The American humour writer P.J. O’ Rourke says the Soviet Union did not collapse because of Ronald Reagan or Margaret Thatcher or Star Wars; it collapsed because of Bulgarian blue jeans.
The Kannada writer S.L. Bhyrappa who tilts at the windmills of history like a latter-day Don Quixote, is no humourist; even the Sancho Panzas who sit at his lotus feet wouldn’t accuse him of a sense of humour. But the “Arun Shourie of the South” can still crack a joke, with a scowl.
Speaking five days after the 63rd anniversary of independence—at the 72nd chaturmasya of Sri Visvesha Teertha swamiji of the Pejawar Mutt, go figure—Bhyrappa has declared, apropos nothing, that India did not attain freedom because of non-violence or hunger strikes.
But because, well, the British were bored and tired of staying on.
Maybe even plain pissed—in their Bulgarian blue jeans.
“The British did not leave India because of ahimsa or upavasa satyagraha. You can only cleanse your conscience with a hunger strike; you cannot drive out the British.
“After World War II, the British were sapped of all energy. Moreover, the troops stationed in India were agitated. This was the main reason for the British to leave India.
“At the time of granting independence to India, the then prime minister was asked how much ahimsa had been a factor. He replied very little.”
Implicit in this line of thinking is the belief that the independence movement was a passive one, not an active one. That freedom was something that the Brits gifted us, handed down to us; not something that Indians fought for and won. In other words, if the Brits didn’t want to give it to us, we wouldn’t have got it.
Implicit is the belief that all the wars, mutinies, marches, strikes, boycotts, sacrifices were futile exercises that we now humour ourselves with in Amar Chitra Katha comics. In other words, the Brits didn’t take any note of them and wouldn’t have at all if their energies and attentions hadn’t been otherwise diverted.
Implicit is the belief that independence was a sudden, spontaneous, off-the-cuff development. An event not a process. That after 200 years of rule, the Brits just woke up on 7 May 1945 and decided enough was enough. That none of the months and years that preceded it had any role in it. In other words, had it not been for WWII, we might as well have kissed independence goodbye.
In other words, we must thank Adolf Hitler for engaging the Brits in a war that fetched us freedom?
Above all, implicit in the quasi-rant against ahimsa and satyagraha is a palpable lack of belief in, and contempt for, Gandhian modes of protest. In other words, a vote for un-Gandhian aggression and machismo, sotto voce, as chain-mailed by other patron-sants of the sangh parivar before, like this one here in 2008:
“World War II ended in the summer of 1945. In the general election that followed, Winston Churchill lost to Clement Attlee. With the war-torn economy a shambles, Britain was in no shape to hang on to the vast colonial empire. In March 1946 Attlee decided to grant independence to India.
“The following years saw independence granted to many colonies—Burma, Ceylon, Ghana, Malaysia, British Guyana and others—that had no history of freedom struggle. So it is correct to conclude that independence to India was a given with or without satyagraha. The truth is that non-violence was inconsequential in achieving India’s independence. “
Of course, it is a point of view, one which those who hold it are well entitled to hold.
The only question though: would S.L. Bhyrappa‘s negative post-facto vote for ahimsa and satyagraha have turned positive had the characters behind them boasted different surnames or belonged to the other end of the ideological spectrum, one of whose brave members pumped three cowardly bullets at 5.45 pm on 30 January 1948 into the upper thigh, abdomen and chest of the man who was its apostle?
Photograph: courtesy S.L. Bhyrappa
Also read: S.L. Bhyrappa on Avarana
S.L. Bhyrappa versus U.R. Anantha Murthy
It is true that a lot of countries gained independence after WW2. I think Indian freedom fight only catalyzed Indian independence. Zimbabwe, for example, gained freedom from the British in 1980!
Anyway, what is the point of freedom? Most of these countries (to a large extent even India) have proven that they would have been better off under the British.
British were actually not as brutal as the spanish. If you look at South Ameican countries you will know. British at least cared about establishing railways, educational institutes etc. Luckily for us, English became the dominant world language.
Bhyrappa’s viewpoint is valid. Associating surnames with everything is flawed reasoning. In fact pre-independence India was better then post-1947 India. along with freedom comes responsibility which is seriously lacking.
two quick points:
(1) shri. s.l. bhyrappa’s view is not new, but it is legitimate and should be welcomed by anyone that seeks to understand why the british left india. the gandhian movement starting 1920, by all evidence, was a primary catalyst if not a cause. but was it the only one? there is some discussion about alternate positions in arthur herman’s book “gandhi and churchill: the epic rivalry that destroyed an empire and forged our age”
(2) regardless of gandhiji’s unassailable greatness, there is clearly an argument to be made that nathuram godse’s act was not cowardly; it was a crime of courage.
