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Colonial History of India
This is called slave mentality and lack of pride. You can see his personality, how he follow his master Sonia. He is not a humble but a person who lacks self respect, misplaced roots and his own identity. All to his upbringing.

He can be good clerk but not a leader or statesman at any scale.
Today souls of all those who died in Jalianwala Bag and freedom fighters like Bhagat Singh from Punjab would be saddened seeing one of their kins prostrating in front of very same power against whom they struggled to make country free by making supreme sacrifices.

After offering to give up Siachen this was about to come. Another political leader goes to Pak and praises Jinnah and now the respected PM praises UK for colonization of India.

One wonders what will happen next. It seems that India is moving towards another colonization of the motherland.

"Naaj hai watan pe jinko wo diwane kahan hai,
Saare jahan se achcha gaane wale kahan hai,
Lag rahi hai dushmanon ke ghar me bharatdesh ki boli,
Raghuwanshiyon ke desh me hai jaban sabse lachili,
Shapath grahan se shuru hoti panchwarshiya diwali,
jal rahi hai har chaurahe par desh prem ki holi,
Bharat maa ke aasun aaj ponchane wale kahan hai,
Tiranga ooncha karne wale Subhas or Gandhi kahan hai" :(
The point to note here is the mode by which the Anglosphere (Leukosphere) ropes in members of the Indian elite as sepoys for their cause. They throw little handouts like Rotis to the dog and there by get hold of the dog's gratitude. From then the Indian sepoy will sing praises of the Pucca Sahib. Romila Thapar, MM Singh, Amartya Sen were all given honorary degrees and other such handouts by the Sahibs and soon you had them doing duty for the Sahib. This mentality existed amongst many of the Congressvadis of the pre-Independence era. The who claim of the Congress winning independence for India is a carefully crafted Storyline which does not tell you that the MM Singh mentality was a common tendency in the years of the Raj.

In this undated picture, a custom-made Rolls Royce Silver Ghost is decked out in feudal finery outside an Indian Maharaja's palace. India's pampered maharajas were well known for their crave for luxury cars, especially the Rolls-Royce as a new book "Rolls-Royce and the Indian Prince" relates the commercially heady and eccentric relationship between the luxury automobile firm and the maharajas. The author, Murad Ali Baig, says at least 20,000 Rolls-Royces purred their way off the production line before World War II -- 20 percent of them bound for British-ruled India.


India produced 25 % of the world output in 1790, it was reduced to 2 % in 1900 under British Rule.....</b>


<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Folk Narratives of Nineteenth-Century India.
by Sadhana Naithani

<b>Abstract </b>

How did colonialism add on to the repertoire of Indian oral folk narratives? In its everyday life colonial society had to deal with inter-culturality at every level--from personal to social. The colonisers' narratives about this experience have been known in the vast variety of discourse termed "orientalism." What has remained obscured is the narrative expression of this experience by the colonised, specifically as oral narrative expression. This discourse of the colonised is contemporary with that of the European orientalist, but from the opposite point of view. It thus creates, as it were, an axis jump in our perception of colonial relations. In this paper are discussed some oral narratives of Indian folk about their British colonisers in the nineteenth century.

The nails of a European, like those of a Rakshasa, distil a deadly poison, and hence he is afraid to eat with his fingers, as all respectable people do, and prefers to use a knife and fork. (Folk narrative recorded in the 1880s in northern India by William Crooke [1892, 9]) Everything in the story relates to people (Rohrich 1991, 214).

<b>An Axis Jump </b>

Colonialism generated not only the discourse of the European orientalists but also a vast discourse amongst the colonised. They constituted the two sides of the same axis of discourse--the axis of colonial relations, perceptions and representations. In the context of colonial British scholarship of Indian folklore, this axis comprises the British folklore collectors and the Indian narrators. The scholarship of Indian folklore since its beginning in the mid-nineteenth century has proceeded on the basis of perceptions from the British side of the colonial axis. Colonial British officers and their Indian associates collected traditional folk tales in the second half of the nineteenth century from professional and nonprofessional storytellers. <b>This article argues that there was also another discourse in the folk narrative of colonial India which concerned itself with the colonial rule and rulers, i.e. with the contemporary reality. </b>

There is no exclusive collection of such narratives, but some instances of such oral folk narratives popular in the late nineteenth century in North India have come to my notice. Although these are few in number and can therefore provide only tentative arguments and conclusions, they are remarkable in the kind of discourse they generate. Their numbers are few because stories that portrayed the British were not documented as narratives but were considered to fall into ethnographic and anthropological categories. When they come to our notice, therefore, it is mainly by accident. However, it seems to me that they build a case for further search and research aimed towards identifying them. Lutz Rohrich's insight, "Everything in the story is about people" (Rohrich 1991, 214), offers an analytical tool; when applied to the narratives of Indian folk of colonial India, it could lead to new conclusions (Rohrich 1991, 214).

Some of the colonial British folklorists (like R. C. Temple and William Crooke) were conscious of the emergence and existence of contemporary tales, yet they did not include them in their publications of Indian folk tales. The history of folklore research has shown that, since the inception of the science, the definition of "folklore" flows from the scholar's definition of "folk," and that folklore collections cannot be defined only by what they include, but have to be defined also by what they exclude (Naithani 1996, 75). British collectors of Indian folklore were also administrators, and their narrators were their colonial subjects; their folklore collections had intentional, incidental and potential administrative implications. The collection of folklore was one of the "three systems of imperial ethnography" (Morrison 1984, 1). What was included and what was excluded was based on many non-scholarly considerations. In this context, even if without conscious design, the tales of the Indian folk, which depicted their colonial reality, were not included in the folklore materials.

This article discusses a selection of obviously colonialism -generated folk narratives. The selection is centred on one theme only--the portrayal of the British in the lore of the nineteenth-century Indian folk. The first section, "Fantastic Realities," presents two narratives of the nineteenth century that seem to comment on the reality through extremely fantastic plots. The second section, "Fantasising the Real," discusses some tales that were told about real people--British officers and Indian saints and rebels. The last section, "Tell-Tales," raises issues and questions derived from these select narratives, as well as expanding on the argument that these narratives constitute an axis jump in our perception of colonial representations.

<b>Fantastic Realities </b>

The following two narratives were heard and collected by the well-known "administrator-scholar," William Crooke, and classified as "belief in ghosts and spirits." They were found not only to be in existence in the nineteenth century, but also to be so popular that they determined people's behaviour.

Momiai wala Sahib

<!--QuoteBegin--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--> In India the popular idea about Momiai is that a boy, the fatter and  blacker the better, is caught, a small hole is bored in the top of his  head, and he is hung up by the heels over a slow fire. The juice or essence  of his body is in this way distilled into seven drops of the potent  medicine known as Momiai ...   It is further believed that a European gentleman, known as the  Momiai-wala-Sahib, has a contract from Government of the right of  enticing away suitable boys for this purpose. He makes them smell a stick  or wand, which obliges them to follow him, and he then packs them off to  some hill station where he carries on this nefarious manufacture.   A very black servant of a friend of mine states that he had a very  narrow escape from this Sahib at Nauchandi fair at Meerut, where  Government allows him to walk about for one day and make as many suitable  victims as he can by means of his stick ... (Crooke 1896, 177-8; emphasis  added).  <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

Dinapur wala Sahib

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--> Another of these dreaded Sahibs is the Dinapurwala Sahib, or gentleman from  Dinapur. Why this personage should be connected with Dinapur, a respectable  British Cantonment, no one can make out. At any rate, it is generally  believed that he has a contract from Government for procuring heads for  some of the museums, and he too has a magic stick with which he entices  unfortunate travellers on dark nights and chops off their heads with a pair  of shears (ibid., 179; emphasis added).  <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

These are the basic storylines of two spirit tales from North India, to which many stories were added. It is not only the brutality of the action in the plot which is striking, but also all the other constants and the variables of the spirit tales. Though the idea of the Momiai was definitely pre-British, in appearance they are both (Momiai-wala-Sahib and Dinapur-wala-Sahib) Englishmen; they both catch Indian men, wield deadly weapons, and are on the prowl.

The narrative is, however, not only comprised of action (kidnap and murder) but elaborates it by exploring the source of power of the spirits. And, while the action may be similar to those of many other spirits, the powers, the motivation, appearance and location of these Spirit Sahibs is rooted in the contemporary contextual reality of the tellers' and the listeners' world. An obviously fantastic action plot is woven into a network of realistic means and ends. The spirits are English gentlemen, practise their craft with the permission of the government (in the form of a contract), in places exclusively related to the British colonial rule in India--cantonment and hill stations.

