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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.

488 Comments leave one →
  1. July 16, 2012 10:23 pm

    hey mate stay WELL away and keep your family AWAY from london 2012 olympics … you helped me out in the past so i thought id give you this tip, when you watch it this summer youll remember this comment……. i dont mind if you delete this comment but you will remember what i said…. god bless you. Peace.

  2. Meena permalink
    October 10, 2012 6:41 pm

    Such an informative thread here. I minored in South Asian studies and even there I rarely had a chance to encounter such detailed knowledge of history.

    On this topic, I’d strongly recommend Madhusree Mukerjee’s brilliant new book, “Churchill’s Secret War.” It focuses on many aspects of Churchill’s misrule, with an extensive treatment of the Bengal Famine but also Churchill’s depredations in India in the content of the British Empire’s policies before. Palmeston, Disraeli and other major British leaders were if anything even worse than Stalin and Hitler (and Churchill for that matter).

    This book, like the general flood of literature shining a painful but realistic light on the British Empire, comprehensively takes down all the myths about not only Churchill, but of the Empire’s supposed good nature and even military power. (It’s pretty shocking how militarily incompetent the British were in Afghanistan, in Pakistan’s frontier provinces and in Ireland, Turkey and Iraq 1920.) BTW we learned both Hindi and Tamil as part of our South Asian studies, and we published all our major research papers in those languages- with thousands of hits and citations. So India’s native cultural future is going stronger than ever before.

  3. 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!”

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

      • bee permalink
        May 12, 2014 9:09 am

        why don’t you write a book?

  7. 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

    • bee permalink
      May 12, 2014 9:13 am

      alternative yes, but whether it’ll be accurate i’m not sure.

      we should never, never ever forget what hey did to our people and our country..and continue to do so today in the form of corporations.

      The Bengal Famine of 1943.

      There was no food shortage in Bengal at the time, but about 3.3 million (some historians claim it was 5-7million) people died, because the British took their food to feed their troops fighting in WWII, and then to feed postwar Britain and Europe. The Bengalis were left to starve. In addition they raised taxes on them to pay for their war in Europe.

      As a consequence 3.3 million died from decisions made from 1940 to 1943, and the following year, 1944, even more…millions upon millions upon millions of Bengalis died from disease related to the famine. (Please google search for images of the Bengal Famine of 1943)

      Churchill had refused to send food saying there were no ships, though in fact there were ships and food. After Churchill refused, international help was offered, saying they would provide food and send it on their own ships, but Churchill, being the racist that he was, and the British government choose not to respond.

      It is openly known that Churchill’s biography is not entirely factual. Nor does he mention the Bengal Famine of 1943 in his six volumes of WWII. Churchill’s calls it ‘India’s black hours..’, but it was in fact Churchill’s black hours and Britain’s black hours. They were a stain on India and a stain on the world and humanity. There is no doubt, it was genocide.

      It is important to realize that Famine and Poverty were only present with the British occupation. The British started to invade India in 1757. There was no mention of either famine or poverty prior to their invasion, and no famine since India won her independence in 1947.

      This was one of many appalling and barbaric acts that they carried out.

      There was also the south indian famine. etc… 10 million.

      how can you forget all this. i suggest you get on the web and look at photos of these people.

  8. 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.

  9. 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,

  10. 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!

    • bee permalink
      May 12, 2014 9:06 am

      Bengal Famine of 1943.

      There was no food shortage in Bengal at the time, but about 3.3 million (some historians claim it was 5-7million) people died, because the British took their food to feed their troops fighting in WWII, and then to feed postwar Britain and Europe. The Bengalis were left to starve. In addition they raised taxes on them to pay for their war in Europe.

      As a consequence 3.3 million died from decisions made from 1940 to 1943, and the following year, 1944, even more…millions upon millions upon millions of Bengalis died from disease related to the famine. (Please google search for images of the Bengal Famine of 1943)

      Churchill had refused to send food saying there were no ships, though in fact there were ships and food. After Churchill refused, international help was offered, saying they would provide food and send it on their own ships, but Churchill, being the racist that he was, and the British government choose not to respond.

