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British Rule in India and Nazi rule. What is the difference?

December 28, 2006

Indian History books teach the pros and cons of British rule

The subject of British rule in India is an emotional one for most Indians but even those Indians who are aware that Britain plundered India and treated locals as sub-humans and killed the indigenous industry, reluctantly admit that Britain did build infrastructure and made English popular in India. Guess if it wasn’t for British rule all those years ago I wouldn’t be writing this very piece in English, would I? And well, Britain did unite all those little kingdoms and gave all of us a pan Indian identity.
But if most Indians believe that British rule did some good (not everyone agrees about the high price paid) I think the credit is due to the way we were taught history. The advantages of British rule were clearly brought out.

 

Britain apparently teaches a biased view of the British Raj

What surprised me was a front page report in today’s Times of India (Mumbai). It said that British school children are not taught the evil aspects of British rule – in fact there is a controversy going on in Britain right now about teaching school-children about Jallianwala Bagh, where hundreds of peacefully protesting Indians were massacred (including women and children). It’s difficult to understand why Britain wants to brush this under the carpet..after all if German school children can be taught about the evils of Nazi rule, why can’t British school-children be taught about the evils of British rule in India? Sure, the Nazis did more damage in a short period of time and killed millions of Jews.

But who has calculated the damage that Britain did? Are there any records of the number of Indians killed and enslaved by the British during the British Raj? Are there any records of ill-treatment meted out on a regular basis to the Indians? Has anyone calculated the economic damage caused to India because of the East India Company and British rule? Ofcourse not.

 

Britain does not want to know
The truth is that the truth is too painful. And neither the Brits nor the Indians in Britain are trying very hard to do anything about it. On the other hand, it is because of the power of the Jewish community that Germany said sorry…and meant it. It is because of the Jewish people that today German school children know the truth. Surely, history is important?

 

Britain’s attempt to change the curriculum is being opposed

Britain is trying to change the curriculum to give British school-children a ‘valuable insight into shared, if painful and often controversial aspects of the relationship between Indian and Britain’ but there are groups opposing this because this kind of teaching is considered anti-British. How can the dissemination of truth be anti anything?

 

The root of racism

But then, this is the very root of racism. Children in developed countries are taught in school itself that they come from a ‘superior’ stock. They are taught to take on the ‘White Man’s Burden’. A burden which makes it mandatory for the ‘superior’ race to ‘civilize’ the ‘inferior’ races. This was the attitude of the British when they came to India. They came, they saw and they plundered. They believed it was their right as ‘rulers’. At the same time they came down heavily on some of the barbaric practices they saw in India.
Yes, some barbaric things went on in Indian society (and we are not completely rid of them) but what the British failed to see that what they were doing was equally barbaric. They robbed and enslaved not just a few people, but a whole country.
What Britishers did not realise was that India had a far longer history of ‘civilization’ than war-like Britain. The problem was that India’s civilization was cloaked in dhotis, saris and turbans and some ancient practices (not too far removed from equally medieval practices that took place in Britain). These differences convinced the shirts, skirts and trousers who came to India that India was uncivilized. Every culture and every country has it’s dark side…but the developed world can only see the evils of other countries…not their own.

 

What chance does truth stand?

What’s amazing is that the developed world today prides itself on freedom and democracy…so why not own up to the bad things of the past? True, Britishers were probably not as bad as the Nazis, but they did far greater harm than the Nazis by the very virtue of their being around for more than a hundred years. The British East India Company arrived in India as far back as 1757 (proxy rule by the British) and then direct British rule started in 1858, lasting until 1947. The Nazis under Adolph Hitler ruled only from 1933 to 1945 – which is just a dozen years! One does not need much of an imagination to realise the damage the British must have done to India.
The sad part is is that millions of young Britishers are growing up thinking that Britain did India a big favour by ruling her. Why, the Queen herself wears a diamond stolen from India in her crown. The Wikipedia calls this diamond the ‘spoils of war.’ Funny.