The tale itself was being narrated in British colonial India. If we take these elements into consideration, we realise that an age-old idea had transformed itself in time. Momiai were no more evil spirits with motives best known to themselves. The cultural and linguistic coding of the narrative seems, judging by its effect, to have been apparent to its listeners. The image is such that any white man could fit into it, and thereby any real person could be the deadly spirit. The narrator claimed to be a witness of the spirit at the Nauchandi fair and to have himself narrowly escaped being captured. Many claimed to have seen this Sahib, and almost none doubted the Spirit Sahib's "existence" and capacity to harm. William Crooke reports further that the narrative had an effect.

The curious street urchins and onlookers around the entourage of a visiting British official would vanish at the mention of Momiai-wala-Sahib. One summer, all the porters disappeared from the hill station of Simla, because the surgeon in town was rumoured to be the Momiai-wala-Sahib. This combination--context-text-context--shows that the Spirit Sahib was definitely not being searched for inside the narrative, but outside it in the world of the narrators, in which the primary line of social division and hierarchy was between the Indians and the British. These fantastic narratives prove the point made by Lutz Rohrich, that everything in the story is about people.

<b>The social and political power of the British in India, and the relationship between (British) individuals and the state seems to have involved the folk in an intense manner. The narratives, being that of oral tradition whereby continuous change and growth are inherent aspects of its existence, show not only an updating of the image of a spirit idea, but also a way of explaining, understanding, and then relating back to reality. </b>

<b>Fantasising the Real </b>

The narrative representation of the colonial state and its relationship with British individuals, especially officers, appeared not only in abstracted spirit tales, but also in the explanation of real official measures. George A. Grierson, for example, known for his voluminous works on Bihar peasantry and their agricultural terminology, was perceived and portrayed differently by the peasants themselves. The following "rumours" spread during his linguistic-ethnographic survey of the villages:

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--> Grierson Sahib is counting boats and cattle in order to take them away for  the Government's war in Egypt. He is counting the wells because he is aware  of an impending famine when these would be reserved for the British  families. Children are being counted to be buried in the foundation of the  bridge that the government is constructing over the Gandak river. Adults  are being counted for use in war (based on Grierson 1885, 4).  <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

These tales reflect an extreme mistrust of the colonial government, its officials and its measures. The insecurity regarding personal possessions and natural resources manifests itself in all the narratives, and the tellers seem to be convinced that any act of the Government could be in its own favour alone. These would not only be disadvantageous to the tellers but might even deprive them of their people and goods; in time of crisis, the Government would surely desert them. Whether the widespread effect of these stories, resulting in resistance to Grierson and his assistants, was based on an intended effectivity in the narratives is difficult to determine, but their power as communication cannot be overlooked. Tales in connection with real people show ways of coming to terms with the reality, and also of immortalising people in different ways. For example, the famous folklore collector Sir R. C. Temple cited a few examples of "folklore in ascendance" (Temple 1899, 5), one of them being about himself:

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--> A miracle in India does not strike much wonder, and is to some extent  looked upon as a natural incident in everyday life ... They are frequently  believed to have happened to Europeans themselves. Sir Henry Lawrence is  thus believed to have been compelled to compliance with a saint's behest by  terrifying occurrences, induced by the saint during sleep. Almost precisely  the same story is current in the Ambala Cantonment about myself (Temple  1899, 340).  <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

A third instance is connected to the public hanging of a hero of the 1857 Revolt, the Nawab of Loharu:

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--> The body of the Nawab of Loharu, who was hanged for encompassing the death  of Mr. Frazer at Delhi some fifty years since, no doubt swung around, as is  related, after death to the direction of Mecca (Makka). This may be called  a fact of history, but when you add, as the natives of Delhi, that this was  because he was innocent and a martyr, you are repeating a fact of Folk-lore  (Temple 1899, 5-6).  <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

Temple acknowledges and identifies this as "folklore in ascendance." The tale, however, signifies also a discourse, which portrays not only the empirical phenomenon but also the narrators' judgement of it. <b>The discourse is partisan, not superstitious. It belongs to a time when such narratives were brutally suppressed.</b> How far is the narrative situation responsible for its form? This is a question made relatively redundant by the clarity of the message in the narrative. Conclusion: Tell-Tales

<b>When juxtaposed against the portrayals of the administrator-scholars, the narratives of the colonised folk contradict the British folklorists' many claims: that the lore of the Indian folk was ancient, spiritual and traditional; that it did not have any historical consciousness; that it was "completely" untouched by European influence; and that the narrators were incapable of any literary conception and representation of their contemporary socio-historical reality (Gordon 1909; Naithani 2001). </b>

Instead, they reveal the narrators' perception of the intrinsic relationship between the individual Englishmen and the colonial government of India. Secondly, they show the "self" as vulnerable to the powers of the state and its representatives; and thirdly, and rather surprisingly, they reveal a knowledge of contemporary phenomena, like the construction of museums in England, which was beyond the empirical observation of the narrators.

Instead of being passive bearers of a repertoire of tradition, the narrators emerge as self-conscious subjects whose narratives performed multiple functions in social communication. They were carriers of change and growth; as such, they did not possess live traditions so much as have a live relationship with tradition. This probably explains the use of traditional and archetypal images to define contemporaneity as well as to intervene in its processes. Thus, both--the traditional and the contemporary consciousness--mix to create a single image; for example, the deadliness of an Englishman is explained by identifying him with a Momiai, while the image of the Momiai changes to that of a European man.

<b>The vast body of this discourse remains undiscovered; further collections would show more aspects of its ideological leanings. </b>This selection and analysis is primarily meant to argue that the oral narrative expressions of the colonised folk have potential to create a new perspective on Indian folklore. The oral folk narratives discussed in this article represent the undiscovered and unrecognised side of the axis of colonial relations, perceptions and representations. <b>The colonised had to understand and define the coloniser in every area of their life. The narrative expressions of their cognitive processes reflect observation from close and afar, participative exploration, judgemental action and inaction. </b>
On the basis of these observations, I propose the following hypotheses:

* that, although a large number of these stories may be lost or may be found in unknown sources or only through extensive field research, many are already available in British sources under non-folkloristic categories like superstition and belief;

* that these narratives often conform to culturally and folkloristically well-established tale-types, and as such also represent the modernisation of traditions;

* that research into these narratives would bring forward new materials both for folklorists and for historians.

<b>References Cited</b>

Crooke, William. The Popular Religion and Folk-Lore of Northern India. 2 vols. Westminster: Archibald Constable and Co., 1896.

Gordon, E. M. Indian Folk Tales: Being Side-Lights on Village Life in Bilaspore, Central Provinces. London: Elliot Stock, 1909.

Grierson, George A. Bihar Peasant Life. Calcutta: The Bengal Secretariat Press, 1885. London: Trubner and Co., 1885.

Morrison, Charles. "Three Systems of Colonial Ethnography. British Officials as Anthropologists in India." In Knowledge and Society: Studies in the Sociology of Culture Past and Present, ed. Henrika Kuklick and Elizabeth Long. Vol. 5. New York: JAI Press, 1984.

Naithani, Sadhana. "Political Ideology and Modernization of Folklore." Jahrbuch fur Volksliedforschung 41 (1996):71-5.

Naithani, Sadhana. "The Colonizer Folklorist." Journal of Folklore Research 34 (1997):1-14.

Naithani, Sadhana. "Prefaced Space: Tales of the Colonial British Collectors of Indian Folktales." In Imagined States, ed. Luisa Guidice and Gerald Porter. Utah: University of Utah Press, 2001.

Rohrich, Lutz. Folktales and Reality. Translated by Peter Tokofsky. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1991.

Said, Edward. Orientalism. New York: Random House, 1978.

Temple, Richard Carnac. "The Science of Folklore." Folk-Lore Journal 4 (1896):193-212.

Temple, Richard Carnac. "The Folklore in the Legends of Punjab." Folk-Lore Journal 10(1899):414-43.