Mr.Bhyrappa needs to understand the difference between a causal factor and a contributory factor. WWII contributed to when India would gain her independence. The freedom struggle had made the outcome more or less certain by that time.
The path to independence itself was a gradual one, with August 15th 1947 being the last milestone. The freedom struggle got us many things, like a representative government by and for Indians way before independence, both at the centre and in the provinces. Hitler most certainly did not get us any of that.
Attlee has every reason to paint Indian independence as an event driven by the weakness of the empire. This is what losers do – “muggurisi biddroo meese mannaaglilla” syndrome. His government after all had to make the painful decision. I just find it amusing that the chaddis now hold the word of an Englishman as final on the circumstances of our independence. Or maybe the reason is to subtly thank their hero, Hitler. If only they knew what Hitler actually thought of us Indians.
As a midnight’s child, I haven’t much understanding of what happened before my birth to cause the British to leave India.
My question is why is it that this most westernized country, with some of the greatest minds in the history of the world, is today no better than African countries to which freedom came much later than it did to India, turn into a fiefdom of nepotistic dictators supported by parlimentarians devoid of a conscience. At a time when millions of Indians live on less than a hundred rupees a day, our MPs have granted themselves salary increases of three hundred per cent when their wealth clearly allows them to dispense with their stipends altogether.
We will not mention other perks they have granted to themselves into perpetuity.
In a sense, I can understand Bhyrappa’s challenge. After all, the country had been bled by the British ever since East India, Inc. set foot in Ft. Saint George and there was little that British could extract from poor Indians in the form of taxes. WW II exhausted the empire, making the U. K. a retainer of the emerging American empire Better to strike a noble posture by offering aid money than to live among Indians and invest a hundredfold they could not afford to.
As for satyagraha and ahimsa, we know the partition and the consequent blood shedding on both sides of the border between Pakistan India (not tomention what happened in Hyderabad later) clearly showed that non-violence wasn’t of much import to us, Buddha, Ashoka, and Mohandas not withstanding. It will take a lot more than a leap of faith to believe that geniuses like Nehru and Vallabhabahi Patel and their patron saint Mountabatten did not have a sense of the holocaust that was to befall us after India became two countries. Again a leap of faith would be too little for us even to think that the British would, with their unequalled reputation for resorting to repression, be able to govern their former colony today. If that scenario were to be imaginable, they would be stuck between a Hindu Taliban and its Muslim counterpart.
By 1942, the British by large measure had accepted the inevitability of their departure from India. At that time too, much of Gandhi’s power as a leader had lost much of its force. I would assume by 1935, when they started courting the extremist elements in the Muslim League, the British had realised that the day of reckoning was close at hand. Gandhi, strategist par excellance, knew how to aim at their exposed Achilles heal.
Why would Churumuri indulge in an Ananthamurthy kind of anti-Bhyrappa insinuatory campaign with so much overt calumny, associating the man with Hitler? Why does S. Bose, champion Hitlerite, have statues established in his honor all over the country?
Theres surely a point here !!
Had Chruchill stayed on. there is no way India would have got independence. He called India a wretched bitch.. n to meant on the line tht ppl in such countries can never take care of themselves.. n tht we needed the Brits !!
n like Divs says, The Brits were far better than the other colonial powers like the French of Portuguese.. we could say that we were prolly on the right side of history :)
I second Bhyrappa,
If non violence were the reason for India’s independence why did other countries like Singapore get independence almost simultaneously? And the place where the non violence movement started(South Africa) languished under British rule till recently?
I am a non believer in “chacha”jis version of history.
Rationally I put forward following reasons on why British left. You are free to comment and let me know if I made sense.
1) Opium war had reestablished British balance of payment and greed for gold was less in British empire.
2)Discovery of gold in California further brought down gold prices and need to maintain a colony as supply for gold had come down. Added to that was abundant discovery of gold and diamond in South Africa which was a British colony(remember roots of non violent freedom struggle started in South Africa. But South Africa itself got freedom only a decade back or so.)
3) After gold became less lucrative British had taken to sugar cane farming as if sugar was new “gold”. Abolition of slavery resulted in labor shortage in such far off places as Guyana, Fiji, Carribbean islands and so on. British took indentured labor from India..(side note: Indi’a biggest export was manpower!! .. but this was never told to me by my history books in school.. neither did they tell me the dark secret of India being opium lab of the world!!!) There are large nations in South America whose population has Indian ancestry) But discovery of process of manufacture of sugar using beet made the whole need for labor disappear and India was no longer necessary for British as captive labor provider
4) World War had destroyed Germany, Italy. There was so much of market available for British firms to grow.. So they did not need additional market for their goods anymore.. and hence there was no need for India..(on a side note, some people in India still think that British did a favor by putting rail lines in India.. It was their vested interest in getting access to raw material they put those railway lines and not as a duty of governing)
5) Emergence of China as an Independent county made maintenance of India redundant. Britain had also got Hongkong for 99 year lease and hence India was no longer the gateway to China. British designs for jettisoning India were clear when part of India was carved into a new nation called Burma made into a separate country before the world war II.
