idea and it was not A.O. Hume who formed the movement, as mentioned in history textbooks, says S. Gopalakrishnan, former professor of history, Sri Venkateswara University, Tirupati.

"It is actually a handful of Indians who conceptualised the idea of forming the INC at a meeting held on Ramakrishna Mutt Road during December, 1884, where a plaque with a relevant inscription is still there." Historians including Bipan Chandra shared this view, he said delivering the keynote address at the inauguration of a national seminar on `popular movements of modern south India — a study of sources,' at the School of Historical Studies of Madurai-Kamaraj University here yesterday.

The idea of a national political organisation was conceived during a Theosophical Society convention.

But that information was not available in archives. Historians must throw light on material remains.

Prof. Gopalakrishnan said historians should use native and unconventional sources also apart from the conventional archives, for accurate results.

The thought that south India played no role in the national movement should go and it could happen only "if we tap the native sources in different languages."

The Vice-Chancellor, P.K. Ponnuswamy, who inaugurated the seminar, said research scholars should critically evaluate sources.
The Digital Colonial Documents Project (India) is intended to promote
study of the rare seminal documents which were influential in the
formation of the notions of nation, state and culture during the colonial
period. It includes full text versions of the Indian Census Reports for
1871, 1881, 1891 and 1901, Murrays Guide to India for 1859, The Indian
Education Report of 1882, Mill's History of British India and other

See http://www.chaf.lib.latrobe.edu.au/dcd/default.htm
Classified according to religion, the population of British India is, in round numbers, divided into 140½ millions of Hindoos (including Sikhs), or 73½ per cent., 40¾ millions of Mahomedans, or 21½ per cent., and 9¼ millions of others, or barely 5 per cent., including under this title Buddhists and Jains, Christians, Jews, Parsees, Brahmoes, and Hill men of whose religion no census was taken or no accurate description can be given.

Hindoos 139,248,568
Sikhs 1,174,436
Mahomedans 40,882,537
Buddhists and Jains 2,832,851
Christians 896,658
Others 5,102,823
Religion not known 425,175

Thus, at least 19 in every 20 persons in India are either of the Hindoo or of the Mahomedan religion, and there are 7 of the former to 2 of the latter.

The Hindoo element preponderates especially in the south. In Mysore, it comprises 95 per cent, of the whole popu- lation, and in Coorg and Madras about 92 per cent. In Oude, the North-West Pro- vinces, Ajmere, and Berar, it forms between 80 and 90 per cent, of the people. Bombay contains 79½ per cent, of Hindoos, and the Central Provinces 7l½ per cent. In Bengal and Assam the percentage is about 64½, and in the Punjab 34¾ without, or 41¼ with, the Sikhs. In British Burma, the stronghold of Buddhism, there are only 11/3 per cent. of Hindoos.

Bengal 38,975,418
Assam 2,679,507
North West Provinces 26,568,071
Ajmere 252,996
Oude 10,003,323
Punjab 6,125,460
Central Provinces 5,879,772
Berar 1,912,155
Mysore 4,807,425
Coorg 154,476
British Burma 36,658
Madras 28,863,978
Bombay 12,989,329
Total 139,248,568

Conversely, the Mahomedans are found to be most numerous in the northern parts of India. In the Punjab they form the larger half, 53 per cent., of the population. In Bengal they amount to 321/3, and in Assam 26¾, per cent.; in Ajmere nearly 20, in the North-West Provinces 13½, and in Oude 10½, per cent.; Bombay has 17½ per cent, of Mussulmans; but in Berar and Coorg they do not come up to 7, in Madras they are barely 6, and in Mysore, British Burma, and the Central Provinces, they are only 4, 3½, and less than 3 per cent., respectively. It is remarkable that, of the 20½ millions of Mussulmans in Bengal and Assam (forming the larger moiety of the Mahomedan population of British India), 17½ millions are found in Eastern Bengal and the adjoining Districts of Sylhet and Cachar, where they amount to 49 per cent, of the total population; and in two districts, those of Bogra and Rajshahye, to about 80 per cent. In that part of the country they comprise the bulk of the cultivating

Bengal 19,553,831
Assam 1,104,601
North-West Provinces 4,189,348
Ajmere 62,722
Oude 1,197,704
Punjab 9,337,685
Central Provinces 233,247
Berar 154,951
Mysore 208,991
Coorg 11,304
British Burma 99,846
Madras 1,857,857
Bombay 2,870,450
Book Review:
The Telegraph, 10/01/2004.....

