Saturday, August 15, 2009

India Independence and Partition

. Saturday, August 15, 2009

Every August 15, India celebrates her independence. It was on August 15, 1947 India received her independence, and India was also partitioned at the time into Pakistan and present day India. Pakistan consisted of two parts. East Pakistan later became Bangladesh. King George VI held the title of King of India until the early days of 1950, whereas Queen Elizabeth II held the title of Queen of Pakistan until 1956, inheriting the sovereign title from her father George VI.

There was no Coronation Durbar for George VI. Nor was there one for Edward VII – needless to say. There was one in 1903, and one in 1911, however.

It was on George V's coronational visit to India the move of the capital from Calcutta to Delhi, eventually creating New Delhi as the thus far last city within the city of cities, Delhi.

Yours truly has paid two visits to the Coronation Park in Delhi. The first one was in August 2005. The Daily Telegraph reported later that same year that the park was to be refurbished.

Yours truly's second visit was in November of 2008, about two weeks before the Bombay attacks (yes, it's Bombay – and it's Trondhjem, not Trondheim, for that matter). That second visit was a far cry from the first. The first visit was a visit to an abandoned place, where a few locals were sitting waiting for tourists to “guide,” whereas the area was a bit crowded during the November 2008 visit, as the video shows.


Yours truly could not see much renovation from his first to his second time. There was no need for grass to be taken care of the second time though. Also, they sure have taken it into use. There was some bad language written on one of the pedestals. So taking it into use is not necessarily a positive change. The reader is spared the photo of the bad language.

Yours truly was – when taking photos – sarcastically asked by some children if he [George V] was his grandfather. One can imagine the propaganda fed to these kids by teachers and their family elders.

As we can see, there is some potential for a more well kept park.

Perhaps putting the Coronation Park in order really will take off up to the Commonwealth Games in Delhi in 2010? There is a huge construction project going on for expansion of the Delhi metro system. This may make the Coronation Park a more accessible attraction, and it may help to bring it into the light.

We must, however, remember that the statue of George V stood at India Gate until the 1960s. Now it is stowed away.

Time will tell if India can come to terms with her British heritage.

An exhibition yours truly visited at the Supreme Court Museum – The Trial of Bhagat Singh – suggested that there is a long way to go.

There are no photos from the exhibition itself, as photography in the museum is strictly prohibited.

Here is some of what the exhibition said:
Only after India gained independence, it was subjected to the rule of law in a modern sense. A new Constitution was put in place that combined the principles of liberal democracy with socialist aspirations of general equality and welfare. Indeed, the use of constitutional law was intended to reach a wide societal compromise.

Today, we take our freedom for granted only because it is our fundamental right protected by our Constitution. We are free, because our judicial system led by the Supreme Court of India is the guardian and guarantor of that freedom. In spite of undeniable difficulties, it is clear that it has not failed to serve the nation and that it is precisely the reason why Judiciary in India is held in high esteem. Its integrity being the basis of its power. It relentlessly performs to fulfill the expectations of the society while upholding the rule of law and impartial justice to all.
Also, we could read:
When World War I broke out in Europe, Ghadrites decided to return to India [from Canada and the U.S.] with the object of liberating India from British slavery through armed struggle and to establish a National Government on the basis of equality and justice.

The trial of Bhagat Singh is as much a story of revolution in India as the farcical system of law and justice under the British rule.
And also:
They are ever anxious to devise new forms of treachery. We are eager to see what limits there are to oppression.
It is interesting. It sounds a lot like the Animal Farm attitude. British rule bad, self-rule good. No recognition of any good British heritage in their present system.

If the new regime can always point to the British and the liberation from British rule as freedom, they can perhaps more easily justify the new regime's own actions.

With all the bureaucracy and other interventions that comes from the Indian “self-government,” proving that the new Indian regime is not freedom should not be the hardest task in the world.

Moreover, the way terrorists of the Indian independence movement are glorified, it should come as no surprise that India has problems with terrorists.

The late Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn wrote about anti-colonialism in his Leftism Revisited. Not only did he deplore the decline that end of colonial rule often represented, but he also stressed that the end of colonialism took place in an era where republicanism was in high esteem. Not a good combination.

Let us remember that it was Indian independence and republicanism that put an end to the Princes of India.

45 comments:

Servus said...

Precisely, and even the more ignorant portion of Indian Society, ie, its bulk(and i'm not patronising, being myself of Anglo-Indian extraction) would rather refer to the government in Delhi as the Maharajah or the Shah...

bharat said...

While I am a commonwealth monarchist, this article is bigoted 21st century colonialism! It is very convenient to forget that the British Raj ethnically segregated most Indians (except for their anglicised poodles/slaves like Nehru and Gandhi). Cinemas had signs reading "Dogs and Indians not allowed". I doubt Indians have forgotten the Jalianwala Bagh Massacre at the hands of the government, representing the Queen, who has yet to apologise. Where is the justice there?

It is abhorrently arrogant to insist on calling Mumbai Bombay. Mumbai existed long before British occupation and "Bombay" was a short-term abberation. Stop pretending the British somehow built or founded India.

Britain may have had its influences on India, but India is an ancient civilisation and will never be a cultural vassal state of Britain, unlike Fiji, South Africa and the Pacific Islands.

While it has to be conceded that Britain did India a favour by ridding it of Islamist rule, it is ludicruous to imagine that British rule was mostly benign and philanthropic.

It is true howevern, that India would have been better off with a native constitutional monarchy instead of a republic. But even this republic is preferable to keeping the British monarch, for the Indian people.

MadMonarchist said...

Whenever I think of Indian independence I think of two things. One is the magnificent monuments, lavish ceremonies and colourful traditions of the imperial era and the rajas. No matter how staunchly nationalist an Indian might be, it seems almost a crime against world culture to do away with all of that. The second is the (now nuclear) standoff with Pakistan. It always makes me paraphrase Kaiser Wilhelm II, "if the British Empire were there they would never have allowed it".

