Brutal British Rule & Destruction of India By Sandeep Balakrishna | Abhijit Chavda Podcast 41 | Transcription

Transcription for the video titled "Brutal British Rule & Destruction of India By Sandeep Balakrishna | Abhijit Chavda Podcast 41".

1970-01-01T18:47:51.000Z

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Introduction

Intro (00:00)

In less than 150 years, the Mughals are wiped out of existence by the British. It's debatable, let's not go into this whole Hindu Muslim Bhai Bhai, that actual Hindu Muslim Bhai Bhai never existed. I am not a religious Hindu, I am a spiritual Hindu, it is meaningless. You will neither be religious nor be spiritual in that case. Hindu civilization is being suppressed. Its energies are being muzzled by the Indian political state. The following is a conversation with Sandeep Balakrishnan. Sandeep is a historian, he is the author of the Dharma Dispatch blog and also the author of a book called Invaders and Infidels among others. Please subscribe and enjoy the conversation. Sandeep G, welcome to the podcast, it's great to have you on. Thank you. So the Mughal Empire is now crumbling, it's the 18th century, the British power is rising, they have made a foothold in Bengal and from there they expand. Eventually they defeat the Marathas and they take over much of India. So now there is a different kind of power in India. A foreign power, the Turks, the Mughals were foreigners, now we have the Europeans, the British mainly. So what changes do they make that contribute to our mental collaboration? So let's do a slight rewind before the British actually come in and do their colonizing thing and rest of it. It begins with Vasco da Gama's discovery of India. That's where the formal Western European intervention into India begins. And we'll squeeze the whole Vasco da Gama thing, extremely brutal guy, he was basically a pirate, a barbarian and a committed Christian fanatic. And after that, around the same time or coinciding around the same time, the Dutch also come. The Dutch. So by the mid 16th century, Portuguese have a presence and some very minor Dutch people, but more so Portuguese and even Italians. They travel extensively in southern India. So some of the materials for reconstructing the history of the Vijayanagara Empire comes from Italians and Portuguese travelers. So that is the thing. So they already have a presence, but they are no means yet colonizers that happens with successors of this fellow Vasco da Gama. Look, these guys have no compunctions. So they come here to trade with you, meaning you come as a supplicant. You're not equals boss. We didn't go out. We didn't say, look, I want to do business with you. You came here because you needed it. You needed the gold and the money and the resources from India, products, materials from India so that you can somehow maintain your bankrupt economies in Europe. What was the economic condition of Portugal comparable to any minor empire in India, kingdom in India? It was pathetic. So we have to keep this in mind. That's the reason they came here. And the route to India, remember the colonization, the modern story of Western colonization begins with India. Yes. It is seeded by India, by the desire to do business with India because the Muslims have blocked the traditional trading routes in the Asian sector. Yes. So that is the thing. The role of the Portuguese interventions in India has been severely understudied. Okay. It merits several volumes on its own. There's abundant information about that part. But this fellow comes here and he meets with the Samuthiri. Samuthiri. Samuthiri. Yes. Samuthiri. Samuthiri. Samuthiri. Samuthiri can mean anything, sir. Which language is Samuthiri? No language. It is Portuguese. Well, yeah. It is Samuthiri. Samuthiri. Samuthiri means that which is the lord of the sea. Yes. Samudra. Samudra. So he meets with him and you know, you begin barely a few years or a few months. You start waging war on Indian soil. Yes. Cannons and all that, right? Yes. So no, no. Cannons happen much later. The ships? Yeah, ships land there, but they are gunfire basically. So you ravage the whole of Malabar region. So that's, I mean, we'll digress.


The British Colonization Of India

The Liberating Force, The Europes (05:07)

