David Dunn says
I am not getting into a debate over who was right or wrong – the current English people have been made to pay for our forefathers mistakes – that is for sure.
I went to Allahabad to see where my family was from and the city which was once I presume a landmark was all but desecrated and the stunning buildings and architecture has all but gone, the British as you like to remark on – left a long time ago.
It did amuse me to see the cantonment area and the sign outside the gym ‘Built for the diamond jubilee’ – it is true that not all the British were symbiotic with the Indians but many did marry local women and they encountered the same racism on there return after independence as the indians did in there only native country.
Also to suggest that we made it better or worse is superfluous, on my recent visit to India I was astounded by the extremes of poverty and richness, homeless people without water getting donated chaputties and the 5 star hotel I was in being occupied by a family from Lucknow whom had occupied 400 rooms for 3 nights and all food and drink was free, they came through on a golden chariot. So were the British really just taking advantage of what now local Indian people are ? Interesting many of the ‘indian’ families had been educated in England and maintained properties in well to do areas in West London, more than what I certainly could ever wish for.
In regards to the truth/story – I am compelled by this, by the racism and atrocities of the British men and women just by the fact people were so far from home. There is no denial on reading of what Havelock and Neill did was atrocious but you can only have sympathy of the accounts which we are aware of the women and children of cawnpore.
Its a story that we should’nt forget but it should not be biased. We should be clear how racist and protagonist the British were and the horrors we did in justifiable retribution. However it is a story of suffering which many of us will never ever have to endure, possibly because of what these people suffered on both sides but in particular the account of what happens under a siege. It has a story of romanticism of treachery and of people losing the people that they love, no doubt the same will be told again of the local indians. On reading the account from ‘our bones are scattered’ the fact that a man shouting on his death at cawnpore that his death be avenged – the son watching his dad die kills the son of I believe havelock, some years later.
There were no winners here.
The embracing account of Emma Halliday walking in the Dorset countryside when a gypsy women approaches her and advises of how how life will be and that she will die a ‘terrible’ death. Just shows how far the British sacrificed to move from there fields of green meadows, how did they end up in a situation where they were hunted down and murdered which such venom. Im sure they never wanted that.
I am hoping to write a screenplay of this as it is a story that needs to be told, not of feeling great about imperialism but of peoples suffering and a story that happened that when you read (taking in some exaggeration) this actually happened and something we cannot comprehend in modern day.
India is independent and the British will never be back that is for sure, but we should not forget what our forefathers did right and wrong and the suffering of people from both sides.
You cannot base yourself in the present if you do not understand your past.
Dr Andrew Emerson replies
You are mistaken when you assert that ‘…the British…[who married ‘local women’]…encountered the same racism on their return after independence as the Indians did in their only native country.’ Racism is a nebulous term whose meaning, such as it is, can be interpreted in a variety of ways.
European ‘racism’ towards Europeans who miscegenated with Indians to produce half-caste offspring tended not to express itself in, at times murderous, violence, as it did and still does in the Indian subcontinent. What about the brutal massacre of the innocents, young children, at Bibighar? Is this acceptable to you because it was perpetrated by Indians against the children of Europeans? Do you know the meaning of the term ethnomasochism?
The Indian caste system which persists as a de facto reality within India’s society and economy to this day, is institutionalized racism par excellence. But you and others have no criticism to make of ‘racism’ when it is practised by non-Europeans. Is this not a clear case of double standards and of gross hypocrisy?
Unlike Britain, India allows no mass immigration by persons who are not of Indian ancestry, nor does it permit, let alone encourage, its land, housing and industry to be bought up by foreign, ie, non-Indian, investors. If this is ‘racism’ then why does the world’s media not condemn it? Because it is ‘racism’ which is practised by non-Europeans.
Britain is the ‘only native country’ of the British. Why should we surrender it without a fight to the teeming hordes of the Third World who have their own lands, greatly improved by the past colonial rule of the British, but now want ours as well?
Of course, if people are offered something advantageous to them, immigration to an advanced industrial society in the West, such as Britain, many will seize the opportunity with both hands. This is understandable, though it would be more patriotic to remain in their own country and work to improve conditions there for the masses of their own people. What is inexcusable is that our government, the Establishment politicians, many of whom are themselves ethnic aliens, made a standing invitation and still make it, to the hundreds of thousands of non-Europeans who cross our borders every year, to come to our country and treat it as if it were their own – to the great detriment of our people, whose forefathers built and paid for our public services and welfare state.
The primary purpose of the use of the word racism is to induce a spurious sense of guilt in the minds of Europeans. Spurious, because we have far more of which we should feel proud in our history, including its colonial and imperial phase, than otherwise. You should understand the motivation behind the use of the word, which is to create that very flabby attitude of mind which you exhibit, a bogus sense of racial guilt and shame, in order to soften us up as a people for the currently partial and future total dispossession of our rights in the land of our fathers, our homeland. Just as Pavlov’s dogs began to salivate at the sound of a bell, so the Briton starts to wring his hands and intone ‘mea culpa’ at the sound of the ludicrous words racism and racist. Frankly, it presents a pathetic spectacle to see a grown man reduced to a gibbering wreck by such ‘word magic’.
Given the way things are going in this country, I wouldn’t be as confident as you appear to be that we won’t see horrors as bad as, if not worse than those of the Indian Mutiny on the streets of our once eminently peaceful and civilized country. Some would say we already have.
‘Superfluous’ you say to suggest that we, that is we British, made India better or worse? On the contrary, it is imperative that the truth be told in the face of the daily barrage of anti-English propaganda spewing from the publicly-funded organs of the state, such as the BBC. That truth is that we British not only made India a far richer land as a direct result of our two hundred year stewardship, but that we made India. There would be no country, no state, called India were it not for the British contribution to its history and development.
Good luck with your screenplay.