6) Discovery of automobiles and many gadgets made oil as the new gold. British wanted to move their colonization operations to oil rich middle east.India was totally unattractive as India had no proven reserves of oil. After both the world wars British took over vast territories in middle east either as war reparation or as technology partner for some sultan..British wanted to protect these interests than India. e.g. Kuwait became free from British mandate in 1961..Many of the countries in that reason do not have democracy even now. But British appointed royal families.
British always saw India as baggage that can be jettisoned and gadflies namely independence fighters (both non violent and violent) just made it more unattractive.
I fully agree with Bhyrappa that India did not win its freedom.. It was just an historical event culminating from many of the factors described above.
Indians need to think rationally about their history rather than blindly following texts printed by chachaji and company.
Bhyrappa is known to be widely traveled man. As you travel outside you discover the lies that were told to Indians in the guise of history lesson.
Byrappa has lost his balance after writing a sex book (kavallu)
How is Nathuram Godse murdering Gandhi a ‘crime of courage’?
Gandhi’s civil disobedience and use of non-violence as a practical way to achieve goals has been copied and put to pratice later too.
e.g. Martin Luther King using it as a means to fight against segregation laws and practices, which eventually led the dismantling of the system in the United States.
I am sure a man of Bhyrappa’s intellect understands that massive civil disobedience coming from self-realization and self-discipline was not some ineffective self denial, but a strong force which was used to bring down the British military-bureaucratic machine to its knees – which may have already been weakened by the war. And timing the quit India movement shows that it was a calculated fight, not some ineffective move.
What other options did we Indians have to fight the British? They would have been only too happy to indulge RSS type organizations in their small gunfights and attempts at petty sabotage. The British had after all been used to effectively breaking up and dealing with dedicated violent and terrorist groups throughout its rule in India – whether it was the thugees, revolts and uprisings in Indian states. This even included the great mutiny which was coordinated by trained Indian soldiers.
As to other countries which struggled and against and gained their independence from their colonial masters, the Indian freedom movement surely must have provided both inspiration that it was possible to gain freedom and successfully become an independent nation. Just like our leaders in turn drew inspiration from Garibaldi and others who fought for freedom elsewhere. Or Gandhi drawing inspiration from the work of Thoreau on matters of resisting authority when it denies a people’s freedom.
Bhyrappa may have a point on why the British left India. But I dont see who denies that. But trying to denigrate methods of ahimsa and satyagraha does not make sense. Neither does trying to support the actions of a murderer like Nathuram Godse.
I don’t care what left, right or center guys think about how we got “freedom”.
Is our freedom =
1. Winning elections using crores of rupees?
2. Mostly rowdies, thugs and third rated guys having power–especially at the lower level?
3. A virtual absence of policing? In a western society it is inconceivable that a powerful person can get away from a speeding ticket or parking ticket. In India, the police begin their conversation by asking — who are you, what is your salary! Every time I see a cop, I feel like asking “roll call aaytha guru?”!
4. “Dharmadetu” is so widespread that I wonder whether we are still in stonage?
5. Malnutrition, abject poverty, lack of health care despite the so-called impressive economic growth. In many of these indicators, this country called India compares with sub-saharan Africa.
6. A nation in which even after 63 years after Independence (two generations) the best and the brightest SCIENTISTS (not software engineers) have to run to the west for a good career.
7. Complete failure of judiciary — Bhopal tragedy being the prime example. Most cases go on for quarter of a century or more even when the cases seem like open and shut. Whenever there is a problem, there is a cry for a CBI probe. After the CBI probe happens, people cry that they are motivated. There will be 10 different probing committees constituted by different governments courts almost all of which are biased. The cases go on until all accused are dead anyway (Harshad Mehta is another example here).
8. Indian railways proudly runs all over India spitting shit on the track and on the heads of two wheeler riders (when passing on bridges). Railways have perhaps not improved over what they were during british rule.
9. Rampant corruption in all walks of life, wherever you go.
10. Either a dynasty (so-called Gandhi family) or a Hindu nationalist party controls the politics– is this any different from kings?
India might have achieved certain things after gaining freedom, however, compared to the problems to be solved, the ones that are already solved (if any) is nothing.
Is this the freedom that India is enjoying? I think a completely different approach to almost all of India’s problems are needed. Only loksatta has a clear idea of the problems AND SOLUTIONS. Let us support them and let us support sensible politics.
