Thursday, 21 January 2010

Would the British still be in India if they hadn't been so racist?

Would they?


For every other invader swiftly married in… the Mughals for instance

So that within a hundred years or so they were pretty much of local blood

Well the British, being a new kind of racist, didn’t

Within their Empire mindset it was unthinkable… a British man marrying a Indian woman … with the opposite being even more unthinkable …But, imagine if they hadn’t, they would still be the upper class here…

The British were better armed… they were taller and therefore stronger and more imposing … they had the mystique of the incomprehensible… and the undefeated… and they were whiter ... after all, the Indian upper class revere fairness of skin… and you see a form of this every day in the uneasying skin cream adverts aimed at teenagers…and, as with many other upper classes in ex-colonies, like the Malaysians, the Indian Upper Class model themselves in so many ways on the British Upper Class as was, though rarely in religion… [Independence Square in Kuala Lumpur has a cricket pitch on top of it… which is like turning Trafalgar Square into a Gridiron]… and had those Anglos sensibly become Anglo-Indians, then those Anglo-Indians, like the Indo-Mughals before them, would have stayed in power till something else dislodged them… like the British dislodged the Mughals…

Which racism was all very good news for the Congress Brahmins, who got this country, which had never existed before on such a scale, with very little effort… the sudden weakness of the British Empire was, for them, a very fortuitous happenstance indeed … like the weakness of the Mughals for the British before that

Because the British also got India in a very easy way… for the scale of what was gained… Delhi fell very simply to the British and they went from running Trading Posts to some seriously lucrative real estate in very little time… then they simply kept on trying to secure what they had, which got them more, and more, till they’d ended up with so much they felt they had to take it all… So they had to defeat first Tippu Sultan and then the Marathas in order to secure what they had… and the fact that India had no historical unity meant no-one was going to be of a mind to co-ordinate an all-India fightback

For few seem to stress how there might be a geographical India… it leaps off the map … but there is no historical India… and if there was it absolutely certainly contained Pakistan … India had NEVER been politically unified until the British who, suddenly having no-postwar-choice, found themselves forced to hand it over to the New Indians

What a marvelous piece of luck for the opposition in the 1940s?! what a very neat thing to happen?!… to be given this whole country… on a platter… this ancient country with so much glorious future

And before, having visited the site of Tippu Sultan’s defeat and very death, I wondered quite what I thought about it… was it… one bunch of brutal bastard toughnuts destroying another bunch of brutal bastard toughnuts?

Or is it an issue that Tippu Sultan was their toughnut, an Indian toughnut?… even though he does seem to have been responsible for the death of many Hindus and Christians… though his many apologists deny this, seeing him as a great visionary poet scholar and warrior…

Which is a tough question… does it matter that he was their toughnut?

After all, in Africa, the benighted Africans were probably better off under their rapacious colonial bastard leaders than with the bastard leaders of the murderous and fractured societies they now have… not everywhere of course but… in many places.

[And maybe not everyone would agree but I reckon, if someone is murdering you wholesale, the better option is the ones who kill the least…. And bollocks to dogma, or morality, or nationalism.]

Whilst the Indians were milked for well over a century by the British and their Imperial economic squeeze … Tippu Sultan might have squandered money on the de rigeur opulence …but he would not have taken the money out of the country… which was the whole reason the British were there… extracting the cash… which meant that India in many ways went backwards under British rule… before that it was undoubtedly a dynamic place, a patchwork of diversely antiquated and dynamic political unities… it seems to be common knowledge that the Indians had good boatyards in 1750 yet they hardly had any in 1950… because the British simply controlled everything and didn’t want them building ships… or much else for that matter

Whilst they had astutely instituted an iniquitous landowner system… the Zamindars… large landowners who were given the land and who, often absentees, extracted their own tithes from the peasants and were then taxed themselves by the British… which outside instituted feudal system of course made it much easier for the British to get their money… rather than impossibly running after every peasant themselves

It seems very difficult to judge if the British were more or less brutal than their predecessors, few of whom, if any, were saints… Were there more massacres under the British, or less?... Were the hospitals and jails worse under the British, better, or much the same?… What is not difficult to judge is that the economic squeeze of the British was much worse… Tippu and the others of course grabbed the cash for themselves, and maybe the most the locals got out of its was the small drippings of some old-fashioned trickle-down effect… yet he didn’t sail away with boatloads of booty

A book on all this would be good to read …

On the other hand, most Indians think corruption is India's biggest problem... so is it more corrupt under Democracy than it was under Imperial Rule?... most would say yes... is the same cut the British were sailing off with now funneling its way into greasy politician pockets?

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