“They wanted independence, they got it. Why are they complaining?”


by Sunny
5th April, 2011 at 11:50 pm    

Apparently David Cameron has gone to Pakistan and admitted the obvious: that a lot of the world is shaped by Britain’s past and therefore it has responsibility for some of its ills.

This doesn’t mean the UK has to constantly apologise or pay reparations necessarily: it’s just a fact. The partition fiasco was precipitated by the British Raj’s hurried exit, which forced millions of people to uproot themselves and move in a matter of weeks or days. hat led to huge riots and deaths. Almost every Indian and Pakistani knows this.

Anyway, what caught my eye was this quote by Sean Gabb of the Libertarian Alliance (who?):

It’s a valid historical point that some problems stem from British foreign policy in the 19th and 20th centuries, but should we feel guilty about that? I fail to see why we should.

Some of these problems came about because these countries decided they did not want to be part of the British Empire. They wanted independence. They got it. They should sort out their problems instead of looking to us.

Sorry what? Does Gabb know how many people died in that fight for independence? The eedjit seems to think it was some sort of a bloodless transfer of power that took place when one side had enough.

Where do they find these politically and historically illiterate pricks to comment on national newspapers?


              Post to del.icio.us


Filed in: Current affairs,South Asia






43 Comments below   |  

Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. sunny hundal

    Blogged: : "They wanted independence, they got it. Why are they complaining?" http://bit.ly/gTtreH


  2. Marcus Smith

    RT @sunny_hundal: Blogged: : "They wanted independence, they got it. Why are they complaining?" http://bit.ly/gTtreH




  1. Nicola — on 6th April, 2011 at 12:01 am  

    Its not that they are illiterate, its they don’t know their history. Literacy is to do with how well they read & write not to do with whether they can get their facts right.

  2. Dilettante — on 6th April, 2011 at 12:27 am  

    I think the wars of independence are beside the point that Sean is trying to make. His point is simply that given that these countries desired independence, being independent means standing on your own feet and dealing with your own problems.

    It isn’t that he’s whitewashing the wars of independence, they are just beside the point he’s making.

  3. Sunny — on 6th April, 2011 at 12:33 am  

    being independent means standing on your own feet and dealing with your own problems.

    But that’s an irrelevant point to make, since neither India nor Pakistan want the UK to start interfering in their affairs again.

    As for poverty – yes, it turns out there’s a lot of it in those countries. That is partly also a consequence of the British Raj. Just a fact.

  4. Kiwi — on 6th April, 2011 at 4:32 am  

    So much is blamed on (and admitted to)the British Empire.

    What about the colonisation of the ME,northern shores of the Med, Spain, the Mediterranean islands, the Mahgreb, Afghanistan, much of India by the Arabs who foisted Islam and Islamoc culture upon them.

    Who colonised and subdued the Balkan countries (Turkey in Europe).

    At least we admit our failures – what has Islam ever admitted to when it is so obvious that the failure of Islamic countries is due to the regressive ideology that was born in the deserts of Arabia?

    And so many muslims seem to gravitate to Britain – the land they seem to hate but prefer to live in.

    When is Saudi Arabia going to admit the the horror that their ideology gave the world and make recompense to those it subdued, robbed and raped with its Islamic warriors?

  5. Boyo — on 6th April, 2011 at 5:43 am  

    Your point about the haste of partition is one perspective, but as Wikipedia points out…

    “Some critics allege that British haste led to the cruelties of the Partition. Because independence was declared prior to the actual Partition, it was up to the new governments of India and Pakistan to keep public order. No large population movements were contemplated; the plan called for safeguards for minorities on both sides of the new border. It was a task at which both states failed.”

    To say it was “precipitated” is probably true, but that the UK was at fault? It’s also relevant to the Libertarian bloke.

    I think it’s tremendously disingenuous to argue the UK is not responsible for many of the world’s current problems, mainly in the ME and Africa, where it created borders, meddled in governments, extracted resources etc, thereby making independence actually a poison chalice – setting peoples up to fail, particularly in Africa.