J.K. Baltzersen said...

Dear Sir or Madam:

I doubt Indians have forgotten the Jalianwala Bagh Massacre

Yours truly did mention the Amritsar Massacre in a post last year. So we are aware of it. Perhaps I should have mentioned that there were problems with British rule, even serious problems, but I had no intention of claiming that British rule was perfect or without problems. However, that was not my point. The one-sided propaganda against the old British rule and for the present day "freedom" is what I wanted to bring to attention.

It is abhorrently arrogant to insist on calling Mumbai Bombay.

Is it? Is it also arrogant to call the country India instead of Bharat? Is it arrogant also to call the capital of Austria Vienna? Can you please provide documentation that the "renaming" was uncontroversial and nearly unanimous amongst Indians?

Wrote Mr. Peter Hitchens back in 2007:

As for 'Mumbai', Indian friends of mine are specially vexed by this. The name-change is in fact the idea of a very nasty Hindu nationalist party, famed for its intolerance and for its leader's admiration for Hitler. It is much disliked by many of the city's own people, who appreciate living in a place so famous that it has a world-famous name. In Bombay itself, you can still find the Bombay edition of the Times of India, the Bombay High Court and of course Bombay Central Railway station, from which a splendid sleeper express will take you to Delhi, across hundreds of miles of Bharat (which is what Indians call India).

Any comments?

Stop pretending the British somehow built or founded India.

Who is pretending what?

Britain may have had its influences on India, but India is an ancient civilisation

And referring to the Princes of India is denying this ancient civilization?

[E]ven this republic is preferable to keeping the British monarch, for the Indian people.

Save some real progress of technology, medicine, dentistry, etc., I actually would have preferred the Danish-Norwegian dual monarchy -- with the King residing in Copenhagen -- over our own busy-bodies in my own hometown of Oslo. However, you are of course free to feel otherwise about the British and the present day Indian republic.

Propaganda against older regimes may vary from place to place, but it is similar anyway. We are told that kings and aristocrats were tyrants, and that we now are free because "we rule ourselves."

When I see an exhibition where the bias is so extreme, I consider it a service to point this out. Of course, anyone is free not to accept this service.

Anonymous said...

"It is very convenient to forget that the British Raj ethnically segregated most Indians"...it is indeed true that the Raj was segregated, but that had much more to do with the Indian caste system, than anything imposed by the "heaven born".

Indeed, one of modern India's most spectaular failings is her failure to move past caste based bigotry. Despite government legislation and even affirmative action programs, Indians as a whole are wedded to the concept. As a result, millions of people are condemed to reamin in poverty regardless of ability as a result.

Mac

bharat said...

Dear Mr/Ms Baltzersen,

While Her Majesty did mention the Jalianwala Bagh massacre, The Duke of Edinburgh also cast doubt on the number killed. There was no apology for the causeless murder of innocent men, women, and children on behalf of the crown.

While there may be some unfair propoganda against British rule, do remember that British influence is still very strong in the education system, and that the British wrote Indian history. Historical fallacies and British propoganda such as the Aryan Invasion Theory is still being propogated in India and around the world. Presenting native Indian versions of historical events isn't paramount to propoganda, when you consider that the British version of history is the official one. The balance of bias is still very much in favour of the British Raj.

I can't see why you put inverted commas on freedom. If being liberated from a foreign government and foreign monarch isn't freedom what is?

Calling Mumbai Bombay is different from Wien/Vienna or Bharat/India. The latter are lingual variations. However, Mumbai is the English-language name that was formally changed from Bombay. Insisting on calling it Bombay is refusing to recognise the sovereign will of the Indian government to rename their cities to their original names. Yes, many Indians would prefer Bombay, but these are the Indians who are still mentally colonised,who would respect British traditions and culture more than their own native tongues and heritage.

Calling Mumbai Bombay is like calling Uluru Ayers Rock, calling Sagarmatha Mt Everest, and saying Columbus discovered America. It ignores the existence of native cultures and pretends Europeans 'discovered'/founded such places.

Hindu nationalists are no more extremist than this website is Christian fundamentalist or White supremacist, or we monarchists are elitist/unmeritocratic. It is a label used by the strongly leftist, anglicised Indian media to denigrate Hindu nationalists. If the Indians had conquered Britain and renamed Birmingham to Brahmpur,would you consider yourself intolerant and extremist if you insisted on renaming it to its original name after you were freed?

Sure, the princes of India represent India's ancient civilisation, but recall that those princes surviving after 1857 recognised the supremacy of the British throne over theirs, and that they were mere princes, not kings under British rule. If anything, these Indian princes represent the subjugation of Indian civilisation and its surrender to the West.

It is fair for the former colonisers to glorify their exploits and victories, but it is disingenuous to expect self-respecting former slaves to share in that glory

Lord Best said...

I had a good friend who ran an Indian restaurant in my city, who came from Bombay (named of Narinder). I asked him what he thought of the whole Bombay/Mumbai thing and he compared it to the St. Petersburg/Petrograd etc. He and his family called it Bombay, so do most of the ex-pat Bombay community in Victoria, of which he was a community leader. The simple fact was it was Bombay for centuries, to rename it is to ignore a vital part of its history. In 1661 the population was 10,000, within a decade of British rule it was 60,000 by the end of the Raj it was one of the busiest and most prosperous ports in the world.
India as we know it today would not exist without the British. Dozens of perpetually fueding states do not make a modern nation. Don't get me wrong, I'm not sayingthe Raj shoudl not have ended or that British rule was always benign, but it is a part of India and like it or not India for better or worse would be unrecognisable today without that heritage.

J.K. Baltzersen said...