<b>Biographical Note </b>

Sadhana Naithani is Assistant Professor at the Centre of German Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. Her doctoral thesis, Politik der Liebe (Jawaharlal Nehru University, 1994), is an interpretative study of German folk songs. Her post-doctoral research work concerns the relations between colonialism and folklore research, between the British and the Indian collectors, and between the narratives and narrators in late nineteenth-century India. <!--QuoteEnd--></div><!--QuoteEEnd-->
Book Review from Telegraph, 5 August 2005

Link: http://www.telegraphindia.com/1050805/asp/...ory_5073821.asp

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->LOST BROTHER
- Seeking an enemy’s enemy 

To chase an illusion 
Chatto: The Life and Times of an Indian Anti-Imperialist in Europe
By Nirode K. Barooah,
Oxford, Rs 645

Virendranath Chattopadhyaya, Chatto to his comrades, was shot by Stalin’s firing squad in September 1937. He was the second child of Aghorenath. His elder sister was Sarojini Naidu, and one of his younger brothers was Harindranath. This book tells the remarkable story of how Virendranath, born in Hyderabad, ended up being a victim of Stalin’s ruthless totalitarian regime.

From Hyderabad, Chatto had gone to London in 1902 to take the ICS examination, which he took twice and failed. While in London, he became friendly with a group of Indian revolutionaries who worked to further the cause of Indian nationalism sitting in London. Most of them believed that India could be freed from British rule through armed resistance. Chatto became an active member of this group, along with V.D. Savarkar, Har Dayal, Madanlal Dhingra and Shyamaji Krishnavarma. By 1910, Britain had become too hot for Chatto who had to move to Paris to work with Bhikaji Cama. Paris also brought him in contact with the world of European radicalism.

Just before the First World War, Chatto and some other Indian nationalists in Europe discovered an ally in Germany following the old logic of enemy of my enemy is my friend. They formed the Berlin India Committee, which was fully funded by the German Foreign Office and pursued such wonderful schemes as trying to mount an invasion of India through Afghanistan. There was also an attempt to galvanize the Gadar Party in the United States of America. But all these attempts were juvenile in the extreme, badly planned and even more poorly executed. Nirode K. Barooah has unearthed details of the Berlin India Committee’s activities through research in the German archives.

During the course of World War I, when most European socialists campaigned against the war, Chatto moved to Stockholm and carried out a campaign to inform socialists about the nature of British rule in India. Socialists were too busy with their own problems to pay heed to Chatto and his friends. Chatto, in his turn, had no interest in the peace propaganda of the socialists. His sole concern was the independence of India. Chatto worked overtime to internationalize the Indian question. He came in contact with the Bolsheviks. But he was not drawn by Bolshevism. In March 1918, he wrote warning his colleagues not to behave like socialists: “We should on no account follow the ostrich policy of believing that we are hoodwinking European political parties by pretending to be anything else but nationalists.” Barooah adds, “It is doubtful if he was anything but a revolutionary nationalist ever.”

The Stockholm chapter of Chatto’s life came to an end with the World War, as the British exerted pressure on the Swedish government to have him extradited. Summing up this period of his hero’s life, Barooah makes the following statement: “The propaganda war Chatto had waged against them [the British] helped keep the struggle for Indian independence alive at a time when India was too weak and subservient to organize a full-scale movement to overthrow the British Raj.” This is an exaggerated claim. Chatto’s activities, such as they were, had little or no impact on the Indian national movement. As far as one can make out from the tangled chronology of Chatto’s life, he left Sweden some time in 1921. By this time, the Rowlatt Satyagraha had been organized and India was poised to launch the Non-Cooperation Movement under Gandhi’s leadership. “Weak and subservient’’ are really not apt words to describe this phase of India’s freedom movement.

By the time he left Sweden for Moscow, Chatto had abandoned terrorism as a means of achieving his political goals. He had no firm commitment yet to communism but “was edging closer to a ‘Soviet’ model of government for India with emphasis on education and social reforms.” He chose Soviet Union as his ally because he thought it was an enemy of British imperialism. This tendency to always act on the premise of “enemy of my enemy is my friend” is a comment on Chatto’s lack of independent resources and the fact that he had no base in Indian politics of the time. Neither did he ever try to create a base. He preferred, for reasons unexplained by the author, to chase the illusion of trying make India free from Europe.

Chatto failed to generate any great enthusiasm for his projects among comrades in Moscow. He blamed M.N. Roy for sabotaging his plans. Barooah absolves Roy of this charge but makes Roy out to be an opportunist who was driven by jealousy towards Chatto. This is a trifle unfair. He is on firmer ground when he says that despite being the first Indian to contact the Bolsheviks, Chatto arrived in Moscow one and a half years too late. By this time, the Comintern had found a man to handle its Indian affairs. This man was none other than Roy, who had won his spurs by debating with Lenin on the colonial question at the Second Congress of the Comintern.

Spurned by the Comintern, Chatto returned to Berlin where, under the constant danger of being handed over to the British by the German authorities, he worked for the Indian News Service and Information Bureau. But by the late Twenties, the INSIB was languishing from lack of resources and official hostility. Chatto also became a driving force behind the League Against Imperialism. This brought him in touch with Nehru whose friend he became. In 1930, Chatto announced to Nehru his conversion to communism. Barooah makes the point that this conversion was the result of circumstances. As Chatto realized the futility of his project, he saw Moscow as a haven. It was an irony that his journey to the “fatherland” led him to Stalin’s firing squad. There is no answer to the question why Stalin had him shot. He was the victim of the bloodlust of a tyrant who murdered more men and women than Hitler and Mussolini put together.

Barooah’s life of Chatto, including his tumultuous liaison with Agnes Smedley, is enriched by painstaking research in archives spread over many countries. But he fails to mark a critical distance between his narrative and its subject. Chatto was a man of enviable abilities, especially in languages. He had an indomitable passion for freedom of thought and action. Maybe this is why Stalin thought he was an enemy of his totalitarian regime. Chatto’s life was remarkable, if wasted.

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Book Briefs
Quivering shadows of the real self

A bunch of old letters Selected and edited by Jawaharlal Nehru,
Penguin, Rs 750

<b>This is an Indian epistolary classic, first published in 1958, and now reprinted with a solid introduction by Sunil Khilnani.</b> In April 1958, Nehru felt “tired and stale” because as a prime minister he got “little time for quiet thinking”. So he retired to Manali for a holiday with his daughter, and took with him several bundles of “old letters” and plenty of books. In between reading and annotating Gunnar Myrdal, <b>Nehru sorted these letters chronologically, prepared explanatory notes, and what emerged was not only a personal history, but a complex history of the Indian freedom movement from a uniquely human perspective.</b> Apart from the Mahatma, Nehru’s correspondents include his father, Sarojini Naidu, Subhas Bose, Tagore, C.F. Andrews, Bertrand Russell, Edward Thompson, Amrita Sher Gil, Lady Astor, Mao Tse-tung, Stafford Cripps, Roosevelt and George Bernard Shaw. Nehru had once written to Indira that letters were the “quivering shadows of the real self...a strange and revealing amalgam of the two — the one who writes and the one who receives.”
A Bunch of Old Letters — an introduction

Penguin India is republishing in May 2005 a remarkable collection of letters selected and edited by Jawaharlal Nehru and first published by Asia Publishing House in 1958. The title India's first Prime Minister gave the book wasA Bunch of Old Letters: Being Mostly Written to Jawaharlal Nehru and Some Written by Him. In this introduction to the new edition,Sunil Khilnani, political scientist and writer, makes a persuasive case for why these letters should continue to be of interest to readers today.

We see welling up again and again the peculiar tense mix that constituted Gandhi's long relationship with Nehru: intimate personal regard and concern, and profound political and temperamental differences.

— Photos: The Hindu Photo Library.

Nehru and Jinnah had fundamental political differences.

THIS COLLECTION of letters, selected and edited by Jawaharlal Nehru, and spanning three decades from the birth of his daughter Indira in 1917 to the achievement of India's Independence, was first published in November 1958. Nehru had for some years contemplated such a collection, and he set himself to work on it when, after more than a decade in the Prime Minister's office, he was feeling particularly disaffected with political life. In April 1958, he had announced to his parliamentary colleagues — as, periodically, he was wont to do — that he `felt rather tired and stale and would like a change'. As Prime Minister, his unceasing work gave him `little time for quiet thinking', he told them, and the moment had come to step down from office. He was dissuaded from this drastic step, as he had been on earlier occasions, and found himself instead planning a holiday in Manali, with Indira. Retreating to the hills, he took with him several bundles of old letters together with a stack of books. In between reading (and extensively annotating Gunnar Myrdal) he sifted through those letters, in a reflective mood, hoping both to renew contact with the impulses and atmosphere of the national movement, and to find some refuge from routine politics.

