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Archive for June, 2011

Be afraid … Very afraid, Manubhai

Akali leader, Master Tara Singh threatened to go a hunger strike for a Punjab based on linguistic lines, had Nehru worried. RK Laxman's cartoon on Akali leader, published on June 23, 1961. (Image courtesy - timesofindia.com.). Click for larger image.

Akali leader, Master Tara Singh threatened to go a hunger strike for a Punjab based on linguistic lines, had Nehru worried. RK Laxman's cartoon on Akali leader, published on June 23, 1961. (Image courtesy - timesofindia.com.). Click for larger image.

Examining the history of political causes in the Indian context, should be a cause of concern to the Indian Government. The cynicism and casual attitude of Indian authorities is misplaced.

Western debates

For much time after Independence, the Indian Government spent time dilly-dallying on identifying boundaries of administrative States. Some suggested, that like Europe had drawn some arbitrary lines across Africa, India also should do the same. Or like the straight-line boundaries of States that make up the USA.

Cartoon by Ajit Ninan; Courtesy timesofindia.com. Click for larger image.

Anna Hazare and Baba Ramdev's hunger strikes have touched a raw nerve across India. Cartoon by Ajit Ninan; Courtesy timesofindia.com. Click for larger image.

Western predictions about the collapse of the Indian nation were never absent from the public sphere. Without a past to go by, Nehru dithered.

You can’t hide

The man in the vanguard of the linguistic reorganization of states movement was Potti Sreeramulu – from Chennai. While Potti Sreeramulu was a Telugu, he was from Chennai – which at that time had a bigger Telugu population than today.

At stake was the issue of Chennai– then Madras. Would Chennai go to Tamil Nadu, when it was formed, or go to Andhra Pradesh, whose formation was already announced.

Rajagopalchari, another acolyte of Western ‘capitalism’, ignored Potti Sreeramulu. Finally after years of dithering, by Nehru’s administration, Potti Sriramulu went on a hunger strike.

Nehru and Rajagopalchari took no notice. Potti Sriramulu died. The formation of Andhra Pradesh followed.

Hunger strikes make rulers look bad

Gandhiji’s hunger-strikes were famous the world over – and the British made a pretense of succumbing to this moral force, at least in the case of Gandhiji.

Be afraid. Very afraid. What happens if Baba Ramdev ... (Cartoon by Ajit Ninan; courtesy - timesofindia.com). Click for larger image.

Be afraid. Very afraid. What happens if Baba Ramdev ... (Cartoon by Ajit Ninan; courtesy - timesofindia.com). Click for larger image.

Remember, the British had been casual about the demands and the subsequent death of a political prisoner, Jatin Das during hunger strike at Lahore Jail. Even before, in Northern Ireland, the death of Terence MacSwiney, the Lord Mayor of Cork, who died on 74-day hunger strike in 1920, while a prisoner of the British government, did not shake the British much.

Nehru’s indifference to Potti Sriramulu hunger-strike was a great propaganda point for the West. Nehru’s reputation was sullied.

Agony prolonged

After the death of Potti Sriramulu and the formation of Andhra Pradesh, demands for other States followed.

Samyukta Maharashtra was again very noisy and divisive. Similarly, Nehru dragged his feet on Punjab too. Master Tara Singh of the Akali Dal went on a hunger strike. A worried Nehru, ‘keeping in anxious touch with developments while making a tour of Uttar Pradesh’, had Tara Singh arrested. More than 30,000 Sikhs joined Master Tara Singh in jails across North India. Punjab, Haryana and Himachal followed.

Manubhai - Anna-Baba may not be very sophisticated politically or ideologically. But they are touching a protest nerve. That is the दुखती रग ' dukhti rag.' (Cartoon by Ajit Ninan; courtesy - timesofindia.com). Click for larger image.

Manubhai - Anna-Baba may not be very sophisticated politically or ideologically. But they are touching a protest nerve. That is the दुखती रग 'dukhti rag.' (Cartoon by Ajit Ninan; courtesy - timesofindia.com). Click for larger image.