Eventually the touch begin to set up factories in what is known as Krangan or along the Malabar coast, they set up spice factories. Okay. So that is followed by the brutal conquest of Goa, Go-Mantaka. Go-Mantaka. Go-Mantaka. So there, you know, the infamous Inquisition. Yes. Basically genocide of Hindus, torture and genocide of Hindus that happens there. What the Portuguese brutality that story tells us is that if you're so barbaric in your methods, you will immediately evoke hostility from the local people. Yes. This is why the word "Turushka" is so hated even today. Okay. The memories of the barbarism for no fault of us. Yes. No fault of Hindus. You could have waged war in the regular means. You could have had a better, a more refined, a more cultured sense of interaction. That never happened. You were branded as kafirs, then zimmis. You know, conversion, enslavement. During the Mahamud of Ghazni's time, the first act of industrial scale slave taking happens in India. It is the first time that this kind of slave taking happens in India. He transports all these slaves to the lucrative slave markets in Central Asia, the Arabian region, going all the way up to Egypt and even some parts of Europe. Okay. And in Bokhara and other places surrounding regions, there are slave markets and the merchants, the people who buy slaves, they send a message to Ghazni saying, "Look, you are killing the slave market. There is an oversupply of slaves from India. We don't want them." So many. So many of them. So, I mean, all these things happen. That is why Hindus preserve these indignities, the memories of these indignities. You know, treating women as war booty. Yes. Never the case, never the case in any war between two Hindu kings. Never the case. Never the case. Never. It's not happened. It is a pure act of adharma and the strictest punishment is prescribed. And the Hindu kings would never do that. Yes. It was unthinkable. Let's put it. Totally. Totally. So, coming back to the Portuguese, so their power was pretty much confined to Goa and parts of that. And they also had frequent clashes with the Dutch. Okay. So, while that was happening, by the time we get into early part of the 17th century, in 1608 or 1610, the British come in first, they land in Surat. Surat, yes. So, Thomas Roe, he sends an embassy to, takes an embassy to Jahangir. Jahangir. He is favored by Jahangir for some time. So, step by step, they begin to study. They send more officials from East India Company. All this happens and there are rival business corporations in England who want a piece of the Indian market. All these things keep happening and the wars between these rival British business houses, those wars are fought in the English parliament. In the English parliament, right.


Expansionist Business Goals of the East India Company (09:00)

So, some of these guys would buy out some MPs. Yes. So, by the time of Aurangzeb, you had another East India Company kind of thing, another outfit for trading with India. They buy out a guy called William Morris. So, when he lands here, he comes to Machali Patnam. And his efforts to get a furman from the Mughal officers, they are blocked by officers of the East India Company. I see. So, I mean, it's very interesting. I'll come to that later. So, Thomas Roe, his embassy, and this guy is so disgusting that, you know, Thomas Roe, finally, you know how he gains the favor of Jahangir? By making him drink cartloads of beer. Beer? Beer. Okay. That is the first time. So, beer, he feeds him beer and Jahangir is delighted. He is an alcoholic. He was an alcoholic, yes. Totally. So, no surprise there. So, he actually coaches Jahangir in the art of brewing beer. Okay. Yeah. Common interest. Jahangir is mightily pleased. So, he gives him a furman to set up a factory in Surat. Okay. So, but the story doesn't end there. He goes to Surat, there is one, some, Assaf, somebody in Surat, he is a, he is a governor there. He will say, "Thi ke tum sultan se furman lai ho".


What is true protection of India (10:38)

What about me? Okay, I need a cut of the action. So, skobi de nahi, dega, diya. So, then slowly the British commercial activity begins to expand, take root in the western coast during Jahangir's time and other thing. Then by Shahajahan's time, other actors come into play. There is this fellow, what is his name? Tavernier, Bournier, all these people come. French. French people, Italians, they come there and there are some Jesuits also who come here from Portuguese. Ah, yes, the Jesuits. While just the East Indies, it is a thick compilation in about seven volumes, if I am not mistaken. They record each and every minute detail about, you know, how the field in India is, in this hidden land is, whether it is prepared or not to accept the message of our Lord Jesus Christ. Okay. So, you have those accounts also. The scene is pretty much chaotic in one sense, confused. Why I am seeing all this, the lead up to the East Coast of India. Why I am seeing all this is that there is a theory by eminent historians that the Mughals were the protectors of India. Oh, I see. Okay. Right. They say that, you know, all of India was under Mughal rule and they painted it as the glorious Mughal empire, right? Yes. Which naturally means that they were protectors of India. If you say that glorious Mughal rule throughout Hindustan and all that, what it means is that they had to do, they were supposed to have done a good job. Yes. They did a lot of governing and protecting India, developing its economy. But the facts of history show the exact opposite picture. Yes. They did a rotten job of protecting India because they did not care about that. They were, you know, they were bothered only about their empire. Yes. So, the notion of whole of Hindustan as a geographical entity was never there. You cannot draw these conclusions. So, you have a scenario in Jahangir's time because we are on the subject of, you know, European intervention into India. By the time of Jahangir, his administration was thoroughly corrupt. He had very little control over his bureaucracy and his aristocracy, very little control. The real power behind the throne was his wife, Nur Jahan, who was worse than him.


