Nirpal Dhaliwal, the man (and I use this term loosely) who once wrote such a crap review of Gautam Malkani’s Londonstani that we had to eviscerate it. The Evening Standard eventually got someone else to review it.
He has now written an article for the Daily Mail titled: Britain has no need to make an apology to India for Empire…
I won’t go into too much detail into why this is absolute horseshit. Though, in the comments of that article, PP contributor Jai has already torn him apart.
1. Dhaliwal claims: “After 800 years of Mughal rule…”
Jai: Completely false. The Mughals only arrived in India in the late 15th century, via Babur, the first Mughal emperor. And he was from the region now called Uzbekistan.
Due to the frequent intermarriages with Hindu Rajput royalty which the Mughals subsequently engaged in, within a couple of generations they had become heavily “Indianised” both culturally and “ethnically”. This became so prevalent that in terms of his specific ancestry, the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan (who built the Taj Mahal) was actually ¾ Rajput. They were certainly not “foreigners” by this time, by any stretch of the imagination.
2. Dhaliwal claims: “For all the artistic refinement and opulence of India’s past rulers – and their poetry, music, and the magnificence of the Taj Mahal are testament to that – they oversaw a period of general barbarism in which the ordinary Indian was no more than a starving chattel.”
Jai: More Victorian-era propaganda. India and China have been estimated by modern Western historians to have jointly been responsible for half the world’s entire GDP until the colonial era. It was the reason that British traders went there in the first place, a disproportionate number of whom are recorded in the East India Company’s own archives as embracing the Mughal-aristocracy-influenced Indian Muslim culture right up until the end of the 18th century. The increasing numbers of British people present during that era certainly didn’t view it as “a period of general barbarism”, including those at the most senior levels of the EIC.
3. Dhaliwal claims: “Delhi was razed eight times in that period and great pyramids were constructed with the skulls of its inhabitants.”
Jai: You’re confusing the Mughals with multiple previous groups purely on the basis of them all being Muslims, specifically invaders such as Timur (known in the West as “Tamburlane”) and the Afghan predecessors of the Delhi Sultans. These were all completely separate historical groups. The false conflation in this article is the equivalent of someone blaming historical British people for the actions of the Conquistadors in Latin America just because they all happened to be Christians.
4. Dhaliwal claims: “The fact that Christianity is very much accepted in India”
Jai: There have actually been settled communities of Christians in India for centuries longer than there have been Christians in northern Europe (including Britain). Christianity didn’t suddenly arrive in India during the colonial era.
5. Dhaliwal claims: “Because Islam permits the enslavement of non-Muslims”.
Jai: As a fellow person of Indian Sikh ancestry, you should be perfectly aware that Islam is not a monolithic, homogenous religion, especially in terms of the subcontinent and its history. The major Sufi orders which developed in north India during the later Delhi Sultanate and also during the Mughal era had a very different message. Many of these involved Muslim Sufi figures who are still revered by Indians from all religious backgrounds, including Sikhs; the Guru Granth Sahib, the Sikh scriptures, includes numerous hymns by some of these historical Muslims, along with Islamic names for God. Guru Nanak originally forcefully objected to the chaos caused by Babur’s war with — and eventual overthrow of — the Delhi Sultanate, but is recorded by Sikh historians as later becoming on very good terms with him, and even blessed him that the Mughal dynasty would flourish as long as they ruled fairly and with tolerance.
6. Dhaliwal claims: “In 1846, the British commissioner, John Lawrence, told the local elite that Punjabis”
Jai: Interesting that you conveniently omit the fact that the 1840s included two extremely bloody wars of aggression by the EIC against the Sikhs, resulting in the annexation of a huge region of north Indian territory under Sikh rule and the overthrow of Maharajah Duleep Singh. Not to mention the implementation of divide & rule policies in the region for the next hundred years – the legacy of which also seems to be horribly reflected in the contents of your own article.
I could go on, but you get the picture. None of my comments are mere speculation; the areas involving Muslims in particular are confirmed by internationally-acclaimed modern British historians as diverse as Niall Ferguson and William Dalrymple, whose writings are backed up not only by Indian historical records but also a huge number of British military, administrative, commercial and civilian sources going right back to the 1600s.
It’s easy to pick holes and point out that Nirpal Dhaliwal is a historically illiterate buffoon who says things merely so he can make right-wingers feel good about their shameful past. The Daily Mail, which tried to whitewash fascists in the 1930s, doesn’t care much for history – only political propaganda.
He also wrote How Feminism is destroying real men and more recently How wet white liberals became the ultimate black joke – now reckons he’s going to lecture others on history as well.
He’s becoming a minor poster-child for right-wing loons looking for a token non-white face to play out their culture wars. Maybe they should look for someone who at least knows some facts about history eh?
|Post to del.icio.us|
Filed in: History,Media,Race politics