He longed for the real leisure needed to write a book. Instead, his authorial energies went into the making of this collection. Once selected, he instructed his private secretary, M.O. Mathai, to have the letters retyped (with spelling errors corrected, dates checked) and arranged chronologically; and he then went about preparing explanatory notes, to be inserted wherever he felt necessary. In preparing the edition, Nehru was hawk-eyed (in discussions with the publisher, even the thickness and quality of paper were specified). And yet, characteristically, Nehru chose to present the collection with knowing diffidence — reflected in a casual title that dismayed his publisher, who had hoped for a more weighty, prime ministerial label. He mused in his introduction as to whether the selection made was even worthwhile: the letters belonged to a period now remote, he protested.

Yet reading them today, almost half a century after their first publication, and even longer after most of them were first written, they still speak with significance and life. The letters encompass some of the most charged years both of Nehru's life and of India's twentieth century history — years of personal loss, of imprisonment, of political frustration, of the achievement of freedom tinged with the defeat of the hope of a united India.

We have tended to see and understand Nehru through his own words — through his books, and through the still-growing volumes of his Selected Works. He stands, with Gandhi and Tagore, as one of the great Indian letter writers of modern times. Yet this volume shows him from a different angle. Of the 368 letters that Nehru chose to publish in A Bunch of Old Letters, just 38 are written by Nehru himself. But the skill of the great letter-writer, as that of the conversationalist, is not only what they themselves write, but what they are able to get others to write to them. In these letters we get a sense of how Nehru appeared to colleagues as well as antagonists (and sometimes, as with Subhas Chandra Bose, we can see them changing from colleagues to antagonists).

Letters to a person can tell us even more about a person than sometimes their own letters can. Nehru was of course ever an artful arranger of himself, wishing always to produce his own version of how others saw him — and this too is what makes this collection revealing (it tells something about how he wished to be seen). There are a fair number of letters fulsome in their praise and outright flattery. But what is more remarkable is how many Nehru included that are sharply critical of him, often in very personal ways.

Rich as they are in their substance, these letters reveal as much by way of their form and method. They are a testament to one of the more striking facets of the national movement: how, at its best, it was a constant, many-stranded conversation — sometimes heated and piqued — in which the steady exchange of letters served often as a way of, as Nehru put it, `influencing one another'. From argument to counter-argument, letters were the medium through which ideas were exchanged, disagreements expressed, friendships or connections sustained — and sometimes broken (as was to happen between Nehru and Bose, and then Jinnah).

Nehru and Gandhi

Nehru always had a free and frank exchange of views with Mahatma Gandhi .

In Nehru's mind, the correspondence with Gandhi certainly formed the crux of the collection (Nehru had originally intended to publish just the Gandhi letters). The letters between the two observed, as Gandhi put it, a `clock-like regularity' (p.125). Gandhi appears here as an avuncular counsellor: worrying about Nehru's financial independence (`Shall I arrange for some money for you? ... Will you be correspondent for a newspaper? Or will you take up a professorship?' (p. 42.)); as a spiritual or moral guide (`... religion is after all a matter for each individual and then too a matter of the heart ... I do not mind reason being the sole test even though it often bewilders one and lands one in errors that border on superstition' (p. 44)); and as a political boss (`You are going too fast ... I mind your encouraging mischief-makers and hooligans ... In every struggle bands of men who would submit to discipline are needed. You seem to be overlooking this factor in being careless about your instruments' (p. 59).

Gandhi is present too as an intellectual antagonist, yet of a special kind. We see welling up again and again the peculiar tense mix that constituted his long relationship with Nehru: intimate personal regard and concern, and profound political and temperamental differences. While they never minimised these differences, and sometimes expressed them with scathing frankness, they never broke irrevocably with each another. In 1928, Gandhi writes to Nehru: `I see quite clearly that you must carry on open warfare against me and my views ... The differences between you and me appear to be so vast and radical that there seems to be no meeting ground between us'; yet Gandhi could also write in the same letter, `this dissolution of comradeship — if dissolution must come — in no way affects our personal intimacy. We have long become members of the same family ... ' (p. 61).

Ten years later, as Nehru asserted publicly his disaffection with the Congress, Gandhi wrote to him: `I can't tell you how positively lonely I feel to know that now-a-days I can't carry you with me. I know you would do much for affection. But in matters of state, there can be no surrender to affection, when the intellect rebels. My regard for you is deeper for your revolt. But that only intensifies the grief of loneliness' (p. 286). In 1945, they are still arguing over and airing their fundamental differences. Yet Gandhi, even while defending to the last his vision of India outlined in Hind Swaraj and rejecting Nehru's criticisms, was careful to once again affirm that `the bond that unites us is not only political work. It is immeasurably deeper and quite unbreakable' (p. 510).

Gandhi could be brutal in his efforts to get Nehru to appreciate how other Congress colleagues saw him. In July 1936, when relations between Nehru (then Congress President) and the Working Committee were at a particularly low point, Gandhi weighed against Nehru. The Working Committee had resigned en masse, in a gesture designed to warn Nehru away from what, in the Committee's collective resignation letter, was described as his `preaching and emphasising of socialism' (p 193), and to convey their displeasure at his haughty style of leadership. Nehru chose not to reply to the Working Committee or to Rajendra Prasad (who sent another letter along these lines), turning instead to Gandhi: `... I have found that meetings of the Working Committee exhaust me greatly; they have a devitalising effect on me' (p. 196), he wrote to his mentor, and went on to express the sense of hurt and rejection he felt from his colleagues.

Gandhi, though, was having none of it: `If they are guilty of intolerance', he replied to Nehru, `you have more than your share of it. The country should not be made to suffer your mutual intolerance' (p. 200). His Congress colleagues, Gandhi told Nehru, `have dreaded you, because of your irritability and impatience of them. They have chafed under your rebukes and magisterial manner and above all your arrogation of what has appeared to them your infallibility and superior knowledge. They feel you have treated them with scant courtesy... ' (p. 205). `Resume your humour at committee meetings', Gandhi advised, `That is your most usual role, not that of a care-worn, irritable man ready to burst on the slightest occasion' (p. 206).

Interactions with Bose

We see as well a fascinating and decisive exchange between Nehru and Subhas Chandra Bose in 1938-39 — one where friendly regard did devolve into hostile rupture. Bose and Nehru were, on the face of it, allies, modernist in their inclinations, and ranged against the Gandhians: both were seen as on the left-wing of the national movement. In October 1938, Bose wrote to Nehru (then in Europe), `You cannot imagine how I have missed you all these months'. But rivalry between the two, in large part personal (or as Nehru preferred to put it, `psychological'), came to a head just a few months later, over the matter of the presidentship of the Congress. Bose had hoped that Nehru, as a `Leftist', would have supported his desire — against Gandhi's wishes — to become Congress President for a second term. Nehru in fact sided with Gandhi and the Congress Working Committee — though Nehru could not quite bring himself to join the latter in their resignations on Bose's re-election. Incensed by this equivocation and what he felt was Nehru's betrayal, Bose responded to Nehru in searingly personal terms. In his letter of 23 March, 1939, the longest included in this volume, Bose was unrestrained: `... Let me tell you that in the habit of interfering from the top, no Congress President can beat you' (p. 340). `To be brutally frank', Bose continued, `you sometimes behaved in the Working Committee as a spoilt child and often lost your temper ... You would generally hold forth for hours together and then succumb at the end. Sardar Patel and the others had a clever technique for dealing with you. They would let you talk and talk and they would ultimately finish by asking you to draft their resolution. Once you were allowed to draft the resolution, you would feel happy, no matter whose resolution it was' (p. 344).

Nehru's response was one less of anger than concession. `I talked too much and did not always behave as I should', he acknowledged. On the personal level, he was prepared to go still further: `I am an unsatisfactory human being who is dissatisfied with himself and the world, and whom the petty world he lives in does not particularly like' (p. 365-6). Yet over their differences on political principles and judgements, Nehru held his ground. He was disturbed by how easily Bose seemed to be seduced by power and office (as he put it to Bose: `One personal aspect I should like to mention also quite frankly. I felt all along that you were far too keen on re-election' (p. 360)). But he saw Bose's real weakness as his Leftist adventurism — an empty Leftism, which as the European experience had shown, could stray easily towards fascism. Nehru's unerring and instinctive ability to detect fascist inclinations is manifest here, and there was prescience in his warning to Bose in 1939: `The association of vague Leftist slogans with no clear Leftist ideology or principles has in recent years been much in evidence in Europe. It has led to Fascist development and a straying away of large sections of the public ... The fact that in international affairs you held different views from mine and did not wholly approve our condemnation of Nazi Germany or Fascist Italy added to my discomfort ... I did not at all fancy the direction in which you apparently wanted us to go' (p. 360).

