Saturday 30 March 2024

Taylor Sherman & the myth of Bhoodan

 In a previous post I explained why Taylor Sherman's 'seven myths' about Nehru were themselves myths. People who lived through the period understood what was happening better than current historians doing wholly useless 'archival research'.

In this post I will look in detail at another revisionist account given by Sherman of 'Sarvodaya' which Indians knew to be shit. That is why, after Indira returned to power, nobody raised a peep when Buta Singh put the boot into various Gandhian NGOs. 

A Gandhian answer to the threat of communism? Sarvodaya and postcolonial nationalism in India Taylor C. Sherman London School of Economics and Political Science 
It is an axiom of early postcolonial Indian history that Nehru and his statist conception of nationalism and of economic development dominated the political and economic life of India.

This is true. Politics in India is about gaining State power- the leaders get Ministerial offices, the rank and file get government jobs or contracts. Financiers of political parties, get to monopolize particular areas of the economy. No doubt, there were nutters roaming around in the rural areas pretending to be very Saintly or very Marxist, but they were laughed at. Politics is about Government jobs or contracts- nothing else.  

As such, scholars have assumed, Gandhian ideas, especially radically non-statist answers to the problems of development, lost influence in this period.

They lost influence in 1937 when things like 'Nai Talim' (Basic Education) and 'khaddar' were discovered to be useless money-pits. Going forward, only one thing mattered- Government jobs and contracts while the Financiers got industrial licenses and soft loans.  

This article explores Gandhian economic thinking, in the form of the Bhoodan Movement

which was a fraud. JP only came to understand this when the Naxals explained it to him. After that, he tried to get back into, first Bihari politics and then politics at the center. But, by choosing Morarji as PM, he destroyed his own legacy.

and three of the thinkers on sarvodaya economics in the 1950s: Vinoba Bhave,

who had agreed to roam around in the countryside while leaving all the money and the jobs in the hands of Nehru 

K.G. Mashruwala

who had zero importance. He died in 1952. 

and J.C. Kumarappa.

who did try to fight Nehru. He lost and was confined to Tamil Nadu where nobody gave a toss about him.  

It goes on to demonstrate the complex relationship that these men and their ideas had with Nehru and various levels of the Indian state.

There was no relationship. Kumarappa was a Chartered Accountant with a Masters in Econ from some American University. He had some salience in the early Thirties but was subsequently ignored. Nehru had no time for him. To be fair, nobody did.  

It argues that the non-statist ideas remained important in the development of the postcolonial Indian nationalism. 

Some silly Westerners may have thought Bhoodan was a success. Indians didn't. The thing was a joke. When it comes to land, the only thing that matters is fungible title- i.e. stuff you can sell for money. Bhoodan didn't give anyone this. That is why there are 'Gramdaan' villages demanding to be stripped of that status so people can sell up and fuck off to the City.  

Over the past decade or more, a reassessment of the early postcolonial history of South Asia has begun as historians have started to unearth new archival sources.

They are shit. Sensible people don't leave a paper trail. By contrast, any bureaucratic fantasy can get into the official record.  

Independence and partition are no longer seen as a single moment, but as long, tangled processes.

They are seen in this way only by cretins. Both were once and for all events. They weren't 'processes' at all. On the other hand it is true that Mahatma Gandhi's assassination was a long tangled process. He'd keep getting up from his pyre and try running away till he was shot a few more times and carried back to the cremation ground. It was only in 1973, that Sanjay Gandhi succeeded in chopping off his head and driving a stake through his heart after which the old coot finally crumbled into ashes. 

New research into citizenship, secularism and corruption has given us a more complex, and less rose-tinted view of India’s early years.

Mummy and Daddy, who lived through those years, had no such 'rose-tinted' view. That is why they either themselves emigrated or, at the very least, encouraged us to do so. 

Even as this new research has questioned some of the earlier beliefs about the years of Nehru’s premiership (1947–64), two assumptions about the Nehruvian period have remained largely unexamined. The first is the centrality of the state to the programmes of economic development in this early postcolonial period.

The State did become central with the second Five year plan. Previously, there was much continuity with the British period though you could see that foreign 'Managing Agencies' were under siege. Still, the fact is, the Marwaris who took over such concerns generally managed to run them into the ground very quickly.  

The second, and consequential, assumption is that Gandhian economic thought and Gandhian political activism were marginalised under Nehru.

They were. Bhave was a good sport about it because he preferred roaming around the countryside. JP was foolish enough to follow him. This was because the man was a cretin.  

The research below casts a  fresh eye on these two pillars of early independent Indian political life through an examination of the Bhoodan Yajna (Land-gifts Mission).

Bhave would also advocate gifting away entire villages- or even the entire state of Bihar. He thought farmers should give up the use of bullocks or horses or other animals. This was called 'rishi-kheti'. Why did people follow that nutter? One answer is that they could then invade the houses of richer villagers and search the place for dirty books or dirty pictures.  

The Bhoodan Yajna was a Gandhian movement, initiated by Acharya Vinoba Bhave in 1951 as a step towards solving India’s ‘land problem’ and the communist uprisings which grew from it.

Land was a State subject. Some States had already made some progress towards land reform while in others the provisions of the Acts which were passed were evaded in one way or another. One ploy was to claim to have given away land in 'bhoodan'. This just meant pretending the land occupied by your laborers actually belonged to them. Since they had no legal title, the thing was meaningless.  

Bhave, along with other prominent Gandhian thinkers, drew up blueprints for an economy based on the Gandhian principles of radical decentralisation that were encompassed in the idea of sarvodaya (uplift for all).

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi went a step further. He advocated yogic levitation for all. Why walk when you can fly? He made billions. Sadly, Mia Farrow wouldn't sleep with him. 

An exploration of the Bhoodan movement, and the economic thinking of which it was part, first of all, throws a new light on Gandhian thought and nationalist politics after independence.

No. It merely proves that Indians thought stupid shit of that sort might fool the rustics because they were as stupid as shit.  

Although, there has been a sharp increase in research on Gandhi’s thought of late,

because non-STEM subject academics have become stupider than shit 

much of the existing research implicitly assumes that the ideas died with the man.

They were dead by 1937. Still, some money could be found for Gandhian schemes because it provided jobs for the boys and enabled the strangling of the organized textile sector which might start financing some other political party.  

Even before the death of Gandhi in 1948, scholars have assumed that Gandhian approaches to India’s economic questions were either side-lined, or thoroughly co-opted, at least rhetorically, by India’s planners.

This was true. Everybody knew the maha-crackpot's schemes were money-pits. At least Basic Education pissed off the Muslims. Otherwise, as Zakir Hussain admitted, it was a stupid fraud.  

Moreover, it has been argued that the nationalist leadership, now the ruling elite, sought to rein in Gandhian political activism, in the form of non-violent protest, as nationalism was directed through the channels of the state.

There was no need to rein in Bhave. He fucked off to the countryside willingly enough. The big surprise was that JP joined him. But then JP, like Kripalani, had never got to fuck his own wife. Eunuchs of that sort were bound to end up doing stupid shit  

The transition to independence did indeed raise questions about the nature and direction the nationalist movement might take.

Nehru had the answer. Socialism of a vaguely Stalinist sort. Back then, that was what the cool kids were into.  

But the existing scholarship elides the fact that each nationalist campaign had had not only negative, rule-breaking elements, but also positive, constructive elements, usually concerned with village reconstruction.

Nehru did bring in some American dude to do Village development. But he had a low opinion of rustics. If they developed- i.e. got a bit of money- they were bound to give it to some priest or else pay a lawyer to get them acquitted after they killed a relative or a neighbor.  

It is argued below that this latter aspect of Gandhian thought, in the form of decentralised, non-statist (even anti-statist) efforts at economic transformation continued to be developed after independence.

They weren't developed. They simply festered in the more stagnant parts of the countryside.  

This was so for a number of reasons. First of all, it continued because a spiritual successor to Gandhi emerged in the form of Vinoba Bhave, who took on the task of furthering Gandhi’s programme of village regeneration, and developed it in new ways via the Bhoodan movement.

Bhave had agreed to fuck off to the countryside leaving all the money and power with Nehru. That's why he was tolerated.  

Second, whilst Nehru and the Congress leadership did discourage Gandhian-style political protests,

like what? The fact is beef bans were instituted in some states. Equally, there was State reorganization- e.g. the creation of Andhra Pradesh after some dude fasted to death.  

they were also searching for ways of channelling the constructive energies of India’s masses to fight a new war, this time for India’s economic independence.

That was the idea behind the Second Five Year plan. But it quickly ran out of money. After that, Nehru concentrated on losing wars and biting the American hand which fed India.  

Moreover, early postcolonial India never had the resources to pursue centralised planning for the entire economy.

It had some resources- the British war-time debt for example- and was getting some 'free money' from America. It could have invested those in exportable wage-good industries and thus had more foreign exchange for more such investment so the country climbed the value chain. That was what Japan's MITI was doing.  

And the Constitution restricted the scope of government action when it came to land reform.

No. But it was a State subject and the Center was happy for it to remain so. The Center ceased to levy agricultural income tax in 1961 though some States continued to do so.  

Therefore, in the agrarian sector, the government had to limit itself to acting as a catalyst for change and encouraging independent improvements.

No. It could have had a Green Revolution in the Fifties. It just couldn't be arsed.  

It is argued below that Gandhian non-statist economic thought and activity pursued by the three thinkers examined here, Vinoba Bhave, J.C. Kumarappa and K.G. Mashruwala, existed in productive tension with the statist policies of the Nehru government.

There was no fucking tension. Only Kumarappa tried to fight Nehru but he was kicked in the goolies and subsequently ignored. One may say there was some tension between those who favored private enterprise and less capital-intensive development and the Mahalanobis camp but the latter won hands down. It was a Pyrrhic victory because the cash ran out. Budgets matter. Plans do not. Still, by then the license-permit system had been 'captured' by powerful business houses.  

This is because these Gandhian approaches seemed to provide answers to the pressing questions of how to direct the energies of the masses, and of how to foster economic change with limited state resources.

Why tax alcohol to fund Schools? Let the students 'earn while they learn'. Moreover, with 'each one teach one', India will soon become a country where everybody has a PhD in Quantum Physics.  

These Gandhian thinkers, although reasonably well known, have not been subjected to much scholarly scrutiny.

But they were laughed at often enough.  

Ramachandra Guha is

a cretin. Naturally he likes other cretins.  

one of the few authors to evaluate these men, their thought and their achievements, albeit in very brief essays. The work in which Guha does this is, by his own estimation, a work of ‘appreciation and depreciation, not an impersonal work of “scholarship”’. Indeed, Kumarappa and Bhave appear in Guha’s work as ‘adversaries’.

They were. Bhave never forgot that Kumarappa had refused to sanction the use of donated funds to pay Gandhi's Ashramites for 'relief work'. This was because those nutters were utterly useless. Also the fellow was a fucking Christian! He probably ate beef and drank wine and, worst of all, had sex with his wife! I tell you, Christianity is a Satanic Religion! That is why Amrika is so rich. Now those bastards are trying to corrupt Mother India by giving 'free money'- i.e. trying to seduce her into wearing lipstick and brassiere! Chee, chee! Mummy should just starve to death muttering 'Ahimsa! Ahimsa!' She should not be gadding about in tight blouse and silk saree.  

Moreover, they stride his stage as hero and villain, as Kumarappa’s humble and practical approach to village reconstruction is contrasted to that of Bhave, who is condemned as ‘devoid of the capacity for self-criticism’ and suffering from a ‘lop-sided sense of priorities’.

Guha is Tamil- like Kumarappa. Bhave was a Hindu Saint.  

Guha has then been followed by other scholars, who paint Kumarappa as the true Gandhian, adhering to an anti-statist programme, and declare Bhave to be, pro-state, and pro-Nehru, though no evidence is cited to substantiate this assertion.