Dear Sir:

Dear Mr/Ms Baltzersen,

I did a better job with Google this time, so I think I have got the gender of the name Bharat right this time. You, sir, however, could simply have followed my profile link, but apparently you did not.

As for the massacre, the General responsible for the Amritsar Massacre was actually held accountable. You might argue that he got off easy, but he was held accountable.

I can't see why you put inverted commas on freedom. If being liberated from a foreign government and foreign monarch isn't freedom what is?

I put quotes around freedom because you are not free just because you have a right to vote for your overlords. I do the same with "freedom" in Europe. I don't "discriminate."

Yes, many Indians would prefer Bombay, but these are the Indians who are still mentally colonised,who would respect British traditions and culture more than their own native tongues and heritage.

Who is patronizing?

bharat said...

Dear Mr Baltzersen,

Not only was General Dyer let off, he expressed no regrets, and was supported by a large part of the British community at the time. The British establishment has yet to apologise for that dastardly act of slaughter, and for the atrocities commited by the police force during martial rule in Punjab.

I respect your consistency on the word freedom, but in this context, India was freed from British rule, although it is yet to be freed from its colonial mentality, poverty, and its many other ills.

I trust you now agree with me on the other issues raised, such as Bombay/Mumbai, and so called Hindu extremists?

It is sad to note that Indian civilisation is currently in its dark ages. Whatever benefits the British gave to India were coincidental by-products of their own selfish motives, not acts of philanthropy. Many other dishonourable acts of the Raj can be discussed, such as the behaviour of the self-righteous missionaries bent on trying to eradicate India's native religions through ridicule.

Lord Best, I agree with your observation that India would be unrecognisable today without its British heritage. Indeed it is quite possible that without the British Raj, India could still be under Islamic rule, existing as a mammoth Pakistan/Afghanistan, or more optimistically it could perhaps have gained freedom some 200 years sooner and emerged a more culturally confident nation like China.

Another very important point to note in this topic is that much as it may like to think, India did not win its independence from Britain. The British left on their own accord at a time which suited them. It is more correct to say that India was granted independence by a bankrupted empire (which had voted in a socialist government), which had little interest left in a restive colony. This would obviously hurt Indian pride, but it's true. Had Winston Churchill been re-elected after the war, there would have been no prospect of Indian independence or the dismemberment of the empire. "Mahatma" Gandhi's feeble moral protestations did not bring down the greatest empire of modern times.

And by the way, congratulations on maintaining a great and informative website!

kensington and chelsea said...

Why should we in the UK run India? They should have their freedom from tyranny. We have no right to impose leaders on other people.
India was ripped apart by the British empire. Over a 100 millions killed in famines, and wars by us. It was typical exploitative empire. Look at the Bengal famine of 1770.
The partition was blamed by Churchill on Lord Mountbatten. Many say it why the Mountbatten name was dropped from the royals from Prince Philip..

Matthew said...

This has been a very interesting conversation to follow, and I have refrained until now from entering it, but there was a question I have to post to, (Mr?.) Bharat.
If you don't mind my asking, how do you reconcile being a monarchist with being, what it seems, opposed to the Empire? Without the Empire there would have been no British Monarchy in India, so I am curious how you can be both. (This is an honest question, I am not attempting to be witty or nasty.)

One other thing I would like to comment on. If the British had not come into India, it would have likely been Portuguese, Dutch or French. I cannot see it being left alone entirely, and the assumption was that only the British would have left India alone.

All this being said, while the British Indian Empire was far from perfect, the very fact that it was not intentionally acquired, at least not most of it, is itself one of the strongest points in it's favour. The original portions of India, were really fallen haphazardly into, and the expansions were mainly to safeguard the early possesions, and it would be a rum go if we* didn't manage and defend our* possessions with all the energy and efficiency our Empire was known for.

I am certainly not advocating a return to such a state, but I am constantly surprised by how automatically the past is viewed in a harsh light these days, and that is why I have enjoyed this blog, it is like a bit of an era I sadly do not think I will ever see, no matter how hard I would try to bring the better parts back.

*I include myself seeing as we were all one Empire up until the 1920s, and later if one wanted to stretch it.

J.K. Baltzersen said...

Gentlemen,

Although I admit serious problems with British rule in India, and I do not advocate a return to British rule over India, I still have some problems with seeing the transition to the present regime as progress.

I don't believe in the Whig theory of history.

Can those who see Indian independence as liberation from tyranny please explain why Indira Gandhi's storming of the Golden Temple in Amritsar was not a tyrannical act?

I am quite sure that there are a considerable amount of things done in the name of Indian democracy that are "ok" because of "Indian self-rule," and that the British Raj hardly -- if ever -- would have dared to implement. Again, please explain why this is not tyranny!

And it is still Bombay!

A Commonwealth Monarchist said...

Interesting to read the discussion. I always wonder what would have happened if Nehru had agreed on one of the various compromises proposed in 1948-49 (when he floated plans for India to become a republic) whereby the "President of India" was in effect a renamed Governor-General, exercising potentially "in perpetuity" the King's powers in what was seen by British, Canadian, Australian et al. diplomats as a plausible extension of viceregal authority from the 1947 Canadian Letters Patent. Would the Commonwealth have withered as other independent nations found even this unacceptable (as per Ireland)? Would the common bond of allegiance to the Crown have remained and been strengthened by this accommodation? To my mind, that's one of the great "What if?" scenarios to do with the evolution of the Dominions.

As regards British rule in India, it certainly wasn't all rosy as I am sure most of even the most die-hard-high-Tory-imperialists reading this weblog (including myself to an extent!) would concur, which leads me on to the other "What if?" question as to what would have happened if the UK had "done the decent thing" and granted India Dominion status between 1918 and 1929 (the latter being, I believe, though I may be wrong, the date when the Indian National Congress resolved to obtain not merely Dominion status but complete and utter independence from all things British). What the future of the Commonwealth, with non-white faces around the table so early on, would have been, and the future of Anglo-Indian relations, is likewise interesting to consider.

bharat said...