INSTitutional knowledge (13:38)

Okay. And her brother, Asaf Khan. Okay. So, they pretty much held him as a puppet, indulged him. Anyway, some stories are really disgusting. So, let's skip that. Okay. They are really, really disgusting. I see. Okay. So, that was the thing. And for months, they would sell for months. They would sell for months. For months. For months, if you will, in today's language. Okay. They would sell for months. And even after giving money, the Farma was not automatically guaranteed. So, Sandeep goes to Asaf Khan with say 10,000 bucks. And Asaf says, okay, take it. He will give the Farma. Abhijit goes next day. He says, I want the Farma for the same thing. Take 1 lakh plus 10% cut in every transaction. Okay. So, Mice, Farma will be superseded. I see. Wow. So, what is going to happen? You and I will fight. Yes, right. This is a story. By the time we get to Aurangzeb's period, his period, I mean, most of us know his barbaric era. He spent much of his administration not administering or governing, but suppressing Hindus and trying to quell rebellions. Okay. And thereby bankrupting his treasury. That is the thing. But by that time, Bengal is completely out of his control, more or less completely out of his control. I see. Okay. So, there you have all petty chieftains, officers, in today's parlance, fourth division clerk. People like that run the whole place. So, one of the most flourishing industries there in Bengal, in some parts of Bengal, close to the coast, is the Arak industry. Arak. Arak industry. So, the local fellow officers there, they make illicit deals with the Dutch. Okay. There is a drink called Bule Pong. Yeah. B-O-U-L-E P-O-N-G. Okay. So, the Arak is pronounced in Dutch. But yeah, so that is the Arak that the Dutch bring in. I see. And they trade it for the local Arak. I mean, huge wars erupt. Dutch ships are set on fire. There is an element of chaos and rioting in the local population with the Dutch. It's a horrible scene, basically. And there is pretty much nothing that Aurangzeb can do. I see. So, European powers by then, they are not only warring with the locals, they are warring with each other. So, the British have already made some inroads. And they figure out, most of these figure out that some of the most prosperous commercial cities of India, of that time, were on the East Coast, basically. I forget the coast exactly in Bengal. Let's keep it as Calcutta, okay, for convenience because I forgot exactly that. And Machali Patnam and Surat, these were the most prosperous states. And of course, down south, you had Koli Kode. So, these were the most prosperous things, business, center, districts, yeah, centers. And that is where you see most of the action happening. Okay. So, factories are set up by Dutch and the British and the Portuguese also. And Portuguese are being slowly etched out of the game and even the Dutch also. This is when with the fall of, what you call, who are they? With the fall of the Mughals, the British realize that there is a game that can be played here. In such a large country, there is no one center of authority. Yes. But what have they been told by their predecessors from Thomas Rawanwards? That you know, it's a large country, whatever the Mughal is the greatest power. In less than 150 years, the Mughals are wiped out of existence by the British. The whole thing is turned on its head. So, from Aurangzeb to Bahad Dushasafar didn't take long. Right, yes. Correct. Yes. So, what other East India Company officials who came here, they understood that, you know, this is a country in decline and some of the bureaucrats write as such that, you know, this Mughal, it can't sustain for long in Shah Jahan's time. I see. They predict that. So, the one good thing about the British and other Europeans who came here, but mostly the British, was that they left minute records. I see. Why? Because this was a new market. India was a market. Yes. They didn't come here to initially to build an empire. It was a new market, large market, lucrative market. So, they had to note down every single detail and send that intelligence back to England. So, you build, this is institutional knowledge. So, you pass it on from generation to generation to generation. Right. Others who follow them will have this fairly accurate knowledge, first-time knowledge of India. Right. And then they build on that knowledge. That's how. So, by that time, they figured out that all the empires in India, different political centers in India, hated each other basically. Okay. Or were at constant war with each other. And these people also brought new war technology, guns, more sophisticated for that time. Yes. Proper military discipline, this sort of thing, planning, strategy, all that. So, they were also trading partners with many of our own kings and chieftains. Right. So, there, the decisive break obviously had to come in Bengal.