Exchanges with Jinnah

Regard gave way to differences between Nehru and Subhas Chandra Bose.

The historically most consequential dispute captured in these pages is undoubtedly that between Jinnah and Nehru. In October 1939, Nehru wrote to Jinnah in a conciliatory manner, towards seeking a solution of the Hindu-Muslim problem: `I must confess ... that I have lost confidence in myself, though I am not usually given that way... But that does not come in the way of my trying my utmost to help to find a solution and I shall certainly do so. With your goodwill and commanding position in the Muslim League that should not be so difficult as people imagine... May I say how happy I was to meet you in Delhi ' (pp. 405-6).

Yet we see the distance between the two men being articulated, almost measurably, in the rhythm of letters exchanged between them. Here again, beyond the soon palpable mutual personal dislike, there is a disagreement of political conviction that is clearly stated — turning in this case on the fundamental issue of political representation. By December 1939, Nehru was writing to Jinnah that he now realised `that the gulf that separated us in our approach to public problems was very great' (p. 418). Nehru refused the logic of Jinnah's demand that the Congress treat the Muslim League as the authoritative and representative organisation of India's Muslims, a logic which placed immutable identities above changeable interests.

For Nehru, it was imperative that the Congress should be a movement without exclusive barriers to entry, and should be potentially open to all who subscribed to its principles. `You have rightly pointed out on many occasions that the Congress does not represent everybody in India', Nehru wrote: `Of course not. It does not represent those who disagree with it, whether they are Muslims or Hindus... So also the Muslim League, as any other organisation, represents its own members and sympathisers. But there is the vital difference that while the Congress by its constitution has its membership open to all who subscribe to its objective and method, the Muslim League is only open to Muslims' (p. 419).

Jinnah, perhaps recognising the force of Nehru's argument, in his reply merely evaded the issue of representation, resorting instead to exasperation: `If this resolution of Congress cannot be modified in any way and you say that personally you would be entirely opposed to any attempt at variation of it and as you make it clear that you are wholly unable to treat with the Muslim League as the authoritative and representative organisation of the Mussalmans of India, may I know in these circumstances what do you expect or wish me to do' (p. 421).

If the drama of the national movement animates many of the letters here, there are also many more that extend beyond this stage. The network of Nehru's correspondents was vast, and included intellectual and literary luminaries (George Bernard Shaw, Bertrand Russell, Ernst Toller, Romain Rolland, Harold Laski), British political figures (Brailsford, Cripps, Ellen Wilkinson, Eleanor Rathbone, Hewlett Johnson, George Schuster, Lord Lothian, Roger Baldwin), as well as Annie Besant, Rabindranath Tagore, General and Madame Chiang Kai-shek, Moustapha El-Nahas, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Claire Booth Luce, Essie Robeson. In his lengthy disputation with Lord Lothian over India's future direction, Nehru remarked: `Dogmas irritate me, whether they are religious or political or economic, and my mind is always searching for the path I should follow. I try not to close it. That makes me welcome all the more personal contacts' (p. 134). Indeed, personal exchanges, with people across the globe and in all walks of life, were essential to him — helping to articulate his thoughts, understand an issue, develop an argument.

The letters are not all weighted with politics and ideas. With some correspondents — Sarojini Naidu, Edward Thompson (father of the great historian, E.P. Thompson) — there is a refreshingly bantering and irreverent tone. Thompson's letters are a wonderful bombardment of insight and triviality: he takes Nehru to task for his `Napoleon-worship' in Nehru's Glimpses of World History, and assails him for his lack of generosity towards the British in that work, especially when compared with that `superbly magnanimous book, your autobiography' (p. 239). He urges Nehru to help educate public opinion against the destruction of wildlife; he warns Nehru that `Nothing can prevent your being increasingly surrounded by a circus such as besets Mahatmaji! It is your fate' — and he reminds him of Aurobindo: `Over a hundred asses are going to salaam profoundly... as they are ushered into the presence (and out of it) of a man who asserts that he is the soul reincarnate with "Mother"... How can you do anything with a land where such utter Mumbo Jumbo triumphs... Yet Aurobindo was once a brilliant intellect' (pp. 213-14).

And he thanks Nehru for a copy of Nehru's Autobiography, inscribed `to my friend Edward Thompson': `I know you are a man who carries reticence to an almost inhuman degree: and that what you say means everything that can be put into the words' (p. 293). Nehru, for his part, could find with Thompson a certain candour: writing to him in 1940, Nehru noted that `I always feel that I can be of more use to India outside India. The feeling that I do not quite fit in here, pursues me and depresses me' (p. 424).

There is also the tantalisingly curtailed correspondence between Nehru and the painter Amrita Sher-Gil. She tells him, after he visits her studio: ` I don't think you were interested in my painting really. You looked at my pictures without seeing them', and she thanks Nehru for sending her his autobiography: `As a rule I dislike biographies and autobiographies. They ring false. Pomposity or exhibitionism. But I think I will like yours. You are able to discard your halo occasionally. You are capable of saying "When I saw the sea for the first time" when others would say "When the sea saw me for the first time"' (p. 257). `I should like to have known you better', Sher-Gil wrote, `I am always attracted to people who are integral enough to be inconsistent without discordancy and who don't trail viscous threads of regret behind them'.

Nehru thought intently about the nature of letters. They were in many ways the metronome of his life, and for long periods — not least the altogether almost ten years he spent in prison — they were his only link to the world.

Letters, he once wrote to his 17-year-old daughter, are `bits of the personality of the writer, quivering shadows of the real self'. `They are also, or they at least endeavour to represent and to mirror', he continued, `something of the personality of the person written to, for the writer is full of the person he is writing to. Thus a real letter is a strange and revealing amalgam of the two — the one who writes and the one who receives'. Peering over Nehru's shoulder to read the letters collected here, we find again and again this mysterious, revelatory mix. — Copyright: Sunil Khilnani 2005

(Sunil Khilnani is Professor of Politics and Director, South Asian Studies, at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, The Johns Hopkins University, in Washington D.C. His publications include The Idea of India, 1997 and Civil Society: History and Possibilities, 2001. He is writing a biography of Jawaharlal Nehru.)

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<b>Jinnah may have tipped off Churchill on ’46 riots </b>
<i>Declassified papers unearth secret connection</i>

NEW DELHI, AUGUST 7: Was Winston Churchill in secret communication with Mohammad Ali Jinnah and was he tipped off about ‘‘Direct Action Day’’, August 16, 1946, which saw brutal killings by Muslim League activists in Kolkata?

Correspondence recently declassified by the British government indicates a close link between Jinnah and Churchill. The letters relate to the second half of 1946, when Churchill, having lost the 1945 election, was Leader of Opposition.

<b>In the letters, Jinnah seems to warn Churchill about imminent violence. As riots broke out all over India and the Labour government—lead by Churchill’s rival Clement Atlee — sought to hurriedly transfer power, Churchill played counsellor to Jinnah, but privately. He advised Jinnah that they should not meet in public. Instead, correspondence was to be addressed to ‘‘Miss E.A. Gilliatt, 6 Westminster Gardens, London.’’ Gillaitt was Churchill’s private secretary</b>.

The intriguing letters will figure in a documentary made by media firm News Watch Asia to be telecast by Zee News on August 14.

The letters reveal Jinnah saw Churchill as an ally against ‘‘caste Hindus’’. The Conservative wartime leader — hostile to the ‘‘liquidation of the British Empire’’ — was told by the Muslim League leader on July 6, 1946, that the Cripps Mission had ‘‘shaken the confidence of Muslim Indians and shattered their hopes for an honourable and peaceful settlement’’.

<b>Jinnah wrote: ‘‘If power politics are going to be the deciding factor in total disregard for fair play and justice, we shall have no other course open to us except to forge our sanctions to meet the situation which, in that case, is bound to arise. Its consequence, I need not say, will be most disastrous and a peaceful settlement will then become impossible.’’ Less than six weeks later came the bloodbath of Direct Action</b>.