India different

60 years on, many of these States are larger than 90% of the countries in the world.  There is need to break them up into smaller units. There are growing demands to do the same. Telangana is one such case – which has hung fire for more than 40 years.

Meanwhile the anti-corruption protests are reminiscent of the Jaya Prakash Narayan’s movement in the 1970s, which finally paralysed the Indian State – and provoked Indira Gandhi to impose emergency.

Indians joining in these protests, are protesting about many issues – and using Anna Hazare’s and Baba Ramdev’s Anna-Baba protest vehicle to ride. Anna-Baba have succeeded in identifying the दुखती रग ‘dukhti rag’ – the jangling nerve, of the people.

Anna-Baba’s agendas are thin – very thin. But the people are thick as flies. Just like Jaya Prakash Narayan’s movement.

Manubhai, those who don’t learn from history …

Shyamchi Aai – Bringing up children

Shyamchi Aai - Book Cover from edition by Pune Vidyarthi Gruh Prakashan. Image courtesy - prashantb.wordpress.com. Click for larger image.

Shyamchi Aai - Book Cover from edition by Pune Vidyarthi Gruh Prakashan. Image courtesy - prashantb.wordpress.com. Click for larger image.

Spare the rod

There is an exceptional story from Indian पौराणिक pauranik texts on bringing up children.

Yashoda-ma, Krishna’s foster-mother, angry with Krishna for some prank, asks him to open his mouth, to see what he was eating. After some threats by Yashoda-ma, Krishna finally opens his mouth. And what Yashoda-ma sees is the entire creation in Krishna’s open mouth.

The shadow of Satan

Children, in Indic society, are seen as nandlala नंदलाला and balagopal बालगोपाल. On the other hand, in the Desert Bloc, naughty children a result of Satan’s influence. In Christian theology, children are born in sin. Children in Urdu are admonished for शैतानी shaitani – meaning behave like Satan.

This starkly brings out Indic attitudes compared to Desert Bloc. Reading Jane Eyre (on Adele Varens) or Charles Dickens children, one can see this negative attitude towards children. This was subdued, in modern West, partly and possibly, due Maria Montessori’s avant-garde  ideas on teaching children. Montessori taught the West that children learn during play. Play is part of the learning process, Montessori opined.

English speaking India

In modern times, in India this theme was explored by the Marathi writer, Pandurang Sadashiv Sane (better known as Sane Guruji) in his best-seller, Shyamchi Aayee – Shyam’s Mother.

Except for the fresh coat of oil paint, nothing much has changed in the 8×10 feet cell of Circle 4 in Nashik Road Jail, where Pandurang Sadashiv Sane (better known as Sane Guruji) wrote Shyamchi Aayee – one of the most moving and inspiring works in Marathi literature.

The book deals with his childhood in the Konkan with special emphasis on his mother’s influence on him.

The dimly-lit cell and high prison walls may not be the ideal settings for a writer, but for Sane Guruji (1899-1950) it was just fine. He finished writing the classic inside his prison cell (Circle 4) in just five days, between February 9 and 13 in 1933.

Sane Guruji was sentenced to jail for around one year after he participated in the Civil Disobedience Movement in 1930. (via Sane Guruji gets lost in the details, Lifestyle – Sunday Read – Mumbai Mirror).

Still from film - Shyamchi Aai (Image courtesy - http://default19in.blogspot.com). Click for larger image.

Still from film - Shyamchi Aai (Image courtesy - http://default19in.blogspot.com). Click for larger image.

Spreading ripples

Translated into Hindi, Japanese and English, the book was also made into a film. It won the first national award for Best film. Later on, the film version, triggered a satire, on how a ‘modern’ Shyamchi Mummy behaves.

With such an ideological inheritance, to see India top in female foeticide, makes me search for the external ‘stimulus’ behind this behaviour.

