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  • DarthSiddius
    replied
    Excellent points DE, Astralis! A slight clarification on my part, by the BEIC "arriving" in India I meant the commencement of their territorial expansion in India. The respect the English had for Indians remained till the end of Emperor Aurangzeb's reign. (As long as power in India was centralised and more or less united under a single banner)

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  • astralis
    replied
    very timely.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/21/wo...-shameful.html

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  • astralis
    replied
    DE,

    It makes me wonder how 50-100k Brits managed to take over a country of over a hundred million. Its not just India but many other countries as well. The Brits did not take over the world in a 'Desert Storm' manner. They did not go blitzing their way anywhere.

    It was collaborators.

    The local elites collaborated with the Brits so long as the Brits did not upset the existing power structures. Brits were mainly interested in resources. As time goes on these local elites want a bigger share of the pie and push for independence.
    i would be hesitant to generalize this. plenty of the rajs and maharajas were fine with the british, and why not? they were living comfortably and as long as they acknowledged british rule the brits would generally leave them alone.

    The common man could not give a damn who is in charge as his lot remains unchanged. Instead of a foreigner or the capital you get a local guy to lord over.
    THIS is the true essence of collaboration. once this was no longer the case things changed.

    All independence movements are pushes by the local elites to grab power. Nationalism is a useful tool in this endeavour. The same works with individual state movements as well and for this to rely on cultural or linguistic nationalism
    again, this would not be successful without a groundswell of consciousness and militancy. this did not exist in india, really, before the first world war.

    Heh, i don't blame good ol winston for making that comment. India is an artifical construct like many other countries. In those days it looked like the SU or Yugoslavia. Its to our credit we managed to hold on this long.
    a construct of the british, really, with surviving inputs from former empires in the area twas a miracle that after partition the whole thing didn't devolve further. india was, in its way, lucky to gain independence when she did: at a time when belief in a central government was strong, a relic of the world wars.

    otherwise there was a distinct chance that an india gaining independence in the 60s or 70s might have gone down the tubes the way the african countries did, riven by regional and even worse, tribal splits.

    Where is 'India' in all of this. We are 'Indian' when we go abroad, 'Indian' is a nice catchall for foreigners to refer to us. We show them Ashoka's four lions (loins?). Our two biggest unifying factors are cricket & bollywood. We forget our differences when watching either.
    yes, i think the time is coming when indians will need to describe what an 'indian dream' is. i suspect this is why india, today, is so prickly and focused on sovereignty: a nationalism defined as whom you're against (colonialism) vice what you are for. it took the americans at least half a century to really make the transition.

    This may lead to policy paralysis on the national level but the silver lining for me is that a regional party will never have the resources of a national party. This automatically means smaller government for everybody in the long term and that is a good thing. Let the centre take care of defense & foreign policy and leave the regionals to look after their state affairs.
    perhaps, but to use the american case: the articles of confederation were insufficient.

    I still think the Brits had the last laugh, their concept of a world order remains largely intact with you as the biggest champion
    oh, that was partially by their design; one of the major incentives for them to patch things up with the US post-1890...:) the US is trying, with somewhat less success (to be expected) with another great power today. :)

    If only the Brits could have managed you guys as well as they did with the Canadians, Brits would not have needed India.
    ah, had they done so, the brits would probably still remain a world-spanning empire today, with even odds as to the capital being in either India or the US :) benjamin franklin predicted as much several hundred years ago.

    imperialism was never about -need- (although it was portrayed as thus); it was always about want, and the costs to getting that want was ridiculously low for the western powers back in the day.

    it's still shocking, looking back on it, how quickly the windows of opportunity closed for the british-- and in a way, for the indians. i don't fault them for missing it.

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  • Double Edge
    replied
    Originally posted by astralis View Post
    frankly if I were Indian back then I'd jump at the chance of being in a Dominion, and hell, being as "British" as you can get. the end result would be England becoming a Dominion...just as England is largely a Dominion of the US today
    I still think the Brits had the last laugh, their concept of a world order remains largely intact with you as the biggest champion :)

    If only the Brits could have managed you guys as well as they did with the Canadians, Brits would not have needed India.
    Last edited by Double Edge; 20 Feb 13,, 11:15.

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  • Double Edge
    replied
    Originally posted by DarthSiddius View Post
    The British (East India Company) arrived in India during the decline of the Mughal empire amid internal rife as well as separatist agendas from the Rajputs and Sikhs. There was a void left without any major players, which the company exploited to the hilt. A divided India was ripe for the taking! AFAIK Not the same with China.
    BEIC was formed on the last day of 1600. It had no ambitions of conquest at the outset. They wanted to imitate the Dutch. Dutch were doing well in the east indies, Dutch also came up with innovations like company shares and central banking to fund these expeditions.

    But how does one sell British wool to the Indonesians in exchange for spices. Indonesia was THE place for spices. India was minor at the time, only becoming important with pepper and cotton.

    The real conquest for India started around the 1770s. Prior to that British attitudes were a great deal more cordial. Lots of inter marrying and inter cultural interest. They had a good deal of respect for Indians in those early days.