Matthew, I believe in the virtues of monarchies and the value they add in preserving the traditions and heritage of society, and I am therefore a monarchist. However, being of Indian descent, I do not take any pleasure in India having had a foreign monarch (not just British, any foreign monarch). But as a member of a predominantly white Commonwealth nation, I support the same monarchy reigning over native English-speaking nations as it brings them together and strengthens the British heritage.

I do not expect Australia, Canada, New Zealand,UK, or even the US, to view the British Empire in the same light as the conquered people of India and other colonies. India's own heritage is deeper and more ancient than what the British bequeathed to it in the Raj.

You are right, had the British not 'taken' India, another European power would have in the great game, which was a legitimate exertion of sovereign power. Infact, British rule was probably more benign than what could have been the Portuguese, Belgian or German Raj, judging by the treatment of their colonies.

While the past in general is viewed in a harsh light by the postmodern left-leaning academics, you can't really expect conquered, colonised people who were often oppressed to be gushing in their memories of the Raj. Just the fact that India hasn't thrown out its British heritage, and is rapidly westernising, is living proof that the Raj isn't viewed exclusively negatively in India. As various other comments show, there are millions of Indians who fondly reminisce about the raj and wished to keep Bombay Bombay.

Mr Baltzersen, the point is that India was freed from foreign occupation, not from tyranny in general. Ofcourse, Indira Gandhi and many other Indian rulers have been as tyrannical, if not more than the British. Such tyranny is not ok, but being perpetrated by a foreign power makes it feel worse. I agree that the transition to independence was a disaster, that anglicised but corrupt Indians merely took over where the British colonisers left. Indian democracy is proof that Western ideals do not always work in non-Western societies. I look forward to your justification of still insisting on calling Mumbai Bombay.

The "What if" scenarios raised by A Commonwealth Monarchist are interesting. It should be noted that it was racialist (racist in today’s terms) attitudes of the British that prevented them from granting Dominion status to India and other non-white colonies in 1918. Undoubtedly, the independence movement would have failed had India become a dominion equal to the white dominions. I suppose it could be said in retrospect that it was this racialism/racism (along with the devastation of WWII) which set the sun on the British Empire.

J.K. Baltzersen said...

Sir,

The point is that India was freed from foreign occupation, not from tyranny in general.

Chelsea and Kensington did refer to it as a liberation from tyranny.

Indira Gandhi and many other Indian rulers have been as tyrannical, if not more than the British. Such tyranny is not ok, but being perpetrated by a foreign power makes it feel worse.

Which proves my point that "self-government" gives a legitimacy for exercising even more power -- often to the worse.

This goes for other places as well -- including Europe. It is not limited to India.

I look forward to your justification of still insisting on calling Mumbai Bombay.

I must refer you to what I have already said and what "Lord Best" and Mr. Peter Hitchens have said on the matter.

In addition, it is not that I "insist on calling Mumbai Bombay." I simply do not recognize the "renaming." Neither do I recognize the "renaming" of Trondhjem in Norway to "Trondheim," and I am Norwegian. Neither would I recognize a decision by a Parliament saying that 2+2=10.

bharat said...

If you refuse to "recognise the renaming", you should also refuse to recognise the original renaming from Mumbai to Bombay by the Portuguese. Why would you recognise the first adulteration but not the correction? Could it be Eurocentricity? Or a refusal to recognise the sovereign authority of a democratically elected parliament to rename its cities?

Matthew said...

Thank you for your answer, Mr Bharat. My confusion came from the aspect that this is a distinctly British Monarchist blog.

In regards to Bombay, the city itself grew considerably under the name Bombay, and the great extents it reached were under that name. Therefore, while to a certain extent the was there previously under a different name, it was known as Bombay for the greatest extent of it's grand history, and because of that, a great weight of history is on the side of continuing to call it Bombay. It would be like renaming Ottawa "Bytown" simply because it was that before Queen Victoria chose it as our Capital, or Regina "Pile-of-Bones" before it was chosen as the capital of Saskatchewan.

You must remember that the British society is based on the great weight of history and tradition, it's laws and statutes are based on a large amount of tradition and history.

I still call it Bombay out of sentimentality, but then if the citizens of Halifax or of Kingston voted to rename themselves something else I wouldn't call it whatever they decided it would be either.
Perhaps I am a sentimental fool (Though I daresay not even having reached my second decade can I be all that old), but then again I don't fit into this 'modern' era anyways, so one gets used to being in the politically incorrect minority.

bharat said...

Well Matthew,British society is undoubtedly based on a great weight of history and tradition, but the point here is that India has its own great weight of tradition and history, which was eclipsed during British occupation, and which is now trying to find its rightful place after independence. While both civilisations are great and proud, I daresay Indian tradition and culture has longer continuity than British tradition, which underwent a seismic shift when it was Christianised.


Ottawa/Bytown is not similar to Mumbai/Bombay since there was no cultural 'displacement' of the name in the name change. It would be more relevant if the native Canadians wanted to rename Ottawa to a native Canadian name(if the city existed, I don't know)

There's nothing wrong in calling Mumbai Bombay out of sentimentality, but I take exception to a refusal to recognise the reverting of the official name to Mumbai, which was indicated in the post and subsequent comments.

I don't fit into this politically correct, postmodern era either! Good thing this blog brings like-minded (well mostly) people together.

J.K. Baltzersen said...

If you refuse to "recognise the renaming", you should also refuse to recognise the original renaming from Mumbai to Bombay by the Portuguese.

Sorry for the late reply, sir.

It is all about well-established precedent.

I do not deny earlier traditions, but if we apply the principle of giving earlier traditions priority, we might as well abolish all innovations from the last 1000 years.