Denis Judd attempts an overview of 400 years of British imperialism in India in 200 pages — following the long duree approach that is quite rare in Indian historiography.

Judd disagrees with that section of imperial historiographers who claim that the Empire was an economic and strategic burden on Britain. He challenges the interpretation that India dragged Britain down and prevented London from concentrating on the crucial European arena.

Judd asserts that for economic, political, military and psychological reasons, India was valuable to the British Empire. About 60 per cent of the Empire’s inhabitants were Indians. India’s military manpower in the form of the Sepoy Army guarded British imperial interests all over the world.

Contradicting the theory that India was not an important market for British industrial goods, Judd writes that from the late 16th century, Britain was interested in establishing commercial contacts with the subcontinent because of its fabulous riches. In the Victorian era, 19 per cent of British exports went to India and hundreds of millions of pounds were invested in the subcontinent.

About the motives of imperialism, Judd is non-committal. The British traders wanted money but they had no clear programme for establishing an imperium in India. The role of the metropolitan capitalists is not emphasized. However, Judd does not corroborate the other extreme view that the empire was acquired in a fit of absentmindedness. <b>He feels that the ambitions of the likes of Governor-General Wellesley and the power vacuum following the disintegration of the Mughal empire were behind the steady expansion of the Empire in India.</b>

Judd is clear about one point. <b>The British never wanted to devolve power to the Indians. Following John Gallagher’s argument, Judd writes that the so-called concessions, such as the Morley-Minto reforms and the Government of India Act 1935, were attempts to split the national movement by driving a wedge between provincial interests and the central leadership. Another technique was to increase the Hindu-Muslim divide. Judd does not accept the colonizer’s role as that of a night-watchman. He also feels that the pan-Indian Congress had the capability to shake the raj. World War II weakened Britain at the global level. The only option for London was to quit. </b>The decision to divide India, writes Judd, was only at Jinnah’s insistence.

Judd writes that the imperial encounter registered a mixed response from both sides. Negative traits like corruption were imbibed by the British. However, a handful of raj officials had respect for India’s pre-colonial culture. The Indians shared a love-hate relationship with their masters, respecting the latter’s imperial achievements on the one hand, and hated the sahibs for ruling India on the other.

Had Judd taken up a particular issue of the British Indian Empire (for instance, state formation or economy or strategy), then his book would have been more valuable. Nevertheless, The Lion and the Tiger remains a must-read for undergraduate students, and a refreshing primer for the experts.

<!--QuoteBegin-ramana+Sep 30 2004, 05:20 PM-->QUOTE(ramana @ Sep 30 2004, 05:20 PM)<!--QuoteEBegin--> He feels that the ambitions of the likes of Governor-General Wellesley and the power vacuum following the disintegration of the Mughal empire were behind the steady expansion of the Empire in India <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
I glanced through Judd - he has some interesting vignettes worth noting. But it should be clarified that there was <b>NO</b> power vaccuum following the end of the Mogol Empire. The Maharattas, due the great counter-offensive launched by Balaji Vishvanath and his son Bajirao, rolled back the Mogol empire and were on the verge of dethroning it. But the immense prestige of the names of Chingiz Kha'Khan and Timur prevented them from doing so. But there was broken up and the void was effectively filled in by the Maharatta rule which was pressing ahead. The British who where trying to get a look in quickly realized the danger of the national character of the Hindu revival under the Maharatta the danger it possed to their ambitions. So they sided with different Moslem power-grabbers to tie down the Hindus. They were on Abdali's side when he defeated the Maharattas. So the British were neither mere night watchmen nor plain abetters of a "Hindu-Moslem" conflict. They were actively siding with the Moslem to curtail their true competitor in the form of a potential Hindu revival. The Hindus had to call on the Mohammedans to wage Jihad on the British to enlist them in the 1857 war, not any concept of "Indian Nationalism". The "Indian Nationalism" is very vague figment of a small Anglescized group of Hindus. In reality there is only Hindu Nationalism and Islamic Ummahism and weaker and rootless Christian versions of the same (As in Nagaland).