The Battle of Plassey (20:18)

The Battle of Plasi. Yes. You know the background. All of us know the background. And that was the decisive turn, like I said. Once Clive had accomplished that, he also understood, he had already mastered the art of extorting the maximum plunder. I see. Through all measures, unfair taxation, this sidelining kings, pitting them against each other, this kind of thing. Sirajudala versus that Mijafar. Yes. A familiar story. Yes. Bengal had already, was already a prosperous trading center, city. So, you capture that. And plus, what our history textbooks gloss over is a very important point about the British victory in the Battle of Plasi. The Hindu population there looked at British as saviors. As saviors. Okay. Because they had the experience of what? From Jahangir till here, from 1600 to 1757. Okay. 150 years. Of pure tyranny. Right. Operation. Sirajudala was no angel, sir. Oh no, he was not. So, when you say Mijafar was a traitor, traitor to whom? To Siraj. Nobody else. Yeah. So, the Hindu society looked at them as deliverers, as liberators, as saviors. And they welcomed it. I see. And there was a king, Navakishan Sen. So, he was rewarded by the British for helping and he was the first person to start the Durga Puja that we see in Bengal today. I see. Okay.


Gradual process of subconscious colonization (22:11)

Until then, it was banned. Okay. Okay. The Mughals had banned it for at least a century and a half. Okay. But what also happened with Navakishan, he came from a deeply orthodox Hindu family. The Hindu society was itself orthodox. As he began to mix with the British officials, the elite of the British officials, the Hindu society, his citizens began to resent that. Okay. They resented the fact that a white-skinned Mlechka could so freely step into our Maharaja's house. I see. But your Maharaja was beholden to them. He looked at them as a savior or whatever. So, this was the strength of our culture, of our society, cultural rootedness. So, even though Navakishan didn't like it, didn't like the British presence, there was little that he could do about it. Okay. So, over a period of time, this led to a gradual process of subconscious colonization in the elite Bengali society. I see. There was no Mlechkali, no nothing. But it was subconscious. I am an elite, I am a local elite. You are the elite from your country. You represent that class. So, to that extent, we are equals. We sit at the same table. There is some cultural exchange happening. I learn about your society. You know about my society. Then, in the process of this exchange, there are some subliminal subconscious changes occur. See, there is some John Dewey in New York. I don't know him. He doesn't exist because I don't know him. But if I meet him only once, my life would have changed to that extent. As long as I don't know him, it doesn't matter.


British slowly colonize our mind. (24:20)

I am what I am. But he comes in and either he influences me even 0.001 percent. But there is some impact that happens even in one meeting. Right. So, you extrapolate this to a regular kind of interaction. Yes. So, navigation had also to pay tribute to these people. The British, they would also impose their own conditions. You can do this. You have to allow us to do that. This is how slowly, what you call the slow poison, it happens. So, that was one phase. But once the British had captured such a central place, such a prosperous place and they also had trading centers in other places, like I said, Surat, then Madras. So like on the East Coast, like I said, so first victim was Calcutta followed by Madras. Madras, yes. And they all, you look at all the British presidencies in colonial rule. That is where the maximum amount of colonization has happened. Right. And we can still see the impact. We can still see the impact. So anyway, back to this. Step by step that began, but the British colonization was largely enabled by Hindu kings, by their foolish internecine wars. Right. Same story. Same story. Yes. Same story again. You do not learn from one defeat. You do not learn that in a battle, Marathas for example, you look at their methods of warfare. They would impose a treaty and break it unilaterally. This was never done. No Hindu king would make a treaty and not honor it. Yes, right. They would, with impunity, they would break these treaties. All right. But Marathas never learnt that, anything from that. I see. Right. So that colonization happened, military colonization didn't happen overnight. We enabled it. I see. It is an unfortunate fact, but it is a truth.


150 pice-princely states pocketed by the British. (26:41)

So once that happened, it was very convenient, sir. So you conquered some of these, you know, out of these states. Docked in off-labs. Yes. What does that even mean? Within 30 years, 35 princely states were pocketed by British. Yes. Docked in off-labs, who gave you the right to make something like that. Yeah, that's right.


