Friday, December 17, 2004

Illusions of European History

The English history of India is akin to one written from the point of view of the locusts, not of the farmer. The scale of destruction the English wrought in India would rank them with Stalin and Hitler and Pol Pot as the great destroyers of the world. But history is written by the victors, and so they claim they brought Civilization.

Hitler, in a way, and unintentionally, of course, was a great liberator. His war once and for all put an end to the colonial powers, and after World War II, European empires were dismantled and Asia and Africa were decolonized. But the damage these empires wrought was enormous, and the world is yet to recover.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Could you point out sources?

I agree colonialism set back India for a couple of centuries (growth nearly zero).

However, there was a a lot of "blaming colonialism" for all the ills, which stopped people in India from working to improve their situation. As a result, there was a lot of brain drain.

But things have changed for the better in the past decade. What has helped was that India became one country, unlike say Africa, so it is no longer possinle to "divide and rule". It is not surprising India and China have weathered financial crises, since they are big enough to not follow IMF diktats.

Gindy said...

Arun. Thanks for the article on the bio-diseal. I will look at it further tomorrow morning. As to this post, I have to be slight suspect. If memory serves me correct, Hitler sent more than 6 million Jews alone to a death by ovens, zyclon gas, torture and scientific experiments and forced slavery etc. The Jews were almost completely wiped out as a people by Hitler. Stalin sent 10s of millions of people to their death through your average everyday brutallity and murder.
I just don't know the facts when it comes to India. Most of my knowledge of English colonialism of India, regretably, comes from the movie Ghandi(I am embarrassed to say). What are the actual numbers of people that you believe were killed by the English? Or are you speaking from a cultural angle. This question is asked respectfully.

Anonymous said...

Hi Gindy,

I applaud your respectful tone.

I am of Indian descent, and having read history of both East and West from diverse sources, I think the comparison of English brutality to Hitler and Stalin is over the top. I can think of millions dying during the Great Bengal Famine of 1942 that killed millions (similar to the Irish potato famine). But to compare that to Hitler's genocide is too much, IMHO. The British were brutal at times (like massacare via machine gun of thousands of innocent unarmed civilians peacefully protesting in a walled park), but they did not kill people in the millions every year in India.

I do agree that colonialism retarded progress greatly in India. The so-called "advantages" of colonialism to India, like English language, could have been gained more easily by trade without colonial conquest. But one (unintended) benefit of English conquest, is to unify India; it was earlier a collection of many small states.

MDR

Anonymous said...

By some peculiar coincidence, just after reading this post I read this article, and I read the lines

Mr. Sell might as well be in Stalin's Gulag or in the hands of the Waffen SS or US captors at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

Arun said...

MDR,

The Great Famine of 1942 was simply the last one of a pattern.

The effects of taxing people to the limit, on their income, and on essential commodities - such as salt, is as sure a way to kill them as to round them up in concentration camps.

-Arun

Gindy said...

I appreciate the info being discussed in this blog. I am glad I checked back. I will come back again.

Gindy said...

By the way. I have not had a chance to attack the info you pointed me to on the bio-diseal. I plan to look at the next chance I get. Alternative fuels is of great interest to me. Thanks again.