With all due respect, the fact is that Bombay is the well-established precedent, notwithstanding previous traditions.

bharat said...

Dear Mr Baltzersen,

If it is indeed all about well-established precendent, should you also not refuse to recognise the House of Windsor, which was renamed from Saxe-Coburg and Gotha to hide its German roots? Saxe-Coburg and Gotha was a well established precendent which was dropped when it became politically unpalatable and unfashionable to sound German. In a similar vein, should you also not refuse to recognise the renaming of Battenberg to Mountbatten

I think you will agree it come down to cultural perspective whether one keeps well-established precedents. Therefore, in the case of Mumbai, there is no reason to refuse to recognise the right of a freed people to revert their cities' names to their original names which better reflect their traditions. Calling Mumbai Bombay out of sentimentality, like Matthew, is another matter. Indian tradition is now not just an earlier tradition, but will be the tradition of the future that will shape Mumabi.

J.K. Baltzersen said...

I am sorry, sir, but -- with all due respect to the precedent before the name Bombay was given -- the precedent is now for Bombay.

bharat said...

As with Saxe-Coburg Gotha and Battenberg, the people closest to the names and precedent choose (rightfully) whether or nor they wish to keep it.

J.K. Baltzersen said...

You are, of course, entitled to that opinion, sir.

bharat said...

But you haven't reconciled for preference for precedents with the Saxe-Coburg Gotha situation, a name I have difficulty finding in the blog. If precedent is your reason,the contradiction still stands, and with it the likelihood that is really Eurocentricity, not a preference for precedents, that keeps you from recognising Mumbai.

I cannot and do not seek to prevent you calling Mumbai and Bombay. However, I do seek to point out the inconsistency of standard.

J.K. Baltzersen said...

Sir,

I do not have any nice words for the Great War, which was the conflict that destroyed the old world.

I don't like the name change of the royal house.

There is almost a hundred years of recent precedent now.

That's precedent for you!

We could introduce Icelandic as official language in Norway because that was the language "before the Danes took over," and because that was the precedent at the time.

Exactly how long time must pass before the new tradition trumps the old varies from case to case.

I have previously referred to a case of a "name change" of a Norwegian city.

If you wish to label me "Eurocentric," I neither can or will stop you. Please feel free!

bharat said...

Dear Mr Baltzersen,

I have no wish to label you anything, but in the absence of an argument, and the presence of (at least apparent) contradictions that was the natural conclusion. Note that I have never called you Eurocentric, having merely suggested that that could be an explanantion for your views.

According to your logic then, I believe you will recognise Mumbai after a hundred years, when the precedent has been set for long enough, and that you would not have recognised the royal name change a hundred years ago?

My (personal) view is that it is not time that determines when one tradition trumps the old, but a collective decision to identify with a certain tradition. Under the system of waiting for precedents to be set, there is scarcely scope for cultural revivals. It is also difficult to set a new precendent if it's only recognised after a long period of time.

I'm not aware of the background of the Norwegian city's name change so I cannot comment on that.

J.K. Baltzersen said...

As I said, sir, it is a matter of case to case basis. As I understand, there is general opposition to "Mumbai," as there is general opposition to the French Revolution. So I would not count on those hundred years.

bharat said...

Thank you for clarifying the matter Mr Baltzersen. However, I would not take opposition from anglicised (mostly left-wing) Indian elites as 'general opposition' if I were you. Mumbai has always been the Marathi name, and Bambai the Hindi/Urdu name, even throughout British rule. Bombay was been an anglicised aberration, like Cawnpore for Kanpur, or Calcutta for Kolkata.

On a seperate note, I think you would be pleased to update the list of Commonwealth Premiers on the right of the blog to include Mr John Key,the monarchist Prime Minister of New Zealand, who deposed Helen Clark in, I believe 2008. Mr Key recently reinstated knighthoods for NZ citizens after they were unceremoniously dumped by the republican socialist Helen Clark.

J.K. Baltzersen said...

Bombay was [sic] been an anglicised aberration[...]

Like Vienna vs. Wien, sir?

On a seperate note, I think you would be pleased to update the list of Commonwealth Premiers on the right of the blog to include Mr John Key,the monarchist Prime Minister of New Zealand, who deposed Helen Clark in, I believe 2008.

That, sir, is the domain of our editor. I am a mere scribe. :-)

If he is following this thread and agrees with you, he may honor your request. If not, and you think too much time passes without anything happening, I suggest you e-mail the editor. You will find the address in the sidebar. :-)

bharat said...

Dear Mr Baltzersen,

I just noticed a far more offensive statement on the original post:

"Moreover, the way terrorists of the Indian independence movement are glorified, it should come as no surprise that India has problems with terrorists."

Such statements certainly do not serve your purpose of trying to get Indians to look more fondly at British rule or even take a measured look.

None of the "terrorists" glorified intentionally killed innocent civilians in their quests. Bhagat Singh accidently killed Saunders when he tried to assasinate the police chief in retaliation for the murder by police of an unarmed freedom fighter who was beaten to death at a non-violent march! Bhagat Singh was hung one day before schedule and his body was chopped up and thrown into the Ravi river so there could be no funeral and no show of public support.

It would help if you could substantiate strong statements such as the one you made by naming such "terrorists" of the Indian Independence Movement.

It's no wonder Indians look at the British Raj as a brutally oppressive regime. Its good works, and its bequeathing of democracy and English law were eclipsed by such dastardly acts.

Bharat said...

With Vienna/Wien, I doubt you'd ever write "Vienna (not Wien)" as you did for Mumbai in your post. The official name of Vienna in Vienna is not Vienna. Nor was the name Vienna imposed on the Viennese when they were invaded by the British. By the way, I thought your reason was precedent, not lingual variations?

The point here is that the name has been offically changed to reflect the end of British rule.

