Saturday, September 10, 2022

The Reign of Queen Elizabeth II Saw the Sun Set on the British Empire

Queen Elizabeth II (1926-2022) died this week. The sun set on the British Empire during her reign that began in 1952. The dismantling of the empire had already started with the independence of India and Pakistan in 1947 before she ascended to the throne. It continued in the 1950s and 60s with dozens of nations in Asia and Africa declaring their independence. British colonialism was soon replaced by western neocolonialism led by the United States. Black and brown people continue to suffer from the scourge of racism in a world dominated by white Europeans. Corrupt ruling elites with colonized minds ensure that true decolonization does not occur in the former British colonies. They treat their own people with the same disdain as did their former colonial bosses. The struggle for true independence continues. 

Haq Family With British Royal Family at Madame Tussauds in London

Economic Extraction:

When the British arrived in Mughal India, the country's share of the world GDP was 25%, about the same as the US share of the world GDP today. By 1947, the undivided India's share of world GDP ($4 trillion in 1990 Geary-Khamis dollars) had shrunk to about 6% (India: $216 billion, Pakistan: $24 billion). As of 2010, South Asia's contribution to world GDP further shrank to about 4%, according to British Economist Angus Maddison

Divide and Rule Policy: 

Colonial-era British historians deliberately distorted the history of Indian Muslim rule to vilify Muslim rulers as part of the British policy to divide and conquer India, says American history professor Audrey Truschke, in her book "Aurangzeb: The Life and Legacy of India's Most Controversial King". These misrepresentations of Muslim rule made during the British Raj appear to have been accepted as fact not just by Islamophobic Hindu Nationalists but also by at least some of the secular Hindus in India and Muslim intellectuals in present day Pakistan, says the author.  Aurangzeb was neither a saint nor a villain; he was a man of his time who should be judged by the norms of his times and compared with his contemporaries, the author adds. Hindutva today is among the worst legacies of the British Raj. 

Legacy of Major Conflicts:

Major conflicts in South Asia and the Middle East are a legacy of the final days of British rule. Among these are Kashmir and Palestine

Kashmir today is seen as a major flashpoint for a nuclear war between India and Pakistan. The rise of Hindutva, also a legacy of the British Raj, has increased the risk of such a devastating conflict. Vast majority of Indians, including those who oppose Prime Minister Narendra Modi, believe that nuclear war is "winnable", according to the results of a Stimson Center poll released recently. They want their country to build a bigger nuclear arsenal than China and Pakistan combined.  Responding to the clamor for more nukes,  Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in 2019 that Indian nuclear weapons were not kept as mere showpieces.  

Colonized Minds:

Pakistan achieved independence from British colonial rule 75 years ago. However, the minds of most of Pakistan's elites remain colonized to this day.  This seems to be particularly true of the nation's western-educated "liberals" who dominate much of the intellectual discourse in the country. They continue to look at their fellow countrymen through the eyes of the Orientalists who served as tools for western colonization of Asia, Middle East and Africa. The work of these "native" Orientalists available in their books, op ed columns and other publications reflects their utter contempt for Pakistan and Pakistanis. Their colonized minds uncritically accept all things western. They often seem to think that the Pakistanis can do nothing right while the West can do no wrong. Far from being constructive, these colonized minds promote lack of confidence in the ability of their fellow "natives" to solve their own problems and contribute to hopelessness. The way out of it is to encourage more inquiry based learning and critical thinking.

Summary:

Queen Elizabeth's passing represents the end of an era that saw the sun set on the British Empire. Among the legacies of the British rule are racism and slavery that continue to be manifested in the new era of western neocolonialism. Major conflicts created by colonial powers in South Asia and the Middle East continue to threaten world peace. Former colonies continue to be ruled by corrupt elites with colonized minds who treat their own people with utter contempt. Their struggle for true independence continues. 

Here's an interesting discussion of the legacy of the British Raj in India as seen by writer-diplomat Shashi Tharoor:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dN2Owcwq6_M




Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Pakistan Day: Freeing the Colonized Minds

Hindutva: Legacy of the British Raj

Vast Majority of Indians Believe Nuclear War is Winnable

Modi Faces Full-Blown Homegrown Insurgency in Kashmir

Pakistan's Rising College Enrollment Rates

Pakistan Beat BRICs in Highly Cited Research Papers

Launch of "Eating Grass: Pakistan's Nuclear Program"

Upwardly Mobile Pakistan

Riaz Haq's YouTube Channel

Pakistani Social Networl

4 comments:

Riaz Haq said...