British resend treaties and tear them into pieces with impunity. (27:03)

And our guys foolishly agreed. All of these treaties, there is a PhD thesis waiting to be written on how the British with impunity, they rescinded those treaties or they tore it into pieces. But our kings foolishly abided by that in letter and spirit. Incredible. Okay. So even today, in some of these border disputes, territorial cases, even now, they refer to the treaties our princely states had made with the British in independent India. Yes.


Why is the need to refer to treaties our princely states made with the British about their territory now? (27:44)

Yes. Right. What's the need for that? How this is colonizing. This is colonization. You're continuing that. Your whole government is colonized. Yes. So, yeah, that's how they gobbled up. That's a familiar story. But once they did that, our Hindu society was still resilient.


British kept a watch against the missionaries. (28:04)

The one thing the British didn't touch for a long time was education. And the other thing was that they kept a strict watch against the missionaries. Yes, initially they did. Yes, because the missionaries, they saw the missionaries as one of the greatest threats for their money making enterprise. They were here to make money.


The British dont want to mix with Indian society (28:29)

That was the only purpose, primary purpose. And unlike the Muslim kings who invaded the established empires, unlike them from day one, the British knew, even when they had all of India under their control, the British were very clear about one thing, that some or the other day, we have to pack up our bags and leave. Okay. They didn't have this whole thing to settle down here permanently. Right. They were clear about that. They were very clear about it. And they hated everything about this country. It's geography, it's climate, especially its climate. Yeah, it's too hot for them. Yeah. Right. It's society. All said and done. It is debatable, but all said and done. One, there is a, on the social level, societal level, there is a fundamental difference between British rule and Islamic rule. Muslim society and Hindu society on the ground, they mixed with each other. Two reasons. One, ordinary Muslims, majority of them are forcibly converted. Yes. So even today, some several sub-sections in groups within the Muslim community follow Hindu customs. Right. Even today, it's debatable. Let's not go into this whole Hindu Muslim Bhai Bhai, that actual Hindu Muslim Bhai Bhai never existed. It is a fiction. All right. So, the British, even from the, at the level of the lowest clerk, white-skinned British clerk, English clerk, he would never mix with the Indian society. Right. So that was the difference. So that's why they had all these enclaves, you know, cantonments. Yes, cantonments. They were set up for this reason. Right. So you are a separate society within a society. Right. And they never let you forget that. So yeah, that, yeah, coming back to this colonization, this education was something that hadn't occurred to them for the longest time. For the longest time. It hadn't occurred to them. Then this missionary thing also had, you know, that for various political reasons, eventually they were given permission. Yes. But what they understood was that to control this society, it's like taming a wild animal. Yes, you break it. You break it. Yes. You break it spirit. You break it spirit. Yes. To complete obedience. Yes. Complete subservience. And once the master is satisfied that, okay, it has my absolute obedience. It will not rebel. It won't make noise. Then I will feed him with mutton chops. May I be scared? Right. This is what the process of colonization, this is how it began. But the social strength and the cultural rooted this was strong precisely because we spoke to our cultural roots in education, in the way we celebrated our festivals, in the way we did our trade crafts, your informal exchanges, community building, this. So we never let go of that in face of whatever oppression. Yes. So how do you break that? You disenfranchise people at the level of education. You empower them by devising an economic policy that will benefit only you. Right. So your traditional methods of doing farming, agriculture are gone. And the communities, the leaders of communities, remember the Hindu society is nothing but an agglomeration of different communities, which are bound by invisible cultural and civilizational threads and to which all of us, all communities are bound and they pay an unenforceable obedience. This is what has kept us alive. So what unites? You are in Bombay. Yes. Why does Kashi unite you and me? It's a civilizational thread. Correct. Yes. So when somebody is going on Ayatra, it is very common even today to see by 8 minute Ruko and he'll give you 100 rupees and say, "Chara, why does this happen?" So they saw that and tried to break that. One way to do that is to, was to classify these communities. Classification. Yes. Okay. The census that happened was preceded by this. So the communities that gave them the most trouble. And mind you, this is a period after the conquest was complete, after all the princely states were, you know, they had come under British control. Okay. Nominally independence, quasi-autonomy, but you can't maintain an army. That's all. Yes. A state which has no army. It's not a state. It's not a sovereign state. Because the king is a king in name. Yes. That's all. Yes. So, this happened after that. There were still troublemakers and they classified these troublemakers, you know, bit by bit, you know, clearly identified them and branded them as a robber class. Robber class. Thug is a classic example. Thuggy. Yes, thug. Okay. So, if you find a term for a community that has a pejorative or criminal meaning, take it from me, guaranteed that it has been criminalized by the British. By the British. By passing a law. Right. So, anything that they found inconvenient either to maintain their hold on India or to extract as much as possible to overcome that problem, a law would be passed. So, all these, some of these communities would submit to, they'd say, "Tiket tumi yamara masar ho." So, what would they do? They would give them privileged positions such that, and empower them, give them legal powers protection to extract their former neighbors, to oppress their former neighbors. Classic case is the Bengal Revenue Administration. It is horrifying.