J.K. Baltzersen said...

I just noticed a far more offensive statement on the original post:

I would greatly appreciate, sir, if you please read what you are debating before you start a lengthy debate.

Such statements certainly do not serve your purpose of trying to get Indians to look more fondly at British rule or even take a measured look.

It has been said, sir, that one man's freedom fighter is another man's terrorist -- and vice versa. Indian revolutionaries -- including Bhagat Singh -- of the time of the British Raj used violence. Some, like Mohandas Ghandi, did not, but that is beside the point. When your message is perceived as violence being in order for bringing about the present regime, whilst it is not in order to bring about an alternative to the present regime, that will be perceived as a double standard. You have a problem, regardless of whether you, sir, are offended or not.

J.K. Baltzersen said...

With Vienna/Wien, I doubt you'd ever write "Vienna (not Wien)" as you did for Mumbai in your post.

Please point to, sir, where I wrote not Mumbai.

By the way, I thought your reason was precedent, not lingual variations?

It is a question of both. Let me remind you of what you previously have said:

Calling Mumbai Bombay is different from Wien/Vienna or Bharat/India. The latter are lingual variations. However, Mumbai is the English-language name that was formally changed from Bombay.

Are you merely giving priority to another language? Or are you attempting to impose a change of tradition upon the English-speaking world -- or other languages, for that matter?

The point here is that the name has been offically changed to reflect the end of British rule.

And Finland does not impose Helsinki on the Swedish language. Who is more mature? The Finns or you?

bharat said...

Thank you for your reply Mr Baltzersen.

I had read the original post in its entirety, but intially started debating the Mumbai/Bombay issue, and when I re-read it, I was reminded of the more offending comment on Indian revolutionaries.

One man's freedom fighter isn't necessarily another's terrorist. I believe the term terrorist is used to describe violent militants who attack innocent civilians and civilian targets to spread their message. As I said, none of India's revolutionaries attempted that. Their targets were only ever officers (usually military) of the Raj, whom they viewed rightly as occupying forces. I doubt we would call Islamic militants terrorists if they restricted their targets to non-civilian ones. On that note, would you not agree that General Dyer was a terrorist for the causeless slaughter of countless innocents?

I was hoping you would be able to enlighten me on how any glorified Indian revolutionaries satisfy the definition of terrorist. I am sure there would have been self-styled revolutionaries who may have killed innocent British civilians in India during the 1857 mutiny, but I can't think of any who were glorified for doing so.

It is not the use of violence that defines one as a terrorist, rather it is the target and intent of that violence, and the circumstances under which it is used.

"When your message is perceived as violence being in order for bringing about the present regime, whilst it is not in order to bring about an alternative to the present regime, that will be perceived as a double standard."

I never implied that. I never said violence by the British was bad, violence by Indians was good. I was pointing out that Bhagat Singh only attempted to use violence in retaliation, and against legitimate targets. I think the clubbing to death of an unarmed Lala Lajpat Rai by police, and Jalianwala Bagh might be a better examples of terrorism. I would remind you that General Dyer was to an extent glorified by some obscure society in Britain (I can't remember the exact name), which collected a reasonable sum of money to award him a pension.

I think ignoring such larger acts of atrocity committed by the British government, and focussing on small acts of violence by ill-fated Indian revolutionaries is a double standard.

bharat said...

On the line which says Bombay(yes, Bombay as its Trondjhem not...), I thought I read 'not Mumbai'. Pardon me, it could have been a trick of the eye.

Thank you for the clarification on the precedent/lingual variation issue.

As to the lingual variation of Mumbai, I think the big complication in this case is the fact that both Indians and Englishmen now speak English, and to an extent, lay claim to it. Austrians wouldn't worry about their city being called Vienna unless maybe they were a bilingual city, in which case, I suspect they would also insist on Wien for cultural pride, especailly after a period of foreign enslavement.

The 'problem' is that English-speaking Indians have decided to rename the old English name of Bombay to a 'new' English name of Mumbai to affirm their cultural realignment. So whose English name should we accept? That imposed by native English speakers at a time of colonialism or that imposed by the now freed inhabitants of the city?

The Finns don't impose Helsinki on the Swedish language, but then they don't speak Swedish as a lingua franca or use it as a main language.

By the way, I'm not imposing anything on the English language (which by the way continues to be imposed in missionary schools in India today, where students can get fined for speaking in their native language outside language classes). I am simply trying to understand the reasoning behind your views, and clarifying what seems to be an inconsistency of standard.

J.K. Baltzersen said...

Finland is a bilingual country, sir. Road signs read both Helsinki and Helsingfors. Some Finns -- around 6 % -- have Swedish as their mother tongue.

As for General Dyer, he was censured by the House of Commons. If I am not mistaken, he was degraded. If a society collected a pension, that might suggest that the government would not give him one because it disapproved of what he had done. You might argue, as I have said, that he got off too easy, and I think it is reasonable to think so, but he did not get off completely. (Yes, some did argue that he was punished too harshly.)

My post was particularly about the exhibition on Bhagat Singh, which I had paid a visit. My perception was that the exhibition glorified him. Bhagat Singh blew a bomb in an assembly. Was that only against officers?

The Supreme Court Museum in Delhi is a government institution. It is not some obscure society.

J.K. Baltzersen said...

I never implied that. I never said violence by the British was bad, violence by Indians was good.

I was not referring to you in particular, sir.

It might be better understood if it read:

When one's message is perceived as violence being in order[...]

You, sir, said:

By the way, I'm not imposing anything on the English language[...]

And I was not implying that you personally were trying to impose a change. I was referring collectively to the group that is doing so -- regardless of whether that has been their intention or not.

bharat said...