Replying to Jinnah on August 5, Churchill ‘‘espoused the right of Moslems and the Depressed Classes to their fair share of life and power. I feel that it is most important that the British Army should not be used to dominate the Moslems, even though the caste Hindus might claim numerical majority in a constituent assembly’’.

On August 22, Jinnah wrote again to Churchill, focusing his ire on Churchill’s domestic opponents, the Labour Party, which Jinnah felt was Congress-friendly. ‘‘You admit the tendencies in England to support the Congress are very strong in the Government Party,’’ Jinnah wrote, ‘‘we have had a bitter taste of it. The Muslim League was progressively betrayed by the Cabinet Delegation and the Viceroy and was being gradually steam-rolled. When the Secretary of State for India and his collegues and the Viceroy finally disclosed their hands, undoubtedly, there could be only one result and that is a general revolt against the British. For who else is responsible to force down and thrust upon 100 million Muslims of India terms which the Congress alone will be pleased to accept.’’

The argument on the British-Muslim relationship was an old one. On August 3, <b>Churchill had written to Jinnah: ‘‘I was... surprised to read all the insulting things that were said about Britain at the Moslem Congress in Bombay, and how the Moslems of India were described as undergoing British slavery. All this is quite untrue and ungrateful.’’ </b>

But on December 12, a wary Churchill turned down a lunch invitation at the Claridges’s, advising that the two should not be ‘‘associated publicly”.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
I think the report doesnt understand the role of Churchill. It is to implement the Blunt project and bias against India is secondary.

Aslo what are the class composition figures for British Indian Army at time of Partition? How many Hindus, West Punjabis and assorted and more importantly how many from East Bengal?

The significant comment from Churchill is
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->" Replying to Jinnah on August 5, Churchill ‘‘espoused the right of Moslems and the Depressed Classes to their fair share of life and power. I feel that it is most important that the British Army should not be used to dominate the Moslems, even though the caste Hindus might claim numerical majority in a constituent assembly’’.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
Why they called Hindus as "caste Hindus" and Moslems just "Moslems" not "caste Moslems" or Shia Moslems or Sunni Moslems or Suffi Moslems?
Is it lackof knowledge of Moslems caste and sects or just simple divide and rule policy against Hindus only.
Meeting in Public between Jinnah and Churchill would ave given the game away.

The Hindus and the congress party would understand that Muslim league and Jinnah became confident about their demands only after they received support from Churchill.

This would have made the task of getting Lahore and other parts of west punjab for Pakistan impossible.

Also Gandhi and other Congress leaders would have been sidelined and more hawks would be negotiating with British for freedom.

Lahore went to Pakistan only because of riots in PUNJAB and mass violence by the Muslim league who became confident because of the British support and also due to presence of Muslim officers and muslim soldiers in the Indian Army.

Between 1920 to 1946(WWI to WWII) Jinnah made sure that the parity in the Indian army for the Muslim solders was maintained as the army size was increased by the British. (INDIA AND PAKISTAN - A POLITICAL ANAYSIS - HUGH TINKER)

The Muslim league made the demand for Pakistan only when it was assured of protection by the Muslim solders of the Indian army after 1940 and also support from Churchill.

This shows that the Muslims in Pakistan were used to the protection of the Army even before Independence and hence came to depend on the Pakistan army after 1947 for stability and psychological stability.
<!--QuoteBegin-Mudy+Aug 8 2005, 08:36 AM-->QUOTE(Mudy @ Aug 8 2005, 08:36 AM)<!--QuoteEBegin--> Why they called Hindus as "caste Hindus" and Moslems just "Moslems" not "caste Moslems" or Shia Moslems or Sunni Moslems or Suffi Moslems?
Is it lackof knowledge of Moslems caste and sects or just simple divide and rule policy against Hindus only. <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
British used to make a difference between Hindus in the congress party and Hindus outside of the congress party.

The difference being that the Congress party was actually a social engineered group of Indians mostly Macualysed which were brainwashed to have similar world view. They started the brainwashing right from 1885 for the elite of the soceity and Indian elite were given the impression that they were the leading group for the struggle for independence of India.

The "caste Hindus" term was for those Hindus who were outside this elite group but were seen as too militant/independent or unable to be controlled by the British. It means independent minded and nationalists or Bharatiya. The political terms of communal and secular was not invented yet for the Indians in those times. Indians will be fooled later after independence.
Members of Hindu Mahasabha, INA, RSS were considered caste hindus since they wanted total independence with civilizational identity.

To break this nationalist group and fragment India the British secretly supported Jinnah and the Muslim league and only negotiated with Gandhi/Nehur Congress for transfer of power and the British power created an image of neutral party in the dispute between Congress and Muslim League. British made sure that the terms of independence and transfer of power was in such a way that the 'caste Hindus' will never get political power and will be disbanded, brainwashed and destroyed from the Indian soceity (over time).

THe reason Churchill lost the election after the worl war was that If elected the relationship between British and Jinnah would be public and would have damaged British image. British depended on the Muslim officers of the Indian army after WWII for stability in India. The British PM Atlee insited that Nehru become the first PM of India since Nehru was a engineered child of the British moulded by them for the role of leading India after independence as a proxy dominon state.
place holder will analyse later.from Deccan chronicle 9 August 2005

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->It is time the corrupt quit India
By Siddhartha Reddy

On August 9, 1942, Aruna Asaf Ali hoisted the Tricolour at Azad Maidan in what was then Bombay. Gandhi was about to launch the Quit India movement and was arrested early morning. From today till August 15, it is time to remember the freedom struggle. In this one week, Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi must shed some tears to make amends for the fact that a Congress Prime Minister praised the British.

Sonia Gandhi is the custodian of a dynasty that benefited enormously from Mahatma Gandhi gifting the Prime Minister’s post to Jawaharlal Nehru. Sonia Gandhi heads the Congress, claiming links with the freedom movement. There is a campaign by political opponents against foreign born Sonia’s participation in government positions. Sonia’s hand-picked PM’s unwarranted utterances might complicate her equation. But her dilemma about voicing disagreement could snowball into a chorus asking for Manmohan’s resignation. However, silence hurts her credibility and Congress’ esteem. Not ready to rock the boat, Sonia chose silence. But the nation expects amends, martyrs deserve homage.

Having got the British to quit India, the nation desperately yearns that others should quit India too: the poor and the lower middle classes want the pro-rich finance minister to quit government. Farmers want better sale price for what they produce by getting rid of middlemen. Students want teachers who don’t teach and businessmen parading as educationists to exit the education system.

Patients want the end of corporate hospitals that fleece them. Litigants want corrupt lawyers and judges removed. The common man wants corrupt officials to quit their jobs. The RSS wants Advani to quit. A pro-reform World Bank lobby want the Communists to stop pestering the government. Lok Sabha MPs want the Rajya Sabha to be winded up to prevent the marginalisation of genuine public representatives.

Thousands sacrificed lives and families to secure freedom. The time has come for the corrupt to quit India. Corruption is the root cause of every problem. Unless the apex Navaratnas (the top nine leaders in every political party) are clean, this rapid deterioration in polity cannot be reversed. <b>India desperately needs at the helm men and women of character and integrity, people who are devoted to their work and have the vision to transform India into a superpower.</b>

<b>During the freedom struggle, Mahatma Gandhi turned the concepts of austerity, peace, justice, equality, sacrifice and non-violence into political principles. Gandhi’s creative political thought captivated the people. Gandhi mixed religion with politics to launch the largest ever anti-establishment peaceful mass struggle in world’s history, the Indian freedom movement. Gandhi was deeply religious, yet secular. But today, no politician is secular. Every politician seeks the vote of some community or the other. So when they foul-mouth opponents as communal, they are nothing but hypocrites.</b>

<b>Before Gandhi’s advent, the Congress was an elitist cocktail club of activists from Calcutta, Bombay, Delhi and Madras. At a party hosted by Jinnah, Gokhale advised Gandhi to tour India to understand and voice people’s feelings. Gandhi traversed the length and breadth of the country to capture on his mental canvas the suffering of the common people. Then he motivated the elitists to shed materialism, embrace austerity and be one with the masses. He transformed Congress’ club of few to a party of the masses. To lead the masses, Congressmen had to be one with them. Thousands from the elite responded to Gandhi’s call by becoming Congress workers.