Post-Colonial History And Power Dynamics

The Churchill Foundation plans project Frank (35:34)

So, Zamindars, who would, you know, this Bollywood stereotype is there, all Zamindars are bad oppressing. Yes. They were pushed into that by British. Right. So, Zamindar would say 5,000 acres would actually be the protector and savior of all the farmers under him. For the longest time, Zamindar would say or any wealthy man would tell a poor man that, you know, you cannot wear the clothes that I am wearing. But he never said, you cannot eat less than me. Right. Yes. So, you catch hold of those Zamindars and say, "Look, I don't care." This happened under Cornwallis. Cornwallis. Look, I don't care. You were paying, earlier he was not paying tribute to anybody. Now, after the British conquered, you know, Bengal came under British rule. He would say, "Look, the regime has changed. You have to pay me 1 lakh rupees every year. I don't care how you get it." How do you do? You can't generate 1 lakh from your land. Yes. So, most you can generate 50,000, not even 50,000. In some cases, it was 7,000. Okay. How do you generate 1 lakh without oppression? Yes. So, Jyotumara Datta, Jyotumara Dhanavvangya. Right. So, how do you resolve this problem? You set up courts for that. You set up courts, judiciary. Judiciary courts. That's nice. This is a problem that hadn't existed. So, you make a law for that and then you appoint a British judge and then you allow these Indians to quarrel among themselves and he will give you the final verdict. You see the levels at which this happens. Yes. So, your spirit is broken, but your culture is still intact, more or less intact. That is when they figured out that perhaps the most effective way is to obtain complete obedience and you fundamentally transform the basic nature of civilization. Education. Education. That is when they figured this out. And once you produce one generation, then it becomes easy. You tie your entire livelihood to this education. Then after that, the job is easy. And the concomitant thing with English education was a destruction, complete annihilation of our age-old system of education, the beautiful tree, Dharampal's book. Makes for painful reading, but you should read it.


Unfortunate Events In History (38:28)

Yes, absolutely. So, thousands of Sanskrit schools which were functioning for 3000 years, 2000 years, overnight they were closed. So people who the society until then had been respecting as Vidwans and Pandits, learned people like really learned people, their next generation with the same kind of talent, the same kind of thing. Their next generation was not guaranteed a livelihood. So the only way that they could make a decent living and indeed an honorable self-respecting life was to become a clerk in the British bureaucracy. And from then the downfall is easy. So that's why we are and we have continued this post-1947. We have made it worse, unfortunately. So we all conversed. Today you can't get a good job without, if you can't speak good English. In India, you can't. So now that we've understood and identified the roots of our mental colonization, how do we address this today? Unfortunately, the problem is so, it's not only widespread, it is definitely widespread, but it is so deep rooted. It's extremely deep rooted and it's getting worse by the day. It actually is getting worse. And we have almost reached a point that has made it irreversible. So language is not just a medium of communication. Sorry, there's more to it than that. That is by defining language as merely a medium of communication, it is the worst form of defining it. The most basic form of defining it. But is it true? No, it is much. Language is culture. Culture is language. Language is a carrier of culture, expressor of culture. Correct. Yes. So now, if you want to decolonize this, you have to recover your culture. Now do we do that? The first step is the language. No, not even language, sir. I'll tell you the language where this all comes from. You know, where you have to seek the solutions. You have to seek the solutions at home. How many Hindu homes exist today in the real sense of the term? That's a good question. Correct. So there was an English professor or somebody, a nice anecdote, but he was a deeply traditional Hindu. And wherever he went to all even fancy places, he would wear his dhoti, his regular thing, traditional clothes and wear a peta. This was in the 1960s. So wherever he went, so in a flight, one of these colonized Hindus, well, his friend or his colleague or somebody, he met him and he said he was kind of taken aback. He said, yeah, what is this? What is this dressing? You are a professor of English, but look at this, how you have dressed. So he says, sir, English gives me this, you know, my salary. It helps me, you know, my job as English professor gives me the salary and the thing to resources to run my house. But my real roots and most comfortable with this peta and my stone idols. So this was the, he was still rooted. So he knew where to place the English language. So those generations are gone now. If you want to compulsorily, you know, I'm not against this, you know, turning the thing.


