The Moral Offensive
In 1901, Dadabhai Naoroji published his famous research - "Poverty and Un-British rule in India". Before that, his 1876 paper, "Poverty In India" traced the rise of poverty in India due to colonialism. This laid the background for India's Independence and shaped the strategy of Swadesh and Satyagraha. Fifty years later we were a Republic of the kind the world had never seen.
This moral offensive continued for the next hundred years - provoking Nixon's reaction during the Bangladesh War. "The Indians put on their sanctimonious peace Gandhi-like, Christ-like attitude," Nixon told former U S president George Bush Sr., then the USA ambassador to the United Nations on December 8, 1971. Nixon declared, "We can't let these goddamn, sanctimonious Indians get away with this. They've pissed on us on Vietnam for five years."
Harry & Kill - Lord Irwin's Peace Pact
The use of reverse-propaganda (a European tool) by the Congress against the British was singularly successful - and put the Colonial administration on the moral defensive. The British Colonial administration worn out by the "harry and kill" moral offensive of the Congress made peace. The British Viceroy, Lord Irwin brought some sembalance of propriety in colonial administration thereafter. Military war thereafter became less important.
The British response to that was 'divide et impera'. In the dying years of the Raj, the colonial administration put up issue of 'untouchability' and caste 'oppression'. Untouchability, the caste system, social prejudices remained significant issues in post colonial India - and it continues to be a much debated and a divisive issue. Harijans, Dalits, manuvadis are terms and names used freely.
How much of this is real - and how much a foisted petard?
Oppression - And Its Many Avatars
Oppression is eternal. Nature is not perfect. Human beings can be and are immoral. For any society to disclaim oppression is to claim human moral perfection by all its members. Social discrimination by the advantaged happens. Rich exploit the the poor. Majority oppression (maybe the poor) against a (rich) minority happens. Systems get "fixed". The important thing is how these issues morph and then subsequently are addressed.
To get some understanding on the oppression issue, a comparative examination may give a better perspective.
In 1492, when Columbus landed in the West Indies, the native American population was 3 million (in the what is currently USA) and more than 10 million in the Americas - and they spoke a 600 languages. 300 years later, they had become tourist attractions. The entire Anglo Saxon race was against the very existence of the native Red Indian.
The British and the independent Americans were equally brutal with the Red Indians. During the French and Indian Wars, Britain waged a biological warfare against the Red Indians by distributing small pox infected blankets to Red Indians. 70 years later, Andrew Jackson delayed (some say withheld) small pox medical supplies and vaccines from Red Indians.
During the American War of Independence, George Washington, on May 31, 1779 Washington sent his official Instructions to Major General John Sullivan:
Sir: The expedition you are appointed to command is to be directed against the hostile tribes of the six nations of Indians, with their associates and adherents. The immediate objects are the total destruction and devastation of their settlements and the capture of as many prisoners of every age and sex as possible...whence parties should be detached to lay waste all the settlements around, with instruction to do it in the most effectual manner; that the country may not be merely overrun but destroyed...
Reminiscent of George Bush threatening the world , either you are for us or against us , George Washington, made a similar remark more than 200 years ago. George Washington wrote to the President of the Continental Congress in 1776: In my opinion it will be impossible to keep them [Indians] in a state of Neutrality, they must, and no doubt soon will take an active part either for, or against us...
Thomas Jefferson view of the native Red Indians was equally dismissive. He (King George III) has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions... (Thomas Jefferson, Declaration of Independence, 1776).
Treaty after treaty was made with Red Indians - which were broken time and again. The whites coveted everything that the Red Indian had - but mostly, his life. This "land of the free" by all possible (and some impossible) means was soon made land free of the "natives and savages".
The US President, Andrew Jackson started by (December 8, 1829) posing as a Red Indian sympathiser. He proclaimed "By persuasion and force they (Red Indians) have been made to retire from river to river and from mountain to mountain, ... tribes have become extinct ... Surrounded by the whites ... which by destroying the resources ... doom him to weakness and decay ... That this fate surely awaits them if they remain within the limits of the states ... Humanity and national honor demand that every effort should be made to avert so great a calamity." (parts excised for brevity and ellipsis inserted; bold letters mine). His solution - remove the Red Indians.
