Home > History, India, Indian education, Politics, Social Trends > India’s ‘success’ – Another Round of Hosanas to Great Britain

India’s ‘success’ – Another Round of Hosanas to Great Britain


Indians are in love with their colonial past. Colonial buildings are getting gold-plated. Colonialists contemptuous of India are getting memorials.

Why did the Great British document not protect the Pakistanis, Patelbhai?

Why did the Great British document not protect the Pakistanis, Patelbhai?

India romances of the Raj

It will shortly be 63 years of British departure from India. Indians seems to be in love with their colonial past. Colonial buildings are getting gold-plated. Colonialists who had contempt for India are getting memorials.

Colonial legacies like Indian railways, the biggest pile of steel scrap in the world in 1947, after modernization, renovation, expansion of 60 years is now being credited to the British. Indians are tripping over each other to account for the British contribution to Indian success.

Even where not due.

The British gift

Aakar Patel, a columnist for Mint newspaper (a JV between Hindustan Times and WSJ), a newspaper editor who has written a few books, writes,

The ritual murder of Pakistani polity by the Pakistani army (Democracy in Pakistan By Olle Johansson, Sweden; courtesy - blackcommentator.com.).

The ritual murder of Pakistani polity by the Pakistani army. (Democracy in Pakistan By Olle Johansson, Sweden; courtesy – blackcommentator.com.). Click for larger image.

India has a constitution; Pakistan has editions. These are the various Pakistani constitutions: 1935 (secular), 1956 (federal), 1962 (dictatorial), 1973 (parliamentary), 1979 (Islamic), 1999 (presidential), 2008 (parliamentary). Why do they keep changing and searching? Muslims keep trying to hammer in Islamic bits into a set of laws that is actually quite complete. This is the Government of India Act of 1935, gifted to us by the British.

Kashmiris have it, and perhaps at some point they will learn to appreciate its beauty. (via What ails Kashmir? The Sunni idea of ‘azadi’ – Columns – livemint.com).

Aakar Patel implies that the Indian Constituent Assembly counts for nothing. The Constituent Assembly, which included at least 50% of the Indian political leadership and their work over  25,000 man-hours, amount to nothing, follows from Aakar Patel’s ‘thinking’. Or the Indian contribution to the making of the Government of India Act of 1935, itself.

Aakar Patel’s operating credo seemingly is “all credit to the British”. Deficiency in self-esteem, Mr.Patel. Or just plain, healthy contempt for all Indians? Patelbhai’s obsession with crediting the British, completely escapes my understanding.

Apart from being factually incorrect.

Documents do not make a country work! People do, Mr.Patel!! (Cartoon by Sabir Nazar; Courtesy - www.dailytimes.com.pk.).

Documents do not make a country work! People do, Mr.Patel!! (Cartoon by Sabir Nazar; Courtesy – http://www.dailytimes.com.pk.).

Illogical hai, Patelbhai

Not just incorrect. Illogical too!

The same British, gave the same document to the Pakistan also. To India and to how many other colonies in the world, I have never counted.

This ‘gift of the British’ to us Indians is a public document. If it’s value is so apparent, why have others not been able to take advantage of it,  मान्यवर पटेल-भाई manyavar Patelbhai? The wonder is not any document. It is in making it work.

Aakar Patel cannot see the contradiction.

Talk is cheap

Not only incorrect and illogical. Immaterial too!

What matters to Indians are not declarations of belief – but hard, real actions. In the words of Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, ‘what counts is conduct, not belief’. American declaration of independence talked of ‘all men are created equal’ and promptly became the biggest importer of slaves in the history of the world.

For how long will our glitterati, chatterati, papparazzi, intelligentsia, cognoscenti, continue with this bilge.

Look at the British record

For a realistic assessment of the British ‘capability’ to govern, let us look at British misrule in Britain itself – in this post.

How could super-power Britain spiral down to bankruptcy, in less than 70 years, after WWII. If their ideas of governance and administration were so good, why could they not save themselves from this slide in fortunes? British ‘capabilities’ in areas of technology, industrial management, academia stands naked and exposed.

The problem with British polity! (Cartoon by Morten Moreland; courtesy - timesonline.co.uk.).

The problem with British polity! (Cartoon by Morten Moreland; courtesy – timesonline.co.uk.).

Let us keep this aside, completely, the subject of British misrule in India in this post.