The evidence is that Bhave was happy to leave all the money and power in Nehru's hands. He liked wandering around the countryside. Since he was a devout Hindu, there probably was religious merit to be gained by taking his 'darshan'.  

Although, there were important differences between the three Gandhian thinkers discussed below, the following research suggests that it is not necessarily helpful to regard those individual Gandhians, who developed the Mahatma’s ideas after his death as in competition with one another over Gandhi’s legacy.

But that research is not helpful at all. It is stupid.  

Instead, Gandhian thought—Gandhi himself rejected the idea of Gandhism for its implied rigidity —was, true to its origins, both flexible and capable of encompassing different opinions on an issue. Indeed, Vinoba declared, ‘there is not a single problem in life…whereon all the close associates of Gandhi will declare the same mind’. And this was as it should be: ‘it is much better to allow thought to work freely than to beat and drive and shut it up into the rigidity of a system’.

This is certainly true if the thoughts in question are stupid and useless. Still, maybe Bhave's followers gained religious merit and have been re-born on paradisal planets where they live for ten billion years without having sex or looking at dirty pictures.  

The research which follows, therefore, remains sensitive to the differences between these thinkers, but aims to tease out the common economic programme that united them in the first decade after independence.

Kumarappa wanted to raise agricultural productivity without much capital investment. This involved stuff like composting and other such shibboleths of the agrarian socialists of an earlier period in the West. Bhave's idea was village communities as one big, happy, family which shared and shared alike  and abstained from looking at dirty pictures. There were also some cottage industry enthusiasts. Sadly some earlier schemes, which featured Morris dancing or learning to hang from trees by your tail while eating bananas, fell by the wayside. 

For these early postcolonial Gandhian economic thinkers, capitalism and communism were more similar than different, and both were equally flawed.

Like Sex. Nobody should have sex. It is dirty.  

As an alternative, these men articulated a vision of economic organisation that was based on the principles that they believed would truly liberate not only India, but the world from the troubles spawned by the existing economic ideologies. 

Also people should learn yogic levitation. You could hover in the air shitting on your crops so that they gain valuable fertilizer.  

India’s Land Problem and the Threat of Communism All of these questions arose because India’s future seemed to hinge on how to reform agrarian relations so as to ensure economic progress and avoid political revolution.

But the Brits had given the States the power to do as much or as little land reform as they liked. True, the Courts might try to stop this but it is an easy matter to beat the fuck out of Judges till they see sense. 

Anyway, it was the Americans who kept biting Nehru's ear off about land reform.  

By 1947, the idea that the country had a ‘land problem’ was one of the orthodoxies held across the political spectrum in India.

AO Hume founded the INC because he understood this problem. His mistake was to think Indians gave a shit about agriculture.  

Of course, this issue had a long history, one tied intimately to India’s experience of colonialism. It had been a maxim of the nationalist movement that British rule had impoverished India.

Kumarappa got his Econ degree hoping to prove the 'drain thesis'. But nobody actually believed it. The fact is, after Burma went its own way in 1937, an almost wholly agricultural country could not feed itself. 

And after independence, it was universally agreed that in order to secure India’s economic freedom, the land problem had to be addressed.

Some State Governments, e.g. Fazlul Haq in Bengal, had already begun land-reform.  The Communists knew that collectivization was the orthodox solution but didn't want to admit this. Nehru's own half-way house was the Village Cooperative but Charan Singh put his foot down. Meanwhile there had been about as much land reform as was feasible. Some absentee landlord did lose a lot of land. Others were able to retain considerable 'benami' holdings. But productivity could only rise if there was infrastructure investment, availability of hybrid seeds, nitrogenous fertilizers etc. Still, it was only when American food-aid became conditional, that India embraced a partial Green Revolution- i.e. one centered on a few districts with decent infrastructure. 

Sherman offers an American style analysis where Bhave's bhoodan was seen as a way to outflank the Communists. But this was not the Indian view. Why? We knew the Commies were lying. They didn't give a shit about 'land to the tiller'. Still, those tillers who belonged to dominant castes would take the land one way or another. Anyway, only an actual agriculturist caste politicians- people like Chavan or  Charan Singh- had any salience. Their people would decide the outcome in any case. As for Commies, it is actually great fun to hunt them down and kill them. Since the Army was recruited from the sons of 'kulaks', killing kulaks led to swift retribution. 

. After Gandhi’s death, Vinoba and a selection of other Gandhian thinkers, including J.C. Kumarappa and K.G. Mashruwala, developed the notion further.

They didn't develop shit. Mashruwala knew 'Nai Talim' had failed. Bhave knew Congress had no use for Gandhian nutters but bore no malice because he liked wandering around the countryside. Kumarappa was easily marginalized. This was because Nehru did not matter. Kamraj Nadar did. You need to get the ear of actual farmer's leaders if you want to shape agricultural policy. 

Whilst they debated with them, Vinoba and his fellow travellers adopted many of the same concerns as the communists, and proposed their own solutions to India’s problems.

If the Commies told stupid lies, the Gandhians could easily match them.  

In fact, their quarrel was as much with capitalism as it was with communism.

Neither of which mattered in an almost wholly agrarian country. Still, so long as the farmer could scarcely feed himself while America fed the Cities, some urban blathershites could engage in pointless debates. 

Drawing upon Gandhi’s works, as well as Geddes’ Cities in Evolution, and the thought of the Tamil poet Subramania Bharati,

unknown in the North. Tamils would be surprised to hear he had any thoughts.  

together they elaborated a critique of capitalist and communist political economy, and sketched out a vision of a non-violent social and economic revolution for India, and for the world.

If everybody is very nice, then niceness will increase. Also, yogic levitation can come in handy if you want to poop upon your crops.  

One of Vinoba’s close associates, K.G. Mashruwala, developed the most elaborate critique of the two systems.

Even the Gujjus thought him retarded. Bhave, however, was a Brahmin Saint. Getting blessing from him might get you a better re-birth.  

 In Mashruwala’s view, capitalism and communism shared more than their warring proponents cared to admit. They held a common ‘attitude towards life’, and were based on similar fundamental principles. Both, according to Mashruwala, were premised on the idea that there was an inherent conflict between man and nature, and that the development of man was dependent upon his successful exploitation of the environment around him. The aim of both was to expand profits, trade and commerce in order to ‘achieve as much as possible, and as rapidly as possible with as few men and animals as possible’.

By contrast, India wanted to achieve nothing by being as stupid as possible. Did you know that Stalin had sex? So did Churchill! Tell me, how can you differentiate between two such utterly Satanic personalities? As for FDR, I tell you, he was looking at dirty pictures all the time!  

In an economy and society inspired by the sarvodaya approach, things would be much different.

There would be no dirty pictures.  

One of the major thinkers on the question of how to build a Gandhian economy was J.C. Kumarappa. A Christian from Tanjore in today’s Tamil Nadu, Kumarappa

his original name was Cornelius. He came from an excellent family 

had received his education in commerce and economics at Syracuse and then Columbia universities in the United States.

He had qualified as a CA in Britain. Ten years later he did a Masters in America.  

Unlike Mashruwala or Bhave, Kumarappa took up a number of positions within the Congress Party and at various levels of government during his career. He was, for example, a member of the Congress Party’s National Planning Commission. But in 1952, he helped in founding the Arthik Samata Mandal (Association for Economic Equality), in protest at some of Nehru’s economic policies.

They weren't particularly radical at that time. Interestingly, conservative Finance Ministers tended to embrace Nehruvian gigantism once they understood that begging bowl diplomacy might bring in 'free money'. Nobody told them about the crowding out effect. Free money is inflationary.  

As they outlined their vision for a Gandhian economy, Kumarappa, Bhave and Mashruwala,

showed that though their souls might be very holy, their heads were full of shit.  

placed two objectives at the centre of their plans: self-sufficiency and the spiritual and moral development of the individual as a man (women’s economic, spiritual and moral development were largely ignored).

If men stopped sticking their dicks into women, they would soon rise up on their own.  

With these goals in mind, and adhering to the Gandhian principles of truth

i.e. telling stupid lies 

and non-violence,


these thinkers visualised alternative arrangements for employment, production, consumption and trade.

Instead of producing stuff, why not send good thoughts into the Cosmos?  

Together they insisted that the starting point for thinking about any economic arrangements ought to be providing employment for all.

This can be easily done by getting rid of money. We can now give everybody a job by paying them with good wishes. 

Employment was the key not only for self-sufficiency at the individual level, but also for the development of one’s personality. In Kumarappa’s words, ‘Work is to our higher faculties what food is to the physical body. The occupation we follow should contribute towards the growth of our personality.’

When a Chartered Accountant tells you that, you tell him he is deluding himself. He would have been a boring pile of shite even if he had trained as a belly dancer.  

Such an approach required a different attitude to work, especially to manual labour, as well as to remuneration. Men ought to be paid for their work, but wages should not be based on an appraisal of a man’s physical or intellectual skill. Rather, everyone who wholeheartedly served society would be entitled to a ‘living wage’.

If you are alive, then whatever you receive equals that 'living wage'.  

From employment, these men naturally turned to the question of production. Here, the aims of personal development and self-sufficiency were developed further. Just as Gandhi had been wary of the effects of industrialisation and mechanisation, these three men, too, were sceptical of the value of an industrialised economy. Industrialisation, especially factory work, Kumarappa argued, was ‘not conducive to the growth of the whole man and his full development as a personality’.

But being a Gandhian blathershite had an even more poisonous impact on that nutter's personality.  

Indeed, the repetitive, mindless work of the factory worker only ensured that ‘men are made part of the machine’

whereas the machine should be made to work more like men. It should take lessons in salsa dancing and consider whether maybe it is gay, not just bi-curious. 

to a point where they lose initiative. The alternative was to choose a form of work that would contribute to the personality. As everyone was to work, this meant choosing means of production that were labour intensive, rather than labour-saving. As such, production ought to be decentralised, devolved to the village.

This was before Mao came up with the idea of backyard steel furnaces.  

Production was to focus first and foremost on food, clothing and shelter for everyone, and then on village industries.

These nutters hadn't noticed that production already focused on these things.  

On the one hand, these priorities clearly reflected India’s economic crisis of the early 1950s. During this period, the country suffered from severe shortages and was on the border of famine at times.

Affluent Indians knew that their poor were at the mercy of the monsoons. But they themselves were not. The poor could go and self-sufficiently fuck themselves. 

As such, the first priority of the nationalists was to feed India’s population. Bhave and his associates shared this aim; but they thought the best way to achieve it was through cultivation for family-level and village-level self-sufficiency in food. On the other hand, self-sufficiency was not just a matter of survival. Village industries, including the production of cloth, oil and jaggery were the key components of the drive for self-sufficiency because they were central to man’s spiritual development.

Which involves not looking at dirty pictures. Bhave knew that India could not just feed itself but export a lot of food if only ten million people remained as farmers and the rest worked in factories or in construction etc. But, in that case Indians might start looking at dirty pictures. 

A man working in a village industry would make a full product himself, rather than serving on a production line: to do so he would have to be resourceful and creative. His work would then become a means of self-expression. In Kumarappa’s words: ‘It helps one to grow.’

To grow stupid and to die prematurely- sure.  

This was a question of personal as well as national well-being, for the cultivation of this kind of independent thought was required in a young democratic country: ‘Politically village industries provide the conditions for the development of democracy.’

The development of the democracy of the country which invades India- maybe. But Indians knew that without guns and planes and tanks, the country would once again be subjugated by an alien- or semi-alien (i.e. Pakistan)- race.  

The inputs for such production were to be chosen for their non-violent characteristics.

The Royal Navy had enabled India to enjoy Pax Britannica. But the Brits had fucked off.  

Here, ahimsa (non-violence) was understood along the more substantive lines imagined by Gandhi.