In 1830, 40 years after George Washington became the President, the "land of the free", a law was passed to make the land free of the native Cherokee (Red Indian) population. The vast prairie lands were expropriated - and the Cherokee Indians were marched out by the US army. This march, Trail Of Tears, signalled the break of treaty by white Anglo Saxons. Land West of the Mississippi were to belong to the Eastern Indians ‘in perpetuity.'
The Red Indians resisted removal and forcible transfers. Their resistance was brutally crushed. By December 4, 1832, Andrew Jackson was saying, "After a harassing warfare, prolonged by the nature of the country and by the difficulty of procuring subsistence, the Indians were entirely defeated, and the disaffected band dispersed or destroyed. The result has been creditable to the troops engaged in the service. Severe as is the lesson to the Indians, it was rendered necessary by their unprovoked aggressions, and it is to be hoped that its impression will be permanent and salutary." (bold letters mine)
Gen. Winfield Scott was sent in May 1938, (with an army) to deliver the ultimatum to the Cherokees. Move or we will make you. At your cost.
President Woodrow Wilson echoes the ideology behind the alleged "genocide" - "The experience of Liberia and Haiti show that the African race are devoid of any capacity for political organisation... there is an inherent tendency to revert to savagery and to cast aside the shackles of civilisation which are irksome to their physical nature. Our industries have expanded to such a point that they will burst their jackets... Our domestic markets no longer suffice; we need foreign markets. "In the matter of Chinese and Japanese coolie immigration, I stand for the national policy of exclusion... We cannot allow a homogeneous population of a people who do not blend with the Caucasian race."
Just like Romani Gypsy and Australian aboriginal children were taken away from their parents, Red Indian children were also removed. In different continents, at different times, similar tactics were used by Europeans and the Anglo Saxons in the colonies.
In 1788, the estimated Aboriginal population was 7,50,000. By 1911, the survivors, were estimated at 31,000. Prior to the Anglo Saxon settlement, "Australia was an ‘empty land‘ because its inhabitants did not count as human". Today, the Anglo Saxon race prides itself for the building of Australia. Australia was a British colony and till date the Queen (or King) of Britain is the head of State for Australia.
Churchill, the British Prime Minister during WW2, one time Chancellor Of The Exchequer, had his views on Arabs, Indians, Aborigines, Red Indians - "I do not agree that the dog in a manger has the final right to the manger even though he may have lain there for a very long time. I do not admit that right. I do not admit for instance, that a great wrong has been done to the Red Indians of America or the black people of Australia. I do not admit that a wrong has been done to these people by the fact that a stronger race, a higher-grade race has come in and taken their place."
Churchill similarly had highly enlightened views on Arabs - "The Arabs are a backwards people who eat nothing but Camel dung."
One of the main causes of deaths was public health. In India, in the early 19th century, an estimated 25 million died due the cholera epidemic - as the colonial Government did not bother (to give them the benefit of any doubt). In Northern Ireland, during the Irish Famine, the then British Prime Minster with held supplies and essential aid from starving Irishmen. In USA, the Government delayed allocations to fight small pox, 20 years after similar actions for the whites. Similarly from the Australian aborigines.
Little changed in 100 years after the American Civil War - except the matter of 25 million missing Blacks. At the start of the Civil War, the White Population of North and South was 22 million. And Blacks was 5 million. By 1960, the White population had grown by nearly 800%, to 160 million. The Black population in the meantime had grown by only 400% - from 5 million to 20 million.
What happened to the missing 400% of Black population growth? Apologists (and defenders) use white immigration to explain away some of the difference. But that further compounds the problem - because there was also about 1 million of Black immigration from Haiti, Jamaica, Africa and other countries. Nett, nett - there are about 20-25 million Blacks missing - due to deprivation, poor health care and indifference.
Mortality amongst Blacks due to AIDS is higher than for Whites - 60,000 higher Black deaths every year. The New England Journal Of Medicine states."Among patients infected with HIV, blacks were significantly less likely than whites to have received antiretroviral therapy or PCP prophylaxis when they were first referred to an HIV clinic".
But rights and equality is something else
Black emancipation in the USA is a 1970s phenomenon, 30+ years ago event - and not 200 years ago as this article in New York Times seems to make out.
