September 27, 2016

Macaulay: Disbelief on Coming up of British Empire in India

The post is build and developed around a quotation given here which has been taken out of an essay written by Macaulay published in 1840. Macaulay can not be overlooked. However, the contents of the essay from where the following lines consisting of more than 1500 words has been plucked out, can not be called a historic document even if it was authored by Macaulay. However, a person in 2016 who seeks to know about the happenings in 1700 may adopt a device and the methodology of learning from the documents produced in 1840s. This is the core of history.
This post is long. Those who are interested merely in the actual contents but not interested in what this blogger writes, may check the following extract. He/she will find a quotation by T. B. Macaulay. The reference to the source is given at the end. However, it is made the part of the essay which the author has written. The reader, interested in the quotation may have to read through the writing of the author and the does not apologize for that.

The Extract: It is a part of an essay written by Thomas Babington Macaulay.

Macaulay wrote thus:
The empire which Baber and his Moguls reared in the sixteenth century was long one of the most extensive and splendid in the world. In no European kingdom was so large a population subject to a single prince, or so large a revenue poured into the treasury. The beauty and magnificence of the buildings erected by the sovereigns of Hindostan, amazed even travellers who had seen St. Peter's. The innumerable retinues and gorgeous decorations which surrounded the throne of Delhi dazzled even eyes which were accustomed to the pomp of Versailles. Some of the great viceroys who held their posts by virtue of commissions from the Mogul ruled as many subjects as the king of France or the Emperor of Germany. Even the deputies of these deputies might well rank, as to extent of territory and amount of revenue, with the Grand Duke of Tuscany, or the Elector of Saxony.
There can be little doubt that this great empire, powerful and prosperous as it appears on a superficial view, was yet, even in its best days, far worse governed than the worst governed parts of Europe now are. The administration was tainted with all the vices of Oriental despotism and will all the vices inseparable from the domination of race over race. The conflicting pretensions of the princes of the royal house produced a long series crimes and public disasters. Ambitious lieutenants of the sovereign sometimes aspired to independence. Fierce tribes of Hindoos, impatient of a foreign yoke, frequently withheld tribute, repelled the armies of the government from the mountain fastnesses, and poured down in arms on the cultivated plains. In spite, however, of much constant maladministration, in spite of occasional convulsions which shook the whole frame of society, this great monarchy, on the whole, retained, during some generations, an outward appearance of unity, majesty and energy. But throughout the long rein of Aurungzeb, the states, notwithstanding all that the vigour and policy of the prince could effect, was hastening to dissolution. After his death, which took place in the year 1707, the ruin was fearfully rapid. Violent shocks from without co-operated with an incurable decay which was fast proceeding within; and in a few years the empire had undergone utter decomposition.
The history of the successors of Theodosius bears no small analogy to that of the successors of Aurungzeb. But perhaps the fall of the Carlovingians furnishes the nearest parallel to the fall of the Moguls. Charlemagne was scarcely interred when the imbecility and the disputes of his descendants began to bring contempt on themselves and destruction on their subjects. The wide dominion of the Franks was severed into a thousand pieces. Nothing more than a nominal dignity was left to the abject heirs of an illustrious name, Charles the Bald, and Charles the Fat, and the Charles the Simple. Fierce invaders, differing from each other in race, language, and religion, flocked, as if by concert, from the farthest corners of the earth, to plunder provinces which the government could no longer defend. The pirates of the Northern Sea extended their ravages from the Elbe to the Pyrenees, and at length fixed their sear in the rich valley of the Seine. The Hungarian in whom the trembling monks fancied that they recognised the Go or Magog of prophecy, carried back the plunder of the cities of Lombardy to the depth of the Pannonian forests. The Saracen ruled in Sicily, desolated the fertile plains of Campania, and spread terror even to the Rome. In the midst of these sufferings, a great internal change passed upon the empire. The corruption of death began to ferment into new forms of life. While the great body, as a whole, was torpid and passive, every separate member began to feel with a sense, and to move with an energy all its own. Just here, in the most barren and dreary tract of European history, all feudal privileges, all modern nobility, take their source. It is to this point that we trace the power of those princes, who, nominally vassals, but really independent, long governed, with the titles of dukes, marquesses and counts, almost every part of the dominions which had obeyed Charlemagne.
