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Posts Tagged ‘Anglo-Saxon Bloc’

Hollywood Games In China

April 21, 2013 14 comments

Just like Shashi Tharoor was well-grounded in the West, son @ishaantharoor is learning how to push Western interests..

Po, the Panda confronts Shen the despotic  ruler of Gongmen city.

Po, the Panda confronts Shen the despotic ruler of Gongmen city.

Before we get to the main story, let us have the basics out of the way.

Back To Basics

What is India’s national bird? Peacock.

Where does the panda come from? China.

Which country was the world’s largest producer of gunpowder elements till 100 years ago? India.

How did India take advantage of its gunpowder production  to wage war, conquer nations, enslave people and loot? The British did that.

What about India’s export of steel in medieval and colonial eras? India’s Wootz steel to global markets.

For how long has India ruled over China, Tibet, Iran in the last 2000 years? Nil.

America’s Story For China

In May-June 2011, Hollywood released a much anticipated sequel to a successful film. The original film had grossed more than US$25 million in China alone. The sequel was expected to do much more – and finally grossed nearly a US$100 million (official figure – US$91.5 million) in China. Directed by Jennifer Yuh Nelson, (an American from Korea) the sequel was named the most successful film made by a woman.

In ancient China

Here is the storyline.

Despotic Peacock Prince Shen, of the benign Peacock clan returns from exile, usurps the throne. Despotic Peacock Prince Shen expands armament production, disrupting military balance based on hand-to-hand combat.

Despotic Peacock Prince Shen plans to turn fireworks into war materiel, manufacturing cannons. Despotic Peacock Prince Shen would like to make his Gongmen city kingdom into an imperial force, threatening Valley Of Peace, home of Po, the Panda. Despotic Peacock Prince Shen soon after usurping the kingdom, captured all the metal and made it into large cannons and guns.

The film – Kung Fu Panda-II.

One of the Top 3 films in China for 2011 – grossing nearly a US$100 million in China. Made by Spielberg’s Dreamworks, released by Hollywood, let us see what this film is actually telling us.

This film shows the Peacock prince (India), as a historical oppressor. Prince Shen, misusing the Chinese ‘invention’ of fireworks-gunpowder for war, using metal and gunpowder for oppression of China. Po, the Chinese Panda battles and defeats the Peacock Prince (India).

The Plot Thickens

This imagery was probably the reason why this film evoked protests and boycott in China. Since Hollywood has such low traction in India, this film has not provoked any reactions in India. Or possibly since most Indians swallow Western propaganda hook-line-and-sinker, having an image of a benign West, drilled into their thinking.

Who’s funding Steven Spielberg’s movies? When it seemed that Dreamworks would fold!

Anil Ambani.

Who’s funding Anil Ambani’s  power plants in India. China. Will someone in Dreamworks pay for this gross insult? Wonder if Anil Ambani has been briefed about this ‘game’ by Spielberg?

Remember Spielberg’s story on how he lifted the Satyajit Ray script for ET. Some readers have traced Spielberg’s antipathy to India, as depicted in Temple of Doom, to being ‘caught’ out in this ‘inspiration’.

Maya’s Apprentince

Many among India’s leadership have links to Western citadels of maya. Many leaders today ensure that their children are well-grounded in Western culture, education, industry, media academia. These apprentices will then try and take over papa’s fiefdom.

These ‘prince-lings’ are being well-educated by Western ‘specialist’ in maya. Propaganda.

No wonder, even before the bombed street is released, clean in Boston, Ishaan Tharoor is outlining how America can blame Russia, India, Pakistan, Iran Korea, China, Syria – everyone, except US.

Or as can be seen by the tutoring being given to Ishaan Tharoor by a Western academic.

Is this not how the West wants to keep India & China apart, glowering at each other.

Is this not how the West wants to keep India & China apart, glowering at each other.

Beijing officials are increasingly worried about India’s ambitions. If you look at the writings of Chinese experts, they refer to Indian military posturing in the Indian Ocean and also to military partnerships India is developing with several countries in Southeast Asia and East Africa. In the public realm, Chinese Netizens’ views of India are very negative. You get the sense the Chinese never seemed to expect India to climb up to the ranks of the great powers. Now, as India attempts to make that leap, the Chinese are very worried of its impact on China’s primacy in Asia.