      It is openly known that Churchill’s biography is not entirely factual. Nor does he mention the Bengal Famine of 1943 in his six volumes of WWII. Churchill’s calls it ‘India’s black hours..’, but it was in fact Churchill’s black hours and Britain’s black hours. They were a stain on India and a stain on the world and humanity. There is no doubt, it was genocide.

      It is important to realize that Famine and Poverty were only present with the British occupation. The British started to invade India in 1757. There was no mention of either famine or poverty prior to their invasion, and no famine since India won her independence in 1947.

      This was one of many appalling and barbaric acts that they carried out.

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

    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?

  12. Nalliah Thayabharan permalink
    July 6, 2014 9:36 am

    India was already a highly “developed” and advanced civilization for 4000+ years when Rothschild’s sea pirates stepped on Indian shores. Rothschild’s sea pirates began landing on the shores of India and started setting up armed forts at various places such as Chennai. The Rothschild family owned the trading company British East India Company. East India Company indulged in outright, shameless thievery . In 1600, the East India Company was granted the Charter to trade with India. After conquering Bengal in India, the Rothschilds set up a notoriously corrupt system of administration, whose sole objective was to shamelessly plunder the countless riches of Bengal which was the richest province in the entire world during that time. Bengal was literally turned into a graveyard of death and desolation… Millions of Bengalis were eliminated through the spread of diseases like the bubonic plague. In 1757 at the Battle of Plassey, Clive and British troops secured Bengal under the control of the East India Company. The Nawabs and the Rajahs and Zamindars were robbed of their priceless treasures.The Rothschilds then moved this entire horde of tons of gold looted from the people of Bengal to London. It was with this gold looted from Bengal that the Rothchild family set up the privately owned Bank of England. In the decades that followed, the Rothschild banking family set up the Federal Reserve Bank of America which to this day indulges in day light robbery of the American people. The Rothschilds then set up the World Bank, the IMF and the Bank for International Settlements. The Rothschilds use banks such as the World Bank, the IMF, the Bank for International Settlements to institutionalize the robbery of the third world
    Banks such as Citibank and Standard Chartered bank etc. were also set up with the secret support of the Rothschilds to continue the robbery of third world and Indian people.
    When Indians revolted in the year 1857, they were told that the East India Company was abolished and India will be administered directly by the CROWN. What most of the Indians do not know to this day is the fact that CROWN does not mean the King or Queen of Britain but a privately owned Corporation of London headed again by the Rothschilds who owned the East India Company Indians were tricked and cheated with a simple name change game! The exploitation and robbery of India, its resources and people continued till 1947 under this CROWN.

    James Wilson (founder of The Chartered Bank of India, Australia and China) was sent to India to establish the tax structure, a new paper currency and remodel the finance system of India after the revolt of 1857. Transactions in the opium trade generated substantial profits for Chartered bank.The same year (1853) The Mercantile Bank of India, London and China was established in Bombay by the Parsis who were the middle men for the East India Company. Later, the Bank also became one of the principal foreign banknote issuing institutions in Shanghai; which we know today as the HSBC Bank.Drug trafficking and the gold looted from India, Portugal, Brazil, China, Burma and other countries laid the foundations of the modern Monetary System controlled by Rothschild Family.

    In its day, the Rothschild Family owned East India Company occupied and manipulated the interstices of a truly global economy. Tea from China was bought with opium from India; Indian and later British textiles made from cotton grown in India purchased slaves in west Africa, who were sold in the Americas for gold and silver, which was invested in England, where the sugar harvested by the slaves ensured a booming market for the tea from China.