Such or nearly such was the change which passed on Mogul empire during the forty years which followed the death of Aurungzebe. A succession of nominal sovereigns, sunk in indolence and debauchery, sauntered away life in secluded palaces, chewing bang, fondling concubines, and listening to buffons. A succession of ferocious invaders descended through the western passes, to prey on the defenseless wealth of Hindostan. A Persian conqueror crossed the Indus, marched through the gates of Delhi, and bore away in triumph those treasures of which the magnificence had astounded Roe and Bernier, the Peacock Throne, on which the richest jewels of Golconda had been disposed by the most skillful hands of Europe, and the inestimable Mountain of Light, which, after many strange vicissitudes, lately shone in the bracelet of Runjeet sing, and is now destined to adorn the hideous idol of Orissa. The Afghan soon followed to complete the work of devastation which the Persian had begun. The warlike tribes of the Rajpootana threw off the Musulman yoke. A band of the mercenary soldiers occupied Rohilcund. The Seiks ruled on the Indus. The Jauts spread dismay along the Jumna. The highlands which border on the western sea-coast of India pured forth a yet more formidable race, a race which was long the terror of every native power, an which, after many desperate and doubtful struggles, yielded only to the fortune and genius of England. It was under the reign of Aurungzebe that this wild clan of plunderers first descended from the mountains; and soon after his death, every corner of his wide empire learned to tremble at the mighty name of the Mahrattas. Many fertile viceroyalties were entirely subdued by them. Their dominions stretched across the peninsula from sea to sea. Mahratta captains reigned at Poonah, at Gualior, in Guzerat, in Berar, and in Tanjore. Nor did they, though they had become great sovereings, therefore cease to be freebooters. They still retained the predatory habits of their forefathers. Every region which was not subjec ot their rule was wasted by their incursions. Wherever their kettle-drums were heard, the peasant threw his bag of rice on his shoulder, hid his small savings in his girdle, and fled with his wife and children to the mountains or the jungles, to the milder neighbourhood of the hyaena and the tiger. Many provinces redeemed their harvests by the payment of an annual ransom. Even the wretched phantom who still bore the imperial title stooped to pay this ignominious black-mail. The camp-fires of one rapacious leader were seen from the weall of the palace of Delhi. Another, at the head of his innumerable cavalry, descended year after year on the rice-fields of Bengal. Even the European factors trembled for their magazined. Less than a hundred years ago, it was thought necessary to fortify Calcutta against the horsemen of Berar; and the name of the Mahratta ditch still preserves the memory of the danger.
Wherever the viceroys of the Mogul retained authority they became sovereigns. They might still acknowledge in words the superiority of the house of the Tamerlane; as a Count of Flanders or a Duke of Burgundy might have acknowledged the superiority of the most helpless driveler among the later Carlovingians. They might occasionally send to their titular sovereign a complimentary present, or solicit from him a title of honour. In truth, however, they were no longer lieutenants removable at pleasure, but independent hereditary princes. In this way originated those great Musulaman houses which formerly ruled Bengla and the Carnatic, and those which still, though in a state of vassalage, exercise some of the powers of royalty at Lucknow and Hyderabad.
In what was this confusion to end? Was the strife to continue during centuries? Was it to terminate in the rise of another great monarchy? Was the Mussulman or the Mahratta to be the Lord of India? Was another Baber to descend from the mountains, and to lead the hardy tribes of Cabul and Chorasan against a wealthier and less warlike race? None of these events seems improbable. But scarcely any man, however, sagacious, would have thought it possible that a trading company, separated from India by fifteen thousand miles of sea, and possessing in India only a few acres for purposes of commerce, would, in less that a hundred years, spread its empire from Cape Comorin to the eternal snow of the Himalayas; would compel Mahratta and Mahommedan to forget their mutual feuds in common subjection; would tame down even those wild races which had resisted the most powerful of the Moguls; and, having united under its laws a hundred millions of the subjects, would carry its victorious arms far to the east of the Burrampooter, and far to the west of the Hydaspes (present day Jhelum), dictate terms of peace at the gates of Ava, and deat its vassal on the throne of Candahar.