All this hatred for Bhyrappa is that he doesn’t toe the lie of Urea frothing URA and tells it like it is. Yes, the Mughals were bigots. If you don’t like the truth just lick it.
But you have to appreciate churumuri’s efforts to equate Bhyrappa with Adolf Hitler. After all he is a supposed supporter of the Indian Nazi. He is a paperback Hindu (as opposed to the internet Hindu).
This point by bhyrappa needs to be discussed.. this is what R C Majumdar , the well known historan says on the subject ” “The campaigns of Gandhi… came to an ignoble end about fourteen years before India achieved Independence… the revelations made by the INA trial, and the reaction it produced in India, made it quite plain to the British, already exhausted by the war, that they could no longer depend upon the loyalty of the sepoys for maintaining their authority in India. This had probably the greatest influence upon their final decision to quit India.” (Three Phases of India’s Struggle for Freedom, Bombay, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan).
looks like It is churumuri which is acting like don quixote , tilting at any windmill !! your ignorance is no excuse for calling others names.
The most salient reason for India’s independence was the American insistence on Britain to dismantle her colonies. The British were drained financially after the second world war. They needed money to rebuild. The Americans were willing benefactors provided the English gave up their colonies. Why? The Americans were cut off from the markets that were under Colonial rule. They saw an opportunity here to open up new markets for trade. As always in the world of realpolitik, self interest trumps all. Indian independence was an unintended consequence of the second world war.
Does this in anyway diminish the efforts of the thousands of young men and women who fought the British? No.
It needs to be said that Hitler and the British were both monsters. Both were responsible for the killing of millions of innocent people. The only force for good here are the Americans. Sad that successive Indian governments and “intellectuals” have indulged in mindless and shameful anti-Americanism.
The Mahatma said it took great courage to commit suicide. Is there anything to be said about Mr Bhyrappa’s lack of faith in ahimsa when retards see his murder not as a killing, not as an assassination, but as an “act”, as something that needed to be done, as a “crime of courage”?
It is unlikely the Mahatma himself would have claimed that ahimsa or satyagraha alone were the factors behind India’s Independence. But the eagerness with which Bhyrappa and his ilk want to rubbish peace and non-violence—attributes that have earned this nation renown—tells us why they see Islamic and Christian ghosts behind every tree. And would want to slay them in “crimes of courage”, as Godse’s inheritors now do verbally and physically.
@ Mysore Peshva, please collect your Abhinav Bharat membership card immediately.
>nathuram godse’s act was not cowardly; it was a crime of courage.
Let us examine this. A suicide bomber too exhibits a courage of a fool. And godse’s act was no better than any suicide bomber (SB), for he knew he’d be punished by death. When a suicide bomber goes and flips a switch to kill non-combatants, Godse flicked a trigger to kill a non-combatant. SB’s justification for the act is that they are fighting citizens who tacitly support the act of their govt so, it is legit to kill them. Godse’s justification was Gandhi sympathized with Muslims/pakistan, thus tacitly supported them.
There isn’t much difference between a Godse and a Suicide Bomber. Both choose a wrong mode of protest.
Contrast that with what Gandhi did. He chose a path of non-violent disobedience. He said, I won’t follow anything you say, irrespective of whether you hit me, or jail me. I’ll not retaliate against you, but I will not budge. That called for courage. Not a moment of bravado.
Anyone who has tried to loose weight will know – going to a gym and lifting weights for 2hrs doesn’t need courage/discipline… Sticking to a diet/exercise plan for years needs it.
>In fact pre-independence India was better then post-1947 India.
The only thing that was better in Pre-indep India was the crime/conviction rates. Everything else was bad.
Poverty grew massively for 150years of British rule (and ofcourse continued for another 30 years after indep). But, now we genuinely have a chance of putting poverty behind us in our lifetime. British had very little incentive to grow India or give freedoms that we take for granted today.
>I fully agree with Bhyrappa that India did not win its freedom..
When you fight for long to attain something and then you ‘get’ it, that act of getting can be termed as ‘winning’. If you pursue an order from your client for long, and by some chance the client happens to need your product and give you an order, it is still called winning an order. :)
The bottom line – If you didn’t ask for it, you wouldn’t have got it. Freedom fighters did just that. They kept on pursuing the british to leave, and finally they did…
I agree there are many factors that influenced that decision, but primary factor was, our displeasure of being ruled by them was being made obvious by frequent protests. Without that displeasure, why would someone leave?
I second Narayana and Div’s analyses.
I have much against Bhyrappa’s way of looking at the causes of India’s problems and his rough shod ride over religious and gender questions, but think it is admirable that he has not sold his self-respect for government sinecures and awards, one of them of which is worth seven lakh rupees. I don’t know if he will reject a Jnanapeetha largesse but feel confident that he will give away the money to a cause like Anathaalaya in Maisuru for which he has demonstrated abundant love and loyalty.