Update July 2012: The comments have changed the tone and context of this article substantially. In light of that I thought I would add a tailpiece here from LK Advani’s blog. To sum up he writes about international historians who called British Rule the greatest crime in all history. I do believe it, not just because of the contents of  that article. What no one writes about is that the British systematically murdered all those who rose up against their rule, and this was done for over a hundred years. In any society if the best and brightest are murdered, it affects the whole population, and the genes. It is like what the Nazis did, killing the brightest and the most rebellious Jews. The Nazis did it in a dramatic and quick fashion, but the British did it slowly over a hundred years. Anyway, it is now the past, and all that is needed is an acknowledgement from the British government that they did wrong. In other words an apology.  Indian history books also need to write that British Rule destroyed India economically. It was a systematic robbing and killing of a nation. The rape of a nation.

Unless you tell the truth about the past, it is difficult to move on. Today I have no grudge against the British people, not even a teeny weeny bit, but I do have a grudge against the British and the Indian governments who insist of drawing a curtain over the past.

Related Reading: Is India’s language divide the biggest divide of all?
New immigration laws in Britain tell Indians to get out and that’s not such a bad thing.

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469 Comments leave one →
  1. November 15, 2012 10:20 am

    To give some leeway, as we Indians are quite generous in that respect, I think the reason Britain wants to brush their History under the carpet and not come to terms with it is because the entire nation is still associated with that tag “Britain”. In Germany, that is not necessarily the case. When we talk about Germany during the 30′s and 40′s we call it Nazism and not “Germany” per say so it is easy for the descendents to easily dissociate with the Nazi ideology while still holding on to their heritage. If the whole world knows about the massacre that occurred in Punjab, the famines that killed more than 10 million people and how the rebels were strapped to loaded canons etc then calling anyone a British will be on the same par as Nazism and I don’t think Britain want to live with that eternal shame. If you ask me, I don’t give a shit and I think English should suffer long and hard. Karma is a fact and what you sow, so shall you reap and England is long overdue for a good hiding!

    • phoenixrising permalink
      November 16, 2013 8:49 am

      British has looted India with crulity and cunning policy.

      British=cunning, it’s same word from last 100 of years.

      Very well said – “Karma is a fact and what you sow, so shall you reap and England is long overdue for a good hiding!”

  2. December 2, 2012 2:22 am

    You know you were wrong in comparing the British rule in India to the Nazis. I think you evoke all wrong sorts of emotions with that comparisons. You know Nazis were dogs and the British were dogs. But they were of different breed. I wouldn’t name them in the same breath. While what I said, I believe to be true, however it is also true that the British did teach us one thing as all the enemies do, that is, to stand united. We needed an enemy and they provided us one. And few more things, and these are meant for any for those British asses who have been braying how they united India. You were an enemy and to fight with you we united. It was through efforts of Indian leaders that the unity was achieved. When the British left they left us in more than 200 independent fragments with only two prominently marked. It was through efforts of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and others that the unity was achieved. To those who say that we live on their AID know this. Your AID is nothing but a way patronizing yourself. We don’t need your AID. In fact even our government has said it. Our finance minister called it, and I quote, “peanuts”. Yet you wouldn’t stop. What you are doing is just pumping your own ego. So go to hell with your aid. The sun has set over the British empire and let us be done with it.

    There is just one additional perspective I would like to provide. Do you really think that we needed to be united? I am not so sure about it. Look at Europe, they are less diverse than us but they are separate countries. Each country in Europe developed on its own and now they are trying a political union and I am not sure that it is working that well, but I think it might. No one apologizes for being French or Italian, grant them that. But in India we all pretend as we are all one people which we are not – neither ethically or culturally. In Europe the unity has come naturally, unlike the Indian Union which was forced upon us. It has left people seething in some parts of India. If left alone I highly doubt that India would have been in small pieces, it would have been say about a dozen countries and we could have eventually come together with more mature politicians than we have today. Today everyone plays ethnic politics. If it had been left alone India would have been great, and eventually have been united. – Nita.