The same policy of projecting the Moslem thugs against Hindus was pursued by the Americans after they took up leadership of the Anglosphere.
An intresting article on Motilal Nehru and the Swaraj Bhavan

From Pioneer, 20 Oct., 2004
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Ifs and buts of history

K K Joshi

Recently, a television channel conducted a debate on the question, "was Partition avoi-dable?" in which viewers also participated. When put to vote, the viewers voted with an overwhelming "Yes". <b>But historically speaking, the question is pointless. </b>No one in his senses would today ask: Was the French Revolution or the American war of Independence avoidable? These are now closed chapters.

Similarly, 50 years from now, Partition debate will become equally irrelevant. However, as of now, since the question has been raised, and also because the horrors of Partition have still not got erased from our minds, I too feel, it could have been avoided had the Congress leaders played their cards wisely and with foresight.

In the 1937 elections to the provincial assemblies, the Congress did remarkably well by winning 716 out of 1585 seats in all the 11 provinces and formed governments in six states-Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Central Provinces, Bombay, Madras and Orissa. On the other hand, the Muslim League was badly battered. It won only109 out of 482 reserved Muslim seats and was able to form its government only in Bengal headed by Fazlul Haq when his Krishak Proja Samiti merged with the Muslim League.

In Uttar Pradesh, however, prior to the polls, <b>there was an understanding between Khaliqu-zzaman of the Muslim League and Rafi Ahmed Kidwai of the Congress that the former would get two berths in the Congress ministry. </b>But when the time came, Nehru put his foot down. <b>That was the first blunder committed by the Congress.</b> Had the Cong-ress been little magnanimous in its victory and accommodated the League in its ministry in the State, it would have been the beginning of the end of Jinnah's preposterous two-nation theory.

Unfortunately, that was not all during that fateful decade (1937-1947). <b>The Congress made several such mistakes. </b>First, when the war in Europe was declared on September 3, 1939, the Congress ministries resigned and Jinnah hailed the move as the "Day of Deliverance" and set about building the Muslim League by unleashing vicious communal propaganda. Second, when the Second World War entered its most decisive phase, Churchill deputed Stafford Cripps to talk to Indian leaders with the brief that the Dominion Status could be granted to India after the hostilities were over.

The Congress rejected the Cripps offer outright with Gandhi describing it as a "post-dated cheque on a failing bank". This infuriated the British who felt, perhaps rightly, that Gandhi was banking on the victory of the Axis powers. According to historian Ayesha Jalal, had the Congress accepted Cripps offer, "Jinnah would have been dumped unceremoniously into wilderness from which this time there would have been no return."

Finally, the Quit India Movement was a monumental blunder. The Congress leadership, particularly Gandhi, had no idea which way history was moving and had no foresight that the process of de-colonisation, once started, was sure to pick up after the war. Else he and the Congress would not have committed such bloopers. Again, the real gainer was Jinnah.

He utilised the four crucial years in revamping the Muslim League when the Congress leadership was incarcerated. From a party of a few thousand rajas and nawabs, Jinnah single-handedly transformed the League into half a million strong mass party with committed cadres. When on August 9, 1942, Quit India Resolution was passed, India's destiny as a unified political entity was sealed.