If you keeps muttering Ahimsa, the invader may be content to loot and enslave you rather than sodomize you and then slit your throat.  

Echoing theories of imperialism developed by Hobson and Lenin, Kumarappa suggested that violence, in the form of imperialism, was a danger when economies over-produced one product, or when they were overreliant upon non-renewable inputs.

Very little violence was involved in the creation of the British Raj. Imperialism thrives if it runs things better than any available alternative. Sadly, it may decide the game is not worth the candle. 

Thus, he reasoned that, each country should focus on producing food, clothing and shelter to meet the needs of its people first and foremost.

He hadn't noticed that this had been happening for thousands of years.  

As far as possible, therefore, in a Gandhian economy, raw materials ought not to be exported, but rather, they ought to be processed where they were harvested.

Because there are no economies of scope and scale in manufacturing- right? 

 To this end, Bhave suggested that the Government of India ought to declare some areas of production to be ‘reserved industries’, so that only villages where raw materials were produced would be allowed to develop industries that used those products.

Something like this did happen. The Ambanis got their start because they were actually villagers growing polyethylene terephthalate on their small holding. 

Moreover, in a Gandhian economy, one should develop industries based on what today we would call renewable resources. Kumarappa divided natural resources into two categories: those that belonged to what he called the ‘current economy’, and those that made up the ‘reservoir economy’. The former were permanent, in that they were renewable; the latter were not.

Sadly Kumarappa was not renewable. When he died, he stayed dead.  

Again, like Lenin and Hobson, Kumarappa argued that the depletion of natural resources that were of a fixed quantity, such as iron or oil, led to competition and ultimately violence.

Kumarappa hadn't noticed that the Arabs had reached Sindh before they had any oil. Violence existed even in the stone age.  

Instead, renewables were the key to peace: ‘The more we base our order on the current economy, the less will be the violence.’

Sadly, nations with stone age technology soon get displaced by invaders who are more efficient at killing.  

The ethics of production was accompanied by a corresponding ethics of consumption. Here too, Bhave and his fellow travellers relied on two indigenous terms, developed earlier by Gandhi: tapas (austerity) and aparagriha (non-possession).

Though what sustained Gandhi was donations- more particularly from industrialists 

Tapas was ideal because an attitude of austerity encouraged one to sacrifice one’s land, labour or property for others.

e.g. invaders. Why not also sacrifice one's anal cherry to them?  

The idea was to aspire to spiritual fulfilment via the pursuit of self-discipline in the form of restricted consumption, rather than self-indulgence in the form of over-consumption.

Gain spiritual fulfilment by just dropping dead already.  

Non-possession was an extension of austerity and an essential characteristic of a non-violent society. Bhave connected aparagriha to an understanding of the origins of happiness. ‘At present’, he observed, ‘greed and possession are…the ruling principle the world over.’

That is why people are looking at dirty pictures. Chee chee! 

But as a man pursues wealth, he not only becomes burdened with worry and disease, he also loses the ‘love of his fellow men’.

Bhave had to keep moving around otherwise his 'fellow men' would have realized he was a stupid bore.  

As a result, both rich and poor were unhappy in the present order of things. The solution was to swap the ideal of possession for the ideal of non-possession.

Just fucking drop dead already.  

Of course, this ideal did not rule out consumption altogether.

Nor did it rule out being as rich as fuck.  

But one had to live within one’s means, and use resources following the principles of non-violence. Thus, the Gandhian consumer would not consume anything produced in unethical circumstances.

Sadly, the also refuse to eat my shit even though I produced it in a very ethical manner.  

Kumarappa held that when one used a product that had been made using dishonourable methods, then one became party to the violence of production.

Thus Kumarappa was a party to the violence of Jim Crow America because he had gone there and used their stuff. 

Violence, in this sense, was broadly conceived, and included exploitation of labour by paying people less than was required to make a living.

In which case, they would cease living.  

 Kumarappa went on to speculate that if a consumer were only made aware of the fact that the price he was paying was not fair to the labourers behind a product, then, ‘he himself will probably not be at peace’.

Yet this guy ate food though he knew that the dudes growing it weren't paid fairly at all.  

This natural morality of the consumer, in Kumarappa’s thinking, could be brought to the fore in reorganising the world’s economic order.

But that requires either financial or military power. These guys had neither.  

Sherman records Government support for Bhave's Bhoodan but focuses only on the Communist threat as its motivation. Actually, Nehru needed a way to silence the Americans who were pushing land reform as a panacea. Also, the new Hyderabad State needed a respite to consolidate itself.

. Nehru invited Bhave to New Delhi to speak to the members of the Planning Commission who had just drawn up a draft for the country’s first Five Year Plan. Whilst in the capital, he met the Prime Minister and the President, and spent hours in conversation with the Planning Commission’s S.K. Patil. How might we understand this relationship? On the practical level, it was obvious to Nehru that India’s land problem needed a solution that could both overcome the opposition of the landlords, and circumvent the constitutional requirement to provide compensation to the landlords for any land taken away from them. The Bhoodan movement, if successful, could further both of these aims.

More particularly because any given landlord could be pressurized into doing it though he might take the matter to court later on.  

On a different plane, after Gandhi’s death, Indian politics had seemed to lose its ethical dimension. Because of his own exemplary life, Bhave’s association with the political elites in Delhi would invest their decisions with greater authority.

He could get the Americans off Nehru's back. After all, India has snake-charmers and Yogis who lie on beds of nails- right? Obviously, they'd do land-reform in their own way.  

This was not all cynical political posturing: Nehru was genuinely bereft at Gandhi’s passing,

his passing gas, maybe. But, the truth is, nobody missed that nuisance.  

not just personally, but politically too.

Nonsense! If Gandhi had not died, Nehru would have had to imprison him sooner or later.  

Bhave was consciously (if only partially) embraced as a potential successor to Gandhi as the moral guiding light to the nation. Gandhian nationalism had a strong ethical dimension, and Bhave’s reception represented an acknowledgement that the ethical aspect of the national movement could have a place in postcolonial nationalism.

Hilarious! This silly lady doesn't get that there was always an 'ethical' aspect to Indian nationalism.  

That being said, Bhave was not able to replace the Mahatma.

He didn't try. The maha-crackpot was, first and last, a fund raiser.  

Nehru often replied to Bhave’s letters about larger subjects, from the redrawing of India’s internal borders to the goals of a planned economy, with a simple acknowledgement that they did not see the issue from the same perspective.

Also Nehru ate meat and had sex. That type of behavior can cause people to start looking at dirty pictures.  

Within the Government of Hyderabad, Vinoba’s mission in Telangana was also well received.

Hopefully some nice Muslim or Commie would shoot him thus permitting another big massacre.  

For one, he had access to the areas that had been off-limits to the authorities.

Those areas hadn't been 'off-limits' to the Army.  

Whereas officials had mostly let the force of arms convey their anticommunist message to the people, they were pleased to have someone talking to the masses. B. Ramakrishna Rao,

who passed their first Tenancy act 

then minister for Land Revenues and Education, voiced the hope that the communist leaders would hear Vinoba’s message and ‘realise

they themselves weren't the stupidest people on the planet. Why should the Reds have the monopoly go lying about what they would do with the land? Landlords too could pretend they had given 'land to the tiller'.  

the harm they are doing to the country by the violent methods adopted by them’.102 As it became clear that the Acharya had received donations of more than 12,000  acres of land in Telangana, the Government of Hyderabad did what it could to assist the transfer of property rights.

Back then, civil servants still retained some British era illusions re. Government promises.  

The government drew up special land revenue rules to this end: transfers were exempted from stamp duty and registration fees; land revenue was remitted for three years on wastelands brought under cultivation within two years of the grants; the state government provided 5,000 rupees in travelling expenses to the local committee, which was to oversee the distribution of lands, and it instructed the local revenue officers to ‘provide all facilities’ to the members of the committee, to aid in the success of the mission.

Bhoodan committees did provide a few jobs- and opportunities for unjust enrichment- for Party members.  

By 1953, B. Ramakrishna Rao, now the newly elected chief minister, Swami Ramananda Tirtha, president of the Hyderabad State Congress, and Chandi Jaganatham, secretary of the Praja Socialist Party had all become members of the Hyderabad State Bhoodan Yajna Association.

Lots of people gained land from the peasants by getting a seat on such 'Associations'. 

Again, it is clear that the Bhoodan movement was not side-lined at the state level. Nor can we say it was simply incorporated, rhetorically, into the existing statist programmes. Instead, we see Hyderabadi politicians engaging with the movement in two ways. Like Nehru, they seized the opportunity to find a solution to the land problem that avoided the pitfalls of working through the formal mechanisms of government.

i.e. actually doing the thing 

At the same time, especially by 1953, the activities of these elected politicians can be seen as an attempt to set the agenda for postcolonial nationalism.

Elected politicians set agendas everywhere and at all times. This silly lady doesn't get this.  

It would not be a nationalism of confrontation and law-breaking.

Because there was no fucking Imperial power. But there was plenty of confrontation and law-breaking.  

But nor need it be completely directed solely by the state. Instead, participation in the Bhoodan movement seemed to offer the prospect of charting a course for postcolonial nationalism that would continue the constructive, non-statist, popular side of the nationalist programme.

No. What soon became clear was that the thing was purely cosmetic. Lawyers appreciated this new tool to defeat the ends of justice.  

Conclusions Gandhian economic ideas were not marginalised by Nehru and the planners of postcolonial India; they were simply non-statist.

They provided an excuse for doing nothing or extracting a rent from existing producers.  

Bhave, Mashruwala and Kumarappa were seeking bottom-up solutions to India’s economic problems, solutions which were orientated towards the cultivation of the individual.

They were useless nutters. However, they could be useful to pull the wool over the eyes of stupid foreigners who might be inclined to fill India's begging bowl from time to time.   

As such, they engaged in conversation with politicians and officials, but their vision of the respective roles of the state and of the individual was so different from Nehru’s that these ideas could not have been incorporated into existing plans.

Sadly, no sensible ideas were incorporated into the Second Five Year plan.  

Both Nehru and Bhave were keenly aware of this. The engagement that we see from politicians and officials can, instead, be understood as

cosmetic and useless. The sad thing is that some stupid mathematical economists were able to take the country in the wrong direction.  

a means of trying to develop  the constructive, popular and even ethical aspects of the nationalist movement in a new postcolonial environment. As for the ideas themselves, the broader political ideas of Bhave, Mashruwala and Kumarappa, help fill the gap in the intellectual history of India.

No. They were a throwback, or echo, of previous stupidity. While the Brits ruled, there may have been some point to coming across as a species of Holier-than-Thou Quaker. But not after Independence.  

Beyond their economic ideas, these three men thought and wrote widely on spiritual matters, a side of early Indian nationalism that has only begun to be explored.

By whom? Indians had explored the fuck out of that shit when it first appeared.  

On the political side, Gandhi’s death (1948) and the Emergency (1975–77)

which Bhave supported 

are connected by these thinkers, and also by the persona of Jayaprakash Narayan, who was a close associate of Gandhi,

no. He was a close associate of Bhave.  

dedicated his life to sarvodaya and rural uplift in the 1950s and 1960s, and led the Navnirman movement in the 1970s

JP led the 'sampoorna kranti' shitshow in Bihar. Navnirman was Gujarati.  

which helped to precipitate the Emergency. Indeed, Gandhian non-statist movements are a thread that runs through Indian popular politics from independence, to the advent of the Aam Aadmi party in the twenty-first century, a thread which remains largely unexplored by historians.

Indians know their history better than 'historians'. The fact is, only very stupid people do PhDs in History. Gandhi-giri is about getting government jobs and contracts. 'Non-statist' movements may involve getting some money from credulous Westerners by peddling nostrums of various sorts. But the better solution is to teach people how to levitate and thus become a billionaire. Why content yourself with telling stupid lies about economics or politics? Why not tell stupid lies about the gaining of magical powers?  

