Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh recently toured our end of the Anglosphere, meeting with President Bush to discuss issues of mutual interest to India and the United States. Before that he visited Britain, stopping off at Oxford.
The university awarded Dr. Singh an honorary degree, and his acceptance speech was charming and gracious. At times he seemed to be reading from the Gates of Vienna talking points:
|Today, with the balance and perspective offered by the passage of time and the benefit of hindsight, it is possible for an Indian Prime Minister to assert that India’s experience with Britain had its beneficial consequences too. Our notions of the rule of law, of a Constitutional government, of a free press, of a professional civil service, of modern universities and research laboratories have all been fashioned in the crucible where an age old civilisation met the dominant Empire of the day.|
|These are all elements which we still value and cherish. Our judiciary, our legal system, our bureaucracy and our police are all great institutions, derived from British-Indian administration and they have served the country well.|
|The idea of India as enshrined in our Constitution, with its emphasis on the principles of secularism, democracy, the rule of law and, above all, the equality of all human beings irrespective of caste, community, language or ethnicity, has deep roots in India’s ancient civilisation.|
|However, it is undeniable that the founding fathers of our republic were also greatly influenced by the ideas associated with the age of enlightenment in Europe.|
Dr. Singh reminded his audience of the startling fact that India has the largest number of English-speakers of any country in the world:
|It used to be said that the sun never sets on the British Empire. I am afraid we were partly responsible for sending that adage out of fashion!|
|But, if there is one phenomenon on which the sun cannot set, it is the world of the English speaking people, in which the people of Indian origin are the single largest component.|
|Of all the legacies of the Raj, none is more important than the English language and the modern school system. That is, if you leave out cricket!|
|Of course, people here may not recognise the language we speak, but let me assure you that it is English! In indigenising English, as so many people have done in so many nations across the world, we have made the language our own. Our choice of prepositions may not always be the Queen’s English; we might occasionally split the infinitive; and we may drop an article here and add an extra one there.|
|I am sure everyone will agree, however, that English has been enriched by Indian creativity as well… Today, English in India is seen as just another Indian language.|
All those local dialects of the same language, modified and adapted to serve the needs of commerce and government all over the world… Roll over, Shakespeare!
But Dr. Singh’s tour did not meet with universal approval at home. In an editorial in The Times of India, Percy Fernandez wrote:
|On being asked whether India would expect the United States to say no to Pakistan for a similar nuclear technology agreement that was signed between Bush and Singh, the Indian Prime Minister did say what he had to and rightly, that it’s a decision the United States has to make. But he didn’t stop there. He went on to add that he was realistic enough to recognize the role that terrorist elements have played in the last few years in the history of Pakistan.|
|He also said Taliban was a creation of Pakistan extremists, how Wahabi Islam flourished and, numerous madrassas were set up top to preach this jihad based on hatred of other religions and Pakistan is not a democracy in the sense that we all know. One would not want to doubt the intentions of his remarks but it was the timing and its appropriateness that is fiercely in doubt.|
|Was Dr Singh any different than his predecessor, Prime Minister AB Vajpayee? No, not in any sense. Vajpayee in his address to the US Congress in 2000 said that religious war has been proclaimed to be an instrument of Pakistan’s state policy. He said that he believed forces outside India could use terror to unravel the territorial integrity of India.|
Dr. Singh’s comments seem sensible and commonplace to those of us who urge resistance to the Great Jihad. But India is in the process of a delicate rapprochement with Pakistan, and some members of his own party find the Prime Minister’s remarks less than tactful.
And Dr. Singh has cannons to his right as well. Former Prime Minister Vajpayee is in the Bharatiya Janata Party, which has criticized the Prime Minister for his shameful embrace of India’s former masters:
|The Bharatiya Janata Party has demanded an apology from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for praising the British colonial rule during his speech on Friday at the Oxford University.|
So it is a fine line that must be walked by the Prime Minister of the world’s largest democracy.
Just imagine it: more than a billion people, dozens of languages, several major religions including a large Muslim minority, and still India is a functioning democracy. One can only hold its leaders in awe.
And just next door in Pakistan lies one of the world’s largest concentrations of Muslim extremists and terrorists. The Great Islamic Jihad makes itself felt every day in Kashmir, and the restive Muslim minority in the other parts of India continually pushes the envelope, wanting more space, more rights, more Islam. With the nuclear option hanging over both countries, the diplomatic abilities of Dr. Singh are of great moment indeed.
So I guess the only thing left unsaid is “Singh = Hitler”?
Speaking of English, there’s a list of some Indian contributions to the English vocabulary at Double-Tongued Word Wrester.
Heck, given the part of the world he’s in, it’s more likely to be “Singh=Genghiz Khan”, or even “Singh=Tamburlayne”.
Singh lied! Sikhs died!
One must not forget the numerous poets and writers who contribute to the English language – V.S. Naipaul, Tagore, Rao, and even Salman Rushdie.