Gandhi unified religious diversity. He converted South Asia’s diverse humanity into a brotherhood. He combined religion and politics to preach and practice humanism. Through prayer meetings, he inspired the masses to force the British to quit India. He knew that man by nature is selfish and would not risk being brutalised physically. Hence he articulated the principle of non-violent struggle: fast at home, congregate to fast at public places. For India’s poor, fasting was daily habit. Mahatma converted hunger into a political instrument. Satyagraha thus became a powerful political weapon. </b>

While the British feasted, Mahatma fasted in jail, to atone for the death of the British policemen burnt alive by some freedom fighters at Chauri Chaura. The British were consuming but India was fasting, making penance on the death of some British policemen. It played immensely on the British psyche. Then Mahatma asked the British to quit India. And now India’s people want the corrupt to quit India. For that to happen, India awaits the arrival of another Mahatma.

The writer can be contacted at siddharthareddy@deccanmail.com


<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Hindu women and law
By Flavia Agnes

<b>The history of Hindu law reform spans a period of 15 years from 1941 to 1956. It was discussed in three Parliaments of historical significance: Federal Parliament, Provisional Parliament and the first Parliament of the newly independent nation.</b> At each phase it went through a dilution of women’s rights till finally the political interest of the ruling party became the primary consideration. But the rhetoric continued to be liberation of women.

The three important factors which need to be examined in the context of Hindu law reform are (i) the opposition to it within the Congress leadership, (ii) the political impediments which necessitated the reform, and (iii) the veracity of its dual claim of being a code, and of liberating women.

<b>Opposition from conservative forces: </b>Several provisions, including the provisions of monogamy, divorce, abolition of coparcenary and inheritance to daughters, were opposed. It was felt that Hindu society will receive a moral setback if women were granted the right to divorce along with a right to inherit property. The reforms were opposed by the then President and constitutional head, Dr Rajendra Prasad, senior Congressmen like Pattabhi Sitaramayya and the architect of the united Indian nation, Sardar Patel, the president of the ruling Congress, P.D. Tandon among others.

<b>Political impediments which necessitated the reform:</b> The major driving force for the reforms was homogenising the various communities into a broad “Hindu” identity. <b>The integration of Hindus from three different political regimes i.e., British India, the princely states and the tribal regions into one nation could best be done by bringing them under one law.</b>

Hence the primary concern was to define the term “Hindu” in its widest sense and encompass all sects, castes and religious denominations within it. <b>The Hindu Law Committee had defined Hindu as anyone professing Hindu religion. But later the word “professes” was deleted to broaden its scope.</b>

<b>Examining the motive for Hindu law reform,</b> legal scholars like Archana Parashar argue that the hidden agenda was the unification of the nation through uniformity in law. <b>National integration was of paramount importance. Establishing the supremacy of the state over religious institutions was another important consideration.</b> This could be best achieved by redefining the rights given to women.

Through the reorientation of female roles the State could replace the claim of religion and religious institutions over people’s lives. <b>While bringing in reforms the state relied upon two conflicting claims of tradition and modernity. While professing that it was bound by the Constitution, the state projected the image of a continuity with the past (by preserving the provisions from the ancient sacred law) to bring in selective reforms.</b>

For the State, the unifying potential of the common code became more important than its potential for ensuring legal equality for women. Hence, several customary rights of women, particularly from the lower castes and the southern regions, were sacrificed in the interest of uniformity. Local customs of matrilineal inheritance and other customary safeguards were not incorporated in the new code.

For instance, most lower castes had a right of divorce and remarriage under the customary law with consent of the parties. Through the Marumakkattayam Act of 1933 (applicable to the Malabar region) the right of divorce by executing a registered instrument of dissolution by the concerned parties was granted statutory recognition.

Further, under the scriptural law as well as customary law, the right of females as stridhana heirs was superior to their male counterparts and that of parents was superior to in-laws. But under S.15 of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956, sons and daughters were granted equal rights. Further, under the provisions of the Hindu Succession Act, the property of a childless woman devolves upon the husband’s heirs and only in their absence would it devolve upon the woman’s own parents. A further and unexplainable distinction was made between the heirs of the father and the mother of a female and the mother’s heirs were placed in an inferior category.

The reforms relied upon one school irrespective of its provisions favouring women despite the wide diversity under the Hindu law. The Congress party was dominated by lawyers trained in British law or those who studied law in England, and consequently imbibed all the colonial biases regarding the functioning of Indian society as well as the changes that were supposedly needed to modernise it.

<b>There was a fascination among social reformers with uniformity as a vehicle of national unity.</b> The state as an instrument of social reform to be imposed upon the people without creating a social consensus derives essentially from the norms of functioning inherent in colonialist state machinery and ideology. <b>The English-educated elite had faithfully imbibed the colonial state’s ideology, projecting itself as the most progressive instrument of social reform.</b>

Madhu Kishwar, a feminist scholar argues that the reforms did not introduce any principle which had not already existed somewhere in India. Despite this, the reforms were projected as a vehicle for ushering in Western modernity. There were, however, several liberal customary practices which were discarded by the Hindu code for the sake of uniformity. In their stated determination to put an end to the growth of custom, the reformers were in fact putting an end to the essence of Hindu law, and yet persisted in calling the codification “Hindu.”

Since the political impediment to reform Hindu law was grave, several balancing acts had to be performed by the state while reforming the Hindu law. Crucial provisions empowering women had to be constantly watered down to reach the level of minimum consensus. While projecting to be pro-women, male privileges had to be protected. While introducing modernity, archaic Brahminical rituals had to be retained. While usurping the power exercised by religious heads, needs of emerging capitalism had to be safeguarded. Only through such balancing acts the agenda of law reform could be achieved.

The Acts were neither Hindu in character nor based on modern principles of equality, but reflected the worst tendencies of both. Inheritance rights of daughters, right of divorce for women and imposition of monogamy upon Hindu males were the issues which were severely contended. Due to severe opposition, coparcenary system had to be maintained, which resulted in the denial of rights to women in the ancestral home and property.

When compared to the position of the brother, the sister’s share was dismal. Since the earlier safeguard provided by the ancient lawgivers to women by way of stridhana, a necessary concomitant to male coparcenary, had been corroded due to judicial decisions, denial of equal rights to daughters only served to widen the gulf of gender divide.

The daughters were granted equal rights only in the separate or self-acquired property of their father. But daughters could be denied a share even in this separate property by converting it into a joint property. It has taken us 50 years since the Hindu Code Bill was enacted, to re-examine the issue of equal property rights to Hindu women and it is as yet anyone’s guess whether the proposed amendments to the Hindu Succession Act will be passed in this Monsoon Session of Parliament.


So there is a move to amend the shortcoming os the old Hindu Succession Act.
Thanks, now I understood.
Brits objective was to destroy culture and civilization and to large extent they did. It took 150 years, but major destruction took place during last 50 yeasr of rule and next 30 years after independence.
I would like to be educated on why did the Mahatam lauch the freedom struggle from Champaran in Bihar? What makes Bihar the tipping point?

I am aware that most of the soldiers in the Bengal Presidency who rebelled against the Brits in 1857 were from Eastern Uttar Pradesh and Bihar (Purabias) and that many were killed and their social structures collapsed.
Gandhi's choice of Champaran might not have been by design. In Gandhi's own words, he didn't know as to where Champaran was when he was invited to take cause of those Indigo planters.
First Creation of Champarn District : 1866

On 1st of December 1971 Champaran district was split up Into two districts, viz. Purbi Champaran and Paschim Champaran ,

The headquarter of Purbi Champaran district is at Motihari .

Presently Purbi Champaran consists of Six Subdivisions and Twenty Seven Blocks.

Nepal makes its northern boundary, Sitamadhi and Sheohar eastern while Muzaffarpur South and with part of Gopalganj bounds it in western side.

Origin of Name

The name Champaran owes its origin to Champa-aranya or Champkatanys. Champa or Champaka means Magnolia and aranya mess forest. Hence, Champaranya means Forest of Magnolia (CHAMPA) trees. It is popularly believed that the nomenclature here was made while the vest forest part was inhabited by solitary ascetics. It is needless to say that has Purbi means Eastern Side.