Its wonder that India got the freedom despite all this.
> http://www.dawn.com/2004/01/16/letted.htm
> Proposal to celebrate 1857 revolt
> The suggestion (January 7) to celebrate the 1857 revolt as a mark of
> solidarity is appreciable. However, it was not the British who took
> reins from the Muslim rulers. The British came to India as traders.
> They established business houses under the East India Company Inc.
> after obtaining permission from Mughal Emperor Jehangir (1612).
> <i>After the death of Emperor Aurangzeb (1707), the wars of succession,
> coupled with Byzantine intrigues, wrecked the empire. Afterwards,
> destruction of Delhi by Nadir Shah Afshar (1738-39) and six
> consecutive invasions by Ahmed Shah Abdali (1747 to 1762) ruined the
> central authority. </i>As a result of this uninterrupted mayhem, the
> empire lost its resources, and the governors of major provinces such
> as Bengal-Bihar-Orissa, Deccan and Oudh almost seceded and became
> independent, with nominal allegiance to the centre.
> The weakness of the centre encouraged insurrections of and on, with no
> central authority to assert the writ of the emperor. After the battle
> of Buxar (1764), Shah Alam-II granted diwani of Bengal-Bihar-Orissa to
> the East India Company (1766), abdicating thus his sovereign rights to
> the British. Subsequently, Maratha power acquired ascendancy to such
> an extent that Shah Alam out of apprehensions for his personal safety
> appointed Mahadji Sindhia as supreme regent and C-in-C of the Mughal
> army.
> Then during interregnums came Ghulam Qadir Rohilla who, out of
> personal vendetta, sacked the Delhi Fort, and blinded Emperor Shah
> Alam. The princes and princesses were flogged and dishonoured and
> imperial servants were beaten to death. The entire palace was dug to
> unearth the concealed treasure. For nine weeks the imperial city had
> been under siege of the Rohilla marauders. The hapless blind emperor
> was made to sit in the open, in scorching heat and was not allowed
> even proper meals. Later on the forces of Sindhia at the instructions
> of the emperor captured Ghulam Qadir Rohilla; he was blinded and put
> to death
> <b>The Marathas were having sway over Delhi, and the emperor's power was
> restricted to the Red Fort. "Hukumat Shah Alam, uz Delhi ta Palam" was
> a popular saying those days</b>.
> In the Anglo-Maratha war (1803) Gen Lake defeated Doulat Rao Sindhia
> and took Shah Alam-II under his protection. An officer of Lake's army
> writes: "The descendent of the great Akbar and Aurangzeb was found...
> blind and aged, stripped of authority and reduced to poverty, seated
> under a small tattered canopy, the fragment of regal state and the
> mockery of human pride".>

> Thus, power was taken not from Muslims, (as they had already lost it,
> de facto, to the Marathas) but from the Marathas whom the British
> defeated and became masters of India.
> Karachi

No one party really defeated the great Mughals...
just like any other great empire they eventually collpased
under their own weight of follies and internal

Also it is worthwhile noting Great Mughal - Auregzed -
spent a life time fighting the Marathas. In fact his imperial
Camp became a great city - Aurengabad.
After his death the Marathas emerged as one
of the great power in India but they could not gain
confidence of Jatts and were finally crushed in 1757 by Ahmed
Shah Abdali's Infantry near Panipat. Jatt Raja Surajmal
had warned the Marathas not to take on the Persians in
an Infantry action but Bhau ji was adamant and the Maratha
Army was routed and dispersed.

The rebellious Sikhs under Great Guru Govind Singha performed
many courageous feats but were not a real threat to the Mughals.

"One sikh will fight 125 thousand (Imeprial soldiers);
My sparrows will scare the Imperial Eagle (Baaz);
Otherwise I shall not be called "Lion of Govinda" (Govind Singha)."

Anyhow Sikh rebels were decimated and were left to
be dealt with by the local subedars - such as the cruel
and sadistic subedar Sirhind. So it was the Marathas
that came to replace the Mighals by and large.

<b>From 1707 to 1857AD (150 years) civil wars raged
all over India and finally Great Britain under Queen
Victoria asserted the their imperial rule. Plundering and destruction
that happened during these 150 years was unbelievable.
It was committed by all parties - i.e. Indians, Persians, Afghans,
Europeans and the East India Company - all alike.</b> For a
petty Raja to have 100's of women in their harem was
not uncommon - this can be said of most -
Hindu Jatts (Raja Badan Singh father of General Surajmal),
Sikh Jatts (Patiala) and Muslims.

A French missionary travelling in North India during 1770s
wrote "one could travel for days in areas (around Delhi ?)
without meeting a soul! The average life expectancy was
33 years and there was great famine in the land."
Hi there!

I wonder if there’s anyone on this forum who can help me?

I’m currently researching the life of my father who died recently. I know he served as a gunner with the British Royal Artillery in India during the period 1946-1948. The few records that survive indicate he served with the 72 Rgmt RA. I have trawled the internet trying to discover more of his regiment, where in India he may have served, and the people he with whom he would have met and worked during his time there. But so far I have learned little. His time there obviously coincided with the Partition of India and of that I’ve learned quite a bit.

If anyone can shed any light on British gunners during that time and the 72nd Field Regiment in particular, I would be very grateful.


Bob Wilson
try the below link, where u might get more deatils

That was quick!

Thanks rhytha.

I'm having to dash off just now but I'll follow up that link later today. Thanks again.


Forum Jump:

Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)