Friday 29 March 2024

Dalrymple on Partition

 William Dalrymple- being as posh as the Queen's tits- was bound to 'go native' the more he engaged with India, and to uncritically recirculate the brain-dead availability cascades of sub-continental historiography- i.e. paranoid ravings by tenure craving hacks seeking hegira to Ivy League safe spaces.

Dalrymple wrote the following in the New Yorker about a decade ago. It is mischievous and misleading. The question is it also the most absurd thing he could have written under the circumstances? The answer is yes. A Kashmir origin Dynasty had just been displaced from political power. Henceforth, neither Kashmir, nor Partition, will greatly matter. 

The Great Divide

 June 22, 2015

In August, 1947, when, after three hundred years in India, the British finally left,

They had been the paramount power in Delhi for less than half that time span.  Indeed, Delhi had come under direct rule only 90 years previously.

the subcontinent was partitioned into two independent nation states: Hindu-majority India and Muslim-majority Pakistan.

In 1937, Buddhist Burma had been separated from India. A Hindu majority Princely State chose India rather than Burma. Why was there no bloodshed during that partition? Why, in subsequent decades, when Indians were expelled from Burma, or Buddhist majority Sri Lanka, did relations between the  countries remain cordial? Dalrymple is trying to make out that Partition was a staunchless wound and that it contributes to Indo-Pak tension. But, in that case, why is there no Indo-Bangladesh tension? The answer is obvious. There is Indo-Pak and Indo-Chinese tension because both countries claim Indian territory and have a lot of troops at the border waiting for a chance to cross it without being slaughtered. Gassing on about Partition is pointless. Why not talk of the hundreds of thousands displaced people in post-War Europe? Germany lost a lot of territory. Why is it not at daggers drawn with Poland?  

Immediately, there began one of the greatest migrations in human history, as millions of Muslims trekked to West and East Pakistan (the latter now known as Bangladesh) while millions of Hindus and Sikhs headed in the opposite direction.

The numbers involved were much less than the estimated 65 million displaced people in Europe at the end of the Second World War. The Germans say about 120,000 of their people died while trying to run away from the advancing Red army or the regimes they established. The Poles say the figure was more like  600,000 though 1.2 million was also possible. In other words, India's partition probably involved a smaller movement of population and fewer deaths than occurred in Eastern Europe. To be truthful, 95 percent of Hindus in present day were completely unaffected. 

As for Hindu attitudes to Hindu refugees, there may have been some sympathy but, the fact is, Kejriwal is currently telling the Pakistani Hindus to fuck off back where they come from. They probably only crossed the border to rape our women and take our jobs.

Many hundreds of thousands never made it.

A Parsi journalist who had witnessed Europe's post-war chaos did say that the Indian situation was different. This is because the politicians were letting bloodthirsty gangs roam free. The Army did little. Indeed, the journalist had been invited to Punjab by White officers. A Sikh commander was sympathetic to him, but- the plain fact was- the politicians had zero interest in preventing massacres.  

Across the Indian subcontinent,

Rubbish! Violence was highly localized. There was none whatsoever across 95 percent of districts in present day India.  

communities that had coexisted for almost a millennium

save when slaughtering each other. But this tended to involve trembling under a foreign tyrant.  

attacked each other in a terrifying outbreak of sectarian violence, with Hindus and Sikhs on one side and Muslims on the other—

Muslims also killed Christians and Buddhists 

a mutual genocide as unexpected as it was unprecedented.

Hilarious! Tagore's 'Ghare Bhaire' ends with Muslims slaughtering Hindus. It came out at the time of the Lucknow Pact- which made Partition inevitable for a reason I will explain.

It must be said, everybody knew what would happen unless the politicians took steps to ensure an orderly exchange of population. But those politicians simply couldn't be arsed.  

In Punjab and Bengal—provinces abutting India’s borders with West and East Pakistan, respectively—the carnage was especially intense,

because people had gotten used to Pax Brittanica and thus let their guard down. Also, some may have been foolish enough to believe the politicians they had voted for weren't shite.  

with massacres, arson, forced conversions, mass abductions, and savage sexual violence. Some seventy-five thousand women were raped, and many of them were then disfigured or dismembered.

Pakistani Army and local Bihari militias raped 400,000 women in East Bengal in 1971. It must be said, proper military discipline can greatly increase the rape and murder ratio. 

Nisid Hajari, in “Midnight’s Furies” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), his fast-paced new narrative history of Partition and its aftermath, writes, “Gangs of killers set whole villages aflame, hacking to death men and children and the aged while carrying off young women to be raped.

This was inefficient. Pakistan Army showed how the thing should be done.  

Some British soldiers and journalists who had witnessed the Nazi death camps claimed Partition’s brutalities were worse: pregnant women had their breasts cut off and babies hacked out of their bellies; infants were found literally roasted on spits.”

Sadly journalists of that sort can always find foetuses hacked out of bellies. What is truly shocking is that those foetuses were reading Gramsci and underlining significant passages when, very brutally, their own bellies were slit open and yet smaller foetuses, also reading Gramsci, were dragged out of them. This is a very reprehensible practice. UN should take action.  

By 1948, as the great migration drew to a close, more than fifteen million people had been uprooted,

Only five percent of the population. In post War-Europe, the number of the uprooted was triple that. 

and between one and two million were dead.

There do seem to have been a lot of 'revenge' killings. Still, the Bangladesh atrocities put the thing in perspective. It became obvious that for better rape and murder ratios, you need the talents of the trained Pakistani military commander.  

The comparison with the death camps is not so far-fetched as it may seem.

It is ludicrous. India had no such thing. The proper comparator is the Bangladesh atrocities just as the proper comparator of the 1943 Bengal famine is the 1974 Bangladesh famine. Since Hindus can't be blamed for what happened in East Bengal in the Seventies, Muslim writers don't make the obvious comparison. 

Partition is central to modern identity in the Indian subcontinent,

It is wholly irrelevant. Fuck would a Tamil or a Maharashtrian or an Assamese care about Partition? Hindu identity existed a thousand years before there was any such thing as a Muslim identity.  

as the Holocaust is to identity among Jews, branded painfully onto the regional consciousness by memories of almost unimaginable violence.

About half of the entire global Jewish population was killed. Less than one percent of the sub-continental Muslim or Hindu died. With Sikhs, the number may be higher, but their current identity is about hating Hindus, not Muslims.  

The acclaimed Pakistani historian Ayesha Jalal has called Partition “the central historical event in twentieth century South Asia.”

Bangladeshis may think being raped and killed by the Pakistani Army was more central to their current identity.  

She writes, “A defining moment that is neither beginning nor end, partition continues to influence how the peoples and states of postcolonial South Asia envisage their past, present and future.”

Hindus don't give a shit about partition. Few of us were affected. Indeed, if districts of West Bengal turn Muslim on Mamta's watch and Hindus have to flee, we will simply have a good laugh at the plight of the virtue signalling buddhijivi. 

After the Second World War, Britain simply no longer had the resources with which to control its greatest imperial asset,

It had granted provincial autonomy under the 1935 Act. The Indians could have cobbled together a Federal Government at the center. They didn't bother. Atlee decided to hand over power to anyone who would take it. Wavell had warned that the White population had to be evacuated. Some sort of deal must be struck with anyone willing to strike it, so as to protect British lives, if not their investments.  

and its exit from India was messy, hasty, and clumsily improvised.

Not for the Brits. They left on advantageous terms. Both countries remained in the Sterling zone. Mountbatten continued to have influence over Nehru till the day he died. 

Equally, it must be said, the new rulers of India didn't lose any sleep over the plight of the refugees. The plain fact is, Muslims would kill non-Muslims if they could. It was up to the non-Muslim to ensure they lived in places where the result of any 'communal riot' would be entirely one-sided.  

From the vantage point of the retreating colonizers, however, it was in one way fairly successful. Whereas British rule in India had long been marked by violent revolts and brutal suppressions,

there had been one Mutiny. But the Brits put it down with insulting ease using Indian troops.  

the British Army was able to march out of the country with barely a shot fired and only seven casualties.

Many officers and officials were asked to stay. Some did.  

Equally unexpected was the ferocity of the ensuing bloodbath.

If a thing is predictable, it can't be said to be unexpected save in the sense that nobody who was anybody greatly cared. 

The question of how India’s deeply intermixed and profoundly syncretic culture unravelled so quickly has spawned a vast literature.

based on stupid lies. There is now an even vaster literature which explains that prior to the arrival of the White man, Indians recognised no divisions of gender or religion or species. As Amartya Sen explains, people had multiple identities. One could be an elephant, a rock, a fish, a virginal bride, the Grand Mufti, and a pensive shade of the colour mauve, all at the same time. How did this profoundly syncretic identity unravel? The answer is that the Brits instituted a strict surveillance of genitals. You were arrested and beaten if your vagina suddenly turned into a dick. Once everybody had been assigned a fixed gender role by 'colonial epistemology', it was short work to force them to become Muslims rather than Hindus and human beings instead of elephants.  

The polarization of Hindus and Muslims occurred during just a couple of decades of the twentieth century, but by the middle of the century it was so complete that many on both sides believed that it was impossible for adherents of the two religions to live together peacefully.

No. The older view prevailed. If our people can slaughter any group- Muslims, Commies, guys who think they are elephant dicks- which tries to fuck with us, then we will enjoy a peaceful life. True, we might just kill them for the fun of it but why bother if you can make a profit on their hard work?  

Recently, a spate of new work has challenged seventy years of nationalist mythmaking.

Only in the sense that a weak stream of piss challenges Putin's murderous hordes.  

There has also been a widespread attempt to record oral memories of Partition before the dwindling generation that experienced it takes its memories to the grave.

Sadly, no one is willing to record my own memories of Jinnah getting oral gratification from Mountbatten.  

The first Islamic conquests of India happened in the eleventh century, with the capture of Lahore, in 1021.

No. The Ummayads had successfully invaded Sindh in 712 AD. It is said that the Buddhists sided with the invaders. No wonder Buddhism disappeared from much of the sub-continent. 

Persianized Turks from what is now central Afghanistan seized Delhi from its Hindu rulers in 1192. By 1323, they had established a sultanate as far south as Madurai, toward the tip of the peninsula, and there were other sultanates all the way from Gujarat, in the west, to Bengal, in the east.

Hindus soon learnt what to expect and began to fight back. But, they were disunited. One reason Nehru pulled the trigger on Partition was that he understood that Hindus had to unite or else yield once again to Muslim salami tactics.  

Today, these conquests are usually perceived as having been made by “Muslims,”

whereas actually, at that time, 'Colonial epistemology' hadn't yet put an end to multiple identities. The so called 'Muslim' Sultan was also an elephant and a rock and a type of Hindu plant upon which Buddhists delighted in pissing.  

but medieval Sanskrit inscriptions don’t identify the Central Asian invaders by that term.

because they were equally elephants and rocks.  

Instead, the newcomers are identified by linguistic and ethnic affiliation, most typically as Turushka—Turks—

but the word means 'frankincense'! This proves there was no unitary identity at that time. Prior to the brutal enforcement of 'colonial epistemology', a Central Asian person could be a nice herb, a camel, a rock, while simultaneously being a person of Turkish heritage and Islamic faith.  

which suggests that they were not seen primarily in terms of their religious identity.

Very true. When American soldiers speak of having killed 'hajis', they are not referring to Muslims.  

Similarly, although the conquests themselves were marked by carnage and by the destruction of Hindu and Buddhist sites, India soon embraced and transformed the new arrivals.

Just as East Pakistan would be said to have properly embraced and transformed the newly arrived Pakistani soldiers by making it easier and more remunerative for them to rape and kill Bengalis. Sadly, this did not happen- probably because of 'colonial epistemology'.  

Within a few centuries, a hybrid Indo-Islamic civilization emerged, along with hybrid languages—notably Deccani and Urdu—which mixed the Sanskrit-derived vernaculars of India with Turkish, Persian, and Arabic words.