It wouldn’t first be open war. China and India are building up their interests in conflict-prone and unstable states on their borders like Nepal and Burma — important sources of natural resources. If something goes wrong in these countries — if the politics implode — you could see the emergence of proxy wars in Asia. Distrust between India and China will grow and so too security concerns in a number of arenas. It’s an important scenario that strategic planners in both Beijing and Delhi are looking at.

At the same time, India won’t let itself be drowned in America’s orbit. It’s important for India to have its strategic independence. It has a very long and historically close relationship with Russia, which in turn is close to China. So it’s a little more complicated. I don’t think the Americans have thought very strategically about all of this.

via China-India Competition: Is a Military Clash Inevitable? – TIME.

Will Britain Exit From EU Before Greece?

November 19, 2012 1 comment

It is unclear what benefit EU derives from British membership. But British expulsion from EU will surely simplify EU politics & debates

Britain is the cussed slow-driver on the Euro-bahn who will not let the Euro-truck overtake  |  Cartoon By Tom Janssen, The Netherlands - 12/12/2011 12:00:00 AM; source & courtesy - caglecartoons.com

Britain is the cussed slow-driver on the Euro-bahn who will not let the Euro-truck overtake | Cartoon By Tom Janssen, The Netherlands – 12/12/2011 12:00:00 AM; source & courtesy – caglecartoons.com

Britain – EU’s Fifth Column?

At each stage of the European Union, Britain has been a reluctant member. In the last few decades, with its manufacturing in deep decline, Britain has been working on propping up its multinationals.

Vodafone is one such example. It has become the world’s largest telecom operator using tax-loopholes (provided by the British Govt.) and massive debt underwritten by British banks. Vodafone has nothing – no manufacturing, no technology, no R & D with which it has become the largest operator.

Is the EU going to be such a push-over? US would definitely hope so.  |  Euro-loser cartoon By Taylor Jones, Hoover Digest  -  4/24/2012 12:00:00 AM; source & courtesy - caglecartoons.com

Is the EU going to be such a push-over? US would definitely hope so. | Euro-loser cartoon By Taylor Jones, Hoover Digest – 4/24/2012 12:00:00 AM; source & courtesy – caglecartoons.com

The Anglo-Saxon Bloc

Britain derives much greater power and influence by coordinating policy and finance within the four Anglo-Saxon countries – Australia, Canada, US and Britain itself.

The Anglo-Saxon Bloc is

  1. Top producer of
    • Oil
    • Gold
    • Defence
  2. Controls world production in
    • Media
    • Microchips
    • Academia
  3. Regulates
    • Global finance and banking
    • Money production

It is unclear what benefit EU derives from British membership – but British expulsion from EU could surely simplify EU politics and debates.

Compared the colossal debt that Britain is carrying, the EU budget is smaller issue.  |  Cartoon on  EU Budget cut row by Paresh Nath, The Khaleej Times, UAE  -  11/4/2012 12:00:00 AM; source & courtesy - caglecartoons.com

Compared the colossal debt that Britain is carrying, the EU budget is smaller issue. | Cartoon on EU Budget cut row by Paresh Nath, The Khaleej Times, UAE – 11/4/2012 12:00:00 AM; source & courtesy – caglecartoons.com

Bite the Bullet

EU officials have begun work on a plan to create a long-term budget without the UK in a move that reflects mounting frustration that Britain’s demand for a spending freeze cannot be reconciled with the rest of the bloc.

Both EU officials and national diplomats have been studying the legal and technical feasibility of devising such a budget, according to people familiar with the discussions, ahead of a two-day summit beginning on Thursday in Brussels, where the EU’s 27 heads of government will try to reach an agreement on the long-term budget.

The prospects for that meeting have darkened in recent days as several diplomats have come to the conclusion that it will be impossible to accommodate the UK’s demands, and are now predicting failure.

“Because of the British stance people are looking, both in national capitals and in Brussels, for a solution at 26. It’s being looked at from a financial and legal point of view,” one official said.

The plan may be a negotiating ploy to try to put more pressure on David Cameron, the UK prime minister, to compromise. The budget talks will resume on Monday evening when Herman Van Rompuy, the European Council president, hosts a dinner of European ministers.