Pakistan. The Calculus has Changed

June 11, 2011 2 comments
The garbageman comes collecting the usual load of rubbish on Pakistan (Cartoon by Kirtish Bhatt; courtesy - bamulahija.wordpress.com). Click for larger image.

The garbageman comes collecting the usual load of rubbish on Pakistan (Cartoon by Kirtish Bhatt; courtesy – bamulahija.wordpress.com). Click for larger image.

Crack in the mirror

Reality has changed. Our stories have not.

It is just not the dirt on our glasses. We continue to look at Pakistan with our old pair of glasses. Even as our vision has clouded, the Pakistan we see, has changed.

To understand some questions on Pakistan, in India we need to abandon the official Congressi narrative. Equally, the Western mass-media rubbish about Pakistan.

The cliché of terrorism

On 4th January, 2011, a Pakistani leader specializing in electoral politics, Salman Taseer died. Shot dead by his own body guard.

Exactly 4 days later, in USA, on the other side of the world, on Saturday 8th January, 2011, Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona, was shot. At a Safeway grocery store, on the north side of Tucson, Arizona, during a public event.

Both of them shot. For similar reasons, by different gunmen.

What difference

Gunmen who are killing thousands in Pakistan and USA. Technically, more Americans are killed by guns in USA than in Pakistan. For instance, USA law-enforcement authorities found that ‘14,000 murders involving firearms were committed in 2005′. 

Surely, it is no comfort to American victims of gunfire that they were not killed by jehadis.

'Biting' Sarcasm. How the Army-ISI pet has started disobeying the master. (Cartoon by Kirtish Bhatt; courtesy - bamulahija.wordpress.com). Click for larger image.

‘Biting’ Sarcasm. How the Army-ISI pet has started disobeying the master. (Cartoon by Kirtish Bhatt; courtesy – bamulahija.wordpress.com). Click for larger image.

The most obvious portrayal by the mass-media is terrorist violence in Pakistan. An imploding Pakistan, with gun-toting jehadi terrorists are convenient caricatures that hide a deep shift. To understand the shift, let us look at Pakistan – and its sponsor, ally and undertaker underwriter-in-chief.

All that seems to separate Pakistan and US of A, is a very thick wad of currency notes.

Power grab in Pakistan

Politics in Pakistan is held to higher and different standards. To anyone but the most biased or blinkered, it is clear that there are political and economic objectives that drive Pakistani rulers. Just like other rulers of the world.

When looking at Pakistan, don’t use Western notions like a two-party collusive democracy is better than one-party conspiring oligarchy? Instead of one-party ‘dictatorship’ of China or a ‘two-party’ democracy in the West, there are more Pakistani players, each jockeying for power, differently. According to ‘modern’ political standards, in a very messy manner.

There is a on-going power struggle to control Pakistan’s atom-bombs, wealth, people, natural resources et al. Four Pakistani groups  are in the fray. What Pakistani leadership is doing, is competing with each other to grab power. The anti-India hysteria, alleged Islamization of Pakistan, the radical elements being a lunatic fringe or the mainstream, is just that much baloney.

The Master's Problem: The 'obedient' dog starts barking at the master. (Cartoon by Kirtish Bhatt; courtesy - bamulahija.wordpress.com). Click for larger image.

The Master’s Problem: The ‘obedient’ dog starts barking at the master. (Cartoon by Kirtish Bhatt; courtesy – bamulahija.wordpress.com). Click for larger image.

Factions in Pakistan

Among the competing groups are, first the army and the ISI combination. Then there are the popular politicians who participate in elections. Add the third element – mullah-madrasa-mujahhid combine of fundamentalist clergy, various terrorist groups – like JeM, LeT, Al Qaida, various Taliban factions et al.

The economy and wealth is in hands of the fourth element – the 22 families that matter in Pakistan. Mahbub-ul-Haq’s “22 families” speech in Karachi in 1968 highlightedthe power and wealth of a few families in Pakistan.