The Source:
The above mentioned work, which is part of an essay written by Macaulay, has been taken from “The London Series of English Classics” edited by J. W. Hales and C. S. Jerram. The essay has been included in that series. The title of the essay included in the compilation is 'Lord Clive' by Thomas Babington Macaulay. The essay had been edited and annonated by Herbert Courthope Bowen. The compilation which included the essay by Macaulay, was published as a separate volume in 1877. The essay of Macaulay, which the series picked, had been taken from Edinburgh Review, which was published in 1840. Macaulay had written a similar essay on Warren Hastings. The essay on Hastings by Macaulay was published same review in 1841.
The essay first appeared in 1840. What was the aim of writings this essay at that time? Then it was republished in 1877. The motive of reprint of the essay in 1877 is well explained in the introduction to the compilation by the editors. (continued)

July 03, 2016

Features of Bias in British Officers Writings

मैँने Internet का प्रयोग 1999 मेँ किया | लगभग 2003 के आसपास मुझे Gutenberg Project देखने का अवसर मिला | मेरे लिए यह अति रौचक सम्भावना थी कि मैँ एक पूरी किताब अपने computer पर उतार सकता हूँ | परन्तु इतने समय में इन सब information के बावजूद भी कोई उपयोगी बात सामने नहीं आई | तब तक 'Discovery , Accessibility and impact work' के लिए Printed Books का ही रास्ता था | 

2005 में Google ने Google Print को स्थापित किया | वहां से 'Full View' से 'PDF Format' में पूरी किताब उतारने में सफल रहा | इस से पहले कि मैं कोई paradigm develop कर पाता, Google Print के विरुद्ध Publishers संगठीत हो गये | इस से Google Print का अस्तित्व खतरे  में आ गया ।  इस ने मुझे लालच में डाल दिया | मैंने ताबड़तोड़ किताबें उतारनी शुरू कर दीं | 

19वीं शताब्दी की बौद्धिक गतिविधयां मुझे बहुत आकर्षित करतीं हैं | मैँ British Colonial Period के सम्बन्ध में पढ़ता रहता हुँ | इस समय से जुड़ी घटनायों एंव व्यक्तियों के नाम मेरी Search के Phrases बने | इन का प्रयोग करते हुए मैंने लगभग 300 के करीब किताबें Download कर ली थीं । इस मध्य Google Print अब Google Books के रूप में बदल गया था । मेरे Computer पर कुछ ऐसे Titles आ चुके थे जो कि 1750 से 1870 के काल से सम्बद्ध रखते थे । कुछ ही किताबें पढ़ने पर मुझे British Officers की लेखनियों से ऐसी बातें पता चलीं जिन की चर्चा Modern India की इतिहास में बहुत कम की जातीं हैं । मेरे लिए वह सब Discovery थीं । 

मैँ अपनी Discoveries को अपनी Achievement समझता हुआ University Professors से बात करने लगा । मेरा मुख्य उद्देश्य Phd करना था । (वह अभी तक पूरा नहीं हुआ । ) मैंने जिन से भी बात की, लगभग सभी ने ऐसा भाव प्रदर्शित किया जो कुछ भी Internet से प्राप्त हो सकता है वह Research के लिए कभी भी पूरा नहीं पड सकता है। पर मेरी जानकारी ( Discovery ) कुछ अलग थी। उनका दूसरा तर्क था कि British Officers की Writings हमेशा Biased रहीँ है और वह इतिहास के लिए स्थापित Source कभी नहीं हो सकते । 

अतः British Officers की writings biased हैं - यह Proposition सामने आई । 

वह सब पुस्तकें मेरे पास मेरे Computer पर हैं । इन्हें मैँ पढता रहता हूँ । मैंने मेरे अध्यन से अपनी Observations लीं हैं जिसे Research Methodology में Empirical Observation कहा जाता है । यह कुछ इस प्रकार हैं । 

(1)  लगभग सभी ब्रिटिश अधिकारियो के print London में छपे । कुछ किताबें New York से छपी है । पर एक किताब 1820 की कलकत्ता में छपी हुई है। एक Text Book जो कि एक भारतीय की लिखी हुई है वह Madras से छपी है । एक गुप्त टाइटल, "Political Agitators  of India, A Secret Report, 1910 में Shimla Press से छपी है। 

(2) London से छपने वाली किताबें किसी न किसी समकालीन जीवत राजदरबारी  को अर्पित है । 

(3) विभिन्न Prefaces से पता चलता है की मुख्य लेख भारत में ही रहते लिखा गया । जब लेखक किसी कारण लंदन पहुंचा तभी पूरी किताब का प्रकाशन हुआ । 

(4) यह एक रोचक बात लगती है कि कुछ British Officers अपनी किताब के Preface में चर्चा भी करते हैं कि उन की भारत पर लेखन की विरोध्दता इस लिए हो रही है कि उन की किताब छपने पर वह अमीर हो जाएंगे | Orme ने Clive से शिकायत की थी उस को भारत से सम्बन्धित दस्तावेज नहीं दिए जा रहे क्योंके Company समझती है कि वह भारत पर किताब लिख कर धनी हो जाएगा (One can check this fact HERE)। 

(5) कुछ किताबों को Presidencies ने खुद छपवाया था और  उन के खरीदारों की लिस्ट भी दे रखी है। 

