Retrospect to 75 years’ back Loots!
Boy: Papa, please buy me a new smart phone!
Papa: Only if you get a chance in IIT! Not before that. You can get whatever you want then…
Boy: But that’s about after 4 years from now; am only in 8th std!
Many of our fathers have said like this. It’s like a ‘post-dated cheque’! We want something now and parents think of giving that at least after 2-3 years, with some terms and conditions applied to it! But still the good thing in this situation is that our fathers always want us to be successful, sacrificing their happiness. They do their best to fulfill all the demands of their children. Now, think of a situation where you need something now, but the terms and conditions applied are like- you have to wait for an indefinite period, you yourself may have to sacrifice your life and there is no guarantee that all your desires will be fulfilled! It’s like building castles in the air…isn’t it?
Such was the scenario in India during mid 1942. Sir Stafford Cripps, sent by British Government to negotiate an agreement with our nationalist leaders, demanded India to be loyal to the British in the Second World War. When India wasn’t allowed to associate herself with war unless consulted, they never thought it necessary to converse before engaging Indian soldiers in WWII. It was like they had the right to exploit Indians as they wish because they had the sovereignty. They made some promises to free India after this war ceases, which was indeed a ‘post dated cheque drawn on a crashing bank’.
Bharat Chhodo Andolan is completing its 75th year today. This August Kranti of 1942 was virtually a swan-song of British rule in India in the history of Independence struggle. Britain came into one of the richest countries in the world and in approx. 200 years of plunder it has successfully reduced India into one of the poorest! It was high time that our leaders understood and protested against them to leave the country.
But didn’t they bring some better changes in Indian history? Didn’t they help India to develop?
Of course they did. But the development was nothing compared to the losses we suffered. One of your friends fights with you and breaks your glasses, tears your dresses to pieces deliberately. That friend meets you after few days and sees you wearing new one and says: “Look you’ve got a new pair of glasses because of me!” That’s not how we expect a new thing to buy. One cannot torture, enslave, kill, oppress for as long as almost 200 years and then celebrate the fact that they have gifted democracy to us. That’s not what development is. Creation and persistence of racial discriminations, ethnic and religious tensions, violence were the direct results of the colonial experience. Think how brutal the interests of British colonialism were!
Before British made India its colony, her share in the world economy was 23% and by the time the British left it was below 4%! It was only for the sake of benefit of their own country, India was ruled. Infact, Britain’s Industrial Revolution during the late 18th and early 19th century was premised upon the de-industrialization of India. Three industries greatly flourished in India- Textile, Steel and Shipbuilding. Cotton was discovered in Indus Valley Civilization and if humorously spoken, we basically provided cloth to the world. Handloom industries were at its best; statistics show exportation of finished fine muslin cloths were 27% of world trade. And with the help of British colonialists major exporting country of textile products changed to an importer to 2% of the world share. The weavers were tortured to no end. Their thumbs and looms were broken, heavy tariffs and duties were imposed, even they started taking raw materials and shipping back their manufactured clothes pouring the world markets. Their finished products had either minimum tax or none at all, thereby forcing everyone to buy their product and in the run, making huge profit without investing a penny. The Indian weavers were turned to beggars.
But they introduced Railways and constructed Roads for transportation.. we never had that before!
Yes, they had built Railways and constructed roads, but only for their interests and benefits, not thinking about common people of India. They introduced these to carry the raw materials for their need in the expense of Indian people. They were actually exploiting the money of local people, reducing them to beggars and had a lavish lifestyle out of this money. The designing of the routes cost twice as much than the other countries and they made sure this came from Indian taxes. ‘All these came to British Private Enterprise at Indian Public Risk.’ They never really thought of welfare of India.
Such savage were they that when Churchill was informed of the massive deaths of people during The Great Bengal Famine, he said: Why hasn’t Gandhi died? 4 million people died in this man-made disaster because of British policy. The underfed, starved Bengalees mattered less in their ruthless profit-making business.
As they ruled India, several thousands of soldiers lost their lives proving their loyalty towards them fighting both the World Wars. And not only soldiers, Indian paid huge taxes- around 8 billion pounds in today’s money, then. Personnels, ammunitions, garments, rifles, animals- what haven’t they taken during war and always! Even India was the cash cow of the Britain. The British Civil Servants were paid highly from our oppressed money for their employment. And yet we are the ones called the poor! We the poor actually fed in all aspect imaginable! And see the irony, the Indian word ‘loot’ is introduced in their dictionary and no wonder why they liked this word so much!