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ARTICLE: WAS NON-VIOLENCE SOLELY RESPONSIBLE FOR INDIA’S INDEPENDENCE OR WAS THERE SOMETHING MORE TO IT?

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    Hello friends welcome to this edition of editorial compass. A lot has been spoken about India achieving independence through the “Brahmastra” of non-violence. But then, there also, happens to be another view-point that calls non-violence a myth.

    The line between historical facts and fiction is more porous than students of history might think. It is not uncommon for countries to create self-suiting or sanitised historical narratives. As George Orwell once said, “Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.”

    India’s Republic Day Parade this year featured for the first time veterans of the Indian National Army (INA) that waged an armed struggle against the British colonial rule. Four INA veterans in their 90s rode a jeep in the parade that, paradoxically, showcased the life experiences of the apostle of non-violence, Mahatma Gandhi, through 22 tableaux.

    India has long embellished or distorted how it won independence. The incongruous juxtaposition of the INA along with Gandhi at the parade inadvertently highlighted that. The INA veterans participation, in fact, helped underscore the Indian republic’s founding myth—that it won independence only through non-violence. This myth has been deeply instilled in the minds of almost all Indians since their school days.

    Surely, the Gandhi-led, non-violent independence movement played a critical role. Both in galvanising grassroots resistance to British rule and also in helping to gain independence. But the decisive factor was the protracted World War-II, which reduced to ruins large swaths of Europe and Asia, especially the imperial powers. The war between the Allied and Axis powers killed 80 million, or 4% of the global population of that time.

    Despite the Allied victory, a devastated Britian was in no position to hold on to its colonies, including “crown jewel” India. Even colonies, where, there were no grassroots resistance to colonial rule, won independence in the post-World War-II period.

    The British had dominated India through a Machiavellian divide-and-rule strategy. Their exit came only after they had reduced one of the world’s wealthiest economies to one of its poorest. Indeed, they left after they had looted to their heart’s content, siphoning out, at least 9.2 trillion (or 44.6 trillion$) pounds, according to economist Utsa Patnaik’s recent estimate.

    Had the post-1947 India been proactive and forward-looking in securing its frontiers. It could have averted both the Kashmir and Himalayan border problems. China was in deep turmoil until October 1949, and India had ample time and space to assert control over the Himalayan borders. But India’s pernicious founding myth of non-violence gave rise to a pacifist country that believed it could get peace merely by seeking peace, instead of building the capability to defend peace.

    Here’s the paradox: countless numbers of Indians died to the excesses of British colonial regime. Just in the man made Bengal famine of 1942-45, six to seven million starved to death (a toll far greater than the “Holocaust”) due to the British war policy of diverting resources away from India. Britian sent Indian soldiers in large numbers to fight its dirty wars elsewhere, including the two world wars, and many died while serving as cannon fodder. Indeed, the present Indian republic was born in blood in blood: As many as a million civilians died in a senseless violence and millions more were uprooted in the British-contrived partition.

    Yet the myth of India uniquely charting and securing its independence through non-violence was propagated by the interiors of the Raj, the British trained “brown sahibs.” No objective discourse was encouraged post-1947 on the multiple factors—internal and external—that aided India’s independence.

    The hope of Indian independence was first kindled by Japan’s victory in the 1904-05 war with Russia—the first time an Asian nation comprehensively defeated a European rival. However, it was the world war that Adolf Hitler unleashed—with imperial Japan undertaking military expeditions in the name of freeing Asia from white colonial rule—that acted as the catalyst. An emboldened Gandhi serve a “Quit India” notice on the British in 1942.

    While the Subhas Chandra Bose-led INA could not mount a formidable threat to a British colonial military, overflowing with Indian recruits. The Bombay mutiny and other sepoy revolts of 1946 triggered by INA prisoners’ trials undermined Britain’s confidence in sustaining the Raj, hastening its exit. Yet, independent India treated INA soldiers shabbily with many abandoned into penury.

    Against this background the rehabilitation of Bose and the INA has long been overdue. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has done well to initiate the process, however low-key, to give Bose and the INA their due, including recently renaming one Andaman island after Bose and two other Andaman islands to honour INA sacrifices. Modi even wore the INA cap to address a public meeting in Andaman on the 75th anniversary of Bose’s hoisting of the tricolour there.

    Recognising unsung heroes is an essential step towards re-balancing the historical narrative. A rule-based international order, premised on non-violence remains a worthy aspirational goal. But Indian romancing of non-violence as an effective political instrument crimped national security policy since independence. The country hewed to pacifism (with Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru publicly bewailing in 1962 that China had “returned evil for good”) and frowned on materialism (even after China surpassed India’s GDP in 1984-85).

    The burden of its quixotic national philosophy has imposed enduring costs, including an absence of a strategic culture, as the late American analyst George Tanham famously pointed out. Lack of a culture to pursue a clear strategic vision and policy hobbles India’s ambition to be a great power.