    On the other hand, I think there is an argument that if the UK hadn’t done it someone else would. There are very few Peoples whose hands are clean – empires rise and fall and are exploited in their turn. Some could say the UK has for the past 50 years been part of the American Empire, and exploited accordingly.

  6. cjcjc — on 6th April, 2011 at 5:52 am  

    “Just a fact”. No doubt they would both be as rich and peaceful as Switzerland otherwise. Of course.

    At what point has enough time passed for us to say that our fault (though of course, if there is any fault, it isn’t “ours”) is done?

    No doubt the year 2525 according to you, if then.

  7. Rumbold — on 6th April, 2011 at 8:16 am  

    Gabb’s statement is pretty idiotic and glib. The Telegraph deserves some criticism too, as they clearly rooted around for anyone to offer a contrary view.

    The main criticism shouldn’t be directed at Britain’s role in the subcontinent’s partition (it was unclear how much control they had at that point), but rather their previous record in India, especially after WWI, when an Indian natio had just sent millions to fight for the British and the time was ripe for at the very least dominion status with free and fair elections. Instead what they got were massacres, racism and general repression.

  8. Kismet Hardy — on 6th April, 2011 at 8:17 am  

    Brits went to other countries, took the wealth off the common man. common wealth my arse.

    I liked Russell Peters’ quip: When the British suddenly left India, we were like: where are you going? We’re coming with you…

    Dominoes is more than a pizza

  9. Kismet Hardy — on 6th April, 2011 at 8:21 am  

    “being independent means standing on your own feet and dealing with your own problems.”

    Yeah, but it also means lining up the folk that subjugated you for so long up against the wall, whitewashed or otherwise

  10. MaidMarian — on 6th April, 2011 at 8:36 am  

    ‘a lot of the world is shaped by Britain’s past and therefore it has responsibility for some of its ills.’

    Cobblers Sunny. Unless, of course you think that the people in the ex-Empires are too backward to move on in six decades.

    Regardless, I need to take up the matter of colonial compensation with some Romans if you will excuse me.

  11. Nadeem — on 6th April, 2011 at 8:47 am  

    But the important question here is what does Nirpal Dhaliwal think?

  12. Kismet Hardy — on 6th April, 2011 at 8:59 am  

    Ha ha ha!

  13. Kismet Hardy — on 6th April, 2011 at 9:38 am  

    PS. MaidM, your example of taking issue with the romans is a bit silly. History has to have a cut off point in terms of taking responsibility and retribution. If your family and mine are having an on-going fued over your great-great-great grandfather staring at my great-great-great grandmother’s goat, then we can say ‘c’mon, let bygones be bygones, let’s hug’. But when it’s as recent as your grandfather forcing my grandfather to grow poppies instead of rice, and who subsequently raised poor kids some of whom literally died of poverty where once they had a lineage, I think I’m within my rights to hold a grudge

  14. Cynical/Realist? — on 6th April, 2011 at 9:42 am  

    @10 & 6 – Is 6 decades really ‘enough’ time for us to wring our hands of it? What time frame do you propose? Is it really as simple to you as the point of independance is where all responsibility for past misdeeds stops?

    Are you really saying that the colonial powers of Europe didn’t leave behind any legacy that left many of today’s nations in a hugely weak position to develop themselves? That they haven’t faced a situation where they are swimming against the tide in any way?

    Our nation and many others in Europe and beyond do hold some reponsibility and its right that we work with other countries to help them.

  15. MaidMarian — on 6th April, 2011 at 9:54 am  

    Kismet – ‘But when it’s as recent as your grandfather forcing my grandfather to grow poppies instead of rice, and who subsequently raised poor kids some of whom literally died of poverty where once they had a lineage, I think I’m within my rights to hold a grudge.’

    Yeah, but my grandad spent a big part of his life down a coal mine and raised poor kids. This is the worst kind of identity politics.

    Knock the chip off your shoulder.