(6) यह एक अति महत्वपूर्ण पक्ष है की हर लेखक जानता है कि उस का Target Audience या Reader कौन है। लगभग सभी किताबें बेशक वह East India Company के राज से सम्बंधित हो यां फिर British ताज के  राज से सम्बंधित हों, सभी अपना मुख्य Reader अंग्रेजों को ध्यान में रख कर लिखी गई है। यह किताबें भारतियों/हिन्दुस्तानियों के लिए तो लिखी ही नहीं गई है। बेशक विषयवस्तु भारत था । 

(7) उपर के 6वें बिंदु से जुड़ी बात को फिर से दोहराना जरुरी है। यह किताबें भारत के लिए नहीं थीं । यह किताबें ब्रिटेन के नागरिकों के लिए थीं । यह ब्रिटेन के इतिहास का हिस्सा थीं । अगर Title History of India भी था तो इस का अर्थ यह नहीं के वह भारतीओं को भारत का इतिहास बता रहे थे। वह तो ब्रिटेन के निवासिओं को उस भारत का इतिहास बता रहे थे जहाँ पर उन के देश की एक व्यापारीक \संघठन ने सम्राज्य स्थापित करने का मोर्चा प्राप्त किया था । वह अपने देशवासिओं को बतातें हैं कि उन कि एक trading company कैसे भारत में साम्राज्य स्थापित करने में सफल हुईं है । 

(8) हर Writer British Public Opinion की तरफ बहुत सजग है । इन किताबों का पाठक Britain का निवासी होगा इस बात का बहुत ध्यान रखा गया है ।

(9) इन लेखों को आप एक group में नहीं रख सकते ।
You can not term it as British Officers Writings. You have freedom to use the terms. However, If you want to be analytical and scientific, then you must read the contents. Well, it is not the topic here.
आप British Officers और संबद्धित लेखकों को ध्यान से पढ़ें तो आप इन writings को पांच यां  छेह categories में बांट सकते हैं ।
a. Court of Directors को खुश यां उन के interest को promote करने वाली यां Board of Control के मुकाबले में Court of Directors के पक्ष को सही ठहराने वाली writings । यहां J. Mills के सिक्स Six Volumes और बाद में H. H. Wilson के साथ Ten Volumes स्पष्ठ रूप में प्रतिनिधित्व करते हें ।

b. Court of Directors के विरोध में लिखी गई किताबें। इस में Clive, Warren Hastings, Outram आदि से सम्बंदित किताबें ।

c.  British Crown के प्रशासन एव ministers के कार्यों की प्रशंसा करने वाले Title.

d.  Christian Missionaries द्वारा लिखीं किताबें ।

e. अमेरिकन, जर्मन, एंव Company एंव Crown के officers के मध्य झगडे निपटने के लेख ।

(10) इस के आलावा समय काल के आधार पर भी दो Categories बनाई जा सकती है ।
a.  1820 से पहले का इतिहास ।
b. 1813 के बाद का इतिहास
उपर की दो Categories में लेखन कला एंव शब्दों के प्रयोग में  भिन्नता साफ स्पष्ट होती हैं । 1820 को मॉडर्न इंडिया के अन्य इतिहासकार पहले से ही एक महत्त्वपूर्ण मीलपत्थर मानते हैं । एसा नहीं है कि मुझसे पहले यह किताबें किसी और ने नहीं पढ़ी ।

(11) यह प्रस्ताव प्रस्ताव 10 की शाखा है - corollary है। 1820  के पहले का लेखन यां सरकारी अफसरों की रिपोर्टों का लेखन कुछ जटिल है। अफसरों को हर एक निर्णेय के लिए minutes लिखने जरूरी होते थे जिसे यां तो उन्हें Secret Committee को भेजना होता था यां फिर Directors को भेजना होता था । वह ',', ';' (Comma and Semi Colon )आदि का इतना प्रयोग करते थे की एक पंकति  में Full Stop एक से दो पेजों में एक बार आता था। Report जमा कराते वक्त केवल इतना कहने के लिए कि यह Report जमा कराई जाती है, उस के लिए एक यां दो पेज भर देते थे । अगर आप अंग्रेजी पढ़ने में अभ्यस्त नहीं हैं और अंग्रेज़ी शब्दावली में हाथ तंग है तो कुछ किताबें आप शुरू तो कर सकते हैं पर पूरी नहीं पढ़ पायेंगे। दूसरा - उस में क्या लिखा है यां लेखक क्या कहना चाहता है आप उस पर स्पष्ठ विचार नहीं बना सकते ।

(12 ) Point 11 को जारी रखते हुए मुझे यह भी बताना है कि 1830 तक तो British Officer Writer मुसलमान बादशाओं एवं दरबार के सम्बन्ध में लिखते वक्त आदरभाव दिखाते हैं परन्तु बाद के लेखों में वह मुसलमान शासकों के लिए आदररहित शब्दावली का प्रयोग करते हैं।