    Synopsis derived out of an article titled “The Non-violence Myth—India’s founding story bestows upon it a quixotic national philosophy and enduring costs by geostrategist, Brahma Chellany in TOI.

Posted by Kamlesh Tripathi

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Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases especially cancer. Our posts are meant for our readers that includes both children and adults and it has a huge variety in terms of content. We also accept donations for our mission. Should you wish to donate for the cause. The bank details are given below:

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Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

(The book is about a young cancer patient. Now archived in 7 prestigious libraries of the US, including, Harvard University and Library of Congress. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in Libraries and archives of Canada and Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai)  

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

(Is a book on ‘singlehood’ about a Delhi girl now archived in Connemara Library, Chennai and Delhi Public Library, GOI, Ministry of Culture, Delhi)

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

(Is a fiction written around the great city of Nawabs—Lucknow. It describes Lucknow in great detail and also talks about its Hindu-Muslim amity. That happens to be its undying characteristic. The book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival of 2014)

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

(Co-published by Cankids–Kidscan, a pan India NGO and Shravan Charity Mission, that works for Child cancer in India. The book is endorsed by Ms Preetha Reddy, MD Apollo Hospitals Group. It was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2016)

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

(Is a story of an Indian salesman who is, humbly qualified. Yet he fights his ways through unceasing uncertainties to reach the top. A good read not only for salesmen. The book was launched on 10th February, 2018 in Gorakhpur Lit-Fest. Now available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha)

RHYTHM … in poems

(Published in January 2019. The book contains 50 poems. The poems describe our day to day life. The book is available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha)

(ALL THE ABOVE TITLES ARE AVAILABLE FOR SALE IN AMAZON, FLIPKART AND OTHER ONLINE STORES OR YOU COULD EVEN WRITE TO US FOR A COPY)

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COULD THE BRITISH RAJ HAVE BLUNTED THE INTENSITY OF CASTEISM IN INDIA?

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     It is said—‘In India you can change your religion but not your caste.’ But this reality almost met with a challenge from the Britishers at the time of the British Raj which is largely unknown. In fact, had the British Raj, pushed its way through, it would have shown the way for abolishment of the caste system, all together. But they began only with criminals, by sending them to Andamans, better known as Kala Pani. (Literal meaning is ‘black waters’. But ‘Kala’ also signifies ‘kaal’—that signifies the time of death).

    If the British so wanted. In the eighty nine years of their dictatorial rule. They could have at least blunted the ferocity of the caste system in India, if not completely uprooted. But they had other nefarious designs that was to divide and rule. So, while on one hand they exploited the caste rivalry in the mainland, on the other they got rid of it by sending criminals to islands in Kala Pani. Where, they could rid them of their caste. But sadly, most of them were freedom fighters whom they had held as prisoners.

        These remote islands in Andamans, were considered suitable to punish the ‘India Independence’ activists—called the freedom fighters. Not only were they isolated from the mainland. The overseas journey to the islands (Kala Pani) also threatened them with loss of caste that could have resulted in social exclusion. Sadly, this is also corroborated by Hindu religious scriptures. These convicts were largely used in chain-gangs, to construct prisons, buildings and harbor facilities. Many were finally hanged and many died while building these structures. Where, they largely served to colonize the island for the British.

    That brings us, to the moot point. What about those Hindus, who were not prisoners? But have travelled overseas, either on business or pleasure. Have they also lost their caste identity like those prisoners, just because they crossed the seas? Because, as per the scriptures. Those Hindus who have travelled overseas, automatically lose their caste, and to retrieve it they need to go in for deep penance. Further, if we are to believe in the caste system. We also need to believe in the scriptures with equal measure. As both are ancient and part of our tenets. For it can’t be that on one hand we believe in the caste system but give the other theory a grand miss. For our religious scriptures below, say it all.

    The offense of crossing the sea is known as “Samudrolanghana” or “Sagarollanghana.” The Dharma Sutra of Baudhayana (II.1.2.2) lists sea voyages as first of the offences that cause the loss of varna (caste). The Dharma Sutra suggests a person can wipe away this offense in three years by eating little at every fourth meal time. By bathing at dawn, noon and dusk; standing during the day; and seated during the night.

    The reasons behind the taboo include the inability, to carry out the daily rituals, and the sin of contact with the mlecchas (barbarians). The fear of crossing the seas also derives from the notion. That it entailed the end of the reincarnation cycle as the traveler was cut off from the regenerating waters of the Ganges. Such voyages also meant breaking family and social ties. And, according, to another belief in the pre-modern India the Kala Pani (sea water) was inhabited by the houglis, bad spirits and monsters.