US Anchor Says Britain Left India Civilised. Shashi Tharoor, Others Respond
Fox News anchor Tucker Carlson made the comments during a show last Thursday, which went viral on social media.

https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/us-anchor-says-britain-left-india-civilised-shashi-tharoor-others-respond-3341177

A news anchor from the United States, who praised the virtues of the British colonialism in India and claimed that that country prospered during the British rule, has left Congress leader Shashi Tharoor and many Twitter users fuming, according to a report in Independent. Tucker Carlson, Fox News anchor also falsely claimed that India did not create any architectural marvels before the onset of the British colonial era. His comments have been condemned as "racist" and "supremely uninformed" by several users, including tennis star Martina Navratilova.
The anchor was speaking on "Tucker Carlson Tonight" show last Thursday where he went on a long rant claiming that the British empire was "more than just genocide".

"Strong countries dominate weak countries. This trend hasn't changed. At least the English took their colonial responsibility seriously. They didn't just take things, they added. We (the United States) left Afghanistan, we left airstrips, weapons and guns. When the British pulled out of India, they left behind an entire civilization, a language, a legal system, schools, churches and public buildings, all of which are still in use today," said Mr Carlson in a clip that has gone viral on Twitter.

He then referred to Mumbai's Victoria Terminus station that was renamed in 2016 as the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus and said, "And after 75 years of independence, has that country produced a single building as beautiful as the Bombay train station that the British colonials built?"

The comments sparked a debate on Twitter, in which Congress leader Shashi Tharoor joined in.

"I think Twitter ought to have an option for something to press when you can't respond without losing your cool. For now I will content myself with," Mr Tharoor tweeted, adding two angry-face emojis in response.


Ms Navratilova also slammed Mr Carlson's comments, saying on Twitter, "Hey @TuckerCarlson - your utter ignorance of history is quite staggering. I suggest you read the book "Inglorious Empire" by Shashi Tharoor and then try again. Your racism is off the charts and your stupidity on this particular issue is of Olympic proportions!!!"

Comments
The Fox News anchor has so far not responded to the criticism.

Riaz Haq said...

Ben Norton
@BenjaminNorton
The US military launched at least 251 foreign interventions from 1991 to 2022.
This is according to a report from the US government's own Congressional Research Service.
I went through the data and created a map showing just how vast the meddling is: https://multipolarista.com/2022/09/13/us-251-military-interventions-1991/ https://twitter.com/BenjaminNorton/status/1569800676678696960?s=20&t=YnIgUPmGWNRNOFxTpqKvCQ

Riaz Haq said...

Tucker Carlson: Anger after Fox News host says British civilised India

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-62898655

An American TV anchor is drawing the ire of Indians for suggesting that the British had civilised India.

Tucker Carlson from Fox News channel claimed that India had not produced any architectural marvels after British rule ended.

The anchor made the statement during a show on Queen Elizabeth II who died last week, aged 96.

His comments have been criticised as racist and uninformed by politicians, commentators and social media users.

They come at a time when the Queen's death has revived a sensitive debate about the empire's colonial past.

In recent days, a number of prominent writers and academicians across the world, including in India, have criticised the British monarchy which, they say, is yet to reckon with the indignities and brutality of the empire.

Mr Carlson sought to debunk this argument in his show last week, when he claimed that the British empire was "more than just genocide".

"Strong countries dominate weak countries. This trend hasn't changed," he said in a clip that has since gone viral on Twitter.

The anchor added that unlike the US, the English "took their colonial responsibility seriously" and ruled the world with "decency unmatched by any empire in human history".

"When the British pulled out of India, they left behind an entire civilisation, a language, a legal system, schools, churches and public buildings, all of which are still in use today," he said.

The anchor then tried to defend his position by giving the example of Victoria Terminus station - a sprawling Victorian structure of yellow sandstone, granite and blue-grey basalt in what was then the city of Bombay (now Mumbai) - which was built by the British in 1887 and renamed as Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus in 2016.

"After 75 years of independence, has [India] produced a single building as beautiful as the Bombay train station the British colonialists built? No sadly it has not, not one," Mr Carlson said.

His comments outraged many in India, including senior politicians like Shashi Tharoor of the main opposition Congress party.

"I think Twitter ought to have an option for something to press when you can't respond without losing your cool," Mr Tharoor tweeted with two angry emojis on Tuesday.

Another user said he found the claim "funny" as the most stunning buildings he had seen in India "weren't built by the British but by Indians themselves".

"That was before colonialism, when they could still afford to... Colonialism wrecked India, it didn't build it," he added.

Tennis legend Martina Navratilova also weighed in on the matter and said that Mr Carlson's "utter ignorance of history" was "quite staggering".

"Your racism is off the charts and your stupidity on this particular issue is of Olympic proportions!!!," she tweeted.

However, journalist Barkha Dutt said the controversy was blown out of proportion and called it a case of "needless obsession with the white man's orientalism".

"Amazed at how much time Indian media is willing to expend on a US anchor who wouldn't even notice if you commented on his nation," she added.

Anonymous said...

What an insecured nation.
Btw, Tucker Carlson is partly correct. British created this monster called India

G. Ali