    Two factors were important in changing the British view over India.
    - The loss of the US
    - The ability to raise standing armies. India was taken over by local soldiers, paid by the Brits.

    It makes me wonder how 50-100k Brits managed to take over a country of over a hundred million. Its not just India but many other countries as well. The Brits did not take over the world in a 'Desert Storm' manner. They did not go blitzing their way anywhere.

    It was collaborators.

    The local elites collaborated with the Brits so long as the Brits did not upset the existing power structures. Brits were mainly interested in resources. As time goes on these local elites want a bigger share of the pie and push for independence.

    All independence movements are pushes by the local elites to grab power. Nationalism is a useful tool in this endeavour. The same works with individual state movements as well and for this to rely on cultural or linguistic nationalism

    The common man could not give a damn who is in charge as his lot remains unchanged. Instead of a foreigner or the capital you get a local guy to lord over.

    Originally posted by astralis View Post
    the quote below was actually fairly representative of the typical British imperialist circa 1885-1890, which is precisely when Churchill first became an adult and which he held onto for the remainder of his life. past the "martial races", the average imperialist had little use for the other Indians.

    note the other famous churchill quote is that "India is a geographical term. It is no more a United Nation than the Equator."

    which, up until circa 1920, when an indian consciousness began to form thanks to the efforts of gandhi, was largely accurate.
    Heh, i don't blame good ol winston for making that comment. India is an artifical construct like many other countries. In those days it looked like the SU or Yugoslavia. Its to our credit we managed to hold on this long.

    India is still an embryonic concept, the allegiance of the politician is to his party and the allegiance of the common man is to his community. Where is 'India' in all of this. We are 'Indian' when we go abroad, 'Indian' is a nice catchall for foreigners to refer to us. We show them Ashoka's four lions (loins?). Our two biggest unifying factors are cricket & bollywood. We forget our differences when watching either.

    As time goes on and some states become more prosperous than others the push for even more autonomy is going to only increase. A bigger push towards federalism is in the works. Or yet another power grab by the locals. Its already begun with the rise of regional parties. Why rely on a national party when a regional one will do the job. At the local level decision making will be faster with a regional party than a national party.

    This may lead to policy paralysis on the national level but the silver lining for me is that a regional party will never have the resources of a national party. This automatically means smaller government for everybody in the long term and that is a good thing. Let the centre take care of defense & foreign policy and leave the regionals to look after their state affairs.
    Last edited by Double Edge; 20 Feb 13,, 11:39.

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  • lemontree
    replied
    Originally posted by astralis View Post
    so say after the Amritsar massacre the british government takes the 1919 Government of India Act even further, and states that it is the intention of the British government to create a self-governing Dominion of India effective NLT than, say, 1925 or 1930. in one swell foop (:)) they pretty much largely accede to the requests of the INC.

    how would the INC react? how would gandhi react? for that matter, what would indians all over the subcontinent react?
    The Amritsar massacre had changed everything, so any declaration of creating a self-governing dominon status too little too late. Also considering the fact that Col. Reginald Dyer was treated like a hero in England, so I doubt that there was anyone serious about granting dominon status to India.

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  • DarthSiddius
    replied
    I believe the world war to be the catalyst for the British to start thinking about the future of India. While Indian nationalism was already getting quite popular by 1918.

    From Gandhi's wiki page
    Gandhi's victories in the Champaran and Kheda Satyagraha in 1918-19, gave confidence to a rising younger generation of Indians that the British hegemony could be defeated. National leaders like Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Jawaharlal Nehru, Maulana Azad, Chakravarti Rajagopalachari, Rajendra Prasad and Badshah Khan brought together generations of Indians across regions and demographics, and provided a strong leadership base giving the country political direction.
    There certainly was room for negotiation but the national consensus was forming quickly and in due time would lead to a full fledged independence movement. The British would have to be decisive and fast in amending the GoI Act.

    so say after the Amritsar massacre the british government takes the 1919 Government of India Act even further, and states that it is the intention of the British government to create a self-governing Dominion of India effective NLT than, say, 1925 or 1930. in one swell foop () they pretty much largely accede to the requests of the INC.

    how would the INC react? how would gandhi react? for that matter, what would indians all over the subcontinent react?
    It would be fair to say that they all would be extremely surprised, especially after Amritsar! It would be better if the Amritsar massacre didn't take place at all ;). In your scenario the British will most certainly give indications for such a major move and keep the congress in the loop (round table talks and such), so things like the Rowlatt Act of 1919 would not pass which would not lead to mass demonstrations and agitations, preventing Amritsar and keeping popular opinion muddled!

    So many chain of events make it difficult to keep track of it all :P.

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  • astralis
    replied
    i wouldn't have thought WWI itself would be the catalyst for INDIAN belief in independence; i thought this came largely with gandhi in the 30s, starting with the salt march and fully crystallized in the Quit India movement.

    after all, the INC was calling for "self-government" in 1916 but that wouldn't foreclose the idea of a Dominion.

    so say after the Amritsar massacre the british government takes the 1919 Government of India Act even further, and states that it is the intention of the British government to create a self-governing Dominion of India effective NLT than, say, 1925 or 1930. in one swell foop (:)) they pretty much largely accede to the requests of the INC.

    how would the INC react? how would gandhi react? for that matter, what would indians all over the subcontinent react?