It was as shit as what went before- save for some forms of Pali and Sanskrit whose literature spread far and wide- and so new conquerors turned up. Sadly, the Brits weren't big on rape and genocide. Still,  Pakistani Generals sought to make up for any such shortcomings in the British Indian Army serving in which they began their rise.  

Eventually, around a fifth of South Asia’s population came to identify itself as Muslim.

and to identify non-Muslims as worthy of slaughter. 

The Sufi mystics associated with the spread of Islam often regarded the Hindu scriptures as divinely inspired.

No. They thought they themselves were divine. Sadly, they were shite at least when compared to the learned type of European priest or pastor.  

Some even took on the yogic practices of Hindu sadhus, rubbing their bodies with ashes, or hanging upside down while praying.

Some Hindu sadhus took up the Muslim practice of slaughtering enemies of their faith. They did well for themselves. The current CM of UP is from that type of Yogic lineage.  

In village folk traditions, the practice of the two faiths came close to blending into one.

My own practice of Judaism involves blending Cost and Management Accountancy with the drunken singing of 'Papa can you hear me'. So what? The thing is shit. Who cares what stupid shit villagers got up to? The point is they don't want to remain, rotting away, in those fucking villages. 

Hindus would visit the graves of Sufi masters and Muslims would leave offerings at Hindu shrines.

This did not involve not killing each other. The fact is, brothers would often visit each other and give each other presents before deciding that the best way to solve a vexatious inheritance issue was by seeing who was quicker with a dagger.

Dalrymple forgets that his own country had a Civil War in which some people on the Puritan side were actually what we would call Anglo-Catholics and vice versa.  

Sufis were especially numerous in Punjab and Bengal—the same regions that, centuries later, saw the worst of the violence—and there were mass conversions among the peasants there.

So, Sufis don't fucking matter. Having Police Superintendents who lock up or extern troublemakers is the only way to preserve 'communal harmony'. Rape and murder are crimes. Kill those who do it and suddenly everybody wants to keep their pecker in their pants and their dagger in its sheath. 

The cultural mixing took place throughout the subcontinent.

Though places where there was no fucking mixing were peaceful- if the police were on the qui vive- while places where everybody was quoting Bhulle Shah or Rabindranath Tagore went up in flames.  

In medieval Hindu texts from South India, the Sultan of Delhi is sometimes talked about as the incarnation of the god Vishnu.

I sometimes talk of God as the incarnation of this bloke I used to know who owes me a tenner. Thus, if you give me a tenner, God will certainly pay you back.  

In the seventeenth century, the Mughal crown prince Dara Shikoh had the Bhagavad Gita, perhaps the central text of Hinduism, translated into Persian, and composed a study of Hinduism and Islam, “The Mingling of Two Oceans,” which stressed the affinities of the two faiths.

Akbar had used Hindus as a countervailing power over Muslim nobles who might want to chop his fucking head off. Sadly, Shikoh was crap at fighting.  

Not all Mughal rulers were so open-minded. The atrocities wrought by Dara’s bigoted and puritanical brother Aurangzeb have not been forgotten by Hindus.

They are gratefully remembered in Pakistan save by Pakhtoons who had some grudge against the dude.  

But the last Mughal emperor, enthroned in 1837, wrote that Hinduism and Islam “share the same essence,” and his court lived out this ideal at every level.

Only while the Brits paid his pension. Dalrymple doesn't seem to get that people say things advantageous to themselves. The Mughal needed to pretend that Hindus liked him so as to keep getting his pension. But no fucking ideal was lived out by his court save that of parasitism. 

Just recently, I came across a Dalit priest who claims that Trump is an incarnation of the Buddha. Is he mad? Not necessarily. His creditors may believe Trump will cut him a check when he becomes POTUS. The 'chrematistics' of finance or politics works in that way. 

In the nineteenth century, India was still a place where traditions, languages, and cultures cut across religious groupings, and where people did not define themselves primarily through their religious faith.

This was certainly true in 1947. But once the blood started to flow, people decided they weren't really atheists. They belonged to this rather than that religion. But Kipling's 'under the City Walls' had described this already. 

A Sunni Muslim weaver from Bengal would have had far more in common in his language, his outlook, and his fondness for fish with one of his Hindu colleagues than he would with a Karachi Shia or a Pashtun Sufi from the North-West Frontier.

So what? He had no fucking power. When the blood-letting starts, people of that sort have to run away or join tough guys who share some salient predicate with them. Thus, during Direct Action day in Calcutta, some Bengali Hindus needed to get to where the Sikhs or Gurkhas were concentrated while some decent law-abiding Marwari Jains suddenly discovered the virtues of the traditional Durga worshipping Hindu thug. 

Many writers persuasively blame the British for the gradual erosion of these shared traditions.

Those writers tend to do so after successfully emigrating to places still ruled by Anglos. Who they fuck can they 'persuade'?  

As Alex von Tunzelmann observes in her history “Indian Summer,” when “the British started to define ‘communities’ based on religious identity and attach political representation to them, many Indians stopped accepting the diversity of their own thoughts and began to ask themselves in which of the boxes they belonged.”

Worse yet, Indians accepted that they either had dicks or they had vaginas. Thus they could no longer have both or alternate between them as their mood dictated.  

Still, Alexji has a point. Suppose the Brits had defined 'communities' as those who can prove the Reimann hypothesis, then the sub-continent would feature nothing but mathematicians of the highest calibre. 

Fuck you Britain for defining me as a fucking cow-worshipping Hindu rather that a dude with a ginormous dick who can prove that Mochizuki's proof of the abc theorem is totes wrong. Also he got a tiny dick. 

Indeed, the British scholar Yasmin Khan,

who has made billions because of her very high IQ- right? 

in her acclaimed history “The Great Partition,” judges that Partition “stands testament to the follies of empire, which ruptures community evolution, distorts historical trajectories and forces violent state formation from societies that would otherwise have taken different—and unknowable—paths.”

The end of multi-ethnic Empires let to ethnic cleansing and population exchange in Europe, the MENA, and parts of the sub-continent. Is Yasmin Khan saying 'if we have pan-Islamic Caliphate, Muslims in the sub-continent would not have suffered'? The problem is that the Hindus were already turning the tables on the Muslims and, sooner or later, would have united under a capable commander- like the great Ranjit Singh. 

As for the British empire in India, it arose out of British Nationalism- its desire not to become part of a Spanish or French or German Empire. Its greatness is that it welded together the Hindus and gave them a powerful nation-state of their own. What's more, this State is democratic, under the rule of law and, at last, seems to be following sensible economic policies. Anyway, Hindus can't accuse the Brits of racism so long as the Brits have a PM whose name recalls that of Shaunak Rishi. 

Other assessments, however, emphasize that Partition, far from emerging inevitably out of a policy of divide-and-rule, was largely a contingent development.

D'uh! Had there been no Hitler or Tojo, the British plan- viz. that India would be a Federation like Canada or Australia- would have gone forward. 

As late as 1940, it might still have been avoided.

Once the fighting started, Congress would have dragged its feet in terms of supporting the war effort.  

However, the 'original sin' was the Lucknow pact. Why would the Hindus yield the Muslims a bigger share in power? Muslims were even stupider and more useless than Hindus. Clearly, Hindus were leading Muslims up the garden path. This meant that all 'negotiation' was bogus. The Hindus would concede anything with the intention of cancelling those concessions once Whitey fucked off back to Blighty. 

This means there could be no 'public signals' supporting a 'co-operative' correlated equilibrium. There was only the Nash solution- viz. Partition. Just to be on the safe side, there was rape and genocide because nobody could be sure of the outcome of some future referendum. 

Some earlier work, such as that of the British historian Patrick French, in “Liberty or Death,”

nice guy but not a deep thinker.  

shows how much came down to a clash of personalities

like that between Patel and Nehru?  

among the politicians of the period, particularly between Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the leader of the Muslim League,

Dalmia was a great pal of his and had the hots for his sister. He had financed Gandhi's Dandi Salt march and offered Nehru money after his daddy died. He could have served as a go-between.  

and Mohandas Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru, the two most prominent leaders of the Hindu-dominated Congress Party.

Gandhi was crazy enough to make Jinnah his interlocutor. Why speak of 'clash of personalities' when India's problem was that the Hindus were led by a crack-pot?  

All three men were Anglicized lawyers who had received at least part of their education in England. Jinnah and Gandhi were both Gujarati.

Gandhi needed money for his crackpot schemes and tapped Gujarati and Marwari traders and industrialists for funds in return for which he advanced their funds. Jinnah had been brought back into Indian politics to ensure the Muslim League would get funds and support both from big landlords and the rising Muslim business houses- e.g. Ispahanis in the East or the Haroons (who were from Kutch like Jinnah). Jinnah was willing to limit interference in the Muslim majority Provinces in return for support for what was supposed to become the Federal level. But, during the Provincial Autonomy phase, what gave both Jinnah and Nehru focal point salience was precisely the fact that both were willing and able to bury that fucking Federation. The difference was Nehru had the charisma to overawe Provincial Congress satraps. Thus India could have a strong centralized administration whereas Pakistan was bound to fall apart save in so far as the the hard-work, decency, and religious and family values of the people, have enabled them to thrive. 

Potentially, they could have been close allies.

In a sense they were. Since neither Nehru nor Jinnah was interested in being the Premier of a Province, they wouldn't have got to be effective heads of Government unless the British notion of Federation was shot in the head. I suppose one can say Nehru pulled the trigger. But Jinnah handed him the gun. For Nehru this was a good outcome. If Rahul weren't a moon-calf, he'd be either PM or head of the Opposition. Jinnah too has wealthy descendants but they live in India and aren't Muslim.  

But by the early nineteen-forties their relationship had grown so poisonous that they could barely be persuaded to sit in the same room.

So what? None of the three had lifted a finger to make a Federal government possible. In their different ways, all three had tried to ensure it could not be created. The Brits could depart after handing power to Provincial Premiers and the Princes. At that point, all three might be up shit creek without a paddle. Jinnah did show the Provincial Premiers that the cry of 'Islam in danger' could unseat them. Nehru didn't need any such threat. Once Patel saw that Liaquat was getting the better of him, he accepted that there could be no Federation. That was it. There was no further stumbling block to Nehru, Jinnah, Atlee and Mountbatten all getting almost as much as they had wanted. 

At the center of the debates lies the personality of Jinnah, the man most responsible for the creation of Pakistan.

It does not matter in the slightest. After 1937, it was obvious that Muslims in UP and Bihar would lose any special protections or entitlements. Those who jumped on the Pakistan bandwagon might get a soft landing in the new state. Those who didn't could go read the Quran or do Namaz or whatever else it is devout people are supposed to do. The smart and educated could rise in the new country because Punjabis are as thick as shit- right? We can easily sit on top of their heads.  

In Indian-nationalist accounts, he appears as the villain of the story; for Pakistanis, he is the Father of the Nation.

Which is why they hired Christopher Lee to play him in a biopic they hoped would rival Attenborough's Gandhi.  

As French points out, “Neither side seems especially keen to claim him as a real human being, the Pakistanis restricting him to an appearance on banknotes in demure Islamic costume.” One of the virtues of Hajari’s new history is its more balanced portrait of Jinnah. He was certainly a tough, determined negotiator and a chilly personality; the Congress Party politician Sarojini Naidu joked that she needed to put on a fur coat in his presence.