The true Bhyrappa is not in evidence in “Kavalu” or “Avarana,” but in “Thanthu,” “Daatu” and “Mandhra.”
I don’t get it. Nowhere has Mr. Bhyrappa defended the assassination of the Mahatma. At least I haven’t seen anywhere. Can anybody point me to where he has said this? If he has really said that, I have no respect left for him. He has merely said that the satyagraha didn’t lead to freedom struggle. Well, that is merely a view-point he is entitled to have. But, why on the earth would you discuss about this on the the 72nd chaturmasya of Sri Visvesha Teertha swamiji of the Pejawar Mutt? Was he playing to the gallery? If yes, who was there in the gallery?
for *prashant krishnamurthy* (mainly) but also for *anonymous guy*
i did not say it was a crime of courage, but that such an argument could be legitimately made. you have shot a messenger without knowing his views! — fail. :)
anyone that is aware of how our freedom struggle has been reported in history textbooks during the first 50 years of independence (when successive, conservative, congress governments ruled) should tend to agree that it would take a courage to murder the mahatma, a political saint whose satyagraha was, i believe, represented the only truly original thought to emanate from india (other than osho’s) in the 20th century.
don’t our textbooks extol as courageous many others who violently opposed the status quo, or supported others’ violence against the status quo in quest for swaraj? famously, subhas chandra bose (specifically after the chauri-chaura police firing of 1922 in addition to his later actions during the world war), but also, to varying extents, motilal nehru, lala lajpat rai, m.n. roy, bipin pal, and even more famously (before their hanging in 1931) the actions of bhagat singh, rajguru, and sukhdev. and of course, tilak is a national hero. there are hundreds of others in various towns and regions of india.
so why are some nationalists heroes but not others? some hypotheses:
(1) because the “others” — actually only a few idiots among them, such as nathuram godse — targeted mahatma gandhi for failing to prevent partition — capitulating to the all-india muslim league after showing exemplary leadership against the british.
(2) because these “others” claim to know about hindu dharma and its inherent secularism more than most.
(3)or because these “others” seem to push views down our throats in a self-righteous manner.
pick your best one.
it is possible that i am retarded but i must tell you — if i lived in the first decade of the 20th century, from what i know of the politics of that decade, i would have loved to join abhinav bharat: veer savarkar was one of the most effective politicial activists of that decade. her personally gave more to the cause of india’s freedom than most members of the congress combined until the gandhian movement began in 1920.
but you wouldn’t know that. it seems you are too busy extolling a so-called secular agenda to do much reading.
Outrageous. It is an insult to all our freedom fighters. Byrappa should just write fiction and drink coffee at home.
Bhyrappa turned 80. B’day greetings from my side to him.
As usual, media/Churumuri has made one more attempt to interpret him as and how they wish. I hope the readers would be familiar with his novels such as “Tantu”, “Matadana”, auto-biography Bhitti and will be able to understand in what context and in what sense he is making this statement. Bhyrappa’s respect for Gandhi and his philosophy and yet its limitations is referred to in Tantu too.
Bringing Hitler in this debate itself is a sad joke.
The ‘Quit India’ movement of 1942 was a failure. Therefore what made Britain grant Independence so soon?
The vague reason given ‘With the war-torn economy a shambles, Britain was in no shape to hang on to the vast colonial empire’, just does not convince. After all the British always ruled India with very few of their own army.
So, a big factor must have been the INS of Subhash Chandra Bose and the (impending?) naval mutiny which convinced the British that their rule was coming to an end and it was better to hand over the rule to Indians.
The book “Gandhi & Churchill: The Epic Rivalry that Destroyed an Empire and Forged Our Age” chronicles behind the stage scenarios during Scripps mission and documents how Roosevelt pestered Churchill for India’s freedom in the name of human rights.(But Roosevelt wanted was access to Indian market)
India came close to getting freedom in early 1930s but Churchill exploited Gandhi’s weakness in truthfulness to postpone the exit of empire.
BTW I am not belittling Gandhi. But Gandhi was a catalyst. The reagents were elsewhere. US was pushing Britain to give away its colonies and Gandhi’s non violent struggle further strengthened Roosevelt claim that India was held captive against her will. I will add this additional point to the list of causes which I have already published before in this comment column
some more reasons why British left
1)Netaji had delivered a kick in the groin of British Empire. Congress leadership had woken to the fact that Indian’s were becoming more rational and were increasingly supporting Netaji instead of Chachaji. Chachaji wanted gaddi before his popularity waned.So Chachaji rushed to British and accepted the longstanding offer from British which involved partition abandoning the INC’s 12 year old “freedom without partition” struggle.