The Indians did the smart thing, they got rid of the British but kept the British parliarmentary system. India debunk the myth that poor uneducated non-Western countries cannot achieve democracy.
The Indian people debunk just about every myth about the third world. But remember: they were a highly civilized country, and had been for more than a millenium, when the British came. Very different from most of Africa in that way.
V.S. Naipaul is one of my favorite writers. He is, of course, a West Indian of Indian descent.
Too few Westerners know about the slaughter of Pakistani Hindus as the Muslims continued their conquest of Asia. One of Dr. Singh’s American relatives lives here in the D.C. area and, this past spring, helped to rally support from the Hindu local community with regard to a new world-studies textbook, which omitted the Muslims-Pakistani connection. It remains to be seen if the new teaching unit will actually be implemented in the classroom, but the Hindus here managed to get the unit adopted by the County school system.
Dr. Singh does indeed walk a fine line in this world of political correctness.
Hindus were in effect slaves to their muslim masters till the advent of the British. Were it not for Britain, it is certain that India would be a muslim country, and Pakistan and Bangladesh would not exist as a consequence. There would now be a contnuous stretch of muslim countries, from Indonesia to Morocco.
V.S. Naipaul muses on the effects of islam, on the minds of the muslims. Islam closed the minds of the subjugated, it humiliated them to an extent that they lost all pride in their native history and culture. In such conditions, it is impossible to to be original in thought. So it was, that even with the Hindus, most Hindu original thinking ceased after the muslim conquest. Such effects are identical to the effects of what is identified as “traditional slavery”.
Such a catastrophe on the cultural consciousness of a people, has a very long lasting effect. It has taken 250 years or more, till its effects were suffuciently ameliorated in India, and Hindus once again show signs of creative energy.
This leads on to the nature of Islam. Islam not as a religion, but its reality. Is it islamosfascism, islamo-nazism, or some other totalitarian ideology? None of these titles are sufficient to merit an immuno-response from the West.
I feel that islam is really akin to slavery. Islam and those who convert to it, effectively become slaves. Islam = submission = subjugation, is not coincidence. Wherever islam dominates, slothful attitudes start to dominate. Free thinking stops, and the people become mere cogs, almost children, dependent on the cleric on matters of any substance. Muslims are thus the first victims in this institution of slavery. I would therefore term Islam as the “religion of institutionalised slavery”. It is no surprise that muslim countries are intellectual deserts. And so are the places in England where muslims are the dominant community. These places are like the slums they were supposed to have left behind in Bangladesh or whatever. Free thinking can only occur in Free societies.
Just as an afterthought. Runaway slaves used to be beaten, and oft executed as a lesson to other would be runaway slaves. The same punishment is koranically sanctioned for the muslim apostate. Is it mere coincidence?
I’m tentatively putting this hypothesis, that islam is really a religion for slavery, and to garner more slaves, is the purpose of Jihad. Slave society can only exist economically, if it continues to grow at the expense of Free societies, and thus get the succour that itself, it cannot produce. We were fooled into letting Islam into the domain of Freedom. Islam avoided the radar that protects Free societies, as it cloaked itself as a religion. (The radars needs to be re-programmed).
To fight the cultural and physical war against islam, one needs an identifying cause, a just cause, a righteous cause, as Baron Bodissey put it. Defence or offence on the basis of Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, or an amalgam of all three, will not work. All three religions are pacifist.
However, Freedom and slavery can never co-exist. Islam in its practice, turns out to be the oldest totalitarian ideology of all – slavery, with just the added but genius touch, that it is divinely sanctioned by allah.
Freedom against slavery is a cause that unites all, including the few right minded muslims that have not been conditioned enough. In the defence of freedom, society can do virtually anything it wants, to defend, as well as extend the boundaries of Freedom. No other moral justification is required for what is deemed necessary.
Just a thought.
Your hypothesis about Islam and slavery is something to think about. Of course, despotic ideologies always enslave, because enslavement empowers the ruling class.
I’ve also noticed in my study of Islam that Arabs desire to enslave black Africans. Is there Koranic “justification” for that, along the lines of the sons of Ham will be servants (if I remember that Southern argument properly)?
You wrote “We were fooled into letting Islam into the domain of Freedom. Islam avoided the radar that protects Free societies, as it cloaked itself as a religion.” Indeed!
Let me toss out this comment….Some Christian Arabs believe that Islam is Satanic in origin. One evangelical Arab points out that the voice of an angel doesn’t come from a human’s mouth, yet Mohammed claimed that the voice of the angel spoke through him, This evangelical states that when a spirit’s voice comes from the mouth of a human is a demonic possession.
Wasn’t Allah originally a moon god? Was this a god of the group which the Old Testament referred to as the Canaanites?
pd111 (or DP111) If you are forced to pray five times a day, repetition of the words must have a dulling effect on the brain leading to inability to think properly and subsequent apathy which itself is a type of dementia.