It took non-violent protests (Martin Luther King, inspired by Gandhiji) and violent threats (Malcolm X) for some kind of real emancipation and equity to come in. In the Cold War scenario, under international media glare, during the Little Rock School stand-off, Eisenhower (a Southerner himself) reacted. Reluctantly,in 1954, he sent in the National Guard to Little Rock, Arkansas for some kind of de-segregation. The Mayor of Little Rock, Arkansas closed down the school rather than de-segregate. The eyeball-to-eyeball confrontation during the Kennedy years produced the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Now that there are a few Red Indians and aborigines left (they serve as tourist attractions), there is the ritual of regret and apology about their role in the genocidal past. Since, the "Jewish Problem" was solved by Hitler (there are hardly 1 million Jews left in Europe and 5 million in USA), the West and USA has no problems, anymore with the Jews.
In fact, Jews today serve a useful purpose to the West. After the Anglo-Saxon led alliance broke up the Ottoman Empire in the Middle East, the Israelis are the Western cat's paw. They have been suborned to the job of keeping a lid on the simmering oil rich, Middle East, and keeping it in check. What is the real cost to the USA- an inflated arms bill. What does it cost Israel - millions of precious Jewish lives, lost in the fight to keep the Anglo Saxons in luxury.
The demonisation (Shakespeare joined in with his anti-Semitic Merchant Of Venice) of the Jews has now been replaced by demonisation of Islam. Without taking responsibility for the destabilisation of the Islamic World by the liquidation of the Ottoman Empire after WW1 - perpetrated by Anglo Saxon countries and the French.
The Blacks in the USA and Europe have seen some justice - as they were an important constituency in the Cold War. USA propaganda was on the verge of losing Africa to Soviet Russia. The Jews have been very persistent and they have not let the world forget - or the perpetrators rest in peace.
The forgotten lot is that that of the Romani Gypsies. This one segment based in Europe and USA continues to remain on the fringes and discriminated. They have been hunted (like forest animals), their children kidnapped (to end their race and social system), they have been gassed (by Hitler along with the Jews), they have been galley slaves, In fact there was a time when they could be killed, if found alive!
"Dr.Livingstone, I presume!" and that is how Henry Stanley made his name and the life of Congolese miserable. Based on this incident, he was given a contract by King Leopold-II to establish "trading posts along the Congo River". In time, like with other colonial possessions, with a mix of fraud, guile, deceit, force, massacre and other such ‘civilised' norms by ‘Christian' civilisers, Congo was also made into a colony. By King Leopold-II of Belgium, in his personal capacity.
King Leopold (current king's predecessor 3 times away) was murderer. Plain and simple.
What happened was that in 1871, King Leopold decided that he needed to get respect. So he called for the Brussels Conference. Plans were hatched. His colleague, Otto Von Bismarck, of Germany got into the act and called for the Berlin conference.
Based on Dr.Livingstone's propaganda, it was decided there that Europe will directly enslave the Africans - instead of the the Arabs. At that time 90%of Africa was was free. In the next 20 years, 90% of Africa was colonialised.
King Leopold's personally owned the Belgian Congo territory. His personal army-men and his personal agents killed more than 1 crore people. When hardly any Congolese were left, he sold Belgian Congo to his own country for GBP3.8 million. Congo was a major producer of rubber - and the King's agents kidnapped African families - and released them against collections of natural rubber from African forests.
To understand oppression better, we also need to look at the genesis of the various religions across the world.
The Desert Religions
Judaism, Christianity, Islam were all born within 500 miles of each other and share a common culture and history. Judaism can be said to have been born when Moses led the Hebrew slaves from the Pharoah (across the Red Sea) to freedom. This possibly happened around 500 BC at the latest to 1500 BC at the earliest. His earliest followers were the Hebrews and they were a significant part of the Middle Eastern history all through till today.
The next major religious reformer in the Middle East was Jesus Christ. For the first 300 years, Roman slaves were the major believers in his teachings. Emperor Constantine earned the loyalty of his Christian troops and won the war for Roman throne by his win over Maxentius at Milvan Bridge. Prior to Maxentius, for the previous 30-40 years, Christians had been persecuted by "rule of four' Tetrarchy reformists in Rome, headed by Diocletan. Hence, the Christian slave soldiers of Constantine were eager for victory - as the persecution under Maxentius would have been worse.