Yes, Bhagat Singh is a hero in India, and rightly so. As I mentioned in an earlier post, the bomb he blew intentionally contained no chemicals/shrapnels etc and was there to "wake up the deaf" the legislators to demands for independence. It was purely for noise effects, and not to injure, much less to kill. Bhagat Singh and his comrade allowed themselves to be arrested without resistance.

Bhagat Singh the Martyr was no terrorist. His only victim was a certain Saunders, a police official he accidentally killed when he was trying to assassinate John Simon (some senior official) in retaliation for Lala Lajpat Rai's murder. Bhagat Singh was a courageous patriot who had the strength to take up arms instead of feebly protest like many of his other co-revolutionaries. Bhagat Singh and his comrades never hurt a hair of a civilian's head intentionally, and calling him a terrorist is a very liberal use of the word that demeans its strength.

India has troubles with terrorists because of the left-wing foreign policy and minority-appeasement policies of the (anglophile) Congress government which has virtually uninterruptedly been in power since independence. Far from glorifying terrorists, Gandhi-worshipping Indians have shunned violence to the point where it is hurting them.

I hope you can now appreciate why such a comment can be offensive?

I trust in the exhibition you read about his upbringing during martial rule in Punjab, and how he was hanged before schedule without his family being informed, and his remains secretly chopped up and thrown into the river.

It is good to know a government institution was supporting Bhagat Singh. The government, and Indian history, is strongly biased towards "Mahatma" Gandhi, who did not endorse Bhagat Singh despite strong public appeal (some say Bhagat Singh's popularity competed with Gandhi's).

As for General Dyer, it was not an obscure society, but the Morning Post (seems to have been a respectable conservative newspaper), which presented him with 26,000 pounds (quoting from Wikipedia) in direct support of his actions.

bharat said...

Whoops, I seem to have made a few typos while editing my last comment.

Back to Mumbai/Bombay, I don't think there was quite the level of animosity, or cultural displacement during Swedish rule in Finland to make Helsinki comparable to Mumbai.

I would happily keep Bombay as an English name if English had been banished from India and an Indian language had taken the dominant place English has taken. I suppose English "naming rights" is a small compensation Indians should receive for adopting English to the extent they have.

Just out of curiosity, do you also insist on calling Beijing Peking?

J.K. Baltzersen said...

I trust in the exhibition you read about his upbringing during martial rule in Punjab, and how he was hanged before schedule without his family being informed, and his remains secretly chopped up and thrown into the river.

I do not recall any such things. The material was limited to the written material I could take or buy and the notes I could take. I was not allowed any recording equipment in the exhibition. And then there is the online material -- as referred to in the original post.

The flyer I have says:

The aim of the Exhibition is to inspire every Indian to remember martyrs and their sacrifices[...]

So much for the government not caring about those who opposed with violence.

I hope you can now appreciate why such a comment can be offensive?

Many people come here to this weblog and are offended.

Just out of curiosity, do you also insist on calling Beijing Peking?

I believe Peking is the correct name, yes.

bharat said...

So do you still think Bhagat Singh was a terrorist, or that Indians glorify terrorists?

J.K. Baltzersen said...

So do you still think Bhagat Singh was a terrorist, or that Indians glorify terrorists?

Yes, sir, but perhaps not according to your definition.

bharat said...

I didn't think we had differing definitions of terrorism or its glorification. Would you like to substantiate on that difference?

bharat said...

Mr Baltzersen may like to note that Her Majesty Herself referred to Mumbai as Mumbai at the recent Indian State Banquet at Windsor Castle.

Anonymous said...

responding to:
"Let us remember that it was Indian independence and republicanism that put an end to the Princes of India."
I have found something that might interest you. please read the documents given here, than I would love to hear anyone's opinion. the role of the princes actually survived a little longer than is commonly recorded. the legislation abolishing them was not the indian independence act 1947, or the constitution of india, but the constitution (7th amendment) act 1956. the original constitution of india provided for 4 categories of states. the princes remained as the heads of the part B states, under the title of "rajpramukh". you can read the documentation yourself (and i would suggest this as it might interest you) I have the original constitution of India (before the very 1st amendment) as documentation of this, follow this link:
http://164.100.47.134/intranet/CAI/E.pdf
the original Indian constitution is fairly long (India has the longest national constitution on the planet),but I have already read the copy provided there (it is the constitution as it stood on January 26th, 1950) so I can point you to the relevant provisions on this, which are:
Article 238 (pages 129-132)
article 259 (page 145)
clause 21 of article 366 (page 220)
article 370 (pages 225 and 226)
article 371 (page 227)
articles 385 and 386 (page 237)
part B of the first schedule (page 245)
in addition the following provisions might be of interest and either mention part B states or help to understand the above provisions:
clause 2 of article 1 (page 3)
articles 152-237 (pages 82-128)
article 361 (pages 213 and 214)
article 366 (pages 216-221)
article 267 (pages 221 and 222)
the fourth schedule (pages 256 and 257)
please note: most of the time the word "president" should be read as "Central government", the princely states of jammu and kashmir, mysore, and hyderabad became part B states in their own right, the other 6 part B states were formed by merging princely states that were located in the same region of India, the rajpramukhs recognized in relation to the states mentioned in sub-clause c of clause 21 of article 366 were also the former rulers of princely states, specifically they were former rulers of some of the states merged to create those states, jammu and kashmir had a special status (as it still does) and finally in many provisions (such as article 356 (pages 207-209) , or the fifth schedule(pages 258-261), but not limited to those provisions) the word "governor" now appears in those provisions but, originally the constitution of india said "governor or rajpramukh"
ps: even if you do not read to other article I recommended that do not directly relate to the part B states, you should read articles 152-237 as article 238 references them enough that it is hard to make sense of 238 without having read those articles, also I have put the page number after every mention of a provision of the constitution, but that page number only works if you use my exact source, I cannot guarantee that a copy of the constitution of India obtained from another source would follow those page numbers
tangent: I have a fascination with article 395 (page 243), if you analyze that article carefully it turns out to be something that a british lawyer would find to be a logical contradiction, but I think this was the point.