  3. Wally permalink
    December 23, 2012 10:53 pm

    Wow, what an extraordinary resource this page has become. I also studied a good deal of the history of the Subcontinent in college, going all the way back to the Indus Valley cultures and yet I’ve learned so much reading these comments. Don’t want to repeat what others have said here so I’ll just summarize what I find to be the most remarkable and unique additions to this topic:

    - The chief culprits for the often murderous British Imperial nastiness in India (and other colonies) seem to have been primarily from the British upper classes, often the same Anglo-Norman noble families who’d been in power since 1066. Thus there’s a common thread linking the brutalized Indian masses, who were deliberately starved by the tens of millions as their economic structures were systematically dismantled by the British Raj, and the British masses themselves (outside the aristocracy), who were also treated brutally by the upper classes.

    - One of India’s great policy mistakes after independence in 1948, perhaps our greatest single mistake, has been our nearly exclusive dedication to the English language and Anglo culture in general, at the expense of the cultural richness of (especially) the French, German and other Asian civilizations. I’m not at all saying that we should ditch our studies of English in Indian schools, but it was disastrous to do so while neglecting almost entirely the non-Anglo great civilizations who in many ways have exceeded the Anglo-Saxon culture in science, the visual arts, engineering, music, mathematics, business and other fields. As a result, India is now trapped in the same sort of social and economic downward spiral as the US and Britain these days, due to our adoption of the same short-term thinking and over-financialized and leveraged economic structure.

    English is still useful to know in many careers obviously, but India would do well to knock it somewhat off the pedestal we’ve foolishly put it on- that is, to make it one of many European languages to choose from, along with French (which also has a deep history in India) and especially German, which is becoming the most useful language to know in many careers and the core of perhaps the world’s most successful economy.

    In other words, let’s offer up the various European languages as electives, so that we’ll have better diversity of language mastery throughout India, and a better-trained pool of workers able to assume jobs from non-Anglophone as well as Anglosphere countries. Obviously many students will still choose English as they should, but some will choose French, some Spanish or Portuguese (both also major world languages at the core of fast-growing economies), a few even Russian, Chinese or Japanese. But I suspect the biggest growth will be in German, which is incredibly useful to get high-paying and growing jobs in engineering, various sciences, industry and other fields.

    I’ve worked on-and-off in Poland, and this is what the Poles intelligently do in their studies. Some students study English, more learn German, others French or Spanish or Russian. So as a result, the Polish graduates are well-diversified in their language skills, and are able to take on jobs all throughout Europe and in other countries, too. Obviously they all speak Polish (and most do know at least some German), but with a broad range of language skills among them, they’re collectively better prepared to get jobs all over the world. Indian graduates by comparison are overwhelmingly clustered toward English alone, and this makes us uncompetitive for the vast majority of jobs in non-Anglophone countries and also at the mercy of the major Anglophone economies, which lately have been in lousy shape with fewer and fewer jobs available to support us.

    - Some British are becoming aware and accepting of the less savory parts of their history, some are not. I have British friends and many are wonderful people, some are less so. Just a way of saying that especially when it comes to India and British attitudes toward India, we have to look at this on a case-by-case basis.

    • December 24, 2012 8:49 am

      Thank you for your comment Wally. You have added pertinent points but I would like to add something. Indians already speak several languages. The majority of Indians speak three languages. The mother tongue is compulsory in all the states, and also Hindi whether or not this is the mother tongue. In addition most Indians need to learn English for work purposes. Most Indian grow up learning three languages in schools. These languages are as, if not more, diverse than the European languages. They also have different scripts which is not so in Europe. It is a huge burden on students already struggling with an archaic education system. If Polish are learning German or French they are no better than us and plus they have the freedom to choose. We are a group of people with widely different cultures and a rich heritage of languages with different scripts. We are more diverse than the European union as even the way we celebrate religion is different (even if from the same religion). We are akin to an European union but an union which made us politically one by the British. What you say is indeed desirable, but first, India should stop making Hindi compulsory. If that happens than all Indians will be equal. Today those whose mother tongue is Hindi learn only two languages. Those in the south, west and the east learn three diverse languages, often with entirely differing scripts. Unfortunately they do not do so as a matter of choice. It is compulsory in schools. And then there is the heavy burdensome education system and wrong methods of learning. The Polish make a choice, but we in India do not.

      I cannot say that please stop learning the mother tongue, because that would be unfair on my part. I cannot even say stop forcing students to learn English as it is a very useful language internationally. So can I say that the choice has to be Hindi which students can opt out of if they so desire? That also can have repercussions. There are posts on this blog discussing the language issue and I have only mentioned it because you brought it up. I would prefer not to discuss the issue (whether Indians should be forced to learn three languages) here frankly as it would diverge from the main topic.

      • Mauryan permalink
        January 3, 2013 12:33 pm

        Namaste Nita,
        All the above discussions pose valuable points, and thank you for this wonderful forum as so many of us especially in Bharat’s expat community have gained a perspective we had lacked before on our homeland. Just to comment on this particular issue as I think a clarification may be in order:

        If I understand Wally’s point correctly– and it’s easy to misunderstand based on conversations I myself have had on the topic– he basically agrees with you in essence, so he’s making more of a simple practical and economic strategic suggestoin rather than a legal one itself. What-ever the situation with the three-language formula and of course Hindi’s fundamental status as the national language, which for all practical purposes is a settled matter I suppose, I sense he’s less concerned with that question than with the more mundane matter of the other, i.e. extra-Subcontinental languages in India’s language-learning curricula, which there are still options to do even given the constraints of the current formulas.

        Stated similarly, to choose a hypothetical, given the case of someone in Karnataka or Gujarat already learning Hindi, they have a number of choices for one, or two additional languages, and so the practical question arises of what to emphasize in terms of other languages to learn. As I understand, he is also arguing and FWIW I agree, that English is clearly a useful choice that many can and should choose, rather the problem is that while English is useful, it’s not SO useful that it should be crowding out other important elective languages such as German, Chinese, Portuguese or Spanish. Doing so, whether a not as a result of leftover British Raj attachment, strongly hinders India’s economic competitiveness which, after all, is witnessing the highest growth and market opportunities in non-Anglo nations like Brazil, China, Germany and the Spanish-speaking nations. In contrast the countries that have benefited most in these growing markets have been those that have better diversified the pool of languages studied by a significant percentage of their students, and that this is something that India must do to remain practically competitive. So India, to be economically competitive, should better train teaches and design curricula to encourage different groups of students to learn German, or Brazilian Portuguese, or Spanish, Chinese or French. That way, India has graduates with a range of linguistic skills to do business, attract foreign investment and seek offshoring contracts outside India, which is critical for our growth.

        To use an analogy, if a city has an upcoming contract to construct a number of large buildings in the city center, it will need dozens of civil engineers to accomplish the task, and so the city would benefit by for example encouraging the study and training of civil engineering at a local technical school. So civil engineering naturally becomes a more popular field of study, as it should. But if nearly everybody at the technical school shifts over to study civil engineering, however useful, then the result is a disaster for the city, because it then doesn’t have people skilled in other engineering fields– such as mechanical and electrical engineering– who are also needed in the construction project. Instead, the city needs to diversify so that students specialize in different engineering branches. In India, English is sort of like civil engineering in that example, in that while important, it’s been overemphasized to the detriment of other critical languages– German, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese maybe the most important, and French, Russian and Arabic just a peg below– that are of similar or growing importance in world markets, but are underemphasized. So India winds up with a lopsided number of graduates who are skilled in English, far more than the market for Anglo countries can provide jobs or contracts for, but can’t speak other critical languages like German, Spanish, French or Chinese, and so in effect are locked out of these valuable and growing markets where, realistically, aspiring business participant has to be familiar with the main language(s) in use by the country’s customers. Instead, it’s better to balance these European and extra-Subcontinental Asian languages so that our graduates have the needed mix of skills and can specialize, the same way that the city building project in that analogy requires mechanical and electrical engineers as well as civil engineers.

        This proposal lines up well with the empirical evidence, as I’m sure countless Indian expats can attest to. My siblings and I like many others in the Desi Diaspora were raised in North America after our parents moved with us at a very young age, and work opportunities have likewise brought me to Europe for a time. But in Europe just to use a single example, the primary economic center of the continent is Germany and the German-speaking regions, not Britain, with France and the French language also of greater importance than Britain. Even more so after the financial crisis from 2008, which after all hit earliest and hardest in the Anglo countries, while Germany and Switzerland with their manufacturing and tech sectors have bloomed as the strongest economies in the world. As a result, the developing countries that have done the best in these markets– with enormous benefit for their national economies– have been the ones that have at least a sizable percentage of their graduates proficient or fluent in German, or French to a lesser extent. Estonia and Latvia for example, little Balkan states like Croatia or Slovenia, or Poland as Wally mentioned, have all strongly boosted their economies by having a large pool of German-speakers able to do business, and thus sell into the German-dominated markets. The same goes for non-European countries, both developed and less so– Japan, Vietnam, Korea and Taiwan– that have a strong and growing tradition of German and/or French language training. By contrast, countries like Portugal, Greece and Ireland– where they essentially teach only English as the language in schools– have suffered disastrous consequences, since these countries are overreliant on doing business with Great Britain within Europe or, predominantly, the US outside of it, both of which are stagnating and under severe economic strain. At my European design firm, many of the best-paid employees didn’t speak a word of English, but almost all of them did speak at least basic conversational German, and some spoke French– plenty of examples like this. India can benefit by doing similarly, making sure we can work with, export into and team up with a greater variety of markets.

  4. boycie20 permalink
    January 11, 2013 7:44 am

    This is really interesting and a well written article! I am British and I was just thinking the other day how we complain so much about the events caused by nazi germany, yet we as a country have done terrible things too. The difference being that in this modern age we have forgotten about it and no ones even aware of what we did. I think your right, perhaps it’s because we aren’t taught here at school about the events that occurred and this is why future generations are forgetting…

    • Sanjeevi Rao permalink
      January 30, 2013 9:26 am

      The main reason we are not taught in school about the British atrocities is because, it is the winner who is alive to write the history and they won’t write against themselves. If Nazis had won the war, the war crimes of the allied forces would have been the highlight and their own crimes, if ever admitted would be justified if they can’t deny. One such example is where Soviets shot 20,000 polish soldiers in the back with their hands tied. During the recapture, Germans found them and showed it to the world as war crime. When the war was over, no charges were brought against anyone since soviets were part of the allied forces and winners decide who to prosecute.
      Another example was when German women were mass raped (estimated to be about 200,000) when Berlin fell. Nazis would face death penalty but allied forces went scot free.
      These two are small but gruesome atrocities perpetrated by winners and no one will own up.
      Recently, President Gorbachev apologized for mass polish murder. After that, pole-Russian relationship thawed a bit.

  5. Abhishek permalink
    January 11, 2013 2:45 pm

    We dont really need to worry about the history. The British themselves are beginning to write an alternative history for themselves. Today, the British High Commissioner in India James Bevan was explaining why he really is a “son of Gujarat” :)

    So, really…lets wait a few decades and Britain will soon be writing history books on how India civilized Britain and “brown man’s burden”. No use trying to persuade the British when we can dominate them economically. After six decades of being America’s poodle,Britain’s “special relationship” with its master is now delivering diminishing returns. On the other hand, the British are about to get kicked out of Europe. In the new world order, the British are “structural losers”. There is no place for them in the world power hierarchy.

    Just because they have a queen who can live for 90 years and their prince got his wife pregnant doesnt mean they can make it in the world order :)

    • Sathish C permalink
      January 26, 2013 4:13 pm

      LOL, great post Abhishek, summarizes many of the thoughts I’ve had about modern Britain’s paltry and declining state. Even younger Britons themselves are leaving the country en masse. You’re observant also about the way the Britons too often try to fabricate their history, and I think there’s something telling in this. The British too often try to live in a bubble of glorious imperial fantasy, they’ve never been honest about their own history and all its ugly facets, and so as a result the Brits are unable to craft a sensible approach to the present. Their historical ignorance is to their own detriment.

    • Nargis permalink
      April 11, 2013 7:30 am

      Well said!! That’s true!! I

  6. Sathish C permalink
    January 26, 2013 4:53 pm

    I’d also like to add my praise to the unique value of these comments and bring up a conclusion that I don’t believe has been raised yet. I myself am in history graduate school and did not know many of these things, but from my own perspective, I think perhaps the most extraordinary lesson here is one that might be of great interest to both professional and popular historians alike, as I haven’t seen it mentioned in texts before. That is:

    The British frankly did run a policy of deliberate mass atrocities and even genocide against civilian populations esp in India, and they did for a clear strategic reason, i.e. the British were militarily perhaps the worst of the European imperial powers. So when the British failed repeatedly against armed local enemies who could fight back, they instead targeted civilians since the Brits were being beaten in the field. There’s a straight line from Palmerston’s and Disraeli’s mass murder and genocidal acts in 1857 and in the targeted liquidation of Indian villages in subsequent decades to grow opium (far worse than even what Stalin, Hitler and Pol Pot were able to perpetrate in their mass famines),to Jallianwala Bagh, to similar British atrocities in the second Boer War (first concentration camps) to, of particular interest, the repeated British military defeats in Afghanistan or against the mestizo peoples of the Americas.

    Early in my history studies, I had read primary accounts of British statements during wars against the Dutch in the 1600′s and against Spain earlier in the century. It was remarkable to me how arrogant and overconfident the English were, and how England especially then was repeatedly beaten by enemies that it scorned. The Dutch in the 1660′s and the Spaniards then and in the 1500′s and 1700′s severely defeated the English (and then defeated the British) in war after war, with a Dutch admiral Ruyter even sailing up a British river in the 1660′s, burning much of the British fleet and the surrounding town, while the English defenders cowered and failed to back up their bluster.

    I didn’t give it much thought then, but this was such a common and repeated pattern that it may account for the UK’s remarkable tendency to engage in genocides and mass slaughter of civilians in subsequent wars- despite their bluster, the British knew that deep down, they were terrible soldiers. So better to choose easier targets who couldn’t so easily fight back. In the Boer War of 1899-1902 after all, the British were smashed on the battlefield by their Boer and African opponents at Colenso and other battles. So Kitchener and other British officers then resorted to starving the Boer and African women, children and animals in concentration camps. Under Queen Elizabeth I, English forces were also badly defeated, repeatedly, by Irish resistance in the 1590′s in battles like yellow Ford. So once James I ascended the English throne, the English officer Mountjoy resorted to simply burning down Irish fields in an attempt to subdue the Irish population, since the English couldn’t defeat the Irish on the battlefield.

    If this sounds familiar, it should. The British did the same things to us in their concentration camps in the Bay of Bengal, starving and brutalizing our civilian population when they failed to militarily defeat the resistance leaders of India, who were fighting British attempts to loot our industries and cut down our food-producing fields to produce opium for addicting the people of China. Genocide of the Indian people wasn’t a side effect of the British policies, it was part and parcel of British strategy, since as with the Boers, Afghans, Dutch and Latin Americans, the British knew they couldn’t beat us in the field.

    Notice also as other commentators here have been quick to notice, that when the British did take to the field, they were badly defeated by underequipped, usually outnumbered opponents. I wasn’t even aware of many of these examples until coming here. Britain was heavily defeated by none other than the slave leader Le Ouverture in Haiti when the British attempted to conquer the island in the 1790′s period. The British were beaten by the Nepalese, lost wars waged against Cartagena, Montevideo and other rich targets within Latin America. The Elizabethan sailors were crushed by Spain in the 1590′s while the vaunted Victorian armies were repeatedly humiliated by the Afghans in the 1840′s and 1870′s. The British were similarly defeated by Zulus at Isandlwana, by Maoris in New Zealand, and were crushed by Albano-Egyptian troops in Egypt in 1805, when the British invaded in Napoleon’s wake. After WWI, the British were defeated militarily by the Irish, Turks, Iraqis, Russians and plenty of others. Once again you can see the same pattern- just like Kitchener starving Boer and African women and kids in South African concentration camps when the British lost on the field of battle, Arthur Bomber Harris resorted to terror-bombing Iraqi Kurds and Shiites when the Iraqis rose up against Britain in the 1920′s, and managed to expel and defeat the British despite the bombing raids. The Chinese in 1950 smashed a whole British army and pushed them out of northern Korea, while insurgents in Cyprus and Aden unceremoniously forced the British out, in embarrassing disasters for the British.