(13) 1820 तक के लेखक Shivaji को ताकत बतातें हैं और Maratha Power शब्द का प्रयोग करते हैं परन्तु Holkar, Scindia, Bhonsle, Berar  राज्य की बात करते हैं तो Maratha उन के लिए Freebooter है ।

(14) एक मराठा और दूसरा ब्राह्मिण प्रशासक एवं अधिकारी से इन लेखकों को बहुत चिड़ है । 1857 के बाद ब्राह्मिण और राजपूत Sepoy बहुत बुरे लोग हैं । Sikh और Gorkha उन के लिए Martial Race हैं ।

(15) Clive के साथ तेलगन सिपाही प्रशंसा के काबिल थे पर वही प्रशंसा राजपूत और ब्राह्मिण सिपाही के लिए बड़ जाती है जो की 1857 के बाद बदल जाती है ।

(16) यह लेखक अंग्रेज़ अफसर के लिए Noble Man शब्द जरूर प्रयोग करते हैं । 1820 के बाद के लेखों में मराठा, मुस्लमान, ब्राह्मण और राजपूत के लिए Corrupt, Unreliable, Cheat, Indolent आदि शब्द का प्रयोग जैसे अनिवार्य कर दिया गया था ।

(17) Mir Jafar, Mir Qasim, Suja-ud-Dula, Nizam आदि सब unreliable घोषित किए जाते हैं। सब से ज्यादा चिड़ तो Daulat Rao Scindia और Tipu के साथ है क़्योंकि वह फ्रन्सिसी और डच अफसरों एवं तोपों का प्रयोग करने से नहीं रुकते। परन्तु यह नफरत Maharaja Ranjit Singh के लिए नहीं दिखाई जाती। 1849 के बाद के सिख पारिवारों के लेखों में उतना आदर नहीं है।

(18) इन किताबों में अंग्रेजो ने अंग्रेज़ो की बहुत सी कमजोरियों की चर्चा करी  है जो की Modern India के Text Books में बिलकुल भी चर्चा का विषय नहीं है ।

(19) अंग्रेज़ अपनी सारी गतिविधिओं को Moral, Justice, rules, Humanity आदि शुभ शब्दों से प्रदर्शित करते हैं।

(20) One feature, I must record. When I started to read these books, a feature projected itself repeatedly. I found that if the author was a military officer, he started his book referring to some scientific law as being emphasized by scholars of science of those days. Sometimes, the reference to science did not justify the content of the book or the topic. It seems that there was an effort to demonstrate that the British world was scientific in temperament and attitude and definitely not irrational. Some of the references were from the medical sciences and homeopathy. It was taken as if they were going to suggest or demonstrate some remedy to the disease which was India. Similarly the authors from Civil Administration took references from the philosophy. I do not know if any research was done on this aspect to show that the British policies were begin decided under the influence of changing atmosphere in the field of knowledge. 

उपरोक्त लिखित बातें मेरी Empirical Observations हैं। अभी मैंने Christian लेख पढ़ने हैं। इन में Friends of India, Alexander Duff जैसे Christian Missionaries की writings हैं। इन के बारे में चर्चा वक्त के साथ होगी।

यहाँ कुछ संक्षिप्त बातें कर के प्रस्ताव का अन्त किया जा सकता है। मेरे प्रस्ताव का निष्कर्ष है कि British Writings are biased - यह proposition stand ही नहीं करती। दूसरा - Bias है यां नहीं, यह विषय है ही नहीं

इतिहासकार का काम तथ्यों को निकालना है। वह समकालीन स्त्रोतों को पक्षपाती यां  Biased घोषित करके अपने कार्य को पूरा नहीं करता। अगर स्त्रोत पक्षपाती है तो उस में भी तत्य छुपा होता है जो की आप के प्रश्न का उत्तर होता है। उसी को तो interpret करना है। History is an interpretation. इतिहासकार का क्या काम है ? उस के लिए तो Bias अवलोकन का विषय है।

इस से आगे - ऐसा लगता है कि इन किताबों को पढ़ कर काफी कुछ वैसा ही लेकर भारत का आधुनिक इतिहास का पाठयक्रम बनाया गया है। और इस पर इन्ह Bias कहना ?? अगर हम उन्ह ध्यान से पढें तो शायद आज की बहुत सारी प्रशासनिक दुविद्धायों का निपटारा कर सकते हैं और कुछ समाधान भी मिलें।