    Cynical/Realist – ‘Is 6 decades really ‘enough’ time for us to wring our hands of it?’

    Yes.

  16. Phil Ruse — on 6th April, 2011 at 11:31 am  

    Oh come of it, Sunny! It’s quite clearly a reference to the bloody upheaval as a result of the partition of India & the continued problems some still have to ‘democracy’ today. In this context it’s a perfectly valid comment. He does say “some” after all! Or are you going to take the polarised view that it’s “all” the fault of Britain?!

    Incidentally, since India is the largest democracy in the world, who should take credit for that ;-)

  17. Golam Murtaza — on 6th April, 2011 at 11:48 am  

    Patrick French’s ‘Liberty or Death’ is a good read when it comes to understanding the road to Partition. His conclusions on Mountbatten are interesting. He argues that Mountbatten came along far too late in the proceedings to exercise the sort of influence that people have since credited him with.

    My own dad’s family were very badly affected by Partition, but my father doesn’t just blame the British. He blames a whole bunch of factors.

  18. Sunny — on 6th April, 2011 at 12:09 pm  

    Cobblers Sunny. Unless, of course you think that the people in the ex-Empires are too backward to move on in six decades.

    That’s a pretty idiotic response. Both India and Pakistan have made plenty of mistakes over the past 6 decades, hence keeping them in poverty. Did I deny that above?

    But who was responsible for partition, the ambiguous situation in Kashmir and the non-creation of Bangladesh?

  19. Sunny — on 6th April, 2011 at 12:11 pm  

    “Just a fact”. No doubt they would both be as rich and peaceful as Switzerland otherwise. Of course.

    India was one of the richest countries in the world pre-industrialisation.

    Might want to check out the history book cjcjc. Looks like Sean Gabb is your ideological buddy. Maybe you’ve finally found a political party you can join

  20. MaidMarian — on 6th April, 2011 at 12:18 pm  

    Sunny –

    ‘That’s a pretty idiotic response.’

    Charming.

    ‘Both India and Pakistan have made plenty of mistakes over the past 6 decades, hence keeping them in poverty. Did I deny that above?’

    You did not.

    ‘But who was responsible for partition, the ambiguous situation in Kashmir and the non-creation of Bangladesh?’

    It most certainly is not me. Don’t get me wrong here Sunny – if you have some reason why it is that the locals can’t sort out local problems in 60 years, I’d be very interested to hear your arguments.

    As a piece of historical analysis, this is all well and good. As a piece of contemporary identity politics, this needs to be knocked on the head immediately.

    Best I can suggest is that you go and take it up with Clement Attlee.

  21. Ravi Naik — on 6th April, 2011 at 12:54 pm  

    As for poverty – yes, it turns out there’s a lot of it in those countries. That is partly also a consequence of the British Raj. Just a fact.

    Poverty in India is the saddest legacy of the British Raj. Up to 1700, the Indian subcontinent was more wealthy than all European countries combined, with 25% of the world’s GDP. In 1945, it accounted 3%.

  22. Sunny — on 6th April, 2011 at 12:58 pm  

    It most certainly is not me.

    Who said it was?

    Best I can suggest is that you go and take it up with Clement Attlee.

    The next time someone say – “we fought the Nazis” – I suppose you’ll turn around and say: “no actually we didn’t, take it up with Winston Churchill”.

  23. Boyo — on 6th April, 2011 at 1:06 pm  

    “But who was responsible for partition, the ambiguous situation in Kashmir and the non-creation of Bangladesh?”

    Wasn’t that Jinnah? I read Mountbatten said if he had known Jinnah was terminally ill he would have delayed the process to avoid Partition. My understanding it was Jinnah who pressed for it, so perhaps you should take it up with… whatever. Also wasn’t Kashmir the fault of the Sikh ruler, who chose to go with india rather than Pakistan?

  24. Boyo — on 6th April, 2011 at 1:08 pm  

    “Up to 1700, the Indian subcontinent was more wealthy than all European countries combined, with 25% of the world’s GDP. In 1945, it accounted 3%.”