    Leave a comment:


  • DarthSiddius
    replied
    Originally posted by astralis View Post
    moving back to india for a bit, though, it's really too bad gandhi didn't push for Dominion status vice outright independence. he had to have known just prior to his assassination that things were not exactly going swimmingly-- and that for all his nonviolence, there was a lot of butchering going on. i wonder if he ever thought about that and regretted some of his actions.
    Gandhi couldn't have pushed for a dominion status alone without public support. No one wanted to be under a regime that was insensitive, often racist and sometimes even brutal towards its subjects. I believe the fate of India as a part of the British empire was in the hands of the British and British alone. They weren't in India to win hearts and minds and they certainly didn't. This is why I think independence was the only option on the table as pre WW1 British were not willing to negotiate (despite some public and political support) while post WW1 (by the time the British started to talk) Indian public wanted 'purna swaraj', making the whole exercise futile. (too little too late)

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  • astralis
    replied
    British rule over India, came by default due to operations of the East India Company, the British Crown got India by default.
    The East India Company were basically traders who used oppertunities for trade and business, using their military technology to side with the local rajas was part of that policy.

    China had the Qing dynasty ruling in Peking from 1644 to 1911(49). A single imperial authority is difficult to defeat compared to small rajas with parochial interests.
    the real thing that stopped China from getting taken over was not the Qing but the Europeans themselves. there were several times the Europeans thought hard about just doing away with the Qing and splitting China between themselves (the Taiping Rebellion and the Boxer Rebellion) but in the end, they figured what they had-- the ports-- pretty much satisfied them without needing to administer to millions of Chinese as well as accidentally starting up a European war.

    also, there were periods of Qing competence where the Europeans thought that taking China would be an expensive proposition. the Qing actually tactically defeated the French in the Sino-French War (although the Chinese lost strategically), and by 1907 even the British felt that they could no longer execute another Opium War without more resources than they were willing to spend.

    moving back to india for a bit, though, it's really too bad gandhi didn't push for Dominion status vice outright independence. he had to have known just prior to his assassination that things were not exactly going swimmingly-- and that for all his nonviolence, there was a lot of butchering going on. i wonder if he ever thought about that and regretted some of his actions.
    Last edited by astralis; 19 Feb 13,, 14:39.

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  • DarthSiddius
    replied
    The British (East India Company) arrived in India during the decline of the Mughal empire amid internal rife as well as separatist agendas from the Rajputs and Sikhs. There was a void left without any major players, which the company exploited to the hilt. A divided India was ripe for the taking! AFAIK Not the same with China.

    Leave a comment:


  • doppelganger
    replied
    Originally posted by lemontree View Post
    China had the Qing dynasty ruling in Peking from 1644 to 1911(49). A single imperial authority is difficult to defeat compared to small rajas with parochial interests.
    I was am reading this book White Sun, Red Star by Robert Elegant. Set in the last century, all the way to the birth of the PRC. Mao Zedong, Chiang Kai Shek, and Chou En Lai. Peking was just a power center, whose writ did not cover the rest of China. The British at most held sway over the international concession port cities like Shanghai. And did not or could not venture further.

    The big difference I can make out, compared to our own freedom struggle, was the fact that the Chinese where and when it mattered resorted to wide scale violence that even the military naval might of the British and Dutch warships could not contain.

    Non-violence is not something I am a great fan of. Not when someone is trampling all over me.

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  • lemontree
    replied
    Originally posted by doppelganger View Post
    What I find difficult to understand, though I have admittedly not studied enough on the subject, is why the British could succeed in India and could not get beyond a few port cities in China. Its not as if they were any more united than we were at the time with their countless warlords.
    British rule over India, came by default due to operations of the East India Company, the British Crown got India by default.
    The East India Company were basically traders who used oppertunities for trade and business, using their military technology to side with the local rajas was part of that policy.

    China had the Qing dynasty ruling in Peking from 1644 to 1911(49). A single imperial authority is difficult to defeat compared to small rajas with parochial interests.

    Leave a comment:


  • doppelganger
    replied
    We have the British to thank for giving us the kick in the pants we needed to wake us from a 1000 year servile stupor. What I find difficult to understand, though I have admittedly not studied enough on the subject, is why the British could succeed in India and could not get beyond a few port cities in China. Its not as if they were any more united than we were at the time with their countless warlords.

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  • DarthSiddius
    replied
    Originally posted by lemontree View Post
    There were "two India's" then, one that was directly governed by the British, and the other 560 kingdoms ruled by the rajas and maharajas.
    By India as a Dominion I meant the whole union of India, including the princely states 'Vallabhbhai Patel' style. (a bit impractical I know!)

    I agree with Astralis and BF about the timing and scope not existing for according the dominion status to India and no real possibility existing before WW1 or after as it was probably too late after the war with the independence movement and Indian nationalism in top gear! It still is a facinating notion with the amount of headstart India would have had with an extra 30+ years of independence and it's geopolitical effect on todays world and its problems.

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