2) It could be also be argued that Mountbatten wanted to get away from India because India’s most prolific playboy Chachaji was relentlessly pursuing Lady Mountbatten!!
You are bang on the target. British have a vested interest in telling us that our freedom struggle did not matter. Chachaji and his party has a vested interest in telling us that it is Chachaji who got us independence.
If you listen to old timers who were present during 30 and 40s you will know it was Netaji who made British shiver in their pants and run for life.
Netaji was bang on target when he professed that a world war will start when people least expected it. Netaji was a great strategist and British had finally found a match for their cunningness.
In fact Gandhism had died in 1939 when Gandhi’s candidate lost election and Netaji became the president of congress. People who were present at that time remember the dare devilry of Netaji who asked British to pack their bags in six months unlike chachaji who wanted British(or atleast British ladies) to stay forever by giving independence little by little.
Netaji was not just a strategist but he risked his life many times trying to find friends among enemy of enemy. He was also first rational leader of India who posited that all that India needs is less “Bhashan bhaji” and an army of 50000 people. Total strength of British army at that time was around 50000.
Congress has always been a harem for Nehru clan. Just like they mothballed PVN in our life time, they mothballed Netaji’s legacy since it does not suit chachaji.
Netaji’s story has to be told to our children and that can do wonder to their psyche.. believe me.
For a nice piece on Netaji read http://www.kamat.com/kalranga/itihas/bose.htm
You should stop using sarcastic language. Remember, sarcastic language is not for intellectuals and definitely not for mass communication.
The logic of India’s independence as stated by SLB is not new. If you have read Shivarama Karanth’s “naanu mattu raajakeeya”, he states the same with much hard voice. Being said that, it does not under-estimate non-violence, but non-violence is not the only force behind our political independence.
Some guys who think they are the cousins of Carl Marx, jump up and down much before Bhyrappa could finish his sentence.
Anybody having some knowledge about world History will agree to the truth in your points. It is also a fact, the INA trails threw up the fact to British, that armed forces can no more be trusted. (Indeed the details of the trail proceedings were banned by the Raj!) Of-course, the Naval Mutiny was also on the offing.
At the same time, the uprisings in India, both peaceful and armed, did contribute to weakening of the Raj, and definitely the post WW2 British were not in a strong position to handle a huge nation of protesting citizens, and a unwilling military.
Thus, it is difficult to pin point exactly what led to freedom. Under such circumstances, any extreme view (on both sides), can be only discussed, but can’t be concluded with certainty.
At what age does senility set in?
Freedom is not anarchy.
Without Gandhi, the British would have left in 1947 anyway, but they would have left behind several splintered provinces with hundreds of small princelings grasping for power. In other words chaos.
That we grudge them leaving behind only two (now three) countries instead of one is tribute to the efforts of Gandhi.
Of course the British would have left in 1947 with or without Gandhi’s intervention. THe important question for us is what would they have left behind? Would they have left behind a country with some semblance of a democratic tradition and rule of law with a national party which could validly claim to represent a good majority of Indians?
Would they have left behind a patchwork of provinces and principalities each grasping for power and prestige, resulting in years of chaos and bloodshed?
Partition was bad. But large parts of India were not affected at all.
Imagine if there was a partition in every erstwhile province of the British Empire.
Imagine if the States Reorganization which happened in 1956 took place at the point of a gun (or sword).
Freedom brings with it the responsibility to build institutions to help sustain our freedom. That we have failed to do so does not diminish the efforts of those who helped give us the opportunity in the first place.
In sevagram the opinon expressed by many eminent people on Gandhi have been displayed. One of them says if any other nation other than Britain was involved it is unlikely that India would have got the freedom.
Amen to that. Looking at our history as honestly as we can and drawing lessons or inspiration from it is what we can profit from.
“…One of them says if any other nation other than Britain was involved it is unlikely that India would have got the freedom.”
This is exactly the kind of revisionist trope coming from modern day Raj apologists such as Nial Ferguson. That the British were somehow benign masters is a lie that needs to be nailed. Tell all those millions that died in engineered famines how wonderful and civilizing the British mission really was.
The British were masters in the art of using organized violence. Violence is just not physical. It has all sorts of subtler forms at which the British excelled. The only lesson for India from her history is that if she doesn’t master the tools for building fantastic and creative weapons/strategies of destruction then she will end up being the world’s whore. Peace flows from the strength of the sword.
There is something more disturbing here. The Indians tend to get their noses up about how non-violent and moral they are as a people. I suspect that is because of their inability to stand up and fight physically. It is one thing to have the ability to inflict harm and desist from doing so, entirely another thing to pretend to be non-violent when you have no ability to inflict harm.