Officials acknowledge that such an approach – if pursued – would be rife with complexities. It could also have grave consequences for the UK’s already fragile relationship with the rest of the EU. “There are people talking about this,” a diplomat said, but added: “There are huge questions.”

Downing Street on Sunday said it was “sure” the idea was being discussed in Brussels but rejected the idea of a budget deal without Britain as “not acceptable”.

“Ultimately we have to agree to spending this money,” a spokesman for Mr Cameron said. “We make a significant net contribution and parliament has a strong view on this.”

Mr Cameron has staked out the most aggressive position in the debate over the long-term budget, which will cover roughly €1,000bn in spending from 2014 to 2020, calling for a real-terms freeze from 2011 levels.

Sweden has taken a similar position to the UK and other countries could yet thwart a deal. France’s President François Hollande said on Saturday that “above all, spending on the common agricultural policy must be preserved”.

via EU makes budget plans without UK – FT.com.


Pakistan: Two Observations

Pakistan threatens Yumm-rika-Mend your ways! Otherwise, we, Pakistan, will mend relations with India.

Pakistan's ability to 'self-launch' itself  |  Cartoonist - Muhammad Zahoor on Tuesday, April 27, 2004 | via Daily Times  |  Click for image.

Pakistan’s ability to ‘self-launch’ itself | Cartoonist – Muhammad Zahoor on Tuesday, April 27, 2004 | via Daily Times – ZAHOOR’S CARTOON:.| Click for image.

There’s a near-universal sense of victimhood and betrayal, which overlooks that if Pakistan’s borders are porous with respect to terror attacks on other countries, and its authorities don’t act on this, then ‘national sovereignty’ can’t be a hallowed principle and those borders are liable to be porous in the other direction as well.

Pakistani ire at the bin Laden raid as well as American drone attacks on its tribal territories may, however, have had a paradoxically beneficial effect. America has risen and India fallen in its demonology – facilitating a substantial improvement in India-Pakistan ties. In the long term, that’s the key to a peaceful and prosperous South Asia. (via Our mandarins, their mandarins – The Times of India).

One-way sovereignty?

Pakistani cannot expect its sovereignty and territory to be intact – after terrorists launch attacks on other sovereign nations from Pakistani soil. So, Pakistani ‘outrage’ at Abbottabad seems hypocritical.

Though the implications of Abbottabad for the Indian sub-continent are more ominous.

With Anglo-Saxon Bloc running amuck in Afghanistan and Pakistan, is India immune?

Hindi-Paki Bhai-Bhai?

The recent change in Pakistani mood towards India is only reactionary. Use India to blackmail USA.

Yumm-rika, if you don’t mend your ways, we will mend our relations with India. Then what leverage will you have with us is the idea behind Pakistani ‘warmth’.

This again for India means, that US and the West will keep the Pakistani dagger against India, sharp and shining.

If not always, for some time to come.


Italian Collapse …

November 16, 2011 3 comments

English language media, controlled by the Anglo-Saxon Bloc, routinely predicts the collapse of nations.

Europe has a choice. Controlled devaluation of the Euro or a disorderly retreat. |  Cartoon By Patrick Chappatte  |  Published: November 10, 2011 |  Source & courtesy - nytimes.com  |  Click for a larger image.

Europe has a choice. Controlled devaluation of the Euro or a disorderly retreat. | Cartoon By Patrick Chappatte | Published: November 10, 2011 | Source & courtesy - nytimes.com | Click for a larger image.

For 90 years, culminating in Mussolini’s fall, Italy’s leaders were determined to create a sense of nationhood by turning Italians into conquerors and colonialists. Vast sums of money were therefore spent on expeditions to Africa, often with disastrous results; at the Battle of Adowa in 1896, in which an army was wiped out by an Ethiopian force, more Italians were killed in a single day than in all the wars of the Risorgimento put together. Although the country had no enemies in Europe and no need to fight in either of the world wars, Italy joined the fighting in both global conflicts nine months after they had begun when the government thought it had identified the winner and extracted promises of territorial rewards.

Mussolini’s miscalculation and subsequent downfall destroyed Italian militarism and at the same time punctured the idea of Italian nationhood. For 50 years after World War II, the country was dominated by the Christian Democrats and the Communists. These parties — which took their cue from the Vatican and the Kremlin, respectively — were not interested in instilling a new sense of national identity to replace the old one.