मेरी बात पुरी हुई पर इसी पर अधारित कुछ और चर्चा जरूरी है।

अब तक मैंने जो पढ़ा, उस से मुझे लगता है कि अंग्रेज़ कभी भी राज करने में interested था ही नहीं। वह तो हमेशा ही व्यपार ही करता रहा।बड़ा अजीब सा लगता है कि Company Profit की बात करना बन्द कर के Revenue में interested हो जाती है| Britain जो कि अपने को Law को follow करने वाला कहता है वहां की courts में न तो कोई case डालता है, ना ही Parliament में debate (Burke's Debate on ruining the economy of India by the company was from a different angle.) दिखाई देती है। दूसरी तरफ राष्ट्रवादी इतिहासकार यही बताने पर जोर देते हैं कि अंग्रेजी राज कितना अन्यायी रहा। कैसे अन्यायी रहा इसे कहने में ज्यादा सफल नहीं दिखते। (Remember the comment of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in British Parliament in 2008.) परन्तु यह तो कहीं चर्चा की ही नहीं गई कि वह जो भारत में करते रहे वह करने में सफल क्यों होते रहे। वह यह तो बताना चाहते ही नहीं कि भारतवासी कहां-कहां विफल रहे। अंग्रेज़ भारत से चले गए यह शायद एक इतिहासिक प्रक्रिया का ही रूप था। अगर हम उन प्रश्नों का उत्तर लें जिनेह पूछने से हम बच रहें हैं तो शायद का इतिहास सही प्रयोग होगा (Soon I am going to bring a post on this issue. It is ready)।

अगर अंग्रेज़ भारत में राज्य स्थापित करने में सफल हुए तो असल में वह मुस्लमान प्रशासकों की असफलता थी। मुस्लिम शासकों ने अपनी राजनैतिक शतरंज के लिए फ्रांसीसों एव अंग्रेज़ो से साठगांठ की और वह उन पर भारी पड गई। यह एक सच है। यरोपीय घटनाओं के कारण अंग्रेज़ भारत में सफल रहे। मूल बात यह है कि मुस्लमान शासकों ने एक राजनीतिक चाल चली और वह उन पर भारी पड़ी।

इसे ऐसे समझा जा सकता है| दौलत ख़ान लोधी बाबर को लेकर आया, लोधियों ने राज खो दिया| उसी तरह जब मुग़लों एंव मुसलमानो ने अंग्रेजों एंव फ्रांसिओ का सहयोग लिया तो उन्होंने अपना राज खोह दिया | निष्कर्ष यह कि किसी राष्ट्र को अगर अपना राज्य बनाये रखना है तो राष्ट्रीय बल अपना ही होना चाहिए, चाहे वह सैनिक बल हो या आर्थिक बल

June 26, 2016

Facts and Truths in History

I am going to use Hindi and English both the languages in writing the posts from now. दोनों भाषओं का प्रयोग होगा.

यहाँ पर fact की हिंदी तथ्य लिया गया है । Truth की हिंदी सत्य लिया गया है ।

May 15, 2016

Hardship of A Historian

On November 21, 1764, Orme wrote the following lines to Robert Clive when Clive was deputed to India for the second time.

Orme wrote, “I have had permission to poke into the records of the India House, and have discovered excellent materials for the exordium of my second volume; but the difficulty of getting them away is immense, for every scrap of an extract that I desire is submitted to the consideration of the Court of Directors; so that in three months, and after making twenty-five journeys to the House, I have not got half what I want. All because they won't lend me old books, of which not a soul in England suspected the existence until my rummages discovered them. I am afraid, my Lord, that these gentlemen suspect that I shall make a fortune by my book; and therefore think all the trouble and impediments I meet with to be what I have no reason to complain of, as it is in the way of trade.

You, my Lord, have treated me differently; and pray continue to do so. Make me a vast map of Bengal, in which not only the outlines of the province, but also the different subdivision of Burdwan, Beerboom, &c. may be justly marked. Get me a clear idea of the different officer and duties of Duan (probably he meant Diwan), Bukhshee (probably he meant Buxshee), Cadgee (probably he meant a Qazi), Cutwall (probably he meant a Kotwal), and all other great posts in the government. Take astronomical observations of longitude, if you have any body capable of doing it. I send you a skeleton of Bengal map I intend for my second volume, and I will hereafter send you the first sheets of the book itself; which will contain matter entirely new, even to us East Indians; but that cruel India House, and my paper constitution, keep me back most terribly.”

The above lines have been picked from “The Life of Robert, Lord Clive: Collected from the family paper”, by Sir John Malcolm, completed by Charles Malcom in three volumes. The lines are from the second volume, pages 260-61.

Some Observations:

1. The lines are reported to have been written in 1762. This was the year when the Americans colonies were celebrating the accession of George III.