The Indian freedom fighters were for the most part from the privileged classes with soft bellies. It is not surprising that they choose the easiest form of resistance: sit down and pretend to die of hunger or make silly marches. It is this same lack of fire that has made India today a banana republic run by all sorts of heinous scum.
This Bhyrappa dude looks like he could use an enema. Wait, now that probably explains what he said! End of.
Realitycheck on your comment. British did not leave India in one piece or two piece. They left in all of 579 pieces (17 provinces and 562 princely states)
If you read Indian Independence Act available in British Parliament you discover following.
Gist of the act.. in my own words..
1) East Bengal and West Punjab, Sindh and Baluchistan will become dominion of Pakistan.. Northwest Frontier Province can join Pakistan after a referendum if they desire.
2) All the other provinces not mentioned above will now become Indian dominion.
3) All the 562 states in undivided India can join Indian dominion , Pakistani dominion or can stay independent!
A link is here but from British office for public sector information(National Archive)
Click to access ukpga_19470030_en.pdf
Read the sentence. in the 3rd para of section 2.
“Nothing in this section shall prevent any area being at any
time included in or excluded from either of the new Dominions”
See how cleverly British mandated Pakistan without a referendum but wanted free will of princely states before they acceded to India or Pakistan!!!
Indian Independence Act deliberately tried to create division where none existed. If I were leader of India I would have told British to take it and shove it. Like Netaji did in so clear terms in 1939 when he told British to pack their bags. It is sad that Netaji was kicked out of Chachu’s congress. So please do not give undue credit to Chacha and Gandhi for waiting to get one India. In fact they got worser outcome than what they could have achieved had they accepted Scrips formula rejected by them earlier.
BTW you may not know another of this fact. More people died in India than whole of Europe put together due to world war II. And I am sure chachaji’s historians did not include that in our text books because they wanted Chacha to become demigod among blind and headless crowd. By involving India in war Nehru and Gandhi killed more people than partition.
British tell us that India and Pakistan fought and killed scores of themselves after partition.. but do you know more people died in India because of British forced World War on India and that does not mean British are free from blame on partition related casualty.
Those who still feel British did us a favor by giving Independence should read telegram sent by Churchill to Wavell, Commander of British India Army during WWII. Indians administration had requested assistance from Britain to save Indians from death during Bengal famine. Churchill was sick to ask if Bengal had famine how come Gandhi had not died!!!!.
Start being rational.. Start teaching your kid to stand up for their rights and read history themselves rather than reading interpretation done by Congress party and reject Chacha fiefdom.. That is the greatest gift we can give to our kids..
“americans the only force for good here”??? You are kidding me, are you referring to the same america a.k.a the USA which killed 200000-300000 (the number is STILL undecided) in just days with just 2 bombs and was planning on killing more with similar bombs? Are we talking about the same americans who needlessly propagated war in Vietnam and Cambodia? About the same damned country which is still hell bent on maintaining animosities between north and south korea with its political bullshit; The same country which is notorious for its treatment of blacks, which is also notorious for lack of gun control laws? The same country where pro-nazi civilians wander about the border areas who go around armed and killing people near the mexican border and label them drug dealers and illegal immigrants? The same country which is hell bent on imposing sanctions on iran like iran does not have any rights to the resources on this planet? Is this the same country which has attacked Iraq twice under no fair cause and is still fighting a ten year old war which it started in Afghanistan because of the collapse of just TWO stupid buildings?
You honestly expect people to believe that a country that deems starting a ten year war (the war is still not at an end, they are expanding it to pakistan and afghanistan now!) over 2 buildings — in other words, a country that decides 2995 deaths is worth a death toll of more than hundreds of thousands of people over 10 +years with total destruction of infrastructure, of cities, of native culture, of native heritage sites — is the “only force for good”… You need to get a psych eval with a good doctor who will prescribe putting people like you away for quite some time!
It is not just one factor that made the Britishers quit India. They left India because of a number of pressing issues, including Gandhiji’s Satyagraha and the freedom struggle. However, they left India after robbing it totally. They had nothing more to rob in India. What they left heind was a disintegrated India of over 600 provinces, big and and small. Stern handling by ‘Iron man’ Saradar Vallabhai Patel made these provinces to come under one united India. Hyderabad State put up a stiff resistance. Mysore State acceeded to the Union a few months later after August.
You can expect the Royalist pack in Maisuru descending on you soon, with its argument that the Maharaja of Mysore at that time did not object to accession to the union and that he did not wait a few months after August 15.
I agree with S.L.Bhyrappa. His views cannot be dismissed simply because it is unpalatable to some. The British had looted the country and carried away all they could. There was nothing else left. I don’t think Gandhiji’s movement alone brought us freedom.