And bringing up the rear, is the fifth part of Pakistan, who don’t matter.

The Rest of Pakistan.

Pakistan’s diplomatic prowess

As recent events in Abbottabad show.

Any regime that can dictate terms to USA, China, Saudi Arabia, like Pakistan has, is a skilled leadership. US, China and Saudi Arabia renew their loyalty and friendship vows with Pakistan every week – with both words and money?

Pakistan’s ability to keep its super-power allies on their toes is a remarkable diplomatic achievement. To remain a nuclear power, after near-universal condemnation and pressure reconfirms its diplomatic prowress. Pakistani leadership, from Jinnah onwards, have used the State and its institutions, for keeping a grip on power.

USA, China, Saudi Arabia have been able to do little about Pakistan’s misdeeds, apart from some squealing, public name-calling. In the end they paid up. Each time. For 60 years.

That is what matters.

Facing India, with Taliban at the back and US drone attacks from above, Pakistan's command structure has done well to keep the wheels moving. (Cartoon by Kirtish Bhatt; courtesy bamulahija.wordpress.com.). Click for larger image.

Facing India, with Taliban at the back and US drone attacks from above, Pakistan’s command structure has done well to keep the wheels moving. (Cartoon by Kirtish Bhatt; courtesy bamulahija.wordpress.com.). Click for larger image.

Tolerant West and fundamentalist Pakistan

Pakistan is what Pakistan does. Europe is what is it says it is – and what Europe does, does not matter.

Like ‘freedom’ in the USA, with 20 lakh prisoners – the largest prison population in the world? Or ‘religious tolerance’ like single-faith Switzerland where a third mosque with minarets was not allowed? Maybe, build on ethnic-diversity like the Danes who want to pay Muslims to leave Denmark. Why not even aim for a ‘fair’ legal-system like Britain, where hundreds of thousands of people have been arrested to build a DNA data-bank – ostensibly to help in criminal identification. Or Italy believes it is all right to ban kebabs and other ‘foreign’ food to protect Italian cuisine.

The West today has the lowest levels of ethnic, linguistic and religious diversity – and persecutes whatever little is left, like the Roma Gypsies for example. Italy cheers for Berlusconi who is willing to take global frowns on the finger-printing of Roma Gypsies. Apart from Berlusconi’s Italy, Sarkozy, is a part of the French vanguard to deport “700 members of the Roma Gypsy minority, to Romania and Bulgaria, as part of its controversial crackdown on communities officials hold responsible for criminal activity.”

Sarkozy has encouraged French law-makers to prescribe dress-codes for the French. Sarkozy’s laws sez ‘no burqa’ for French Muslims. The French feel let down because “immigrants were supposed to blend harmoniously into society and not exist in separate communities” – and they did not. Angela Merkel says ‘nien’ to multiculturalism.

For sixty years, Pakistan has bent super-powers to its will. Enviable diplomatic prowess. (Cartoon by Ajit Ninan; courtesy - indiatimes.com; 3 May 2011, 1400 hrs IST). Click for larger image.

For sixty years, Pakistan has bent super-powers to its will. Enviable diplomatic prowess. (Cartoon by Ajit Ninan; courtesy – indiatimes.com; 3 May 2011, 1400 hrs IST). Click for larger image.

Like the world is able to digest Europe’s xenophobia, Pakistan’s fundamentalism is not significantly different. Except that the West is far richer than Paksiatn. Yet it dances to Pakistan’s tunes.

Makes one think?

Easy question

What is keeping these four Pakistani factions busy?

Oil. Oil. Oil.

While America and European oil demand is huge, it is not growing. For instance US oil consumption between 1973-2010 has grown from 17 mpd to 19 mpd – with some peak and collapses. Growth in oil consumption by India and China is the only sure bet. And that oil is coming from Central Asia. Through Pakistan and Afghanistan.

There are big American and European business interests in Central Asia. It means that Pakistan and Afghanistan become crucial to Big Oil. The various political factions in Pakistan are competing to assume power for a bargaining position with Big Oil – and India. This trade is expected to cross trillions, over the next few years. From this US$trillion-dollar opportunity, no political player in Pakistan, wants his cut to be diluted.

To this oil opportunity, add narcotics trade. The Golden Crescent (Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan) and Golden Triangle (Thailand, Laos, Cambodia) are the largest producers of drugs – and expect massive returns on drug trade. This drug traffic is now passing through Pakistan. The Taliban have extensive experience with opium trade in Afghanistan.

The US wants to be an honest broker

What will be US role, if India and Pakistan were to sit down and resolve their issues. It is in US interest for instance, to create false stereotypes of Pakistanis – which we have examined earlier. Is the world likely to allow NATO and US, a free run of Af-Pak region, if it was declared that Pakistan was a peaceful country? Or that the scale of tribal violence in Pakistan was on a scale smaller than gangsta and ghetto violence in USA.

To maintain presence in Af-Pak region, US is using the FUD technique – create Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt. What if Pakistani nuclear devices fall in Talibani hands. What if Pakistan itself falls into Talibani lap?

Pakistan may need to work out an amiable way for these 4 power centres to work together. (Cartoon by Ajit Ninan; Courtesy by indiatimes.com). Click for larger image.

Pakistan may need to work out an amiable way for these 4 power centres to work together. (Cartoon by Ajit Ninan; Courtesy by indiatimes.com). Click for larger image.

What might change is the way power is shared. The Taliban may become a part of the Pakistani ruling class. How that will happen remains to be seen. A coup? Local elections, maybe. Electoral alliance? Pakistani power-equations are changing. How these equations work out, may surprise us. Some answers, we have. For some haze to clear, we will need to wait. For some outcomes, we must be prepared.

Is India prepared? Ready?

A hard-and-soft answer may work with Pakistan. Soft on trade and economy; hard on defence and terror. (Cartoon by Kartij Bhatt. Courtesy - bamulahija.wordpress.com). Click for larger image.

A hard-and-soft answer may work with Pakistan. Soft on trade and economy; hard on defence and terror. (Cartoon by Kartij Bhatt. Courtesy – bamulahija.wordpress.com). Click for larger image.

War and crimes

After killing 20 lakhs of Viets, America cannot gloss over these deaths.

After the French had dug their own grave, the US arrived to impose a new form of colonialism in Asia again. (Cartoon by Bill Sanders.). Click for a larger image.

After the French had dug their own grave, the US arrived to impose a new form of colonialism in Asia again. (Cartoon by Bill Sanders.). Click for a larger image.

War gone bad

1971, it was clear that the war in Vietnam was over. America was trying to find ways out of the mess.

America

oozed into Vietnam, starting with President Harry Truman’s decision to subsidize the French in their futile effort to retrieve their Asian colony. Presidents Eisenhower and Kennedy deepened our involvement, reiterating the “domino theory,” the dubious notion that the collapse of Vietnam would spark a global wave of communist triumphs. As he escalated the commitment, Lyndon Johnson cautioned, in his typically gaudy rhetoric, that defeat would compel us to retreat to the beaches of Waikiki; his aides, whether or not they believed it, dutifully echoed the party line. Only afterward did Robert S. McNamara, the former Defense Secretary and a pivotal architect of the war, confess that “we were wrong, terribly wrong”–cold comfort for the families of the 60,000 names on the Vietnam Memorial in Washington. Senator Max W. Cleland of Georgia, a paraplegic veteran, said McNamara’s book should have been titled Sorry ‘Bout That. (via Lost Inside the Machine – TIME).

The maya machine

American handling of the post-Vietnam events were the usual propaganda tricks.

Take the above post – written some 30 years after the war ended, and 40 years, after the war became serious. Yet it counts the 60,000 Americans killed. And conveniently glosses over the 20 lakhs Vietnamese killed.

