The British State’s last ventriloquist dummy, George Galloway, once rebuked a Scottish independinista for daring to compare British rule in India with Scotland. Other than a giant diamond in the Monarch’s crown, the Koh-i-Noor, one guesses he meant Scotland did not see millions starved, millions driven out of their land, or attempts at genocide to tame the indigenous people. Galloway indulges in reductionism, we are all white, Christian, and share a single economy, and so feeling oppressed is wild imaginings. If he thinks Scotland was not an oppressed nation and is not to this day, he never will, and is a lost cause.
There are plenty of parallels to draw, India with Scotland. We should feel grateful that Winston Churchill was not around in 1707, or 1745, otherwise we would be ‘North Britain’ by now, and not what we are today for England, Huntin-Shootin-Fishin-land. When we leave the Union for a better Accord we can expect our English colonials to say we should be grateful for them teaching us the rules of cricket even if we are not very good at playing the game.
Galloway’s indifferent knowledge of his own country’s history is not a surprise, given what we know about colonialism and the colonised mind. In numbers, starved, shot or deported, India certainly dwarfed Scotland, but in wealth, not since England snaffled Scotland’s oil in return for a cooncil Parliament with a hobbled election system. The Scot who knows our history is familiar with the brutality of the British State determined to bleed a country dry it has invaded until it is on its knees.
Invited to speak at a debate by Oxford University, Dr Shashi Tharoor, gives a sharp account of imperial Britain making life hell for the average Indian. He wants reparations and states why. He can be forgiven for not doing his homework about Scotland’s part in India’s oppression. A few Scots got rich, some got a career, and our soldiers got a meal a day for serving Queen and Country and laying down their life. The rich built some grand building to commemorate their name and burnish their reputation. The rest of us got rat infested tenement flats if we were lucky. There were few jobs in their homeland, the occasional bad harvest that caused hunger and emigration, but Scotland did not get rich. We got raided.
We too would like to see reparations offered for all taken from us when we reinstate self-governance, but will probably accept the right to keep what we earn and the oil and gas under the North Sea. What Dr Tharoor speaks of could just as easily be applied to Scotland. We shall have to seize democracy from Westminster because it is blazingly evident London will not give it to us.
This 15-minute video relates key atrocities and gross theft by British colonialism on India. Britain left India because it could not afford to govern it any longer. It had impoverished the population and saw nothing more worth stealing. Be warned: Scotland has wealth remaining worth stealing.
NOTE: Shashi Tharoor is an Indian former international diplomat, politician, writer and public intellectual who has been serving as Member of Parliament, Lok Sabha from Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, since 2009. He was formerly Under-Secretary General of the United Nations and ran for the post of Secretary-General in 2006.