The parting gift The tricky Brits gave to India was Kashmir.. not the place but the problem. No solution can ever be found for this as all sides do not want a solution due to votebank politics and no party would dare to raise above their common mean interest. It is fair to assume India and Pak will continue their fight over Kashmir next 100 years, a fight longer than the struggle for freedom from British. And this defeats the purpose of freedom as both sides despite too many problems still indulge in fancy defence budgets which they can ill afford…
Thanks Pulikeshi for the warning! It is not the Maharaja who came in the way of accession, but it was his Dewan, resulting in police firing and death of student of Ramaswamy at ‘Ramaswamy’ Circle. That is why I said ‘Mysore State’ and did not say ‘the Maharaja!” Royalist pack too have to admit this historical fact.
I always see a pattern while people respond to Sri.SLB
The usual tactics are to resort to name calling “fascist”, “extremism”, “rss ideology” etc.,
But not a single time have I seen people challenge him on facts. Also logical analysis of chronological fact would tell us that after Quit India movement of 1942, the congress under the guidance of Gandhi didn’t do much to secure freedom in 1947. It was more interested in having representation in parliament, make their voice heard, extending their support base etc., The resolve of Purna swaraj which was announced by Congress in 1930 had dissappeared. So now, it is also well known that large sections Indian jawans of British army felt betrayed by the proceedings against INA soldiers as well as the 2nd world war.
This is what SLB has tried to say.
We need not rush to condemn SLB just because he has a different viewpoint. The question should have been whether satyagraha alone won us freedom. Though I do not totally agree with his views, I believe like others here that there were a host of factors that were involved, one of which was the freedom movement. We can split hairs about how consequential or inconsequential a certain factor was but that would be aimless.
Thanks, Mysore Peshwa.
Thanks for the clarification Gouri Satya. I do remember a charming comment in this very blogspot that the poor Maharaja was locked up in a room in the palace by one or both of the Arcott brothers until he cried uncle and agreed to accede.
Penn and Teller on Gandhi.
Watch this before this gets taken down from Google.
It was Arcot Ramaswamy Mudaliyar and Thamboo Chetty who were responsible for the delay in accession and not the Maharaja. “Arcot Boycott, Thamboo Cetty Chatta Katti’ were the slogans raised against them in Mysore when they came in the way of accession, resulting in police firing. Maharaja’s earlier public speeches clearly speak of his intention to join the Indian Union. The ‘Mysore Chalo’ agitation led to the State’s accession.
One good thing about this article & the various views aired by all participants is that we are open to challenging the notion of History & its interpretation as handed down to us and imbibed through social studies in schools.
Kudos to Shri Byrappa for airing his views & Churmuri for bringing it out in a debate (maybe you could do better in tempering your headline and bring another historical figure in the equation)
What Bhyrappa says is true. Britain left all its colonies after the Second World War. But we must also keep in mind two factors which hastened the exit of the British. While the Congress under Mahatma opposed Britain’s request for enlistment of Indians to fight alongside the British against Adolf Hitler, Veer Savarkar and the Hindu Mahasabha opposed Hitler on ideological grounds and called him a menace to civilized existence who should be destroyed. They called for massive military mobilization of all Hindus to perform their divine duty to oppose falsehood of Hitler. At around the same time Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose and his Azad Hindu Fauz was approaching the Indian borders and their success inspired indian soldiers causing many to shift their loyalties from the British to Mother India. Thus in Lahore when British gave orders to fire on protesting indians, the indian soldiers fired back at the British police officers. Netaji had undermined the loyalty of the soldiers to the British Empire. The huge numbers of Indians bearing arms thanks to Veer Savarkar’s dedication to fight hitler plus Netaji’s undermining of loyalty resulted in a situation where the British had to face a million armed Indian soldiers to deal with if they wanted to stay in India. The impossibility of the situation caused British to abandon India and other colonies. Gandhi’s quit india movement collapsed within 3 months of its launching in August 1942 and played no role whatsoever in Indian Independence.
fantastic debate! kudos to churumri.
Bhyrappa can be accused of over-simplification, if not anything else.
If the freedom struggle was indeed futile then it should only increase our respect for the freedom fighters, they fought for hope, compared to them our generation is a bunch of weak-kneed whiners.
It is dangerous for our mental peace to delve so deep into history that we lose ourselves. Nothing good ever came of speculating the past.
Yes, as a matter of fact Hitler did fetch us independence. But, I’m not too sure about the point you make though.
Bhyrappa’s view point is not only his but also of a lot many others who can think rationally. We would have been granted independence in spite of all the theatrics in the preceding years.
Amazing thread! somehow I had missed this one. Good debating points all around.
I liked Mysore Peshavan’s crime of courage allusion…
Now I am beginning to see why the Seculars were jumping all over SLB. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing!