This is surely going to be an unusual post on my blog. Now, I have tremendous respect for Swarajya, the quality of their publication, their editorial work, their articles and everything they have done to provide a solid right wing voice in a space that is packed tightly with left wing scum. But last night when I saw this article ” Revisiting the British Raj” published in Swarajya, I had to call bullsh*t on it!
Just read this:
“Our dim-witted, hysterical Leftist commentators are opposed to changing the name of Aurangzeb Road in New Delhi. But they never said a word when Irwin Road was changed to Baba Kharak Singh Marg and Curzon Road was converted into Kasturba Gandhi Marg.
The interesting thing is that Irwin was actually likable and Curzon, even when controversial, was an intelligent achiever.”
I am sorry, but slobbering over Lord Curzon sickens me. This man was among the first to sow the seed of partition by dividing Bengal in 1905. To slobber over him now as an “intelligent achiever”…
So what did he achieve?
“Curzon literally saved India’s archeological treasures. His Preservation of Ancient Monuments Act is an extraordinary tribute by a conquering government to the heritage of a conquered people who had a past worth being proud of, worth preserving. Curzon can be seen as a precursor of the UNESCO. He was five decades ahead of his times.”
Oh wow Lord Curzon, thanks for saving our archeological treasures! I beg my readers to tell me: when you read those lines in Swarajya explaining how the great Curzon saved our historical heritage for us, doesn’t it ring exactly like Aakar Patel’s words here:
“When he was only 33, Thomas Macaulay began producing the Indian Penal Code. It has continued in more or less the same form for 175 years. It shows what a remarkably unchanging culture we are despite living amid the trappings of modernity. The code, a colonial set of laws, remains in force in free India. This is because an Englishman accurately assessed us, and predicted our behaviour and our reaction to external stimulus. This makes Macaulay a very great man. He could tell with confidence in 1837 how Gujaratis would go bestial in 2002.”
Indeed, I have to wonder if Jaitirth Rao, secretly feels the same way about Macaulay, but decided not to take that name because it would *really* make the rightwingers angry.
And tell me, when you see Swarajya go bonkers about how Curzon saved our archeological treasures, doesn’t it sound exactly like a modern leftie historian trying to whitewash Aurangazeb or Tipu Sultan by desperately finding some grant he might have given to some Hindu temple somewhere?
I love Swarajya, but I love intellectual honesty even more. And when I see a rightwinger trying to whitewash Lord Curzon the way leftie scum whitewash Aurangazeb, I have to call it out.
Let’s read the article some more:
“The post-1947 discourse in India, which set out to relentlessly denigrate the Raj, has resulted in disastrous consequences…One significant reason for the attachment of many of the leaders and intellectuals to a continuing British connection stemmed from their deep understanding that gradual political change was better than an abrupt one. Looking at the millions killed due to Mountbatten’s abrupt pulling of the plug, who can say that they were wrong? One can in fact argue that Malaya, Singapore and Hong Kong benefited from a longer British connection which ratcheted down more slowly.”
Oh well…so India would have benefited from a “longer British connection”. Wow! And that line about millions dying because Mountbatten abruptly pulled the plug! How different is it from Aakar Patel’s line about Gujaratis going “bestial” in 2002 because they didn’t listen to Macaulay? Honestly, Swarajya, was this article ghost written by Aakar Patel?
Now, let me address the heart of the matter. The idea that India needed a “longer British connection” stems from the same racist worldview that the Left has: that Indians are fundamentally incapable of civilizing themselves. The Lefties thought we needed the guiding hand of Stalin, here is one Jaitirth Rao saying we need the guiding hand of Curzon and Churchill. Same colonized mentality ridden with inferiority complex, refusing to believe that Indians had the civilizational strength to wake up and rule themselves.
Yes, the partition violence happened. It’s a blot on our nation. Our civilization has been asleep for a long time and we have gathered many such blots and blemishes. But we are fully capable of waking ourselves up, just like I believe we are doing NOW. If we didn’t do it in the past, we are to blame for that. I refuse to believe that we needed the British to sit by our bedside, indulging us and nursing us to health. Not that the British would want or care for that….
Let me explain the concept of “agency“. Agency is taking responsibility for your actions, owning your successes and your failures. For instance, I am aware that a lot of people might accuse me of denigrating Muslims. I deny this accusation outright. In fact, I claim proudly that I respect Muslims more than most seculars and liberals on earth. Because I believe that Muslims have agency. The fact that the Muslim world is barbaric right now is a failure of Muslims alone and not the responsibility of anyone else. Muslims have to bring their own reformation and pick themselves up. I refuse to join seculars and liberals in indulging and appeasing Muslims, holding them to different standards and mollycoddling them till they reach the desired levels of modern civilization. Seculars think Muslims don’t have agency and they need to be coddled. It is the worst form of disrespect you can possibly have for any group of people.