2. The efforts of a historian are depicted in the lines. The craft of collections is well demonstrated. It had been when “Wealth of Nation” by Adam Smith and Marx's Das Capita had not been published or even conceived. The idea is that there was no stress on economic determinism formula as emphasized by Marxian historians. Even then the book which Orme had authored had emphasized on different financial angles of the company. The Parliament of England had yet to debate the cost of running the colonies in America.

3. The historian had sought the help of the chief administrator for acquiring some valid information and facts about India. It shows that the administration in India was not well defined at that time. It can be proved from other references. The Nationalist Historians attributes imperialistic designs of the British Company. But in light of the above fact, it seems, that there inferences and interpretations are not true.

4. James Mills six volumes came in 1817. He had referred to work of Orme in order to criticize many of the observations of the officers of the company who were called Nabobs or East Indians in Britain. His claim in the preface of the first volume of his work is also stands to scrutiny. It is proved wrong that there was no good work on India. He was biased against a group of the Company officials. It seems that the work of Mills was a part of a wider game of the British parliamentarians and members of the company who were divided on the issue spending the wealth of the Empire on raising colonies outside their own territory.

No doubt, the above lines are quite important for the scholars who are in the field of research, working of research methodology and history.

May 01, 2016

Defining Historicism – An Example

The following lines are plucked out from a preface to a book of a highly quoted author named Lane-Poole. He was a Professor of Arabic at Trinity College, Dublin and book was published in 1903 from New York and introduced in England.

“History is always continuous; there can be no ‘fresh start’; and each new period carries on much of what preceded it.” (Preface pp.iv.; Lane-Pool, Stanely, Medieval India under Mohammedan Rule 712 – 1764, 1903, New York.

The lines conceptualize the intrinsic meaning of the term “Historicism” if the term claim any right to existence. I am ready to accept and in recognizing it, I feel no shame that I struggle to learn, understand and perceive the real import of the term ‘historicism’. As I learn that I know it, and the very next pulse of the time, I lose it.

History is a knowledge about past. Among the group of the world of knowledge, the humanity gives preference to those fields of knowledge which provide solutions or to be more specific, working solutions to the problems in present.

History is not past as such. History is about change and continuity. A person asks a question in present, may be when he has a problem. He seeks a solution, which will prove its efficacy in future. Now, where should he look? Can he peep into the future? Which science has that capability? If such a science comes, History will die.

History stipulates that you have to learn about your present to fully understand your problem. You will then find the right solution. The quotation tells that your present has its foundation in past.

However, History is never regarded as such. There is a truth, which a thinking man refuses to recognise. He is troubled by his problem. The answer is in seeking the product which is called ‘Historicism’. But, where is it? What is it?

The above sentiment, the quotation, was recorded in 1903. I, the post writer, was born in latter part of 60s of the same century. Today in 2016, India, the country, which is seeking FDI from everywhere and technology from all over, is making yoga an international movement. Ochre clad Swami is rewriting the theories on marketing and production the field of FMCG picking threads and sinews from pre-medieval India. The country is invaded by ethics and values from outside through information technology. What is changing? What is continuing? I am still unable to get hold of the meaning of historicism. Which is continuing? Pizza or Puri or Prantdha.

April 15, 2016

Mechanism of Changing Sovereigns in Indian History

One can read a quotation reproduced below, taken from the Memoirs of Lord Clive by John Malcolm, chapter IV, Volume 1. The content reproduced here tries to answer a question which is generally asked from the historians of Indian history. The question is, “Why did India remain under subjugation for one thousand years?”

Now, there are historians who object to this very question. They are Medievalist. They claim that it was the British empire which brought India under her rule. Before that, the Mahommedan rule was a natural thing and they may not be called the invaders. It was the British who were invaders. So it can not be said that India was under foreign yoke for one thousand years. However that is another issue.

The quotation follows:

"The power established by the Mahommedans in India has never varied in its character from their first invasion of that country to the present time (i.e. CE 1800 c.). The different qualities of the individuals by whom it has been exercised, have introduced a variety of shades both in the mode and substance of their rule, but the general features have remained the same. The Mahommedan emperors of Delhi, the Subadars of divisions of the empire, and the Nabobs and chiefs of kingdoms and principalities, supplanted and expelled, or extirpated, sovereigns and princes of the Hindu military tribe: - but while they succeed to the power which these potentates had held, the management of the finance and revenue, and all those minuter arrangements of internal policy, on which the good order of the machine of government miust ever depend, remained very nearly in the same hands in which the Mahammedans had found them. The unwar-like but well-educated Hindus of the Brahmin or the mercantile castes continued, as under the martial princes of their own tribe, to manage almost all the concerns of the state. A Hindu, under the denomination of minister, or as Naib (or deputy), continued at the head of the exchequer; and in this office he was connected with the richest bankers and monied Hindus of the country. Princes had private hoards, - but there was no public treasury. Advances were made to individuals and bodies of the men by bankers (denominated Seits (Seths) or Soucars (Sarkars)), who were repaid by orders on the revenue, and obtained a double profit on the disbursement and the receipt of money. The proud and thoughtless Mahommedan prince, anxious only for the means necessary for his purposes of pleasure or ambition, was not over-scrupulous as to the terms he granted to the financial agents: and the advantages they gained combined with tier simple and frugal habits, enabled them to amass immense wealth. This they well knew how to employ, for purposes both of accumulation, and of establishing political influence; commanding, as they did, the money resources of the country, the prince, his officers, and army, were all in a great degree dependent upon them; and to treat them with extreme severity was certain to incur obloquy, and often defeated its aim, since, by their natural character, they were as patient of suffering as they were tenacious of their gains.

Besides, the wealth of Hindu ministers and managers was usually deposited with bankers; and the injury done to credit by acts of injustice or oppression towards any of the latter class, affected such numbers, as to prove ruinous to the reputation, and often to the interests, of the despot by whom it was attempted.

The Hindu ministers, or revenue officers, had not the same number of retainers as the Mahommedan. They were, therefore, seldom in the same degree objects of jealousy of dread: but though they were from the this cause less exposed to extreme violence, they were more frequently objects of extortion; and for this they were better prepared, both from the great profits they made, and from their parsimonious habits.

A very quick and intelligent Mahommedan prince, on being asked why he gave so decided a preference to Hindu managers and renters over those of his own religion, replied, “that a Mahommedan was alike a sieve, - much of what was poured in went through; while a Hindu was like a sponge, which retained all, but on pressure gave back, as required, what it had absorbed!”

But there were other reason which prompted Mahommedan princes to employ and encourage Hindus, both at their court and in their armies. They formed a counterbalance to the ambition and turbulence of their relatives, and of the chiefs and followers of their own race. This feeling operated from the emperors on the throne of Delhi, when in the very plenitude of their power, down to the lowest chief : and it is from its action combined with that influence which the wealth and qualities of the Hindus obtained, that we are, in a great measure, to account for the easy establishment and long continuance of the Mahommedan power in India. The new dominion was attended with little of change, except to the Hindu sovereign and his favourites. The lesser Rajas (or princes) gave their allegiance and paid tribute to a Mahommedan instead of a Hindu superior, while their condition and local power continued nearly the same.

Hindu ministers and officers served probably to greater profit the idle and dissipated Moghul, than they could have done a master of their own tribe; and as there was complete religious toleration, and their ancient and revered usages were seldom or never outraged, they were too divided a people upon other subjects to unite in any effort to expel conquerors, who, under the influence of various motives, left to them almost all, except the name, of power.

From the composition and character of such governments, it is obvious that neither individuals nor the community can recognize, much less feel an attachment to what we call the state, as separated from the person who, for the time being, preside over the different branches of its administration. The sovereign has his servants and adherents; his tributaries, chiefs, commanders, and officers have theirs; but the latter owe no fidelity or allegiance, except to their immediate superiors. Each individual of this body has personal privileges, and enjoys protection in certain rights, from established usages, which, affecting all of the class to which he belongs, cannot be violated with impunity : but as there is no regular constitution of government supported by fixed succession the throne, men derive no benefit from the state, and owe it therefore no duty. From these facts it is evident that nothing can be so erroneous as to judge the conduct of the natives of India, amid the changes and revolutions to which the governments of that country are continually exposed, by those rulers which apply nations which enjoy civil liberty and equal laws. Treachery and ingratitude to their chief or patron are with them the basest of crimes : and obedience and attachment to those who support them, the highest of virtues. According as they fail in, or fulfill, the obligations which the relations of the society in which they live impose, men are deemed infamous or praise-worthy : and to the reciprocal ties by which such bands are held together, the prince and chief are as often indebted for their safety, as their followers for the just reward of their devoted service. The monarch is secure upon his throne no longer than while he can preserve a body of personal adherents. The chief that is threatened by his sovereign looks to his followers for support or revenge; while the latter, in the lesser vicissitudes to which they are subject, expect with equal confidence the protection of him to whom they give their allegiance.

In the countries where men are influenced b y such motives, the dethronement of a prince is regarded as no more than the fall of a successful leader of chief of a party ; and the frequency of such an occurrence has perhaps tended, more than all other causes, to temper the exercise of despotic power, and to compel sovereigns who owned no other check to seek its continuance, by reconciling to their rule those of whom it was so liable to be subverted.

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