The Brits In India

Dr Shashi Tharoor MP

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.

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4 Responses to The Brits In India

  1. Alastair Bryan says:

    The great Churchill was kicked out of Ireland by Lloyd George for being gungho and an extreme reactionary, in the Red Clydeside he stood down every Scottish regiment confining them to barracks under armed guard. English troops were brought up by train to Scotland on mass , tanks were deployed in George Square ready to raise Glasgow to the ground and slaughter the malcontents. This is the same Great Churchill who starved 2 million Bengals to death and asked his commissioner of India if Gandhi was dead yet.
    Interestingly there is a good documentary about the fall of Singapore and how an ex-school friend of Churchill ( William Forbes Sempill) sold secrets to the Japanese giving them the vital knowledge of how to conduct navel carrier operations, he also past on de Haviland designs for aeroplanes which they used to build the Zero.The same person also sold the plans for the defence of the Malaysian peninsula to the Japanese resulting in 50k British soldiers being taken prisoner, tortured and horribly mistreated. 35k Indian troops defected to the Japanese army but they never tell you why, mostly Bengals who’s countrymen where starved to death by Churchill.
    This establishment friend of Churchill also past on a transcript of the Yelta meeting with Stalin and Roosevelt. Only after Bletchly park picked up the radio transmission did the authorities know that Sempill was a traitor. The establishment always look after their own dont they, he should have been executed however as a personal friend of Churchill he was aloud to live out his life as if nothing had happened , He died in the Seventies unlike the British troops who were betrayed. His betrayal was kept secret until the 80’s. the real history of a glorious British Empire you are never get to hear about which never fails to dismay. Not quite the benevolent Empire that educated the world and brought railways .

  2. Grouse Beater says:

    All that is true, although the tank in George Square is a legend that never happened. Churchill did have a regiment stand by and there were tanks – the brutality of the British State is always ready to do its worst to put down rebellion – but the one often quoted and photographed in George Square, was an exhibit, Alastair.

  3. Michael W says:

    I read Tharoors book a few years ago. The British killed the Indian economy; fomented sectarian dispute with resultant partition and warfare. Nothing novel in the approach to Ireland, Scotland and the same tried and tested principle is being applied in Ukraine but I suspect the origins of the policy derive from the French civil war in the medieval period with the plantagenets over their French domains. This may appear fanciful but at Oxbridge which supplies most of the policy administrators you do analyse medieval, late medieval policies with a view to the present.

  4. alfbaird says:

    Every colonised nation is let down by its own native elite and bourgeoisie, even ‘nationalist’ politicians among them, who enter into a cooperative alliance with the oppressor (Fanon; Memmi) and thereafter act as the ‘watchdogs of colonialism’, and where, according to Aime Cesaire (Discourse on Colonialism 1955/1972):

    “..you will hold as enemies… not only sadistic governors and greedy bankers, not only prefects who torture and colonists who flog, not only corrupt, check-licking politicians and subservient judges, but likewise and for the same reason, venomous journalists, goitrous academics, wreathed in dollars and stupidity, ethnographers who go in for metaphysics, presumptuous theologians, chattering intellectuals born stinking out of the thigh of Nietzsche, the paternalists, the embracers, the corrupters, the back-slappers, the lovers of exoticism, the dividers, the agrarian sociologists, the hoodwinkers, the hoaxers, the hot-air artists, the humbugs, and in general, all those who, performing their functions in the sordid division of labour for the defence of Western bourgeois society, try in diverse ways and by infamous diversions to split up the forces of Progress – even if it means denying the very possibility of progress – all of them tools of capitalism, all of them, openly or secretly, supporters of plundering colonialism, all of them responsible, all hateful, all slave-traders, all henceforth answerable…” (and Cesaire calls for the people to) “..sweep out all the obscurers, all the inventors of subterfuges, the charlatans and tricksters, the dealers in gobbledygook. And do not seek to know whether personally these (individuals) are in good or bad faith, whether personally they have good or bad intentions. Whether personally – that is, in the private conscience of Peter or Paul – they are or are not colonialists, because the essential thing is that their highly problematical subjective good faith is entirely irrelevant to the objective social implications of the evil work they perform as watchdogs of colonialism.”

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