He was a very handsome man who had eloped with a beautiful young heiress. Naidu would have been closer to the mark if she had added that she would make sure to be naked under the fur coat. This is not because Sajojiniji was wanting sexy shenanigans with Muslim. No! She was saying true Gandhian must reject even khaddar saree due to worst violence is to deprive evil assailants of the means, motives and opportunity to rape you to death. Why else you think Pundit Nehru is putting Gandhi cap to cover his bald spot? I tell you, those Evil Mleccha 'Sahib log' are wanting to put their pee pee in Panditji's chee chee place. Thankfully, due to he rejects 'colonial epistemology' he will turn into a rock or an elephant if they are doing this type of disgusting action. Still, for enlightenment of sincere students of Spiritual Sexology, I have provided tender description of some such scenarios in my magnum opus 'Partition of Nehru's butt cheeks' Volumes 24 to 91. 

Yet Jinnah was in many ways a surprising architect

He wasn't the architech. The blue-print had been drawn up. He was a barrister-politician who was brought back from London to deliver the 'new Medina' where muhajirs would make out like gangbusters much to the delight of the host-population of stupid ansaris.  

for the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. A staunch secularist, he drank whiskey, rarely went to a mosque, and was clean-shaven and stylish, favoring beautifully cut Savile Row suits and silk ties.

Pakistan only became an Islamic Republic under Bhutto whose suits were as expensive as Jinnah and who served only the best vintages. He also purported to be some sort of Maoist Socialist. The difference between him and Indira is that his goons would beat the shit out of his equivalent of P.N Haksar for 'gustaqi' or Lèse-majesté. Say what you like our Dynasty isn't thuggish or feudal. Robert Vadra isn't going to get Varun killed or vice versa. 

Significantly, he chose to marry a non-Muslim woman, the glamorous daughter of a Parsi businessman.

Liaquat too married a non-Muslim. So what? They converted.  

She was famous for her revealing saris and for once bringing her husband ham sandwiches on voting day.

But Jinnah's political career took off after only after she was safely dead. His sister's character was unimpeachable. She was a great support to him.  

Jinnah, far from wishing to introduce religion into South Asian politics, deeply resented the way Gandhi brought spiritual sensibilities into the political discussion, and once told him, as recorded by one colonial governor, that “it was a crime to mix up politics and religion the way he had done.”

Jinnah was for reserved seats on the basis of religion. He was against appealing to the village mullahs because they would go out of the League's control and form their own 'Jamaat'. However, he had lost salience because it was the Ali brothers who were the foremost agitators of the early Twenties. Sadly, Lord Reading was able to use Gandhi to put the brothers in an untenable position. Later, Gandhi himself surrendered. It turned out that the Indian barrister was no match for a former Lord Chief Justice. 

He believed that doing so emboldened religious chauvinists on all sides.

He believed it because it was true.  

Indeed, he had spent the early part of his political career, around the time of the First World War, striving to bring together the Muslim League and the Congress Party.

He thought he was helping Gokhale and the moderates outflank the 'garam dal' by doing a deal with the Muslims. Interestingly, the Mahasabha was created so as to push both the Mahatma and Motilal to handle the Hindu end of this impossible alliance- or, to be frank, confidence trick. For Gandhi, the pay-off had to with getting rid of Annie Beasant. She wasn't just a Feminist, she was a fucking Trade Union creating Socialist! This is because Gandhi knew about Byrant & May match girls. Unlike Motilal, he had never even pretended to be taken in by Theosophical guff.  

“I say to my Musalman friends: Fear not!” he said, and he described the idea of Hindu domination as “a bogey, put before you by your enemies to frighten you,

Oddly, Jinnah was unaware of the great hatred of the Sir Syed Ahmed Aligarh Muslim amongst a vast class of traditional bureaucrats in the Princely States as well as within the Revenue administration in UP & Bihar. Like the Aga Khan, Jinnah did not understand the Urdu heartland.  

to scare you away from cooperation and unity, which are essential for the establishment of self-government.” In 1916, Jinnah, who, at the time, belonged to both parties,

he belonged to Congress. The League enrolled him only so as to broker an advantageous deal. But it became worthless a year later when it became obvious that the age of multi-ethnic Empires had ended with the Bolshevik Revolution.  

even succeeded in getting them to present the British with a common set of demands, the Lucknow Pact. He was hailed as “the Ambassador of Hindu-Muslim Unity.”

The Hindus were conceding the Muslims a bigger share in power than their numbers warranted- i.e. 33 percent of seats when their population was 22 percent. The problem was that once the Hindus got power, they would cancel all the concessions they had made save to smart people like Anglo Indians, Christians etc. But everybody knew that a Hindu or Muslim legislator was likely to be a low IQ blathershite. Why reserve them seats in a talking shop? 

One factor which had been favourable to the Lucknow Pact was an ebb in the activity of the 'garam dal' or revolutionaries. It made sense for moderates to make common cause while the going was good- i.e. the Government was, with increasing efficiency, killing or locking up the revolutionaries. 

 As chance would have it, within a year the war situation became such that it became obvious that the era of Empires was over. The Brits, off their own bat, would have to hasten devolution of power. This undermined the position of both the reactionary loyalists as well as the revolutionary extremists. The question was, who would conduct negotiations with the British and how popular support for this should be whipped up around the country. 

But Jinnah felt eclipsed by the rise of Gandhi and Nehru, after the First World War.

Nehru had not risen at that time. It was the foolish decision to take Motilal and Jawaharlal into preventive detention at the time of the Prince of Wales's visit which turned them into national figures. This is because the boycott in Allahabad was complete. Suddenly 'backward' UP was shown to be ahead of Bombay or Calcutta.  

In December, 1920, he was booed off a Congress Party stage when he insisted on calling his rival “Mr. Gandhi” rather than referring to him by his spiritual title, Mahatma—Great Soul.

This is untrue. Some booed him but Gandhi stood up and pointed out that this was improper.  

Throughout the nineteen-twenties and thirties, the mutual dislike grew,

not really. Motilal appreciated Jinnah's unswerving commitment to full Independence. But negotiations with him were mismanaged. Chaghla, his junior, sold the pass when Jinnah was called away to attend to his dying wife.  

and by 1940 Jinnah had steered the Muslim League toward demanding a separate homeland for the Muslim minority of South Asia.

Jinnah had been brought back for this purpose. Iqbal was foremost in providing the architectural blueprint or 'hasrat-e-tameer' while Liaquat took care of the practical side of things.  

This was a position that he had previously opposed, and, according to Hajari, he privately “reassured skeptical colleagues that Partition was only a bargaining chip.”

The best outcome for Muslims would have for some Muslim princely states to become the nucleus of autonomous enclaves. Perhaps they could get half the power at the center and thirty percent of the land mass as well. However, the World War would boost the power of the Indian Army while the Princely States  

Even after his demands for the creation of Pakistan were met, he insisted that his new country would guarantee freedom of religious expression. In August, 1947, in his first address to the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan, he said, “You may belong to any religion, or caste, or creed—that has nothing to do with the business of the State.” But it was too late: by the time the speech was delivered, violence between Hindus and Muslims had spiralled beyond anyone’s ability to control it.

Jinnah still thought he could get Kashmir and was hoping some other Princely states too might accede. He had conned a Dalit to be his Law Minister and this had helped bring Sylhet to Pakistan. Nothing wrong in that. The other side was playing the same game. The difference was that Hindus don't want to kill or convert Muslims though, no doubt, they may chase them away if they act up. Thus Hindu India may hang onto non-Hindu States- provided defending them is not too costly or the people of those States- e.g. Arunachal- prove themselves smart and useful to a big country with a lot of stupid windbags. 

Hindus and Muslims had begun to turn on each other during the chaos unleashed by the Second World War.

No. The rioting started after the War.  

In 1942, as the Japanese seized Singapore and Rangoon and advanced rapidly through Burma toward India, the Congress Party began a campaign of civil disobedience, the Quit India Movement, and its leaders, including Gandhi and Nehru, were arrested.

They sulked in jail while a far larger number of Indians joined the Army and risked their lives in the war against a genuinely lawless, extractive and utterly Racialist Imperialism of a type the Brits had never imposed on India. 

While they were in prison, Jinnah, who had billed himself as a loyal ally of the British,

Nonsense! He had billed himself as a genuine cooperator in the war against Fascism. Why is Dalrymple telling such a stupid lie? Lord Reading himself had said that Jinnah, unlike Gandhi, was a fanatical adherent to the 'Purna Swaraj' of 'full Independence' demand. But this was known to the Brits even in the run-up to the Lucknow Pact negoiation.  

consolidated opinion behind him as the best protection of Muslim interests against Hindu dominance.

No. Jinnah went whole hog on the, Iqbalian, Pakistan as the new Medina demand.  

By the time the war was over and the Congress Party leaders were released, Nehru thought that Jinnah represented “an obvious example of the utter lack of the civilised mind,”

Nehru thought Hinduism and Islam and Christianity etc. were uncivilised. He was wrong.  

and Gandhi was calling him a “maniac”

Did you know that Jinnah had sex with his wife? Only a maniac would have sex. It is obvious that a person who has sex will become immediately impotent- i.e. a eunuch. Thus true manliness must consist of never having sex because it is a proven fact that your dick gets limp after sex- i.e. you become impotent, and thus stop being a true man. British befooled Indians into having sex. Do you really think our ancestors had sex? What about your Mummy and Daddy? According to 'colonial epistemology' Daddyji was putting pee-pee in Mummyji's chee chee place! I ask you, how could any such thing happen? White devils are brainwashing us to do SEX which is totes against Veda and Upanishad and Quran Sharif. Mind it kindly.  

and “an evil genius.”

But Jinnah virtually monopolized the Muslim vote in 1946. He had proven himself. Could he have got something more than a 'moth-eaten Pakistan'? Not after Direct Action Day- orchestrated by Shurawardy- and definitely not after Liaquat, as Finance Minister, ran circles around Sardar Patel. There had to be a clean break.  

From that point on, violence on the streets between Hindus and Muslims began to escalate.

During the Bangladesh war, violence between Muslims and Muslims escalated. Now, of course, we are used to seeing Muslims slaughter each other. My question is when is the last time you saw Hindus slaughter each other because of sectarian differences?  Even if some Hindus hate other Hindus- e.g. anti-Tambram sentiment in Tamil Nadu- there is no killing and raping though smart Tambrams may emigrate. But non Tambrams do so too. Violence simply isn't imbricated in Hindu identity the way it seems to be for certain Islamic sects. 

People moved away from, or were forced out of, mixed neighborhoods and took refuge in increasingly polarized ghettos.

If I lived in Gujarat, I may well be forced out of a housing colony once it comes to be known that I drink sharab and eat kebab. But this has nothing to do with my Religion.  

Tensions were often heightened by local and regional political leaders.

But for whom the national leaders wouldn't have lead shit. 

H. S. Suhrawardy, the ruthless Muslim League Chief Minister of Bengal, made incendiary speeches in Calcutta, provoking rioters against his own Hindu populace and writing in a newspaper that “bloodshed and disorder are not necessarily evil in themselves, if resorted to for a noble cause.”

The odd thing was that Sarat Bose was still prepared to dream of a united Bengal under Suhrawardy.  

The first series of widespread religious massacres took place in Calcutta, in 1946, partly as a result of Suhrawardy’s incitement.

This is misleading. There was 'discovery'. Could Muslims gain Calcutta? No. The Hindus were prepared to pay for the disproportionate killing of Muslims because Calcutta was valuable.  

Von Tunzelmann’s history relays atrocities witnessed there by the writer Nirad C. Chaudhuri. Chaudhuri described a man tied to the connector box of the tramlines with a small hole drilled in his skull, so that he would bleed to death as slowly as possible.

This is obvious nonsense. Nirad had an MA in History- i.e. was as stupid as shit. Drilling small holes in skulls does not cause death by blood loss because of the 'blood-brain barrier'. On the other hand, the struggles of your victim as you do such drilling is likely to cause fatal injuries. How fucking stupid is Dalrymple? The answer is- very fucking stupid indeed. He studied History at Collidge.  