And in the same way, I do not agree that we Indians needed to be spoonfed civilization by the British through a longer connection till we managed to stand up on our own. It’s a disrespectful and racist view to hold towards Indians. We failed in achieving something. That’s a fact. We should own up to it. But we should not fall for the idea that we were inevitably too stupid to figure things out on our own.
There are some downright pathetic sentences in the article, like this:
“Just because leftwing NCERT textbooks ignore Irwin and Curzon and downplay their Indian friends, does not make either group unimportant.”
The Indian friends of Lord Curzon? I am supposed to be thankful for that. I can almost hear the echo of Rana Ayyub’s voice here telling me to shut up about Aurangazeb because he had Hindu commanders at some levels of his army…
Sorry Swarajya, but I cannot let you get away with a racist, infantilizing view of Indians simply because you have sprinkled the article with lots of insults against leftists. I have to speak out. And why is the author doing this sudden British Bhakti? Here is the answer:
“If nothing else, they did not descend into the trap of autarkic dirigiste state socialism, which ensured that our self-imposed Permit-Licence Raj suppressed Indian citizens…”
Ah! So, you are just angry that the Right Wing took so long to win electoral significance in India. Look, I am angry too that my nation stayed under the boot of the Gandhis for so long, but I am not going to start singing praises of British colonizers just because we lost so many elections. I can’t be like the loonie lefties, who are busy glorifying the bloody rule of the Mughals because they are upset at losing the election to Narendra Modi.
I want to make a final point here. I happened to find this article on the Twitter TL of Sadanand Dhume, another man I respect a lot. As a libertarian, I tend to agree with Dhume almost 99% of the time. But I can never understand the strange Anglophilia of some right wingers like Swapan Dasgupta and Sadanand Dhume. If you look at the principles that define modern democracies: free speech, individual rights, freedom of religion, separation of church and state, Britain is mostly a laggard. The big ideas have always come from America and France. I look at America and I see Thomas Jefferson with his Bill of Rights inserted into the US Constitution, defining the notion of liberty and limited government. I see the French revolution bring forth the “Declaration of the Rights of Man and the citizen” (Declaration des droits de l’homme et du citoyen). When I read Thomas Jefferson speak of the “Tree of Liberty”, it sends a shiver of excitement down my spine. When I read George Washington’s letter refusing a third term as President of the United States because it might create a monarch like situation, I feel enlightened and thrilled (And no, Washington didn’t choose to become Chairperson of a US National Advisory Council instead…lol). When Abe Lincoln describes government “of the people, by the people and for the people” in his Gettysburg address, its a watershed moment in human thought.
Similarly, the French give me “Liberte! Egalite! Fraternite!” (Liberty! Equality! Fraternity!). On the British side, we get their motto, which ironically is written in French…ROFL. The British motto is “Dieu et mon droit” (God and my right) What right are they talking about? Are they talking about rights of citizens to enjoy liberty? No, the “right” in “God and my right” refers to some long dead British king who thought that somehow his ancestry made him the rightful successor to the French throne and so he got these words written in French on his seal…and that embarrassing nonsense is still being dutifully reproduced today by the modern British state. The British have not been revolutionizing but modernizing, being the last to take each baby step and only doing so because it was getting too embarrassing to continue with the old. Only in 1999 did the British end hereditary membership of the House of Lords, trailing the Americans by over two hundred years and the French by at least 60 years. The British have only just figured out separation of church and state by making the various Archbishops mostly irrelevant. Support for the Queen’s hereditary rule stand at a laughable 80% in the UK…what’s left to say?
Of course Dhume who works for the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), still steeped in the Reagan-Thatcher and Bush-Blair bonhomie, doesn’t realize this. Even as late as the 1950s, the Americans were actually quite suspicious of the imperialist and monarchist British. Try reading through Roosevelt’s exchanges someday to get an idea of the contempt they had. This is one of the things Obama did right when he pointed out that America’s oldest and longest ally, with whom America shares its Republican values, is France, not Britain. It caused a lot of heartburn in Westminster and the American Enterprise Institute…LOL.
So, Mr. Dhume and Mr. Jaitirth Rao, if you are going to patronize Indians by saying we needed to be tutored in liberty, at least you could have picked people who know something about liberty.
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