British misrule in India has been the subject of countless writers, journalists, analysts. Equally there have been numerous ‘studies’ about British ‘contribution’ to India’s progress.

It is the British mindset itself that may need examination to understand this decline!


  1. Sunita
    April 8, 2011 at 9:41 pm

    The Brits were and still are barbarians in my books. My family lost many members and we are unable to connect to our past except for the cruelty and barbarism of the British. I believe God in heaven is paying them back now. It’s payback time baby!!!

  2. August 5, 2012 at 7:07 am

  3. August 5, 2012 at 7:09 am

  4. August 5, 2012 at 8:02 am

    Salman Rushdie called India’s generation after Independence as Midnight’s Children.

    That generation had its last hurrah in the 1971 Bangladesh War. The Indo-Soviet alliance had delivered a coup de grace in Bangladesh – checkmating USA, Pakistan and China.

    This generation was best represented by Rajesh Khanna in a kinder, gentler world. Whether in Sacha-Jhoota or in Bandhan, even in Anand. The villains hardly ever got beaten up. The beating that villains got was gentle. It was an understanding generation which knew the enormity of task at hand – grit their teeth and took the pain that came with the national reconstruction. Patience and trust were the hall marks of this generation. The last icon of that generation was Rajesh Khanna.

    Then came Bombay High.

    India’s import dependence on oil came down suddenly from 90% to 20%. Even this 20% was partially sourced from Soviets under the rupee trade agreement. Flexible forex use could now be be part of the possibility set. 1970 brought in the process patents instead of product patents. Pharma business exploded in just five years. The Pharma template was now there for the Bombay High Generation. For the first time food shortages stopped becoming the No.1 issue.

    But the mood was different.

    Jayaprakash Narayan became insufferable. He had all the questions but no answers. While he was giant in tackling problems individually – like the dacoit problem in Chambal, he had few answers at a systemic level. The Oil Crisis spiked inflation by many multiples. A newer generation was seeing the gulf boom. Sri Lankan economy was booming. Singapore was taking off. Hong Kong was hot. But India was not. Indian polity had few answers.

    Emergency was a solution – like Civil War in USA or Oliver Cromwell in Britain, or Napoleon in France, Hitler in Germany, Mussolini in Italy. Discontinuity of a paradigm.

    1977 saw the Janata Govt. Bombay High allowed George Fernandes to throw out IBM and Coke. This saw the growth of companies like DCM Data Products, HCL, NIIT, Patni Computers, Hinditron which spear headed India IT revolution. The pharma explosion continued. 1981 saw Maruti, LML – and later Hero Honda, TVS-Suzuki. India auto sector started growing. All this happened with forex release due to Bombay High and Rupee trade agreement with Soviets, which saw defense and oil imports in rupees and exports of consumer goods in rupees.

    The kinder, gentler generation gave way to the more impatient generation.

    That wanted answers here and now.

    Suddenly violence was the catharsis. Sholay killed Rajesh Khanna. Amitabh Bachchan needed to kill many villains. Amitabh’s Inquilaab saw him massacring a roomful of politicians. This saga continued.

    Till the birth of the Y2K generation.

    This generation is more like Me? Worry! Nah. They have the economy, the education and opportunities to make a mark in India – or the world. It is no longer India-Pakistan cricket – but India-Australia rivalry. It is no longer India-Pakistan economy – but India-China or India-USA economy. In anything the comparison is now world class. We no longer are willing to accept Third World Standards.

    For the Y2K generation the State is no longer the mai-baap or the even the Big Daddy. The State is one among equals. The Y2K does not want more healthcare or free ration from the State. They buy this from the private sector. A desperate State is expanding itself with MNREGA, UID – which will either kill this expansion or saddle a monster on our backs. This is coming not from Voter expectation but the desperation of the State to expand – as it fears that it will become irrelevant.

    This shift from

    1. Midnight’s Children
    2. The Bombay High
    3. Y2K Phenomenon

    were the broader themes that played out.

  5. Satya
    August 5, 2012 at 11:26 am

    So nicely explained.. Midnight’s Children -> The Bombay High -> Y2K Phenomenon -> ???

    Any pointers on where will this head? What is possibly out their, that is getting ready to surface?

  6. August 5, 2012 at 12:29 pm
    Satya – As you of all the people will know, satya is difficult to get at.

    Can anyone predict India will do? It has come very far. In fact further than any civilization on earth has.

    How far will it go, depends to a small extent on us.

    Where do we want to go?

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