Education Post-Independence (42:37)

Sorry, let me put it this way. All Indian languages are dying. Yes, they are dying. Because the Hindu society and the Hindu culture has been, they are dying because Hindu culture has been progressively deracinated and weakened. Your languages will survive only if the Hindu culture, Hindu dharma survives. These are all interconnected webs. If you see a sculpture on a temple, for example, it has a direct connection with Nati Shastra. Nati Shastra. Your classical music, adobe lyrics, they would be meaningless. They wouldn't have been written, they wouldn't have been written without a knowledge of your epics and Puranas. Of course. Yes. So there's a small line in Atyagraj, so he's addressing Rama. And he's basically complaining against Rama that, you know, look at you, you're heartless. An accomplished Vidman, a great grammarian like Hanumantha, who is well versed in all the Shastras, when he comes to meet you for the first time, okay, you're so arrogant that you won't even reply to him. So the words are, Chaddhul Ani Thilisi, Shankaram Shuddhaina. He doesn't mention the name of Hanumantha. He just describes that episode in Ramayana, that first meeting between Hanuman and Rama in Ramayana. In just 10 or 15 letters. So unless you have that entire lore in your mind, in your active consciousness, that will be meaningless otherwise. So when you have to decolonize, you have to decolonize at this level. When you, oh, I'm not a religious Hindu, I'm a spiritual Hindu, it's meaningless. You will neither be religious nor be spiritual in that case. You have to look at everything in a wholesome fashion. Right. Right. So if you take out English, if you replace English with Indian languages, what are the equipment, what is the kind of equipment, what are the ingredients that you have to recover and refashion for your own time? Where when you do this kind of decolonization overnight, it will disrupt the existing order which is based on English education. Absolutely. Yes. It has to be done phase by phase, step by step. So that education begins at home. Right. I don't know how far I've answered this question. But I get what you mean. So it's not going to teach our own kids, our own ways, our own epics, our lore. Our languages. Yes. Right. But what should the government do? What should the government do? You get a government you deserve. Right. So are you optimistic that we will eventually decolonize in a certain timeframe, perhaps? Well, we should all work on an optimism that a better day would come. Otherwise, we wouldn't have been able to recover Ayodhya. True. It took the optimism and hard work of at least two, two and a half generations to achieve what we did in Ayodhya. Right. So the journey ahead will be long and arduous. Yeah. We have to be optimistic. We have to keep on doing this.


Being afraid of the people (46:37)

The thing is that the Hindu civilization is being suppressed. Its energies are being muzzled by the Indian political state. Right. Which is an artificial creation, which never existed until the British came. And it's continuing. It's the same creature. Yeah. Yes. So that but that would have been possible after 1947. We had a good cream of elites in the political system. We had a good opportunity. Opportunity. But look at the caliber of politicians. You show me both at the state and the center level, irrespective of parties, which politician shows even one of basic samskaras, a basic refinement of speech. So this is a character and temperament of our people, sir, for ruling class, ruling class. It all begins there. Right. Ideally, in our conception, which was also lived in real life, they should be in sync. Yes, in sync. Corruption in speech happens after this is corrupted and this is corrupt. Absolutely. Yes. Yes. Right. So show me one such politician. I'm not saying all of them are like that. But what is the crassness? What is the qualification? They are so far removed from the people, which was never the case. They don't want to meet people except during election times. So this was never the case. Amount of centralization that has happened after independence is even worse than during British time. Yes. On the other hand, our kings traditionally, even the princely states, barring some of them, they were not tyrants. Whenever India has been ruled by Hindu king, there was never tyranny. The job of the king was only Dushta Shishana, Shishta Rakshana, punishment of evil, protection of the good people. Everything else constituted. He was the final arbiter of justice and all that. But that, after all the options were over, our method of resolving disputes, as far as possible harsh punishments were not prescribed. So there are two things in this, in jurisprudence, in our tradition. There is danda and there is praishchitta. So sometimes with a small danda, meaning fine or a mild punishment, it would have been solved. Sometimes both are prescribed, meaning you pay a fine and then you go for 15 days to the temple in the village or town or whatever. And every evening you have to compulsively light 50 lamps. What does this do? Every day you have been ordered by somebody, otherwise you will be put in jail or something. So that fear also there. So every day you go and light lamps to the temple. There is a certain culturing already that happens, just standing in front of God. It is a sacred place. What are the chances that this fellow will repeat that crime again? I guess none. Yes. Where is the scope for so? You see how many, at what all levels that this culture operated?