    During the Age of Discovery, Portuguese sailors noted that Hindus were reluctant to engage in maritime trade due to this taboo. In the eighteenth century, the Banias of North India, considered, even the crossing of the Indus River, at Attock as a taboo, and underwent purification rituals upon their return. However, not all Hindus adhered to the taboo, especially the Hindu merchants located in Burma, Muscat and other places.

    So, can we, then say. All those Hindus, who have traveled overseas, are now devoid of any caste?

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By Kamlesh Tripathi

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                                                       https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

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Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases. Should you wish to donate for the cause the bank details are given below:

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

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Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

(CAN BE BOUGHT FROM ON LINE BOOK STORES OR WRITE TO US FOR COPIES)

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Title : Mahindra rise moment of Life

‘MAHINDRA RISE MOMENT’ OF MY LIFE

BECOMING MARKET LEADER IN TAMILNADU

    In the year 1991 I was transferred from Jaipur to Chennai as Area Manager. It was a sector shift from Automotive to Farm Equipment. A cross country movement and an exposure to a new work culture. And I vividly remember, how a colleague of mine had even jokingly remarked at that time about my transfer from automobiles to tractors–‘So Kamlesh! now your ‘speed’ reduces but ‘torque’ increases.’ Quite connoting to the characteristics of an automobile and a tractor. But there was a bigger barrier beyond speed and torque. That was the local vernacular ‘Tamil language’ that was utter Greek to me. And my palate that was not akin to the local culinary in all frankness. So, I felt, overall, it was a dim and a losing proposition for me. I landed in Chennai draped in apprehensions. Not knowing fully the local ball game. Yet I was oozing with some valid convictions and arrived procedures as a springboard.

    As a territory, I had Tamilnadu (TN), Kerala and the Andamans. To sell and service, the rugged, Red Mahindra Tractor. Therefore, I needed to rub shoulders with TAFE the local giant. I was told we had an effective network of well laid out, ebullient, dealers and officers. The HO mandate was to become Market leader in two years. More pronounced and reminded often by M&M icon Mr Alan Durante, President and Head of Marketing, AD & FES then.

    If my memory serves me right. TN market was then on an upswing and hovering around 8k-10k tractors annually, between 1992 -1996. TAFE were market leaders, followed by us. But the gap was only widening. With great expectations I had landed in Chennai. When, I decided to do three simple things that I thought would help us achieve our goals:

1.     I took a whirlwind tour of all Dealerships. Basically to establish an effective interpersonal rapport with the owners and their employees that was required as a force multiplier, and even more because I hailed from the North. Bought an English to Tamil translation book to learn and remember some key words. Required for day to day business.

2.     Took a complete inventory of Dealer infrastructure- (hardware, software, systems and processes) from all our Dealerships and branches and did a similar exercise for competitors. To understand where we stood. And, that was an eye opener.

3.     Launched a local ground level tactics “To be the best in each activity.”  Such as paid up stock, availability of spare parts, Dealer finance, Manpower training, Showroom display, Field contact, Tractor workshop record, Vehicle downtimes, Dealer branches and service points for doorstep service.

    During my first year in Chennai. We did not get significant results. To establish ourselves as market leaders. But on realising our level of activities. TAFE too pulled up their socks and started with aggressive wholesale, in districts of Chengalpet, Madurai and Tirunelvelli. I still remember the stinkers I then used to get from Mr Alan for not becoming market leaders.

    But the crafty tempest of TAFE did not deter us, and we continued with our sincere efforts in programming and monitoring the market almost on a daily basis.

    And then on a particular month in F-93, if I remember correctly. We did become Market Leaders for that particular month beating TAFE in their own home ground. For a couple of months we played down this big achievement. To let any fluke pass over. But our efforts were beginning to manifest and soon we became market leaders in all 25, 35 and 45 HP categories.

    Soon Chennai office was also adjudged runners-up, winners and runners-up in financial year’s f-93, f-94 and f-95 in Area Office performance award.

        Today I realise. That was truly a ‘Mahindra rise moment’ for me.

By Kamlesh Tripathi

shravancharitymission@gmail.com

By Kamlesh Tripathi

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https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

*

Share it if you like it

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Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases. Should you wish to donate for the cause the bank details are given below:

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

*

Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

(Archived in 7 prestigious libraries of the US, including, Harvard University and Library of Congress. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in Libraries and archives of Canada and Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai)  

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

(Archived in Connemara Library, Chennai and Delhi Public Library, GOI, Ministry of Culture)

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

(Launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2014)

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

(Co-published by Cankids–Kidscan, a pan India NGO and Shravan Charity Mission, that works for Child cancer in India. The book is endorsed by Ms Preetha Reddy, MD Apollo Hospitals Group. Book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2016)

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

Story of an Indian salesman who is lowly qualified but fights his ways through uncertainities to reach the top. A good read for all salesmen. Now available in Amazon.com

(CAN BE BOUGHT FROM ON LINE BOOK STORES OR WRITE TO US FOR COPIES)

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