    In 1947, India and its people were again tricked into believing that we were granted “Independence” through the complicity of Pandit Nehru. Under secret orders from the Rothschilds given to him through his Jewish girl friend Edwina Mountbatten – a close relative of the British Queen, Nehru turned India and its people into rag tag clad beggars by aligning India with the Soviet Union which was another creation of the Jewish bankers. You must not forget that today the richest people in the country are undoubtedly the politicians who continue their thievery and robbery of India for the East India Company Rothschilds banking family as their front-men.

    The Rothschilds are now married into the British Royal Family and many aristocratic families of Europe. The Kohinoor Diamond which was robbed by Robert Clive was presented to the British Queen.The Bank of England which was set up through the thievery of gold from Bengal and the rest of India was also able to finance other banks such as Citibank and Standard Chartered bank. The East India Company bankers are using these multinational banks to rob the people of India now.

  13. Vishnu Sharma permalink
    July 13, 2014 10:17 pm

    Always an astute observer, George Orwell was way ahead of his time when he reflected in 1939 on the implications of the fight against Nazism for the future of colonial rule.
    Bringing Hitler down would be meaningless, he reckoned, if it would not enfranchise the subaltern people in the British Empire, Indian, Africans, Malays and Chinese, which was “in its different way just as bad and founded on the same principles of Racial Supremacy of the Anglo-Saxons and economic exploitation”. Some historians have recently followed Cesaire and Orwell, as well as Hannah Arendt, who elaborated on connections between colonial rule and Hitler’s empire. They have interpreted Nazi rule in Europe as an inversion of imperial fantasies, both fuelled and informed by observations of the British Empire and by continuities with the brutal practices of the former German empire in Africa since 1884.

    There cannot be even an ounce of doubt in this regard, British Rule was as devastating as Nazi Rule.

    The fact remains that the Nazis were inspired utterly and entirely by British Rule and the provisions of wealth and power which it showered on the British who simply got insanely wealthy during their century 1815-1915 when they lorded over and exploited their subject populations.

    Initially, the aim of Nazi foreign policy was to create an Anglo-German alliance, so before 1938, Nazi propaganda tended to glorify British institutions, and above all the British Empire.
    Even regarding it, along with France, as “decadent democracies”, Goebbels set out to court them.

    Typical of the Nazi admiration for the British Empire were a lengthy series of articles in various German newspapers throughout the mid-1930s praising various aspects of British imperial history, with the clear implication that there were positive parallels to be drawn between British empire-building in the past and German empire-building in the future.[3] The esteem in which the British Empire was held can be gauged by the fact that the lavish adoration heaped upon Britain’s empire was not matched by similar coverage of other empires both past and present.[3] An example of this sort of coverage was a long article in the Berliner Illustriete Zeitung newspaper in 1936 extolling the British for “brutally” resolving the Fashoda crisis of 1898 in their favour with no regard for diplomatic niceties.[3] Another example of Nazi anglophilia included a series of widely promoted biographies and historical novels commemorating various prominent “Aryan” figures from British history such as Cromwell, Marlborough, Nelson, Rhodes, Wellington, and Raleigh.

    A particular theme of praise was offered for British “ruthlessness” in building and defending their empire, which was held as a model for the Germans to follow. Above all, the British were admired as an “Aryan” people who had with typical “ruthlessness” subjected millions of brown- and black skinned people to their rule, and British rule in India was held up as a model for how the Germans would rule Russia, through as the historian Gerwin Strobl pointed out that this parallel between German rule in Russia and British rule in India was only made possible by the Nazis’ ignorance of how the British actually ruled India, a vast part of which was by sharing the autocracratic structure with princely stated scattered across India.

    Perhaps more importantly for gauging the Nazi regime’s pro-British feelings in its early years was the prominence given to Englandkunde (English studies) within German schools and the lavish praise offered to British Boy Scout organizations as a model within the Hitler Youth.

    It was not just a one-way street, there were prominent imperialists in Britain who fully approved of Nazi policies and racial prejudices.

