Montag, 12. November 2012

Why the Indians hated the British Raj by Malika Gandhi

I asked a friend of mine to write a guest post on my Blog. 
Malika Gandhi's book, Freedom of the Monsoon deals with Mahatma Gandhi's Quit India Movement and its effect on the lives of five people. The Indian subcontinent has always held a special fascination for me and seeing as Malika obviously knew a bit about it, I thought it'd be a good idea for her to write a short piece on the subject. 

Why the Indians hated the British Raj by Malika Gandhi

Okay, let’s back track. Not all Indians hated the firange (foreigners - as they were called) but it was believed the majority did. I find it quite ironic that I am here; living in the UK under British rule and government when sixty-five years back the Indians booted the British out of their country. But that’s another story.

The British colonised many countries. One of them was India which they took over from 1612 to 1947. In 1612, the East India Company (a British trading company) began trading in the Indian sub-continent. They traded in various sectors, the main ones being cotton, silk, salt and tea amongst others. The company was very wealthy and shares in it made many merchants and aristocrats wealthy.
After some time, the company began to rule large areas of India. Private armies were recruited which meant substantial military and administrative power. The British did some good deeds at the time and some cruel things too. First I will show some of the good deeds:
In Hindustan, the Hindus used to practice a barbaric ritual which consisted of burning the wife of a man who had just passed away. She was burnt alive on his pyre! (Yes, it’s true!). This was called “satti”. The British stopped this act of barbarism and rendered it illegal.
On another note, the British were also responsible for bringing The Railways to India – a clever and very useful piece of engineering.  The Indians were able to buy machinery from the company too; machines that were used to set up textile mills in India.
So you see the British Raj weren't all bad but this is where their “angelic” deeds stop. It is well known that with power comes greed and selfish intent.  From the time the British set foot on Indian soil, they were instantly disliked by the locals. When the Raj exploited them for their materials and natural resources, the anger flared.
It didn't make it any better that the Indians were looked down upon as scum. The British indeed thought of themselves as superior to all the countries they colonised and India wasn't excluded.  Racism was at large but discreet. White Memsahibs would talk about the Indian women behind their hand held fans, laughing at their colour, social habits and their poverty. Most British women were snobbish and although they had Ayahs (nannies) to breastfeed their newborn, they didn't like their children befriending those brown, little dirty children.

The British had very tight control over tax and law and order. Many government officials were against giving anything to the Indians especially self-governance of certain parts of India. They feared of a possible empire break up.
Anyhow, reforms were introduced but it was slowly implemented. This angered the Indians further. They believed that the British were deliberately stalling to keep supremacy in place. Soon riots broke out. The most infamous was at Amritsar in the Punjab state. 379 unarmed protesters were shot dead by relentless British soldiers.

No country wants another ruling them and although it took many, many years for India to be free; free she was in 1947. This was thanks to Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, known as Mahatma Gandhi. His vision was of a united free India but it was not to be so. The British government decided the country was to be split in two. Pakistan was born; the country was partitioned and the misery and sectarian riots that bloodied the streets were born of that decision.

Malika Gandhi’s debut novel Freedom of the Monsoon explores the affects of the Quit India Movement initiated by Mahatma Gandhi. A fictional account, this story tells of five individuals who show their fears as riots break out leading to execution.
Freedom of the Monsoon is about freedom of the Indian sub-continent but that follows the injustices and power that was used on the Indians.

Malika Gandhi’s historical fiction can be bought at: - Amazon USA  - Malika's publisher

Links to her blogs: -About Me, My book and Everything else - The Unicorns’ Book Reviews

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Well, thank you Malika, an extremely interesting piece indeed.
Hope you liked that folks?
Take it easy.
Reg ;-)