Or for instance, the infamous My Lai massacre. March 16, 1968 more than 300 elderly, women and children killed. My Lai happened in wake of a desperate US, struggling in Vietnam and resorting in massacres. After My Lai massacre, came to light, a prolonged drama of justice of played out.

The Great Game

From 1969 to 1974. Finally, all the perpetrators went scot-free – except the commander, Lt. William Calley, who served a token 3 or so years in prison – instead of the original sentence of 20 years. Seymour Hersh won a Pulitzer for uncovering the My Lai massacre and his brave reporting. After the outrage blew over, Lt. Calley too was pardoned. The Vietnamese ended with hundreds killed at My Lai. America has made a show of being a civilized society.

There are two crimes in this war. America had no business to impose this war in the Viets. After killing 20 lakhs of Viets, America cannot gloss over these deaths.

There was no reason for the Americans to be in Vietnam – except to set up Pax Americana, for which these American soldiers died. What about the Viets?

Why did 20 lakhs of them have to die.


Guns & Crime

June 7, 2011 1 comment
Crime Stats - Top 18 countries (Source - http://www.nationmaster.com). Click for source interactive graph.

Crime Stats - Top 18 countries (Source - http://www.nationmaster.com). Click for source interactive graph.

Anglo-Saxon systems

Interestingly, UK and USA, two countries with Anglo-Saxon system of jurisprudence, have the highest crime incidence.

But the surprise element is India.

India – with the largest number of poor people. More than in sub-Saharan Africa. With also the largest arsenal of firearms outside the US. Most of these guns are unlicensed – and logically, a number of these guns are with the poor. Another newspaper reported that the cost of these illegal firearms is less than US$100 or Rs.4500.

India had the world’s second-largest civilian gun arsenal, with an estimated 46 million firearms outside law enforcement and the military, though this represented just four guns per 100 people there. China, ranked third with 40 million privately held guns, had 3 firearms per 100 people.

Germany, France, Pakistan, Mexico, Brazil and Russia were next in the ranking of country’s overall civilian gun arsenals. (via U.S. most armed country with 90 guns per 100 people | Reuters).

Iceberg ahoy

India with the lowest police-to-population ratio and the highest police-to-illegal-guns ratio. Either crime levels must be high, or imprisonment levels have to be stratospheric.

Strangely, none of these ‘logical’ things are happening. Crime is at low-to-average levels, imprisonment is at a global low, police force is seriously undermanned – and firearms are common.

What gives?

Karl Marx on the opium trade

June 7, 2011 1 comment
Faced with a labour crisis after slave revolts, Europe (specially England) needed alternatives for a new 'slavery' model. A fugitive theorist - Karl Marx. Capitalists and capitalist nations of Europe loved – especially the USA.. Click for bigger image.

Faced with a labour crisis after slave revolts, Europe (specially England) needed alternatives for a new 'slavery' model. A fugitive theorist - Karl Marx gave a model for 'slavery'. Capitalists and capitalist nations of Europe loved – especially the USA.. Click for bigger image.

Marx on the Opium trade

Some 150 years later, Karl Marx’s commentary on the opium trade remains relevant.

Much loved by the capitalists of his time, Karl Marx analyzed opium trade well.

Nurtured by the East India Company, vainly combated by the Central Government at Pekin, the opium trade gradually assumed larger proportions, until it absorbed about $2,500,000 in 1816. The throwing open in that year of the Indian commerce gave a new and powerful stimulus to the operations of the English contrabandists.

In 1820, the number of chests smuggled into China increased to 5,147; in 1821 to 7,000, and in 1824 to 12,639. Meanwhile, the Chinese Government, at the same time addressed threatening remonstrances to the foreign merchants, punished the Hong Kong merchants, (with) more stringent measures. The final result, like that in 1794, was to drive the opium depots from a precarious to a more convenient basis of operations.