    In 1939 Baden-Powell noted in his diary: “Lay up all day. Read Mein Kampf. A wonderful book, with good ideas on education, health, propaganda, organisation etc. – and ideals which form the basis of our own empire.”

  14. Santhosh Kumar permalink
    October 11, 2014 1:30 pm

    What is unfortunate is that there has never been a serious study in India as to the plunder and destruction made by British rule in India. Even our school books rather whitewash British rule period.The main reason for this is that existing Indian education system is a product of the system introduced by Macaulay. Our system of governance still treats its own citizen with suspicion is due to the legacy of rules inherited from British. Hence for India to become a great nation, all remnants of British rules still in vogue in our Social, educational,legal and governance area has to be systematically removed. I understand our PM has rightly introduced a policy in this direction with the direction given to bank for accepting self certification by a person to open bank account. That has empowered and honored an ordinary citizen since it makes the authority to accept a self certification from a person about his identity. Remember what a hassle it was as it needed several persons to attest your identity for the system to accept.Only in this way we can clean up the perils caused by British rule in our society.

  15. Kaveh permalink
    January 15, 2015 4:01 am

    I so agree with Santhosh Kumar and I’m still amazed at how much I’ve learned from reading these intelligent and lucid comments. The shadow of British viciousness, mass murder and humiliation in the Subcontinent still today haunts Bharat, and is perhaps even more shameful since so many of the Raj’s horrible policies today are continued by sell-out Indian politicians themselves. and the British still humiliate us by show-casing the plundered Koh-i-noor diamond as one of their crown jewels. You never see anyone in modern Europe boasting about looted Nazi art, there is a constant urgency to return it to its rightful owners. And yet the British did the same thing, on a far more horrific scale to India and so many other countries– the Elgin marbles as example, and yet they have the gall to boast about it with not even a hint of returning it to the countries whose wealth and patrimonies they looted.

    There isn’t even anything at all special about the British in India. They never controlled even half of our land, and what they did control they largely ruined– almost all the best places to work in India today managed to fend off British rule and stay independent under our own princes, or in some cases were under French administration which for whatever the reason, was not as nasty and murderous as Britain. And the British were hardly even the only Europeans in India– the Portuguese were there long before, and the Dutch, French and even the Danes had their own empires in the Subcontinent. So why this slavish boot-licking of Britain and the “British tradition” which has meant nothing but misery, division and ongoing suppression of the pride and drive of our own people? I have nothing but utter contempt for “Anglophile” Indians, and growing up in the West is not an excuse– I grew up in Pennsylvania myself but I will never, ever backstab and defile the suffering of my own people by licking the boots of the British or the Anglo tradition. I commute between countries now but when I do business in India with foreign clients– including those from Australia, the US and Britain itself– I expect them to learn Hindi if they are stationed in India and want to communicate with members of my own business network, and to respect the cultures and traditions of my land and people, as would anyone in any other country.

    I am at least pleased to see that historians are at last taking a more critical eye towards the British in India and seeing for what they were– cowardly murderous thieves and genocidal bigots, who were far worse and more bloodthirsty than even the Nazis and who did far more damage over a far greater epoch. Britain’s Lord Palmerston was a cowardly, bigoted mass murderer of a man– far worse than Hitler, far worse than Stalin, far worse than Pol Pot, far worse than all put together. It was Palmerston who began the first concentration camps in the world after the 1857 uprising, condemning countless Indians to mass starvation and an agonizing death on the Andaman Islands camps or other death camps mostly in Bengal. It was Palmerston who launched the Opium-Wars at the same time in China, a war fought expressly to demand that China’s population be addicted to opium! I realize I’m likely not the first to point this out here, but guess where the opium for China was grown? Yes, in India, at the cost of millions of Indian farmers forced off their lands and condemned to painful starvation. Ironically whatever our issues today, India and China both have a historical connection as targets of bloodthirsty British imperial policy, united in resistance to the British and Anglo hegemonic viciousness in general.

    Note as well that Palmerston, like Trevelyan in Ireland (an Irish-American friend called Trevelyan “Ireland’s Adolf Hitler”), sought to break the back of the Indian people by literally starving us out. Not only breaking down our agricultural sector for the sake of opium but even confiscating our harvests and sending them back to the UK or to incompetent British military forces abroad– who still managed to lose one war after another against opponents whom they scorned. Palmerston, Disraeli and the other British mass murderers did the same thing in breaking down our industrial sector. The British knew we could make fine fabrics far better than the British ever could and were terrified of the competition we would pose. So they did their best to ruin and break up our industries and even mass murder our artisans and home-grown businesses wherever they could. Cowards and murderers, we owe nothing to the British other than our scorn and fury for their atrocities, which they still have yet to scarcely even acknowledge.

  16. Kaveh permalink
    January 15, 2015 4:23 am

    I would also like to add to and praise the intelligent comments of others reinforcing the thesis of just why the British were so brutal, murderous and cowardly in India and their other colonies– militarily they were the worst of the “great” European powers and knew they couldn’t win on the ground. So genocide or the native peoples and mass murder of civilians, to the British, was good imperial policy.

    Here is a very good site to summarize the British military disasters and defeats in mostly just the past couple centuries alone: Especially this historian who commented:

    So eye opening and explains so much. Why would the British condemn millions of Indians to concentration camps on the Andaman Islands or to abject starvation on our own farm plots? Answer is that they could never beat India in the field, so mass-murder of the people was their best bet to keep power. Thus does a coward run an empire. Even Clive never beat us in the field, he began the British empire in India by bribing our corrupt politicians. Which sadly is another tradition exacerbated by the Raj which we have yet to grow out of.

    Look at the list and the comments on the site. The British were crushed and humiliated in the Fraser expedition by a bunch of Egyptians and Albanians. They were humiliated by Spain a bunch of times in the 1500’s it looks like, Spain even managed to land burn west England to the ground when the English were too arrogant and then cowardly to face them! And in the 1700’s. Britain losing to Spain in the Pensacola Battle, looks like the British got overwhelmed once again because they were too arrogant to realize that their enemy was willing to fight back! The Irish, the Afghans, the French, the Dutch, Suez, the Iraqis, Aden, New Zealander Maoris, even the Russians at Shenkursk– all defeated the British usually in critical battles and often more than once. Seems like if there’s one thing many countries have in common, it’s whipping the British in the field!

    So small wonder that the British tried to starve and mass murder the people of India preemptively. They knew they’d never beat us in the field, so better to bribe and brutalized our people instead. And to think that our own corrupt politicians were complicit– makes my blood boil, even more so when our politicians are still complicit today! Just as Santhosh has said we need to do more to purge the lingering British imperial presence in India today, it is a prison chain that continues to drag on us and prevent us from the greatness and strength that characterized our land from ancient epochs. And as for India’s corrupt politicians who still slavishly fawn over all things British and to flaunt their Anglophile ways– a plague upon these sell-outs and traitors! If you really want to admire and emulate a modern Western nation, then the Dutch, the Scandinavians or especially Germany is a far better example. The Germans are the top world’s exporter, even more than the USA and China, even though Germany has a far smaller population than the other big exporters, and Germany has so few natural resources, which is also in many ways the challenge that India is facing. Britain is nothing more than an arrogant oppressor, and that goes for the other Anglo countries too– witness how the American authorities arrogantly treated our diplomatic officials, or how Australians and Canadians gleefully engage in “curry bashing” festivals.

    For India to be strong, we must be proud of ourselves and our traditions and history that long predate the British mass murder and mass plunder. As I said before, the British were not even all that special as imperialists or colonial powers, there many other European powers who predated the British and had far better administrations. We are an independent nation today. We are independent and should be strong and unashamed of ourselves and our history. Our politicians in particular need to understand this.

  17. Andeep permalink
    October 20, 2015 6:49 pm

    The main difference between the British in India and Nazi Germany was that the British did not set out to pro-actively commit genocide. It is true that a number of famines occurred during British rule but they were not instigated by the British, the worst that can be said of them is they failed to act quickly and effectively enough to prevent or limit the impact of these famines and crops that were grown for export reduced the acreage that could have been used for domestic subsidence.

    There were famines that killed millions in Indian prior to British rule, however British administrative policy inadvertently exacerbated the situation when droughts etc occurred.
    The 1883 Indian Famine codes were set up by the British to prevent future famine and famines were largely ended by the start of 20th century. The Bengal famine of 1943 was an exception related to complications during World War II; most food at the time in Bengal was imported from Burma which at the time was occupied by the Japanese army.

    The British Ruling class ruled with the consent of the Indian ruling class at the time so both are equally complicit in any wrong doing. Let not forget there were only around 200k British or so in India, the 400m or so Indians could have thrown then out any time if they were really united in doing so. Millions of people from the Indian subcontinent signed up to fight for the British in both World Wars.

    Countries have invaded or occupied other countries for time immemorial, whilst the British Empire is far from being without guilt, as conquering nations go they were fairly benevolent, but profit was always the primary motivation, the welfare of its citizen secondary. The British ruling classes at the time were no more sympathetic to their own lowly born countrymen. The average life expectancy of a work classing child in 19th Century industrial British town was 15 years old, such were the living conditions.

    The British elite in the 19th century were the pioneers of modern capitalism. Whilst we may no longer be ruled by foreign governments, power now rests in the hands of multi-national corporations not answerable to any electorate. If you think they have the interests of the citizens whose live they affect they you are very naive.

    If you are interested in this subject I recommend reading Empire by Naill Ferguson.

  18. Bodavarapu permalink
    October 30, 2015 11:37 am

    Andeep: “The main difference between the British in India and Nazi Germany was that the British did not set out to pro-actively commit genocide.”

    That is wrong, the British absolutely did set out to pro-actively commit genocide! Many times! Not even only in India, look at what happened to the South Seas and north America native peoples, in Ireland, parts of Africa, no the British had a quite deliberate policy of genocide to “clear out” the peoples there. And it happened to us in India too, in sheer numbers worse than any other country. Read the standard reference works by Romesh Dutt or Michael Davis, there is ample documented evidence of intentional British genocides against the Indian people particularly after 1857, it was not mere misrule or natural famines, that is an utter fantasy. I used to work in London and have many British friends, I have nothing against England or the English people, yet they clearly have not come to terms with their genocidal acts against us.

    Following the uprising in 1857, the British targeted villages they believed to be sympathetic to the resistance fighters against the Raj and systematically wiped them out, then wiped out other villages in the vicinity as a form of mass punishment against the Indian people as a whole, far more so than anything the Nazis did later. What do you think the British were trying to accomplish when they hanged whole villages full of people from trees? This was a systematic Holocaust by the British against the people of India.

    And what do you think the British were doing with their “penal colonies” in the Andamans? These were concentration camps- death camps that by many calculations, were far worse than what the Nazis would perpetrate later, the mortality of Indians sent there was horrific. Central Europe has never shied away from honoring the victims of the European concentration camps, yet the British have never even pretended to show the same respect to all the South Asians they massacred in the Andaman camps, nothing more than the racist genocidal policy of the British towards the Indian people that Palmerston, Disraeli and Churchill all embodied with disgusting eagerness.

    And those famines under British rule? They were man-made. What do you think the British were doing by seizing our food crop growing fields and converting them for opium poppies to dump in China? By taking our produce and shipping it to England? Crushing our industries and heavily taxing even our internal commerce?

    By any moral calculation, the British committed genocide on a far worse and uglier scale than the Nazis did, and they’ve done far less since then to recognize that past. There was of course no excuse for what the Nazis did, but at the time Germany was in a state of bitter conflict and of course terrible geography (surrounded by strong countries on all sides) which enabled the Nazis to spread their propaganda. Whereas the British committed their horrific genocides in India out of pure greed and contempt for the Indian people. And on a far higher scale. Even before 1857 British genocides in Bengal killed perhaps 33 million people, by Davis and Dutt’s reckoning, perhaps 40-45 million more were killed by British policies after 1857. And that damage still resonates in India, after all, why do you think the healthiest parts of India are almost all in the half of the country that was never colonized by the British Raj, but ruled either by the French or largely by our own princes and officials?

    And Britain has done precious little to atone for or even admit their crimes against India. As I’m naturally not the first to point out, whereas the Germans returned Nazi looted art to rightful owners, the British continue to hoard the Koh-i-noor diamond and other treasures they took from India. Yet another reason I will not set foot in Britain or buy British products, ever, until the UK takes an honest, hard look at its history and the many genocides the British still refuse to acknowledge.

  19. daslondon permalink
    January 28, 2021 4:32 pm

    Whatever is said about British rule in India, it is outrageous to claim that the British were somehow comparable to the Nazi Germans. That is a perversion of history and a denial of the facts.
    The Nazis were bent on genocide of the Jews (6m were murdered) and enslavement of the Slavic peoples, as well as the elimination of the disabled and different, in the process of which a further 6m civilians died. All this accomplished in the period of about 1935 (passing of the Nuremberg Laws) to 1945 (end of WW2).

    People also need to be reminded that “the British” did not arrive in India in any ‘official’ capacity to colonise the region. The traders establised a trading post in Calcutta.
    It was only in 1858, a year after the 1857 Rebellion that power was taken away from the East India Company and transferred to the Crown.

    • Bakul Patel permalink
      January 30, 2021 1:38 am

      Have a think will you? What is yours will be mine. I will make the rules for your life. Not just your life, but your offspring, and your grandchildren. You will speak my language. You will always see me as superior as will your progeny. I will abuse and humiliate you at will. I will scar your future generations with an inferiority complex.
      Aren’t I a good boy? How dare you think otherwise? At least we let you exist on our terms. What can possibly be wrong with lauding it over you and your future generations. Surely, far better than killing you and setting your future generations free.

  20. daslondon permalink
    January 28, 2021 4:38 pm

    Bodavarapu (post immediately above mine) (and others, need to read up on history to appreciate that, while the British did many bad things (no worse,or even less bad than other colonial powers) they did not set out to commit genocide.

    I also recommend him and others to scroll up to near the top and read the detailed post about the Bengal Famine. It doesn’t suit the narrative of the haters, but the situation was more complicated than they like to make out.

    • Bakul Patel permalink
      January 30, 2021 1:25 am

      Can you listen to yourself? “Look, I understand that you were sodomised, but look at what the other Europeans did to others. We weren’t as bad as them were we? See? Stop whingeing”

  21. daslondon permalink
    January 28, 2021 4:43 pm

    I see you exercise censorship on comments that deviate from your narrative about the comparison of British rule with the Nazis.

    • Nita permalink*
      January 29, 2021 7:17 am

      You are quite wrong and this shows your prejudice. The only comments I delete are the ones which use filthy language and are abusive towards me. Please read the comment section and the comment policy and have more trust. As this blog is not active for years now, I do not check for comments that often and it can result in a delay in publishing the comment. Anyone is welcome to write any view as long as bad language is not used and it is relevant to the post. If you go through other posts you will find that all kinds of views are expressed on this blog and that is why it was so successful in its time.

      • daslondon permalink
        January 29, 2021 7:01 pm

        I am happy to apologise for making this wrong assumption. My posts disappeared on refreshing the page. What normally happens, I thought, was that the post stays up in my browser with the “awaiting review” or similar note attached.

        • daslondon permalink
          January 29, 2021 7:05 pm

          If you wish to delete my comment about exercising censorship and subsequent exchange that would be fine, too.
          BTW, I don’t think I was being abusive. Critical, yes. Abuse, no way.

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