He also wrote about a Hindu mob stripping a fourteen-year-old boy naked to confirm that he was circumcised,

why not just take down his pants? Why strip him naked? Anyway, the kid was likely to be bare-chested so it was just a case of lifting his lungi. Even that was not needful. He'd have had some amulet or thread tied to his wrist or caste-mark to clarify his religion.  I may mention, about 40 percent of non Faraizi Muslims in Bengal did not have circumcision as a matter of course. To be clear, Hanafi doctrine is that this should be done soon after birth but its not having been done does not mean you are not Muslim. I have been told that Faraizi (whom I respect greatly) were punctilious on this point BUT they themselves agree that a 14 year old Muslim could have a foreskin. Moreover, Faraizi Islam was 'aspirational'.

 Nirad may have hated Muslims almost as much as he hated Hindus.  But lots of other Hindus from East Bengal had no such pathology.  One reason Bengalis aren't utterly shite is few study worthless shite like History at the Postgrad level. 

I myself, being a bleck Tamil, got 'adopted' by various Faraizi business families in London because my very short-sighted Mummy once wandered into a funeral parlour of theirs. She was supposed to be coming with me to my Gym but got distracted and followed some other fat bastard into the funeral home. Since the ladies there spoke Bangla, Mum made Bangla type noises. Since she is very lovely and cute they soon cast lots for her because she told them her son, whom she had come to visit, had 'gone through the door'- i.e. died. If I hadn't been able to locate her, Mum would now be shuttling between more or less opulent British Bangladeshi families under the impression that the periodic 'Vivek' who showed up was her own son and heir. The sad thing is this would have been a better outcome for her due to I iz shit.

and therefore Muslim. The boy was then thrown into a pond and held down with bamboo poles—“a Bengali engineer educated in England noting the time he took to die on his Rolex wristwatch,

Fuck off! the Oyster perpetual only gained traction in Bengal a couple of years later. 

Dalrymple prefers to repeat stupid lies rather than appear to his fellow Brits- like me- as an unbiased or accurate scholar. Fuck he cared. He was the David Cameron of Indian Historiography-right? And David Camerons can't be so fucking stupid as to fuck, not just themselves, but their Party, their country, up and evermore up by yet more stupid fucking. 

and wondering how tough the life of a Muslim bastard was.” Five thousand people were killed. The American photojournalist Margaret Bourke-White, who had witnessed the opening of the gates of a Nazi concentration camp a year earlier, wrote that Calcutta’s streets “looked like Buchenwald.”

Sadly Nirad did not get a chance to gloat over Pak atrocities in Bangladesh. Life can sometimes be very unfair.  

As riots spread to other cities and the number of casualties escalated, the leaders of the Congress Party, who had initially opposed Partition, began to see it as the only way to rid themselves of the troublesome Jinnah and his Muslim League.

Why stop there? Why not say it was a way to cut Punjab and Bengal down to size? In for a penny, in for a pound.  

In a speech in April, 1947, Nehru said, “I want that those who stand as an obstacle in our way should go their own way.”

I want the Punjabis and the Bengalis to fuck over themselves so no challenge to UP/Bihar remains.  

Likewise, the British realized that they had lost any remaining vestiges of control and began to speed up their exit strategy.

That was Wavell's view. He was an Army dude. Since the time of the Kitchener v Curzon conflict, the White military caste had prevailed over the fucking Scots and Irish and other such cunts in the Civilian cadre. Dyer pushed this point home. Since, a month after Jallianwallah, he helped defeat the silly Afghan invasion, Punjab turned against the rowdyism of Rowlatt and started to plead for the 'smack of firm government'. But it was not Ayub, but Indira who could supply this precisely because she bided her time and waited for an actual military victory.  

On the afternoon of February 20, 1947, the British Prime Minister, Clement Atlee, announced before Parliament that British rule would end on “a date not later than June, 1948.” If Nehru and Jinnah could be reconciled by then, power would be transferred to “some form of central Government for British India.” If not, they would hand over authority “in such other way as may seem most reasonable and in the best interests of the Indian people.”

It is fair to say that Jinnah overplayed his hand. Under a Federal system, Muslims would slowly but surely have come to dominate Punjab and Bengal while the clever Muslims of UP might have found ways to thrive. But, undivided Punjab and Bengal would not have permitted concentration of power in Karachi and Delhi. 

In March, 1947, a glamorous minor royal

an important military commander- one more successful than Wavell 

named Lord Louis Mountbatten flew into Delhi as Britain’s final Viceroy, his mission to hand over power and get out of India as quickly as possible.

the Mountbattens had already befriended Nehru whom Atlee and Cripps wanted to help.  

A series of disastrous meetings with an intransigent Jinnah soon convinced him that the Muslim League leader was “a psychopathic case,” impervious to negotiation.

Mountbatten repeated what the Indians wanted to hear. Pakistan was likely to be more pro-Western in any case. Nehru was the man to cozen.  

Worried that, if he didn’t move rapidly, Britain might, as Hajari writes, end up “refereeing a civil war,” Mountbatten deployed his considerable charm to persuade all the parties to agree to Partition as the only remaining option.

He put forward the date of transfer of power. It was a fait accompli. Oddly, it was his administrative capacity which impressed the Indians. Ultimately, they needed him to stay on not because he was a Royal or because he was a military man, but because he was efficient.  

In early June, Mountbatten stunned everyone by announcing August 15, 1947, as the date for the transfer of power—ten months earlier than expected. The reasons for this haste are still the subject of debate, but it is probable that Mountbatten wanted to shock the quarrelling parties into realizing that they were hurtling toward a sectarian precipice.

Nonsense! It was obvious that British troops wanted to go home, not maintain order in beastly Indian slums. The day after his announcement, all British troops returned to barracks save on the NW Frontier where there was a phased and orderly withdrawal. Since British officers in the Indian Army would remain a little longer, the White population was reassured. 

However, the rush only exacerbated the chaos. Cyril Radcliffe, a British judge

a barrister at that time 

assigned to draw the borders of the two new states, was given barely forty days to remake the map of South Asia. The borders were finally announced two days after India’s Independence.

The strange thing is that it held up pretty well.  

None of the disputants were happy with the compromise that Mountbatten had forced on them. Jinnah, who had succeeded in creating a new country, regarded the truncated state he was given—a slice of India’s eastern and western extremities, separated by a thousand miles of Indian territory—as “a maimed, mutilated and moth-eaten” travesty of the land he had fought for. He warned that the partition of Punjab and Bengal “will be sowing the seeds of future serious trouble.”

But what caused the worst trouble was East Bengal's decision to join Jinnah's shitty state. They paid a heavy price for their stupidity. India by contrast lost nothing. True Pakistan keeps trying to make trouble for it, but it's nice that its Army has at least one enemy it can defeat from time to time.  Obviously, if Pakistan ever won a war with India, a hundred million Muslims would be slaughtered. But Jinnah knew this. He was prepared for the annihilation of the one third of Muslims in non-Muslim majority provinces. 

On the evening of August 14, 1947, in the Viceroy’s House in New Delhi, Mountbatten and his wife settled down to watch a Bob Hope movie, “My Favorite Brunette.”

Dalrymple does not mention that Mountbatten first took part in a Hindu ceremony whereby a 'sengol' or sceptre was invested in Nehru's Brahminical hands. You can be sure the priests purified it from Mountbatten's 'mleccha' touch before handing it to Panditji.  

A short distance away, at the bottom of Raisina Hill, in India’s Constituent Assembly, Nehru rose to his feet to make his most famous speech. “Long years ago, we made a tryst with destiny,” he declaimed. “At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom.”

and a dynasty whose current heir has less brain than Prince Harry. At least the latter can find a wife and get her preggers.  

But outside the well-guarded enclaves of New Delhi the horror was well under way.

The Muslim population of Delhi fell from one third to five percent on Nehru's watch. Don't say 'sengols' have no power.  

That same evening, as the remaining British officials in Lahore set off for the railway station, they had to pick their way through streets littered with dead bodies.

In Calcutta, in '43, the bodies they stepped over would have merely starved to death. Provincial autonomy can only go so far.  

On the platforms, they found the railway staff hosing down pools of blood.

Sadly, though the country had been liberated some bad colonial habits- like hosing down pools of blood- remained. The Communists were right. India could never become free till such bourgeois habits were erased.  

Hours earlier, a group of Hindus fleeing the city had been massacred by a Muslim mob as they sat waiting for a train. As the Bombay Express pulled out of Lahore and began its journey south, the officials could see that Punjab was ablaze, with flames rising from village after village.

Serves them right for wanting to make Punjab prosperous with canals and colleges and what not.  

What followed, especially in Punjab, the principal center of the violence, was one of the great human tragedies of the twentieth century.

Which non-Punjabis can't read about without laughing their heads off. As Mahatma Gandhi said in 1939, if the Brits left without handing over the Army to the INC, the Muslims and the Punjabis would overrun the country. At one fell swoop, Panditji had got rid of both problems! 

As Nisid Hajari writes, “Foot caravans of destitute refugees fleeing the violence stretched for 50 miles and more. As the peasants trudged along wearily, mounted guerrillas burst out of the tall crops that lined the road and culled them like sheep. Special refugee trains, filled to bursting when they set out, suffered repeated ambushes along the way. All too often they crossed the border in funereal silence, blood seeping from under their carriage doors.”

D.F Karkara, a Parsi war correspondent who had witnessed the liberation of Belsen, had been brought to Punjab by some White officers to chronicle what was happening.  

Within a few months, the landscape of South Asia had changed irrevocably. In 1941, Karachi, designated the first capital of Pakistan, was 47.6 per cent Hindu. Delhi, the capital of independent India, was one-third Muslim. By the end of the decade, almost all the Hindus of Karachi had fled, while two hundred thousand Muslims had been forced out of Delhi. The changes made in a matter of months remain indelible seventy years later.

The proportion of Muslims in Delhi has risen considerably. But non-Muslims continue to flee Pakistan. What is interesting is that Pakistan is now deporting millions of Afghans. This is the reverse of the 'hijrat' of 1919! 

More than twenty years ago, I visited the novelist Ahmed Ali. Ali was the author of “Twilight in Delhi,” which was published, in 1940, with the support of Virginia Woolf and E. M. Forster, and is probably still the finest novel written about the Indian capital. Ali had grown up in the mixed world of old Delhi, but by the time I visited him he was living in exile in Karachi.

He was in China at the time of Partition. KPS Menon refused to give him an entry permit to return to India and so he had to go to Pakistan. He was soon appointed their first envoy to China.  

“The civilization of Delhi came into being through the mingling of two different cultures, Hindu and Muslim,” he told me.

Delhi was a corpse which the Brits revived. He himself began his rise as a Professor of English literature. 

Now “Delhi is dead. . . . All that made Delhi special has been uprooted and dispersed.” He lamented especially the fact that the refinement of Delhi Urdu had been destroyed: “Now the language has shrunk. So many words are lost.”

More sadly, so many others remain.  

Like Ali, the Bombay-based writer Saadat Hasan Manto saw the creation of Pakistan as both a personal and a communal disaster.

Ali was a Pakistani diplomat. He did not say that the country was a disaster. I suppose, he was a tactful fellow in his own way.  

The tragedy of Partition, he wrote, was not that there were now two countries instead of one but the realization that “human beings in both countries were slaves, slaves of bigotry . . . slaves of religious passions, slaves of animal instincts and barbarity.”

Alcohol enslaved him. He died of cirrhosis of the liver. Still, at least he didn't have to keep writing shite. 

The madness he witnessed and the trauma he experienced in the process of leaving Bombay and emigrating to Lahore marked him for the rest of his life.

At least it was short- like his stories. God is indeed Merciful- to some.  

Yet it also transformed him into the supreme master of the Urdu short story.

Sadly the Urdu short story is shit.  