What is the best way to get good people in power? (50:37)

What is the need for this person to go to Supreme Court or to High Court? It is resolved right there. In the village, in the local community, in whatever town or whatever, that is all it is. And most of the times this kind of thing would be decided by, justice would be decided even by the heads of the community. You would not need to go further. That is all. So you keep postponing your adjournments. You do not even know this is an alien system. Totally alien. Right? So if you have five core cases, even if you do not, there is one survey which says that even if no courts in the whole country will accept new cases starting now and it begins to dispose the existing cases, it will take 320 years. Yes, true. And you are talking about judicial corruption, judiciary is being lampooned left and right and they do not care. So where does this corruption happen? Here and here. You know, it is a long-run processor. So you have to get good people, not just qualified people. Not just qualified, good people. Today qualifications are a dime a dozen. It does not matter. Yes. So it is going to be a long process ahead of time. Long process but you have to, like I said, get good people in positions of power. Yes. In the system. In the system. Yes. Right. So that is the remedy. Yes, I am one of the remedies. One of the remedies. One of the most important remedies actually. Any other remedies? I mean, there could be but you know, this is a good starting point because ultimately most of the things flows from political power. Right. So if there is a leader who cannot feel for people, what is the point, sir? There is no hope then. Yes. How many, what, how far can a book take you? Although we have the best design laws and you know, safeguards and checks and balances. Somebody has to implement them. The implementation is the key to everything. Who is the guy? Yes. Right. If you, Praja Vatsalaha, that was the definition, meaning one who is affectionate to the people. Yes. You have a system of over-lordship here.


This system was imported to oppress us (53:11)

Yes. The system is the problem. Yeah. So this, this happens when you blindly, unthinkingly import and impose something that never was born here. Alien to us. Yes. It was a system designed to oppress us. But I mean, that's a fact most of us know. Yes. You, you know, the rulers simply vacated the bungalow and the new oppressors occupied it. Right. Right. Right. Totally. So, you know, it's a once people's minds and eyes toward what's really happening. I hope so. And I hope that the viewers understand where the key to decolonization is. Yes. It's to get good people in positions of power into the system and it starts at home. Yes. Start connecting with your roots again. Absolutely. So, one another key point I forgot to mention in the context of this ruling class. The king, meaning the monarch, a Hindu king was afraid of the people.


Absolute Monarchy And Public Fear

The king had complete power yet they were afraid of the people (54:14)

Afraid. This, when he had absolute power. Okay. We have not, none of us here have lived, you know, under a absolute monarchy. Okay. But there are, there have been generations who have lived under the Mysore Vodares. Okay. Okay. Fine. They were subjects of the British, but they had their own power. The royal monarchial power was still there. And they didn't interfere with the British or go against them. They could pretty much do to their people, whatever they wanted. Okay. Including oppressing them. Okay. In spite of that, they had a healthy respect and fear for the people. I see. Where is that? You're supposed to be elected by popular vote. But ask yourself, are you really popular? You buy the popularity by lying to people. You project a different image of what you are. And to magnify the lie, you hire PR agencies. You see where all this is going. Yes. Yeah. Yeah. That's a big issue. Yes. This might sound idealistic, but if you don't have an ideal to live for, we have to strive for an ideal. We do have to. We may not always reach there, but even if we reach the 80%, that makes a huge difference. Yeah. Might not succeed, but it won't go wrong. Yes, exactly. Something to thank you so much for this incredibly detailed and fascinating conversation. I learned a lot and I hope the audience also learns a lot. Thank you so much. Thanks once again for having me here. Hope you enjoyed the conversation. Please share this on your Twitter, Instagram, and WhatsApp so that this podcast reaches a wider audience.


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