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State Visit to Turkey: Mustafa Akyol says God Save the Queen, Indeed
Norn Iron Unites: What issue is uniting all parties of Northern Ireland?
Extreme Loyalist: Michael Stone attempted to slit the throats of Adams and McGuinness because he just "can't handle" republicans being in government.
Canada's Vice-Regal dubbed an elegant mix between Lady Di and Nelson Mandela
Queen of Australia: Support for Australian republic hits new low
A Heroes Welcome: The Windsor Castle Royal Tattoo, 8-10 May 2008
Fat, Vile and Impudent: Alan Fotheringham is back on the bottle
The Devine Right of Bling: Our Royals have become hereditary celebrities
Battle of the Atlantic: Canadians remember the longest battle of WW2
Old Etonian Toff: Boris Johnson installed as Tory Mayor of London
Britain needs a Patron Saint: Cry God for Harry, Britain and St. Aiden?
Anglos in Mont-Royal: Rooting for the Montreal Canadiens
Daniel Hannan: Borders of the Anglosphere and the British Empire was a mistake
Australia 2020: One Big Fat Republican Con Job
Bye bye Tommy: O it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy go away"
For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?
Carpetbaggers Down Under: Kevin 'Mugabe' Rudd wins 98.5% support for republic
Kipling: The Jeremiah of Empire and the Poet Laureate of Civilisation
Duke of Edinburgh: Behind the gaffes is a man of real sincerity
Lord Rutherford: The Father of the Atom lives on in great great grandson
Queen of Australia: Royalty Protects us from Tyranny, David Barnett
Long Live the Broadsheet! Norumbega, more traditionalist than the Pope.
A Tale of Two Countries: Soldiers of Britain and Canada serve the same Queen but...
Loyal Subject: Polishing the Royal Crown, Matt Bondy & Brendon Bedford
Devoted to the End: Obituary of Sir Phillip Bridges
The Monarchist does not recognize the Republic of Kosova
Loyal Subject: MPs Ruse Defeated; God Save the Queen!
St. Paddy's Day: Edmund Burke, the greatest Irishman who ever lived
Not Amused: The Bunkum of Timothy Garton Ash
Hero Harry: Rave Reviews across the Commonwealth
Patriot Prince: Prince Harry fought for us all, Charles Moore
William F. Buckley, RIP: He had a Tory gratitude for the pleasures of life
Their Lordships' Duty: The House of Lords can influence the Lisbon Treaty debate
Knights of Oz: Revive Sirs or I'll have your guts for garters
Peter Hitchens: People love the Queen...and the BBC hates us for it
Our Greatest Monarch: Paul Johnson says Henry V was our greatest monarch
Princess Diana Inquest: A Dirty Raincoat Show for the World
Malcom Turnbull: 'Queen's death will spark republican vote'
Duke of York: The Royals are not "stuffed dummies". They should have their say
Peers of the Realm: The decline and fall of the House of Lords - Charles A. Coulombe
Peter Hitchens: Get rid of the monarchy and you will get rid of a guardian of liberty
THE FALL OF CHURCHILL
Honouring Sir Edmund Hillary
The Queen versus an E.U. President
Going Solo: Prince William earns his Wings
James C. Bennett: The Third Anglosphere Century
Knights of Oz: Revive Sirs or I'll have your guts for garters
Princess Diana Inquest: A Dirty Raincoat Show for the World
Malcom Turnbull: 'Queen's death will spark republican vote'
Future Peer: The life and times of Lady Victoria Beckham
Peers of the Realm: The decline and fall of the House of Lords - Charles A. Coulombe
Peter Hitchens: Get rid of the monarchy and you will get rid of a guardian of liberty


2007 ARTICLES


New York Times: Ever Backwards into the Royal Future
Peter Hitchens: People love the Queen...and the BBC hates us for it
Christopher Hitchens: An Anglosphere Future
Andrew Cusack: Republicanism is a traitor's game
DIAMOND WEDDING ANNIVERSARY
Courageous Patrician: Rt Hon Ian Douglas Smith (1919-2007)
The Last Rhodesian: What began with Rhodes and ended with Ian?
Gentleman Journalist: The Lord Baron W.F. Deedes, 1913-2007
Not Amused: Blair's sinister campaign to undermine the Queen
Loyal Subject: Queen Elizabeth: A stranger in her own country
Reverence Deference: Bowing and Scraping Back in Tradition
Rex Murphy: Kennedy, Churchill, Lincoln - The rousing bon mot is no more
Gerald Warner: Don't shed a tear for Diana cult in its death throes
The End of Grandeur: Rich, chincy Canada puts Strathmore on the blocks
Confessions of a Republican Leftie: "The Queen charmed the pants off me"
The King's Own Calgary Regiment: Cpl. Nathan Hornburg is laid to rest
The Royal Gurkha Rifles: Prince William grieves the death of Major Roberts
Queensland Mounted Rifles: Trooper David Pearce, 41, killed in Afghanistan
The Order of Canada: 100 investitures later, Canada's highest honour turns 40
Prince Edward on Prince Edward Island: Troop's link to monarchy important
HER MAJESTY THE QUEEN: Unveils the UK Armed Forces Memorial
Great Britain: "A rotten borough with a banana monarchy" - by Europhile
FADE BRITANNIA: THE UNION OF ENGLAND AND SCOTLAND IS OVER - Simon Heffer
Peers of the Realm: The decline and fall of the House of Lords - Charles A. Coulombe
Remembering 'Smithy': An obituary tour de force by Andrew Cusack here, here and here.
NOT AMUSED: Her Majesty The Queen in Right of Quebec not invited to Quebec's tercentenary