Before Partition, Manto was an essayist, screenwriter, and journalist of varying artistic attainment. Afterward, during several years of frenzied creativity, he became an author worthy of comparison with Chekhov, Zola, and Maupassant—all of whom he translated and adopted as models. Although his work is still little known outside South Asia, a number of fine new translations—by Aatish Taseer, Matt Reeck, and Aftab Ahmad—promise to bring him a wider audience.

of cretins. France and Russia are important. Pakistanis aren't. We get that they are horrible people and have horrible lives and keep slaughtering each other. But we simply don't have enough money to drone strike each and every one of them. 

As recently illuminated in Ayesha Jalal’s “The Pity of Partition”—Jalal is Manto’s great-niece—he was baffled by the logic of Partition.

Like Jalal, he was baffled by logic. Is it something you eat or do you use it as a suppository?  

“Despite trying,” he wrote, “I could not separate India from Pakistan, and Pakistan from India.”

Because though he may have drunk plenty of Gin, he was no Jinnah who managed the matter easily enough.  

Who, he asked, owned the literature that had been written in undivided India?

The Brits. Let them study that shite. We don't want it.  

Although he faced criticism and censorship, he wrote obsessively about the sexual violence that accompanied Partition.

But there's plenty of sexual violence in that part of the world without any Partition. A friend of mine asked me to translate a short story of his even though it was written in Urdu- a language I find difficult to read. Still, I did so in the belief that the story was about his own sister who had been gang-raped. At that time the Canadians gave honorary Doctorates to Pakistani gang-rape victims presumably because market research suggests that such credentials are prized in those circles. I am not saying my own Urdu or knowledge of rural Pakistan is very great but my feeling was that some details in the story- e.g. the scene where the heroine, Qurratulayn, eats grass as she is being taken violently from behind- were implausible or perhaps 'magical realist'. Then the fellow explained the story was about a goat which had belonged to his family. I believe it was partitioned during E'id. 

“When I think of the recovered women, I think only of their bloated bellies—what will happen to those bellies?” he asked. Would the children so conceived “belong to Pakistan or Hindustan?”

If they were sensible they would try to emigrate to Britain more particularly if they happen to be goats. 

The most extraordinary feature of Manto’s writing is that, for all his feeling, he never judges.

No. What is effective is that Manto puts his finger on aspects of 'folk psychology' just like Kipling Small town lawyers and policemen have anecdotes of this sort and that is what adds the touch of verisimilitude. 

Instead, he urges us to try to understand what is going on in the minds of all his characters, the murderers as well as the murdered, the rapists as well as the raped.

This is what lawyers and policemen have to do.  

In the short story “Colder Than Ice,” we enter the bedroom of Ishwar Singh, a Sikh murderer and rapist, who has suffered from impotence ever since his abduction of a beautiful Muslim girl. As he tries to explain his affliction to Kalwant Kaur, his current lover, he tells the story of discovering the girl after breaking into a house and killing her family:

“I could have slashed her throat, but I didn’t. . . . I thought she had gone into a faint, so I carried her over my shoulder all the way to the canal which runs outside the city. . . . Then I laid her down on the grass, behind some bushes and . . . first I thought I would shuffle her a bit . . . but then I decided to trump her right away. . . . ”

“What happened?” she asked.

“I threw the trump . . . but, but . . . ”

His voice sank.

Kalwant Kaur shook him violently. “What happened?”

Ishwar Singh opened his eyes. “She was dead. . . . I had carried a dead body . . . a heap of cold flesh . . . jani, [my beloved] give me your hand.”

Kalwant Kaur placed her hand on his. It was colder than ice.

Fucking a corpse can indeed put you off sex more particularly if you come from a place where the succubus is a 'churel' or 'vetala' coz that's bad bad mojo.  

Manto’s most celebrated Partition story, “Toba Tek Singh,” proceeds from a simple premise,

 a foolish one. Government run asylums were bureaucratic. In this case, an order would have eventually been run dividing up the lunatics and awarding them to one country or the other.  

laid out in the opening lines:

Two or three years after the 1947 Partition, it occurred to the governments of India and Pakistan to exchange their lunatics in the same manner as they had exchanged their criminals. The Muslim lunatics in India were to be sent over to Pakistan and the Hindu and Sikh lunatics in Pakistani asylums were to be handed over to India.

Plenty of abducted women, too, were exchanged.  

It was difficult to say whether the proposal made any sense or not.

It did. 

However, the decision had been taken at the topmost level on both sides.

Because Government money was involved and so the file would go all the way up to the Chief Secretary 

In a few thousand darkly satirical words, Manto manages to convey that the lunatics are much saner than those making the decision for their removal,

he tries but fails save in one respect. The Sikhs might be crazy enough to want a pure 'Khalistan' for themselves. Laughing at the craziness of the Sikh is the one thing Hindus and Muslims can agree on. 

and that, as Jalal puts it, “the madness of Partition was far greater than the insanity of all the inmates put together.” The tale ends with the eponymous hero stranded between the two borders: “On one side, behind barbed wire, stood together the lunatics of India and on the other side, behind more barbed wire, stood the lunatics of Pakistan. In between, on a bit of earth which had no name, lay Toba Tek Singh.”

Actually Toba Tek Singh migrated to Canada. He is currently propping up Pierre Trudeau's administration.  

Manto’s life after Partition forms a tragic parallel with the institutional insanity depicted in “Toba Tek Singh.” Far from being welcomed in Pakistan, he was disowned as reactionary by its Marxist-leaning literary set.

The guy drank too much. Also, he probably wasn't a bundle of laughs. 

After the publication of “Colder Than Ice,” he was charged with obscenity and sentenced to prison with hard labor, although he was acquitted on appeal. The need to earn a living forced Manto into a state of hyper-productivity; for a period in 1951, he was writing a book a month, at the rate of one story a day. Under this stress, he fell into a depression and became an alcoholic. His family had him committed to a mental asylum in an attempt to curb his drinking, but he died of its effects in 1955, at the age of forty-two.

Obviously, this isn't the whole story. I've heard rumors. But the family is sound enough.  

For all the elements of tragic farce in Manto’s stories, and the tormented state of mind of Manto himself, the reality of Partition was no less filled with absurdity.

Nope. The thing really wasn't a chuckle factory.  

Vazira Zamindar’s excellent recent study, “The Long Partition and the Making of Modern South Asia,” opens with an account of Ghulam Ali, a Muslim from Lucknow, a city in central North India, who specialized in making artificial limbs. He opted to live in India, but at the moment when Partition was announced he happened to be at a military workshop on the Pakistan side of the border. Within months, the two new countries were at war over Kashmir, and Ali was pressed into service by the Pakistani Army and prevented from returning to his home, in India.

This was illegal. Limbfitter had opted for India and was an Indian citizen. However, if there was no evidence that he had been illegally forced to serve in the Pakistan Army, he had lost Indian citizenship by his own actions.  

In 1950, the Army discharged him on the ground that he had become a citizen of India.

He lost that citizenship when he was with the Pakistan Army. If he had been forced to serve, the Pak Army had broken the law. If they hadn't, it was up to India to say whether they would give him an entry permit. 

Yet when he got to the frontier he was not recognized as Indian, and was arrested for entering without a travel permit. In 1951, after serving a prison sentence in India, he was deported back to Pakistan. Six years later, he was still being deported back and forth, shuttling between the prisons and refugee camps of the two new states. His official file closes with the Muslim soldier under arrest in a camp for Hindu prisoners on the Pakistani side of the border.

 If he really wanted to cross the border, he could have done so. Plenty of other people did. 

Ever since 1947, India and Pakistan have nourished a deep-rooted mutual antipathy. They have fought two inconclusive wars over the disputed region of Kashmir—the only Muslim-majority area to remain within India.

No. The wars were conclusive. The bit of J&K which had rebelled against the Maharaja during the Second Round Table Conference could only be held by British troops not Dogras. That was bound to go. The Valley was a different story but nobody greatly cares about its people anymore. 

In 1971, they fought over the secession of East Pakistan, which became Bangladesh. In 1999, after Pakistani troops crossed into an area of Kashmir called Kargil, the two countries came alarmingly close to a nuclear exchange.

Not really. Nukes are expensive. What is the point of killing twenty or thirty thousand darkies at the expense of hundreds of millions? You are doing the other side a favor by thinning out the population. 

Despite periodic gestures toward peace negotiations and moments of rapprochement, the Indo-Pak conflict remains the dominant geopolitical reality of the region.

India likes having an enemy it can kick the shit out of.  

In Kashmir, a prolonged insurgency against Indian rule has left thousands dead

but they are Kashmiris!  

and still gives rise to intermittent violence. Meanwhile, in Pakistan, where half the female population remains illiterate, defense eats up a fifth of the budget, dwarfing the money available for health, education, infrastructure, and development.

So, only Pakistan is harmed by this stupidity.  

It is easy to understand why Pakistan might feel insecure: India’s population, its defense budget, and its economy are seven times as large as Pakistan’s. But the route that Pakistan has taken to defend itself against Indian demographic and military superiority has been disastrous for both countries.

Not for India. It is simply too large for a couple of pin-pricks here are there to make a difference. What I did enjoy was the assault on the Taj hotel. Then I heard that a dear friend of mine had walked away from the place unscathed. This made me very bitter against the ISI.  

For more than thirty years, Pakistan’s Army and its secret service, the I.S.I., have relied on jihadi proxies to carry out their aims. These groups have been creating as much—if not more—trouble for Pakistan as they have for the neighbors the I.S.I. hopes to undermine: Afghanistan and India.

What was funny was the way Pakistanis sparked the war on terror in which 1.3 million Muslims died. Truly, Jinnah did the Hindus a favor when he turned the attention of his community to embracing their Muslim neighbors to the West rather than those dirty kaffirs to the East.  

Today, both India and Pakistan remain crippled by the narratives built around memories of the crimes of Partition, as politicians (particularly in India) and the military (particularly in Pakistan) continue to stoke the hatreds of 1947 for their own ends.

Nonsense! India does not care. If Kashmiri Pundits get chased out of the valley we may sympathize till we remember that all the Kashmiri Pundits we have ever met were insufferable. The same goes for Punjabis and East Bengalis and so forth.  

Nisid Hajari ends his book by pointing out that the rivalry between India and Pakistan “is getting more, rather than less, dangerous: the two countries’ nuclear arsenals are growing, militant groups are becoming more capable, and rabid media outlets on both sides are shrinking the scope for moderate voices.”

Which may be bad for Pakistan and maybe some border districts but this really does not matter to the rest of India.  

Moreover, Pakistan, nuclear-armed and deeply unstable, is not a threat only to India; it is now the world’s problem, the epicenter of many of today’s most alarming security risks.

But it is no longer India's problem. Thank you Jinnah!  

It was out of madrassas in Pakistan that the Taliban emerged. That regime, which was then the most retrograde in modern Islamic history, provided sanctuary to Al Qaeda’s leadership even after 9/11.

Pakistan was sheltering Osama in a cantonment town.  The US sure picked a swell ally!

It is difficult to disagree with Hajari’s conclusion: “It is well past time that the heirs to Nehru and Jinnah finally put 1947’s furies to rest.”

Nehru's heir is Rahul. He is a mooncalf. Modi ignores Pakistan. Nobody else greatly cares about that country. As for Jinnah's heirs- they are billionaires. But they are not Pakistani and they are not Muslim.  

But the current picture is not encouraging. In Delhi, a hard-line right-wing government rejects dialogue with Islamabad.

Because there is no point talking to nutters as Nehru realized.  

Both countries find themselves more vulnerable than ever to religious extremism.

Not India. Hindus can choose how extreme they want to be because this does not involve killing apostates or rejecting Science. Muslims in India can be as pious as they wish. Killing and raping aren't actually a religious commandment save, perhaps, for Quakers.  

In a sense, 1947 has yet to come to an end.

Only in the sense that 1946 has yet to come to an end. Partition did not and does not matter to India. As for Pakistan, it needs to do the same sensible things Bangladesh did. After all, China wants a return on its investments.