Friday, March 14, 2008

Dethroning our Masters

After reading my previous article, ‘On our Independence Movement’, some readers inferred that I was condoning or justifying the British Rule in India. That somehow I would support an extension of their rule beyond 1947. That somehow I would prefer British Rule to our Independence. I am not sure how those readers came to that conclusion.

I do believe that our struggle for independence was long overdue. But that struggle for independence is not just against British. India’s Independence in 1947 was not just about toppling of British and establishing the rule of Indians. It was a culmination of a long struggle that was going on for centuries in which we had to battle many of our masters.

Those masters were our Mughals, our Rajahs, our landlords, our zamindars, our priests, our superstitions, our beliefs, our prejudices, our occult practices, our inferiorities, our untouchability, our caste system, our sati, our persecution and marginalization of women. And also the British.

In 1947, we came victorious in toppling some of our masters who held sway for centuries- the British, the Mughals, the Rajahs. However, it is not a complete victory. Unfortunately, some of our masters still remain in power. That fight is still on. We are still not free from all those masters. The struggle for our complete independence is long overdue.

When I said – it was good that we did not get our independence in 1857, there is a reason for that.

Nationalism, which eventually united us, and also brought in the concept of a free man as a citizen with rights and institutions to protect that rights, protected by Indian Constitution and legal system, came about much later (after 1857).

Rationalism, which eventually seeped into our Indian governance, polity and educational institutions to spurn some of our superstitions and blind beliefs, and brought in reason (though we are eroding this fast now), came about much later (after 1857).

Rule of Law, which was completely missing in the Indian subcontinent, and which was not yet an instrument that Indians got acquainted with through their exposure to British-style governance respecting the universal laws and legal systems, came about much later (after 1857).

In retrospect, I am glad we did not get independence in 1857. If the rebellion had won, it would have meant that power would now be in the hands of petty rajahs and weak Mughals. Priestly power would have held sway, we would continue to be superstitious, and our untouchables and women would never be emancipated.

Also, most of our reformers and leaders came from English education. Many of our leaders wanted freedom as defined by their British masters in England. This came about much later (after 1857).


  1. "Those masters were our Mughals, our Rajahs, our landlords, our zamindars, our priests, our superstitions, our beliefs, our prejudices, our occult practices, our inferiorities, our untouchability, our caste system, our sati, our persecution and marginalization of women. And also the British" - Interesting analysis.

    What if we have just got rid and replaced all the above masters by new ones - Corruption, Decline in educational standards, mindless consumerism, dis-respect for the elders (even by women, whom we have emancipated), excessive alcohol and drugs - now that we have lot of money, electoral skulduggery, match-fixing, increasing crime rate.... etc.

    If the upper classes have been exploiting the lower ones, soon it could be other way around.

    Should we conclude that, in human society, some section of people always want to be the opressors (who ever gets the chance) and they believe that suppressing the masses is the only practical way to dominate? Or is it?

    Destination Infinity.

  2. Sujai, congrats. Looks like you hit where it hurts the most ;)
    ~ Vinod

  3. [I had to delete and repost this message to ensure it conforms to the rules imposed on the comments section].

    There are no words to express how much I hate you and your ill-founded, petty, biased and factually-incorrect "opinions." You exhibit all the characteristics of a bigoted pseudo-intellectual with a slave mentality. Yes -- SLAVE MENTALITY. All your posts, every single one of them, reek of an irrational, slavish inferiority complex born out of (a deliberate?) misreading of history or plain ignorance. You, unfortunately, seem to be one of the many "Macaulay's children." While there's no denying the facts of India's abject poverty since independence (the reasons for which are mostly political), to claim that rationality and the rule of law were somehow a "gift" of the colonial era is such a ridiculous assertion, it smacks of deep ignorance and willful self-loathing. You'd do well to learn about the ancient Indian atheist/skeptics, the Charvakas, or about the observation/evidence based proto-science practiced in the fields of astronomy, medicine or metallurgy. Also, you'd better read up about law and its enforcement in the Mauryan and Gupta empires before you evolve into a complete retard. But I think you'd rather lick the shit off a white man's ass. Go [DELETED] yourself!

  4. Adding to your list some contemporary items -
    1. Outsourcing/IT industry would not have bloomed.
    2. In Swami Vivekanand's idea of global village we could have been left behind.

    About "justifying the British rule in India" allegation, I think whoever dares to point out the positive things about the Raj has to face this - we have been taught since childhood that patriotism means condemning the British. I think it will take another long struggle to make people really understand this point of view.

    Your blog seems to be the start. Thanks!


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