Liberated slaves were the founders and rulers of Islamic dynasties, (in India, the Slave dynasty - builders of Qutub minar). Thus all the three "desert religions" were first adopted by the slaves and only after gaining significant numbers of adherents, these religions became mainstream and commenced aggressive proselytising and conversions.
Whats Going On Here
Oppression of a different nature existed in India. Instead of economic slavery (trade in human beings) as it existed in the "desert bloc", it was social oppression that needed remedies in the "ahimsa bloc".
The first major reformer in India were the "ahimsa twins" - Gautama Buddha and Vardhamana Mahavira.Both of these were princes of royal blood - Prince Siddharth and Prince Mahavira.
Their first adherents were the rulers and their methods of proselytising was also aimed at the ruling class. Ashoka The Great sent missions with his daughter Sanghamitra to Sri Lanka - where Buddhism was established.
Guru Nanak Dev came from from the upper caste family and his focus was to end fueding on the basis of caste and creed. His first converts were from upper class families cutting across religions - and hence the opposition from some of the Mughal Kings.
Gandhiji was from the upper caste and the first item on his reform agenda was end to the "bhangis" carrying faecal refuse on their heads. His initial focus was social reform and less of anti-British activities.
Half the world today follows Indic religions and culture. The other half follows the “desert religions”. The development trajectories of these two halves has been significantly different. The motivations, behavioural and acceptable civilisational norms for these blocs are different - and mostly opposite.
Based on the above most notorious cases of oppression, there are some clear markers for to 'real oppression'.
In all the cases above, Jews in Europe, Black population in the Africa and USA, the Gypsies across USA and Europe, the aborigines in Australia, The Red Indians in America, or the Belgian Congo, the 'marker' for oppression was the decline in population. And we are not talking about about a few percentage points here and there (which can be explained by many factors) but by multiples.
State Oppression versus Social Discrimination
In all these cases, these genocides were legalised - in USA with the Dredd Scott case. In Europe, anti-Gypsy laws existed till 1973 in Switzerland and other countries. The Red Indians and Aborigines were dispossessed in connivance with the State and enabling legislation. There were laws in Europe and Australia which allowed people to kidnap children of the oppressed and take them away from their parents.
All these cases of oppression are marked by a clear economic motive. Cotton plantations in the USA needed black slaves,West needed natural rubber from Congo, Red Indian landwas needed by the West, Gypsy and Aboriginal children were kidnapped by declining European and Australian populations. Europeans historically envied Jewish business success.
Majority Oppression Or Military Might
In all these cases, the majority oppressed the minority - or massacred them till the oppressed became a minority. Military might was used for oppressive purposes - like King Leopold-II in Congo, till such time, the oppressed became numerically weak.
Does this hold true for India?
What about Harijan massacres incidents. Two aspects - these massacres are not approved or condoned by law. Massacres and death of Red Indians, Aborigines, Jews, Gypsies were approved by law (yes, that is right! Click on links and other posts to get more info on that). There are equally massacres by the 'oppressed' in UP, Bihar, Rajasthan, J&K, MP - which shows a failure of the 'over-burdened' State rather than oppression.
The Oppressed Make The Laws In India
At the time of Indian Independence, the 'oppressors' (the 'ruling' Brahmin Hindus) gave the role of Constitution writing to the leader of the 'oppressed' - Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar. No 'oppressed' class has been 'given' such a position and responsibility in any country of the world - ever. No 'oppressor' lets the 'oppressed' write the laws.
And for the record, let me state, BR Ambedkar was NOT given that position - he earned it.
The Oppressed Population Grows Faster than the Oppressors
The population of the 'oppressed' is growing at a faster rate than the 'oppressors'. Thus the 'oppression' of the majority in India is resulting in a faster growth for the oppressed. A first in the history of oppression.
Reservations Of Opportunities
The US affirmative action (a dilution of the Indian reservation system) was a persuasive system - whereas India is the only country where the 'minority' oppressors are supporting a enforced, legally mandated system of reservations for the 'oppressed' majority. The whole world is fighting to steal, rob, snatch, kill and maim for opportunities -but in India the 'oppressors' are giving away opportunities.Thus we can see that there is no 'oppression' in any sense of the word in India.
What happens in India is social discrimination - which is a non-legal, historic, social bias and prejudice. That hurts - and that mode of behaviour is something that needs to be modified. By any stretch of the definition, in India it is not oppression as practiced anywhere in the world.