    Er, quite possibly, but the world had changed quite a lot by then because of things like industrialisation, the colonisation of the US etc…?

  25. Rumbold — on 6th April, 2011 at 1:38 pm  

    The GDP % argument is quite misleading (though it is impossible to say how India would have developed economically without Britain). As Boyo said, the fall in the share of GDP (as opposed to actual GDP) reflects industrialisation in Europe, and the rise of Japan and the US.

    Industrialisation happened first in Britain largely because of high labour costs, access to capital, and relatively cheap fuel (coal) costs made industrialisation economically viable. The same cannot be said of India, which had a massive labour pool combined with high energy cost. And despite all this, industrialisation helped bring Britain to the brink of revolution, because the coming of the machines initially put large numbers out of work. It would have been very difficult for anyone in India to have tried to replicate this.

    That is not to say that Britain was good for India’s economic development, just that the comparison between % of world GDP is largely pointless.

  26. Kismet Hardy — on 6th April, 2011 at 2:10 pm  

    “Knock the chip off your shoulder.”

    Maid Marian, it ain’t my chip. But this is a political site, no? Which means I can speak my opinion on behalf of a people and I can say ‘you’ while offering an example in reference to a wider body of people who shares a differing opinion, rather than about you personally. So perhaps you might want to cut out the megalomania? And in this instance ‘you’ refers to you old chap :-)

  27. KJB — on 6th April, 2011 at 2:45 pm  

    Kismet – MM makes a point of coming on here – a site which is still very much about catering for a particular identity (South Asian) and telling us to, er, not be influenced by our backgrounds, so just ignore him. LMAO @ your RP quote!

    Boyo, you might not want to use Wikipedia as a credible historical source. It hardly lends your point weight.

    I notice that there are a lot of non-Asians here missing the point completely. Case in point:

    Regardless, I need to take up the matter of colonial compensation with some Romans if you will excuse me.

    I’m sorry – do you actually know anything about the differences between Roman and British imperialism? Have you read Bryce and Lucas (if no-one else) on the subject?

    Go read some history, and then you might see why you are tragically missing the point. How many of you know about the Bangladeshi famine? Jallianwala Bagh? Prince Duleep Singh? Not to mention the frankly disgusting way the British sold Indian women out over their rights, over and over again. Do you even know about the ‘martial races’ concept? Have you read Macauley’s minute on education, or even Gandhi’s autobiography?

    If not, your opinions are worth about as much as Katie Price’s on AV. I’m about 90% sure that the only non-Asian remotely qualified to comment here is Rumbold.

    Ravi – I would actually argue that identity politics was the saddest legacy of the British Raj.

    Sean Gabb has given me yet more confirmation that libertarians are racist fuckwits that should be avoided at all costs.

    Incidentally, since India is the largest democracy in the world, who should take credit for that

    Nehru, Gandhi, Ambedkar, Bhagat Singh, etc.

  28. Boyo — on 6th April, 2011 at 3:05 pm  

    The Greeks, actually, Big Nose.

  29. jamal — on 6th April, 2011 at 4:47 pm  

    Pakistan has never really been independent it has always been dictated to by outside powers today it is america calling the shots.

    Britain giving money is pointless you might as well throw it on a bonfire same result will happen.
    Until a revolution hits pakistan, things will not change.

    India still has huge poverty issues, but at least they have developed to a greater degree by protecting itself from outside interference since “independence”.

  30. Sunny — on 6th April, 2011 at 5:01 pm  

    My understanding it was Jinnah who pressed for it, so perhaps you should take it up with… whatever.

    The point isn’t about partition itself (which was fairly inevitable) but about how it was handled and way it was carved up without much thinking and with much haste. That led to massacres which the British Raj is responsible for precipitating.

    Er, quite possibly, but the world had changed quite a lot by then because of things like industrialisation, the colonisation of the US etc…?

    sure – but its important to recognise that the UK used colonisation to get access to materials and resources during industrialisation, which fuelled its own growth and vast army.