The trade shifted hands, and passed to a lower class of men, prepared to carry it on at all hazards and by whatever means. Thanks to the greater facilities thus afforded, the opium trade increased during the ten years from 1824 to 1834 from 12,639 to 21,785 chests.

The year 1834 marks an epoch in opium trade. The East India Company lost its privilege of trading (and) had to discontinue and abstain from all commercial business whatever. It being thus transformed from a mercantile into a merely government establishment, the trade to China became completely thrown open to English private enterprise which pushed on with such vigour that, in 1837, 39,000 chests of opium, valued at $25,000,000, were successfully smuggled into China, despite the desperate resistance of the Celestial Government.

We cannot leave without singling one flagrant self-contradiction of the Christianity-canting and civilization-mongering British Government. In its imperial capacity it affects to be a thorough stranger to the contraband opium trade, and even to enter into treaties proscribing it.

Yet, in its Indian capacity, it forces the opium cultivation upon Bengal, to the great damage of the productive resources of that country; compels one part of the Indian ryots to engage in the poppy culture; entices another part into the same by dint of money advances; keeps the wholesale manufacture of the deleterious drug a close monopoly in its hands; watches by a whole army of official spies its growth, its delivery at appointed places, its inspissation and preparation for the taste of the Chinese consumers, its formation into packages especially adapted to the conveniency of smuggling, and finally its conveyance to Calcutta, where it is put up at auction at the Government sales, and made over by the State officers to the speculators, thence to pass into the hands of the contrabandists who land it in China.

The chest costing the British Government about 250 rupees is sold at the Calcutta auction mart at a price ranging from 1,210 to 1,600 rupees. But, not yet satisfied with this matter-of-fact complicity, the same Government, to this hour, enters into express profit and loss accounts with the merchants and shippers, who embark in the hazardous operation of poisoning an empire.

The Indian finances of the British Government have, in fact, been made to depend not only on the opium trade with China, but on the contraband character of that trade. Were the Chinese Government to legalize the opium trade simultaneously with tolerating the cultivation of the poppy in China, the Anglo-Indian exchequer would experience a serious catastrophe. While openly preaching free trade in poison. it secretly defends the monopoly of its manufacture. Whenever we look closely into the nature of British free trade, monopoly is pretty generally found to lie at the bottom of its “freedom.” (via Karl Marx in New York Daily Tribune Articles On China, 1853-1860 Free Trade and Monopoly; linking text in parentheses supplied; parts excised for brevity and relevance).

‘Opium financed British rule in India’

Elephants in the room. (from the Non Sequitur series of cartoons by Wiley Miller). Click for larger image.

Elephants in the room. (from the Non Sequitur series of cartoons by Wiley Miller). Click for larger image.

Under the British Raj, an enormous amount of opium was being exported out of India until the 1920s.

Before the British came, India was one of the world’s great economies. For 200 years India dwindled and dwindled into almost nothing.

Once I started researching into it, it was kind of inescapable – all the roads led back to opium.

I was looking into it as I began writing the book about five years ago. Like most Indians, I had very little idea about opium.

It is not a coincidence that 20 years after the opium trade stopped, the Raj more or less packed up its bags and left. India was not a paying proposition any longer. (via BBC NEWS | South Asia | ‘Opium financed British rule in India’).

Poor Indy Joe

Amitav Ghosh, a trained anthropologist and historian with a doctorate from Oxford University, did not know about the opium trade by the British Raj. The West has done a great job of hiding elephants in the room.

Does the average Indy Joe have a chance?

Birth of a new religion

But there is any layer to this problem. A new religion. It is called Westernization. ‘Modern’ Indians can be satisfied with perception and propaganda. Easier to digest, I presume.

At this rate, India will become another case of ‘forget-nothing-learn-nothing’. So enamored with the new religion of ‘Westernization’ are we, that no criticism will be accepted or tolerated.

Many ‘educated’ Indians have come to believe that the West is a friend of India – or has answers or solutions for India. Forget about India.

Does West have an answer to their own problems.

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