Flower Champa

<b>Ancient History</b>
The history of Purbi Champaran is a part of parent Champaran district. In the prehistoric period, Champaran constituted a part of the ancient kingdom of Videha .The Aryan Videhas were ordained to settle east of the Gandak or Narayani river. Among the Greatest of the Videha kings was Sirdhwaj

Janak an erudite scholar as well as lord temporal and lord spiritual for his subjects. Yajnavalkya was his chief priest who codified the Hindu law known as Yajnavalkya Smriti. Both of his wife Gargi and Maitreyi was renowned scholar. It is Gargi who is credited to compose some of mantras. After the fall of Videhan empire Champaran was ceded to oligarrochial republic of Vrijjan confederacy, with Oligarchcal Vaishali as its capital of the Vriggian confederacy Lichohavis were the most powerful and prominent.

For a true imperialist Ajatshatru the emperor of Magadh the power and fame of Vaishali was eyesore. By tact and force he annexed Lichhavis and occupied its capital, Vaishali. He extended his way over the present district of Purbi Champaran which lasted for nearly hundred years. After the Mauryas , the Sungas and the kanvas ruled over Magadh and its vast territories. Archaeological evidences found in Champaran bear testimony of Sunga and Kanva rules here.

The Kushans, who were migrant Turks, overran the entire northern India in the first century AD Probably Champaran was a part of the Kushan empire at that time. Banphar Rajputs in the 3rd century AD got way by the Kushans . Champaran later become a part of the Gupta empire. Alongwith Tirhut, Champaran was possibly annexed by Harsha during whose reign Huen- Tesang, the famous Chines pilgrim, visited India. During 750 to 1155 AD Palas were in the possession of Eastern India and Champaran formed the part of their territories. Towards the close of the 10th century Gangaya Deva of the Kalacheeri dynasty conquered Champaran .He gave way to Vikramaditya of the Chalukya dynasty, who was accompanied by adventures from the Carnatic .It is believed that one of the adventures counted the Saka dynasty of Bangal another, Nanyadeva, founded the Carnatic dynasty of Mithila with its capital at Siaraon on the Indo- Nepal border.


During 1211 and 1226 first Muslim influences was experienced when Ghyasuddin Iwaz the muslim governor of Bangal extended his a way over Tribhukti or Tirhut .It was however, not a complete conquest and he was only able to have Tirhut from Narsinghdeva a simyaon king, in about 1323 Gnyas- Uddip.Tughiar annexed irabhuk and placed it under Kameshwar Thakur established Sugaon or Thakur dynasty, As Harsinghdeo the last simraon king had taken shelter in Nepal Kameshwar Thakur a Brahmin Rajpandit was installed to regal status. The sugaon dynasty hold Tirabhukti as a tributary province for about a century after the capture of Harsinghdeo . The most famous of the dynasty was Raja Shiva Singh who was adorned by the immortal poet laureate Vidyapati, during the period of Lakshmi Nath Deva Tirabhukti was attached by Sultan Alleuddin Hussain Shah of Bengal and Sikender Lodi of Delhi . A treaty was concluded in 1499 according to which 'Tirahukti , left to Sikandar Lodi subsequently, Sikander Lodi attacked Tirabhukti and made the prince a tributary chief. However, in contravention of the treaty conducted by his father .Nasrat Shah, son of Allauddin Shah attacked Tirbhukti in 1530 annexed the territory, killed the Raja and thus put an end to the Thakur dynasty .

Nasrat Shah appointed his son -in -law as viceroy of Tirhut and the coformard it was governed by Muslim Governor .In 1526 Babar dynosted Sikandar Lodi but Champaran could not coming prominence till the last days of the Muslim rule.

During the close of the Mughal empire, Champaran witnessed ravages of contending armies. prince Al Gauhar later known as Shah Alam invaded Bihar in 1760 and Khadin Hussain, the Governor of Purnit invited with his army to join him. In the mean time, Nawab Sirajudaulla of Bengal had already been defeated and killed as a result of the joint conspiracy of Mir Jagarkhan and the British, in June, 1757 . Before Khadim Hussain could meet Shah Alam's forces captain Knox led a British force and defeated him at Hajipur. There after he fled to Bettiah.


With the rest of Bengal Champaran passed into the hands of East India Company in 1764 but military expeditious were still I. necessary to curb the independent spirit of the chiefs. In 1766 , Robert Barkar easily defeated the local chiefs and forced them to pay tribute or revenue which they had destined till them. however , the Raja of Bettiah did not pay revenues regularly and revolted but was crushed. He fled to Bundelkhand and his estate was consequently confiscated. But to the British it was difficult to manage the affairs of the estate in the make of strong popular resentment. At the time of uprising the estate was restored by the Raja in 1771 .

In the mean time for reaching consequences were taking place in neighboring Nepal. A confrontation was going,. In between the Gurkhas, under Prithvi Narayan of Newar line and British forces. Ultimately a treaty was concluded at Sugauli .There remained peace for 25 years followed by treaty but trouble started after 1840 when a Gurkha troops entered the estate of Raja Ramnagar and extended their claim over his territory. However, Gorkha troops had to retreat due to determined resistance. Later, the Nepalese proved faithfully allies of the British in suppressing the National Movement of 1857.

The repression of the Wahabi movement at Patna furthered of seething discontent of tenants against the activities of the administration as well as the Indigo --Planters. The cultivators were forced to grow indigo even in the face of recurring losses in this account . More over many kinds of illegal realization were effected by the landlords. The administration was the cut do - sac of the oppressions.

In the beginning of 1857 movement the position of Britishers was precarious. Major Hoimes who was commanding the 12th Irregular cavalry, stationed at sugauli was apparently panicked and proclaimed martial law on his own authority. This measure had not attracted hole-hearted support of higher authorities. Major Holmes lad repressive measures and executed some sepoys. Consequently members of the cavalry revolted again the authority. The Major his wife and other members of his family were stained. The Soldiers proceeded towards Siwan to join other forces who had risen against the British authority. The revolt was, however calmed down to enlist support Honorary Magistrates from among the indigo planters were appointed and also authorized them to recruit local police. Some of the big estate holders like the Raja of Bettiah even gave support to the British Gurukha troops of the British were asset to them.

The later history of the district is inter woven with the saga of exploitation of the indigo planters. Britain used to get supplies of indigo from her American colonies which ceased after war of .Independence fought in 1776 leading to their freedom. Britain had to depend upon India for supplies of Indigo. Europeans steered many factories in the indigo producing areas of Bengal and Bihar.

Estate of Bettiah and Ramnagar gave lease of land to them on easy terms for cultivation of indigo. The arrangement made for the cultivation of indigo were (1) Zirat and (2)Tenkuthiya . Apparently ,nothing went wrong by the introduction of both the systems. But actually, the peasants suffered a lot due to both the systems. The wages paid to laborers were extremely low and entirely inadequate. The were forced to labor hard and were severely punished for alleged slackness on their part Sri Raj kumar shukla, an indigo cultivator of the district having heard about the None Co-operation Movement had by Gandhijee in South Africa met and apprised him about miserable plight of indigo Cultivators in the Champaran District. He persuaded him to visit the district. Almost at same time;The Indian Nation congress in December ,1916 passed at Lucknow a resolution for requesting Government to appoint a committcd of both officials and non-officials to enquire into the agrarian trouble facing the district.

Gandhijee paid historic visit to Champaran. His visit was stoutly opposed by the British rulers. An order asking him to leave Champaran was served upon him as soon as he arrived at Motihari. Gandhijee defied the order of the several prominent persons who rallied round him mention may be made of Dr .Rajendra Prasad Acharya Kriplani ,Mahadeo Desai, C.F. Andrews, H.S.Pollock, Anugrah Narayan Singh, Raj Kishore Prasad, Ram Nawami Prasad and Dharnidhar Prasad after considerable struggle Govt. was compelled to lift the ban on Gandhi's stay here for he first time on Indian soil Satyagarh, was successfully put to test. Eventually, a committee of enquiry was appointed by the Govt. under the chairmanship of Sri Frank shy, Gandhijee was also made one of the member of the committee. On the basis of vauled a recommendations of the committee, the Champaran Agraria low (Bihar and Orissa Act I of 1918) was passed. In course of time, the development of synthetic dyes made the cultivation of indigo redundant.

In 1920,Gandhijee made an extensive tour of Bihar before launching the non-co-operation movement, which earned full support in the district as well. In 1929 a group of volunteers from Champran district came to demonstrate a against the Simon commission in the same year the 21st session of the Bihar students conference was held at Motihari. As a reaction against the failure of Round table conference held in 1932 there was popular gathering at Motihari to take pledge for Independence. Police lathi charge and fired upon the gatherings. people of Champaran will be remember for their active and significant participation in the National movement

Rebellion in Patna

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

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