    Notice the pattern here, that the Brits were defeated militarily not only by other major powers, but by poorly-armed local forces and guerrilla fighters that the British held in contempt. And this was happening over many centuries, even British soldiers considered themselves among the world’s best. I’m hardly an expert on European imperialism on that period, but I suspect it’s fairly evident that the British were defeated (and often humiliated) by local native forces far more than any other European power. So when they lost in the field, atrocities against civilians allowed the British to soothe some of their frustration, while giving them easier targets who didn’t so much shoot back.

    A sad testament to the incompetence and arrogance of the British Empire. It’s obvious, though, that all the atrocities in India by the British Raj weren’t merely incidental, They were at the heart of British policy.

    • CodeWarrior permalink
      February 3, 2013 1:19 pm

      Great point. I do sometimes wonder why there aren’t more Indian historical epic films like Braveheart or The Patriot, Wind Shaking the Barley about the Irish (that’s roughly the title), unsparingly showing the British for the cowardly atrocity-committing imperialist jerks that they were. I still feel like too much of India’s intellectual and filmmaking community is stuck with a degree of underconfidence about our history and the degree to which both noble and common Indians fought for their independence against the thieving British fools. Plus the lingering effects of pro-Anglo propaganda even now messing up the minds and pride of Indians. The Irish, many Latin American countries, Chinese (some films on the Opium Wars are furiously anti-British and rightfully that way) and the Kenyans, among others have no qualms making films that show the British as corrupt and hateful imperialists, which is totally fair because that’s what they were, and to some extent still pretend they are.

      BTW since this topic’s been brought up, I’m a Desi who has learned several languages in my case, French, Spanish, German and a wee bit of Chinese and Japanese (as well of course my native Marathi, Tamil and Hindi), and I’m telling you languages are INCREDIBLY USEFUL. When I was able to demonstrate proficiency in Spanish, French and German especially, my salary at my entry-level job doubled within a year, more than the other Desi and even US employees who didn’t have these language skills, and I get sent on business flights to the coolest places in Latin America and Europe. So by all means, learn as many languages as you can, AFAIK the best schools in India both public and private, increasingly offer them. And in fact there are more and more textbooks written in Hindi or Marathi, Malayalam and Tamil that teach German or Spanish (don’t know about Chinese or Japanese yet), plus of course French around Puducherry, so it’s not hard to learn anymore. Increasingly you can’t get a US job at all without at least some Spanish, and jobs in Europe increasingly require at least some German (having a bit of French too is a nice plus. Haven’t used much Chinese yet but it can’t help to have it on hand! Just find a native speaker and practice, you’ll be having conversations super-quick because that’s how our brains learn.

  7. Nargis permalink
    April 11, 2013 7:41 am

    First of all Nita THANK YOU SO MUCH for writing this blog, I have been trying to find about history for sometime now I want to know what did the British to do in India. When I was in UK I couldn’t find much information and also at the local library. They never teaches us anything in British School either! Which makes me even more curious what are they covering up. Things you have said in the this article I ask myself the same questions and I do feel angry that school in UK do not teach us anything about this and in fact they make us Indian feel less than them. I hated living in UK and I am so so so that I have left the country. One day I hope to visit India and find some information about past. Meanwhile if you could recommend me any books written by anyone in India please let me know also if it’s not English I can read Bangla. Thank you Nita again for your blog.
    Best wishes,
    Nargis

  8. Didde Sandeep permalink
    April 28, 2013 11:53 pm

    I am an indian,and wholly disagree with the writer, It is of importance to know that the british are not as cruel as the hindu rajas and blood thisty muslim rulers, Of course we don’t study these because most of the stupid indian history books only present british as unwanted rulers(although they have done more good than previous rulers) and make no mention of the otherside of history

    • Nargis permalink
      May 2, 2013 10:39 pm

      Didde, I don’t think you are are fully aware of the history of India!!!! I have been reading some books which backs up Nina’s point of view. There interesting & cruel things happened to maybe to your forfathers I can quote you but I don’t feel like wasting time on thoese don’t read history books!!! I hope there is more Indians like Nina!

  9. Riaz permalink
    June 29, 2013 5:53 pm

    Hello
    Do you have any information on the murder or Islamic teachers during the raj era? People have told me the hung thousands along a12km road between two major towns.

    Is this true?

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