Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Programmed to hate the British

We in India are programmed to hate the West, and the British in particular. Right from the school text books of the very young children to the college-level history texts, discourses in the media, the official literature and pronouncements. That the British were evil is the subtext of almost all the history texts -one just has to believe it to be considered patriotic.That they divided India (just for the fun of it, being a very bad people) is deeply ingrained in our consciousness.

Here is a different take-

Already the remarks by presenters are slanted to suggest that it was the wicked British who partitioned India. Legally this is true - but the fact is that Mountbatten absolutely did not want partition, and along with Nehru and Gandhi fought hard to preserve that great country as one.

Another programme is to dwell on Muhammad Ali Jinnah 'and his vision'. Jinnah was not originally in favour of partition; he was a completely westernised gentleman in his tailored English suits. He was threatened by the Muslim League, who promised violence if they did not get an Islamic state. In an attempt to keep India whole, Gandhi and Nehru said that Jinnah could be at the top of the new government but Jinnah was trapped by the Islamist militants.

The consequence was upwards of 2 millions slaughtered; 300,000 killed later in the nascent Bangladesh (formerly East Pakistan) by West Pakistan (now Pakistan) forces, who used widespread rape as a weapon of suppression. And the death a few months later of Jinnah himself - can anyone doubt that he died crushed by the awful consequences of his surrender to the fanatics?

And consider what India might have become if it had stayed united - instead there were two wars, continual fighting over Kashmir, the degradation of Bangladesh, the tottering state of Pakistan and borders armed like an iron curtain dividing areas, such as the Punjab, which for centuries had been one. What a cost to satisfy the greed for power by the Islamists.

But will this history be presented in these programmes, or will the British as usual be cast as villains?

Read the whole thing.