Postwar Italy was in many ways a great success. With one of the highest growth rates in the world, it became an innovator in such peaceful and productive fields as film, fashion, and industrial design. Yet the economic triumphs were uneven, and no administration was able to reduce the disparities between north and south. (via The End of Italy – By David Gilmour | Foreign Policy).

The overvaluation of the Euro is the one big reason why EU economies are suffering such a deep recession. |  Cartoon by Patrick Chappatte  spoofing Gloria Gaynor's pop-song, titled 'I will survive'.|  Published: October 31, 2011  |  Source and courtesy - nytimes.com.  |  Click for larger image.

The overvaluation of the Euro is the one big reason why EU economies are suffering such a deep recession. | Cartoon by Patrick Chappatte spoofing Gloria Gaynor's pop-song, titled 'I will survive'.| Published: October 31, 2011 | Source and courtesy - nytimes.com. | Click for larger image.

Problem with English language

English language media, dominated by the Anglo-Saxon Bloc has been anti-EU for obvious reasons.

EU is a challenge to …

Anglo-Saxon Hegemony

A stable EU dominated by Germany and France would be a significant challenge to the Anglo-Saxon Bloc.

For instance, an EU-Japan-BRICS alliance could prise apart, the dominance of the Anglo-Saxon Bloc.

Italy which was melded together in a post-Napoleonic, ‘secularized’ Europe, became a major industrial power – without the ‘benefit’ of colonies (like Spain, Britain or France) or a large home market (like USA).

Similarly, post WWII Italy, was able to manage its re-construction, even with coalition governments collapsing at metronomic intervals.

Between a resilient Italy – and predictions by a biased Anglo-Saxon media, who would you chose …


Adiga’s Vacuum Theorem

August 26, 2011 3 comments

Arvind Adiga (hereafter Adiga-bhau), ‘winner of the £50,000 Man Booker prize’ makes a complete hash in a lengthy book review. Reading Arvind Adiga for the first time, I am surprised at the man’s obtuseness. Adiga writes,

Post-British Raj India had a difficult choice - which political system to choose! (Cartoon by RK Laxman; courtesy - timesofindia.com). Click for larger image.

Post-British Raj India had a difficult choice - which political system to choose! (Cartoon by RK Laxman; courtesy - timesofindia.com). Click for larger image.

French gives us vivid sketches of the peculiar, gifted men and women of the Gandhi-Nehru dynasty – India’s Julio-Claudians – who governed the country until the 1990s, managing simultaneously to keep India democratic and united, while running its economy into the ground.

French follows the political sketches with portraits of the Indian businessmen who struggled to survive in the socialist economy that their politicians made for them – and who then burst free, with entrepreneurial vigour, when these controls were eased in the 1990s.

To keep falling for this promise, election after election, millions of Indian voters must be utter morons – and not the smart budding world-conquerors that French describes them as. (via India: A Portrait by Patrick French – book review | Books | The Observer).

British Raj – The Golden Age

If the Gandhi-Nehru dynasty were responsible for ‘running its economy into the ground’ is Adiga-bhau implying that the dynasty started with a prosperous and well-run Indian economy – which the dynasty ruined.

I wonder which history book Adiga-bhau reads? Which school taught Adiga-bhau this history? And if it just bad English, who decided to give him that Rs.30 lakh award?

From an India, which was a ship-to-mouth basket case, in 1950, to an emerging power, in 2010, seems to be have been a facile and an easy experience – and little credit is given to Indian political leadership for managing the post-colonial Indian system.

In this case, is it because Adiga-bhau forgets the state of Indian economy in 1950-1980?

At least in the 60s and the 70s, India was long on promise and short on performance. To imply now that the British Raj was better? Cartoon by RK Laxman. Click for larger image.

At least in the 60s and the 70s, India was long on promise and short on performance. To imply now that the British Raj was better? Cartoon by RK Laxman. Click for larger image.

Indian businessman. Patriotic …?

Coming to Adiga-bhau’s other point of ‘businessmen who struggled to survive in the socialist economy’ makes me hoot. As in laughter and cackle.

May be Adiga-bhau should keep his computer shut. After all, why take pains to prove himself to be an ignoramus?

Did anyone tell him about the Bombay Plan of 1944? India’s leading industrialists of the time proposed the Bombay Plan, which suggested a major role for the Indian State in independent India. Remember, way back in 1944,

the plan was put together by the who’s who of Indian industry (JRD Tata, GD Birla, Kasturbhai Lalbhai, Purshottamdas Thakurdas and Shri Ram) as well as top technocrats such as John Matthai, Ardeshir Dalal and AD Shroff (Matthai, who drafted the document, later became India’s Finance Minister). It was, in fact, half a Tata team. All three technocrats were working with the Tatas. Thirdly, and most importantly, what made everyone sit up and take notice of the Bombay Plan was its approach. Believe it or not, this capitalist-heavy team advocated government intervention and regulation. Words such as control, licenses and allotment were used in a manner no Indian capitalist has used ever since. Part II came a year later.

Left parties, politicians on the Right, Gandhians – all found fault with the Bombay Plan. But, India’s official planning documents that came out 4 years later in 1948, were very similar to the Bombay Plan.

So, much for business which struggled, Adiga-bhau!

A British War poster of 1939. British war poster of 1939. Just 8 years before independence. British racism and attitude towards 'Brown' Indians was discriminatory. Like this poster displays. Click for larger image.

A British War poster of 1939. British war poster of 1939. Just 8 years before independence. British racism and attitude towards 'Brown' Indians was discriminatory. Like this poster displays. Click for larger image.

Soon after WWII

From 1950, Britain still a major economy and a super-power, a victor of WWII, sent its best economists to advise the Indian Government.

They came from the leading Cambridge School, led by the redoubtable Joan Robinson, the keeper of Keynes’ ideological flame – and the group became famous as the Cambridge School. Apart from Cambridge School economists, other leading economists from all over the world came to India.

Long list, Big names

Among them was Harold Laski, of the London School of Economics, and Nicholas Kaldor and John Strachey from Britain. Not a few, but many American economists were sent to India, including Oskar Lange and Michael Kalecki (technically from Poland, but associated with US universities). Prominent among the American group were Neil Jacoby and Milton Friedman.

Apart from the Who’s Who of the world of economics many other big names like Paul N. Rosenstein-Rodan, Arnold Harberger, Richard Eckhaus, Alan Manne, James Mirlees, Ian Little, Charles Bettelheim, Brian Reddaway, Ragner Frisch, Richard Goodwin, Wassily Leontief and Jan Tinbergen – all came to India. Quite a few of these visits were financed by the Ford and Rockefeller foundations.

Many of these economists were neededto ‘sell’ the Indian point of view to the Western institutions like World Bank and IMF. And later the Aid India Consortium.

More than 30 years after this  cartoon, solar power is still not competitive. The West controlled technology, financial markets and raw material sources. Plus they had the killing machines like CIA, Mosssad. Just in case you stepped out of line. (Cartoon by Mike Peters; cartoon from the book-cover of SolarGas by David Hoye, published in 1979. Image courtesy - http://jimsbikeblog.wordpress.com) Click for larger image.

More than 30 years after this cartoon, solar power is still not competitive. The West controlled technology, financial markets and raw material sources. Plus they had the killing machines like CIA, Mosssad. Just in case you stepped out of line. (Cartoon by Mike Peters; cartoon from the book-cover of SolarGas by David Hoye, published in 1979. Image courtesy - http://jimsbikeblog.wordpress.com) Click for larger image.

Unhappy endings

Apart from the Cambridge School economists, the other big name was the leader of the Chicago School. Milton Friedman.

Unhappy at the reception to his proposals, Milton Friedman went for greener climes. Specifically, Chile.

Chile’s descent into the hands of a military junta, the human rights abuses, the political assassinations are the stuff of a Le Carre novels – except it was all real. And they happened under Milton Friedman’s very nose.

Sad and real, Adiga-bhau!

Neil Jacoby became advisor to another dictatorship – Taiwan.

The summer of hunger and poverty

Joan Robinson, it is claimed, used to say,The frustrating thing about India is that whatever you can rightly say about India, the opposite is also true.” Joan Robinson felt that in India the ‘problem is so formidable, that the mind boggles at it’.

Was it surprising that ‘more than half the world’s planning models were probably about India.’ And economists remembered Joan Robinson appearing dressed in a saree, at a conference in Europe.

British propaganda poster, promoting the 'special relationship' among Anglo-Saxon Bloc members. Was it possible for Nehru-Gandhi dynasty to confront the Anglo-Saxon Bloc in the 1950s and 1960s. Image courtesy - http://bertc.com. Click for a larger image.

British propaganda poster, promoting the 'special relationship' among Anglo-Saxon Bloc members. Was it possible for Nehru-Gandhi dynasty to confront the Anglo-Saxon Bloc in the 1950s and 1960s. Image courtesy - http://bertc.com. Click for a larger image.

The Ugly American

Post-War Europe itself, went down the way of planned economies – with some hilarious implementations.

Academic disagreement was battened down by threats and violence. Nehru appeared in CIA assassination lists.

It is unclear if it was Stalin’s lukewarm response to Nehru’s overtures or the alleged CIA plot against Nehru in 1955, temporarily Nehru did get close to Eisenhower.

The subsequent killing of Patrice Lumumba, the assassination of Salvador Allende or the ongoing coup in Iran, managed by USA and UK made these assassination fears real. One must not forget, (if one knows), that the price for independence was (and still is) CIA assassination or a regime change by USA.

For instance, the Shah of Iran worked against his own nationalist Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadeq – to protect Western Oil interests. To turn public opinion,

declassified documents detailing the 1953 U.S. overthrow of Iran’s Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadeq reveal that something actually called the “CIA Art Group” produced cartoons to turn public opinion against the democratically elected leader.

The CIA, led by Kermit Roosevelt Jr., and the British intelligence, launched Operation Ajax. Finally, in 1979, the Shah was replaced by the regressive regime of Ayatollah Khomeini, which has taken Iran out of the USA orbit.

The real story, Adiga-bhau!

The Stick … and the carrot

Western aid was tied to India following Western advice. This continued to happen – at least till 1991. For instance, MJ Akbar quotes how American influence was behind Manmohan Singh’s appointment in 1991.

Really, Adiga-bhau!

India’s post-colonial choices were a mix of pragmatism, necessity and accepted wisdom of the times – and Western pressures and influences that are responsible for more than a fair share of guilt in these wrong choices.

This is scene from Kolkatta in 1943. Just 4 years before independence. Millions died, like flies, on the streets of Kolkatta, and across Bengal. Is this the economy that that the Nehru-Gandhi run into ground?

This scene from Kolkatta in 1943. Just 4 years before independence. Millions died, like flies, on the streets of Kolkatta, and across Bengal. Is this the economy that the Nehru-Gandhi run into ground?

Insult – but was there injury

Western media and academia conveniently forgets that Western institutions like World Bank, IMF, stampeded India (and Nehru), into some of these bad choices – which the West now claims were India’s own choices in the first place.

For instance, one of the worst choices made by India, tied to World Bank, IMF and US aid, was to follow the infamous population control policy. Blaming Nehru-Gandhi has become an article of faith in modern India.

But is it justified?

The British Salt Tax. How Damaging?

July 29, 2011 3 comments

British taxes on salt made common table salt into a high-expensive commodity; created shortages which killed millions.

Gandhiji Dandi Salt March (March 12 - April 6, 1930) channeled seething rage on the salt tax into a frenzy. Click for larger image.

Gandhiji Dandi Salt March (March 12 – April 6, 1930) channeled seething rage on the salt tax into a frenzy. Click for larger image.

In 1770 famine hit Bengal. The land revenue had only been sporadically collected by the Mughals, especially in times of difficulty. After the Company took over the Diwani it was fully and ruthlessly collected. In 1969 the crop was poor. In 1770, after six months without rain, the crop almost totally failed. There has never been a failure of crops all over India. Local shortages can always be rectified if there is money to buy in grain. However, following the looting of Bengal by the Company and its employees, money was extremely scarce. The Company had no mercy; it took its dues in full. As people began to die, the amount of land revenue due from the survivors increased. It was so fiercely collected that many had to sell their seed corn. Out of the millions they collected, the Company gave back 90,000 rupees in famine relief — 90,000 rupees for 30,000,000 people.

Meanwhile the Company’s employees and their agents cornered the rice market. They bought up rice in those areas where the crop had not failed, warehoused it under armed guard, and sold to those with the most money. The price of a maund (82 pounds) of rice rose from about 0.4 to 13 rupees. The wealthier Indians exchanged their savings and jewellery for food. The peasants and labourers, who only earned 1 or, at most, 2 rupees a month, perished. Between one-third and one-half of the entire population — at least ten million people — died. The Salt Tax was, of course, still collected by the Company in full on the salt that was consumed. However, many could not afford to buy salt. In any case, the supply of salt was severely disrupted by the death of so many salt workers, bullock cart drivers and boatmen. …

The size of an average family was another point of contention. However, at the lower end of the scale, it is reasonable to assume that a small family, of two adults and three children, needed at least half a maund of salt, 41 pounds a year. Half a maund of salt, in 1788, retailed for 2 rupees or more — two months’ income for many families. The situation continued for many years and agrees with the evidence given to a Parliamentary Select Committee of 1836 by Dr. John Crawfurd of the Bengal Medical Service: ‘I estimate that the cost of salt to the rural labourer, i.e., to the great mass of the people of Bengal, for a family, as being equal to about two months’ wages, i.e., 1/6th of the whole annual earnings.’

(via The Salt Tax – Excerpted from The Great Hedge of India by Roy Moxham, Harper Collins, India 2001).

By the time Gandhiji picked up this peice of salt from the sea-shore, hundreds of thousands had died due to salt-starvation. Click for larger image.

By the time Gandhiji picked up this peice of salt from the sea-shore, hundreds of thousands had died due to salt-starvation. Click for larger image.

The Salt Famine

One more chapter in famines created by British misrule in India.
Roy Moxham’s book traces how extortionate taxes by the British Raj created virtually a salt famine – which also killed hundreds of millions. In today’s world, where salt has become common, easily available and cheap, it is not easily understood how salt imbalances killed many Indians.

The British Raj created a price regime where Indians could not afford to eat salt.

How Tax was Levied

Interestingly, Roy Moxham’s book details how the British tried for 10 years to create a thorny hedge, to prevent smuggling of cheaper salt from bordering kingdoms ruled by Indian kings. Rarely mentioned in history, it was referred to as the The Great Hedge of India or Inland Customs Line.

A customs line was established, which stretched across the whole of India, which in 1869 extended from the Indus to the Mahanadi in Madras, a distance of 2,300 miles; and it was guarded by nearly 12,000 men and petty officers…it consisted principally of an immense impenetrable hedge of thorny trees and bushes, supplemented by stone wall and ditches, across which no human being or beast of burden or vehicle could pass without being subject to detention or search. (Strachey and Strachey 1882, 219-20).

Gandhiji at the Dandi , Gujarat Salt March. Surrounded by adoring crowds, the end of the British Raj came in sight. (Image source - Associated Press File; Courtesy - pressherald.com ).

Gandhiji at the Dandi , Gujarat Salt March. Surrounded by adoring crowds, the end of the British Raj came in sight. (Image source – Associated Press File; Courtesy – pressherald.com ).

Birth of corruption

The Customs Line soon became a Corruption Line. Many small little Clive’s sprouted wings and extorted money for salt and other commodities. This corruption persisted, in a perverse way even encouraged by the Raj, in the other laws – in the money lending regulations, excise, customs, octroi – at every tax point.

Even as India was on the verge of independence from the British Raj, in September 1946, Nehru reminded his party of the “the colossal corruption and nepotism that are rampant everywhere.” In late 1945, Nehru said “Corrupt people have to be swept away by a broomstick,” while campaigning for Congress Party.

But much before this, way back in 1928, then a much-less famous man, wrote

Corruption will be out one day, however much one may try to conceal it; and the public can, as its right and duty, in every case of justifiable suspicion, call its servants to strict account, dismiss them, sue them in a law court or appoint an arbitrator or inspector to scrutinise their conduct, as it likes. – Mahatma Gandhi in Young India (1928).

Sarojini Naidu carried forward Dandi Salt March to the Dharsana Salt Works, Gujarat, in May 1930, which was covered by the international press in chilling detail. End of British Raj and the Salt Tax is close to end.  Click for larger image.

Sarojini Naidu carried forward Dandi Salt March to the Dharsana Salt Works, Gujarat, in May 1930, which was covered by the international press in chilling detail. End of British Raj and the Salt Tax is close to end. Click for larger image.


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?

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