  31. Jai — on 6th April, 2011 at 5:07 pm  

    Also wasn’t Kashmir the fault of the Sikh ruler, who chose to go with india rather than Pakistan?

    The ruler at the time wasn’t a Sikh, he was a Hindu. Sikh rule over Kashmir was terminated after the East India Company deliberately launched two wars of aggression against the prevailing Sikh power in north & northwest India during the mid-19th century, subsequently annexing the vast territory involved and deposing the Sikh royal family.

    Ravi – I would actually argue that identity politics was the saddest legacy of the British Raj.

    Indeed. One particularly relevant example whose consequences are with us to this day involves the aforementioned region under Maharajah Ranjit Singh : The 3 most senior advisors in his government were all Muslims, as were more than 50 senior commanders in his army, and thousands more Muslim soldiers within the military as a whole. After the maharajah’s death and in response to the EIC’s subsequent expansionist aggression, the Sikhs, Muslims and Hindus of the region continued to fight side by side against the EIC.

    After their eventual military defeat, systematic “divide & rule” colonial policies deliberately focusing on identity politics were implemented for generations, and we all know what happened afterwards.

  32. Jai — on 6th April, 2011 at 5:10 pm  

    Industrialisation happened first in Britain largely because of high labour costs, access to capital, and relatively cheap fuel (coal) costs made industrialisation economically viable. The same cannot be said of India, which had a massive labour pool combined with high energy cost. And despite all this, industrialisation helped bring Britain to the brink of revolution, because the coming of the machines initially put large numbers out of work. It would have been very difficult for anyone in India to have tried to replicate this.

    The specific reason that industrialisation was triggered in Britain was because of huge consumer demand for the superior textiles which had been imported from India since the 17th century. This eventually resulted in protectionist political activism in the 18th century along with the associated policies. Mechanisation of textile mass production in Britain (as opposed to India) and subsequent industrialisation followed on from that, as per the reasons quoted above.

    Incidentally, since India is the largest democracy in the world, who should take credit for that

    The Indians. In the same way that credit for the United States currently being the most powerful democracy in the world belongs to the Americans first and foremost.

  33. AbuF — on 6th April, 2011 at 5:46 pm  

    Sean Gabb holds views as barking mad as his adherence to an organisation called the “Libertarian Alliance” might suggest. His opus magnum is a tome all about how Britain has gone to the dogs because we are led by crypto-Marxist, long-haired layabouts. This from the puff:

    An Anglican Bishop nearly arrested for stating Church doctrine. Villagers actually arrested for making fun of gypsies. Museums stripped of “imperialist” symbols. This is life in the England of today.

    “Political correctness gone mad” some will say. Not so, says Sean Gabb. In this book, he explains how England in particular, and the English-speaking world in general, have been conquered from within.

    We face a new ruling class made up of the student radicals of the 1960s and 70s. Now in power, they are creating in their own behaviour all the corruption and bigotry and hypocrisy that they falsely alleged against the liberal democratic rulers they have replaced.

    The man’s views are risible and mad.

  34. Cluebot — on 7th April, 2011 at 10:36 am  

    But who was responsible for partition,

    Gandhi.

    the ambiguous situation in Kashmir

    Nehru.

    and the non-creation of Bangladesh?

    Jinnah.

  35. Jai — on 7th April, 2011 at 11:12 am  

    But who was responsible for partition,

    Gandhi.

    Historically completely false. Gandhi unequivocally opposed Partition, to the extent that he recommended giving the position of India’s first PM to Jinnah himself if that would prevent it. Gandhi was also so depressed by Partition that he refused to take part in India’s celebrations to mark its independence.

  36. Soso — on 8th April, 2011 at 5:11 pm  

    Well, I challenge any Pakistani commenters here complaining about the evils of British colonialism to put their money where their mouths are and move back there.

    My ancestors left tyranny and moved to a British administered country back in the 1800s precisely because the British were running it.

    British colonialism was a laregly positive development, one that brought many benefits to backward and stagnant societies.