I no longer bother trying to relate Islamism to any other ideology. Islamism practised by Islamists is an ideology devoted to the eradication of all other cultures and religions. That is its raison de’etre. It has no scientific, mathematical, philosophical, economic or artistic basis. Say for instance the Islamists get their worldwide caliphate and everything is the way they say they want it, (once the Shi’ites get rid of the Sunnis or the other way around) and they can expand nowhere. What then?
Your identifying the slave mentality of Islamists may have something in it. Islamism’s disguise as a religion with submission to an almighty being is familiar to us and acceptable as such but some fine tuning into the difference between philosophical freedom of will and mental slavery might produce something. I can’t do it. My head hurts from posting this.
Singh is one of the generation of leaders who grew up under foreign rule. These people will never overcome their slave mentality.
They still rule because they take advantage of the Indian respect for elders.
During British rule an American author who visited India in 1908 – wrote an article in the Atlantic Monthly estimating that 18 million Indians had died in famines created by British misrule.
The New Nationalist Movement in India
by Jabez T. Sunderland
The Atlantic Monthly; October, 1908; The New Nationalist Movement in India; Volume 102, No. 4; pages 526-535
“During the first eighty years of the nineteenth century, 18,000,000 of people perished of famine. In one year alone — the year when her late Majesty assumed the title of Empress — 5,000,000 of the people in Southern India were starved to death. In the District of Bellary, with which I am personally acquainted, — a region twice the size of Wales, — one-fourth of the population perished in the famine of 1816-77. I shall never forget my own famine experiences: how, as I rode out on horseback, morning after morning, I passed crowds of wandering skeletons, and saw human corpses by the roadside, unburied, uncared for, and half devoured by dogs and vultures; how, sadder sight still, children, ‘the joy of the world,’ as the old Greeks deemed, had become its ineffable sorrow, and were forsaken by the very women who had borne them, wolfish hunger killing even the maternal instinct. Those children, their bright eyes shining from hollow sockets, their nesh utterly wasted away, and only gristle and sinew and cold shivering skin remaining, their heads mere skulls, their puny frames full of loathsome diseases, engendered by the starvation in which they had been conceived and born and nurtured — they haunt me still.” Every one who has gone much about India in famine times knows how true to life is this picture.
What is the cause of these famines, and this appalling increase in their number and destructiveness? The common answer is, the failure of the rains. But there seems to be no evidence that the rains fail worse now than they did a hundred years ago. Moreover, why should failure of rains bring famine? The rains have never failed over areas so extensive as to prevent the raising of enough food in the land to supply the needs of the entire population. Why then have people starved? Not because there was lack of food. Not because there was lack of food in the famine areas, brought by railways or otherwise within easy reach of all. There has always been plenty of food, even in the worst famine years, for those who have had money to buy it with, and generally food at moderate prices. Why, then, have all these millions of people perished? Because they were so indescribably poor.
What causes this awful and growing impoverishment of the Indian people? Said John Bright, “If a country be found possessing a most fertile soil, and capable of bearing every variety of production, and, notwithstanding, the people are in a state of extreme destitution and suffering, the chances are there is some fundamental error in the government of that country.”
One cause of India’s impoverishment is heavy taxation. Taxation in England and Scotland is high, so high that Englishmen and Scotchmen complain bitterly. But the people of India are taxed more than twice as heavily as the people of England and three times as heavily as those of Scotland. According to the latest statistics at hand, those of 1905, the annual average income per person in India is about $6.00, and the annual tax per person about $2.00. Think of taxing the American people to the extent of one-third their total income! Yet such taxation here, unbearable as it would be, would not create a tithe of the suffering that it does in India, because incomes here are so immensely larger than there. Here it would cause great hardship, there it creates starvation.
Notice the single item of salt-taxation. Salt is an absolute necessity to the people, to the very poorest; they must have it or die. But the tax upon it which for many years they have been compelled to pay has been much greater than the cost value of the salt. Under this taxation the quantity of salt consumed has been reduced actually to one-half the quantity declared by medical authorities to be absolutely necessary for health. The mere suggestion in England of a tax on wheat sufficient to raise the price of bread by even a half-penny on the loaf, creates such a protest as to threaten the overthrow of ministries. Lately the salt-tax in India has been reduced, but it still remains well-nigh prohibitive to the poorer classes. With such facts as these before us, we do not wonder at Herbert Spencer’s indignant protest against the “grievous salt-monopoly” of the Indian Government, and “the pitiless taxation which wrings from poor ryob nearly half the products of the soil.”
Needless to say our generation is not like that – notice that those ol farts are not the ones who have competed with the West in the Computer Software industry.
We _MIGHT_ ally with the west, but it will be on OUR TERMS.
Ik said ‘we might ally with the west but it will be on our terms’ – You might have no choice.
You are right jude – Its just that I was pissed off at our Prime Minister for saying what he did. I don’t think any of us is going to have much of a choice considering the nature of Islamofascism and the present Chinses regime (Please note I have nothing against ordinary Chinese people who are perfectly decent chaps)