    Pakistan is a mess because it’s a muslim majority country. It can no longer even feed itself, but it DOES have nuclear weapons, such are its insane priorities. It has been going downhill right from the beginning in 1947.

    Contrast that with the rise of China.

    Are they complaining about European colonialism? Do their waste their time wallowing in self pity and blaming others for any problems they may have?

  37. Soso — on 8th April, 2011 at 5:19 pm  

    Pakistan has never really been independent it has always been dictated to by outside powers today it is america calling the shots.

    America feeds Pakistan. Without the billions and billions in free money and food aid, half of Pakistan would have died of hunger by now.

    And was it America that told Pakistan to spend half its national budget building nukes? Several decades back a certain Pakistani P.M. stated that Pakistan would acquire nuclear weapons even if meant its population would have to eat grass.

    The only thing that can save Pakistan is a massive move our of Islam for the majority of its residents, but Islam was the very reason it was created.

  38. joe90 — on 8th April, 2011 at 7:52 pm  

    post #36

    If the kenyan’s complain of the mau mau massacre or people complain of british brutality and raping the resources during the british raj your answer is go back where you came from?????

    Isn’t that what the bnp say!

    China is a country which is independent that’s the difference dude, they don’t have USA dictating to them who will be next ruler or what economic policies they must follow.

    I disagree with your assertion that pakistan cannot feed itself on what facts are these based?

    5th biggest milk producer, rice and wheat production it is 8 and 9th worlds biggest producers, meat, sugar cane, fruit list goes on. It has 4th largest land mass agriculture ready, but majority of this is owned by feudal landlords who just hold onto it doing nothing.

    in terms of resources

    worlds 2nd largest coal reserves

    3rd largest gas reserves estimated at 52.7 TCF.

    So it is capitalism and lack of distribution that is the problem majority of the population doesn’t see any benefit from the abundance of resources it has.

  39. abdul abulbul emir — on 10th April, 2011 at 12:53 pm  

    Mrs A says:

    Do you think that the people of this country will ever fight for freedom and independence Abdul ?

    After all they have been under the conqueror’s boot since 1066 and still get a lousy deal.

    Their children are kept stupid and illiterate and they have to sufer the indignity of loads of lesser breeds coming in (not us Abdul – the others) and taking their jobs and then acting all hoity toity as if they deserve something better than the sat upon natives..

    And then you get photos in the press showing their ghastly politicians smarming all over the incomers’ kids as if they were something special.

    If I were a true Brit I’d puke up.

    Hush I say Mrs A please remember that walls have ears and streets CCTV cameras and we can’t be too careful
    … (hunching my shoulders like a real down trodden Brit)

    Peace.

  40. Daria — on 20th April, 2011 at 5:12 pm  

    is it always muslim strategy – to blame the others, the infidels? looks like that

  41. StrangelyPsych — on 22nd April, 2011 at 3:21 am  

    Some of these problems came about because these countries decided they did not want to be part of the British Empire. They wanted independence. They got it

    Maybe someone should force their way into Sean Gabb’s house, shit on his carpet and leave when Sean asks them to.
    When Sean bitches about how there’s a stinky on his floor said person should use his wonderful argument ‘Hey I didn’t want to leave – but you asked me to – it’s not my fault your house stinks – it’s yours for asking me to leave…’

    That doesn’t change the fact that that person forced their way into his home and took over – a home that existed well before the ‘take-over’…problems and all.

    Sean’s argument almost implies that it was Britain’s right to do whatever it wanted as if the entire subcontinent (and every other heathen colony) was owned by HMG since the dawn of time.

    I don’t think any Brit alive today needs to feel responsible or guilty but to arrogantly suggest that it’s the Savage’s fault for not embracing The Master is rather asinine.

    Sean’s words are more applicable to any ex-colony that invited an Empire to take over, then bitched and asked them to leave.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Pickled Politics © Copyright 2005 - 2010. All rights reserved. Terms and conditions.
With the help of PHP and Wordpress.