Sunday, July 31, 2011

Mutinees in Indian army-British Rule (contd-2) before 1857

A year after the Barrackpur mutiny there was a short lived conspiracy (14 Oct 1825) when the Grenadier Company in Assam refused to march after complaining about the weather.Once again the ring leaders were sentenced to death and the others discharged.
Dissatisfaction about the terms of payments led to the disgrace of a native regiment at Sholapur when it refused to turn out for parade on 24 Nov 1838, Non-payment of Batta led to the mutiny of sepoys in Secunderabad, Hyderabad and Maligaum in 1848; some of the regiments were disbanded and others pardoned.
The religious sentiments of the sepoys were ruffled during the first Afghan War (1838-42). The Muslims resented the idea of fighting their co-religionists. Hindus feared that they would lose caste by receiving food from the Muslims in a foreign country.Moreover, they were short of provisions and often had to go without tgheir daily bath. They also resented having to wear jackets made of shep- skins.   A Hindu and a Muslim subadar were in fact, shot dead for articulating grievances. The Sepoys carried out orders in sullen discontent.
The 64th regiment at Sind in 1844 turned violent when denied full benefits of the First Afghan Empire. All the ringleaders were executed except one who was imprisoned for life.
The 6th madras cavalry was agrieved in 1843 when they were permanently posted at Jabbalpur on reduced allowance after having been brouht to the place on an understanding that they would be quartered there for a short time.
In 1849 Sir Charles Napier discovered that 24 regiments were awaiting an opportunity to rise in the Punjab. There was in fact, a mutiny at Govindgarh on 1 Feb 1850. Though quelled, Napier took the opportunity to raise the dearness allowance of the soldiers. This was disfavoured by the Governor-General, Lord Dalhousi, whereupon Napier resigned in protest. The smouldering discontent of the sepoys burst forth in the Great Revolt seven years later.       

Mutinees in Indian army- British Rule (contd-1) before 1857

The sepoys, at that time, was mostly recruited from the Hindus, the Muslims were antagonistic to the Company's rule and were generally reluctant to carry out orders to embark on ship. Phsical discomforts on sea-faring vessels, long period of separation from home and religious injunctions to produce this aversion in the mind of the sepoy.The prejudice in the mind of the sepoys about sea voyage was so deep rooted that it provided the reason for the disbandment of as many as five regiments 1782, 1784 and a whole company in 1795.
In 1806 there was a serious mutiny of the sepoys at Vellore in Madraswhen they suddenly rebelled and massacred most of the European officers and men in the fort.Little regard was paid to the religious faith and customs of the soldiers and under the prevailing conditions in respect of change in dress and wearing of the hair. Chistianity was spreading fast in the country and the missionaries received all the protection in their activities. They were given a free hand even in indian regiments . A soldier who became a christian received quick promotion. Many more benefits were showered on them as an incentive. As time went on the authorities became less careful of offending the religious customs of the  men.Even though the sepoys did not rise in revolt each timesuch a measure was enforced, the constant interference in their personal affairs created a hostile feeling. In january 1806, the code of regulations for the Madras army required the wearing of a turban ( with a cotton tuft made to resemble a feather and a leather cockade).Hide from cows was a taboo to the Hindus and from pig to the Muslims. Both communities feared that the new turban contained of defilement. Moreover, the new code required the trimming of moustaches in a specified mannerand placed prohibitions on caste marks and religious signs, generally adopted by Hindus, and the keeping of whiskers, in vogue among the mulims. On May 6, 1806, the sepoys of Vellore refused compliance when first confronted with the implementation of the code. Peace returned in June with with the punishment of the erring sepoys. But, the sons of Tipu Sultan, particulaly of the third and the fourth, who had been settled in Vellore after his fall fanned the flames of discontent, promising leadership, assistance from different quarters and increased wages of the sepoys if they succeeded in an insurrection. Capitalising of the lax vigilance of the English, the sepoys at Vellore opened fire on the European quarters at 2 am on 10 July, 1806. They took care to spare the woman and the children and hoisted the flag of Tipu Sultan. The descendants of the Mysore ruler did not, however, bestir themselves and the sepoys soon became so busy in plundering the valuables of their former masters that they failed to offer any resistance when English reinforcements arrivedfrom Arcot. The mutiny did not last more than eight hours. The obnoxious regulations were rescinded and the family of Tipu Sultan deported to Calcutta.
The Barrackpur mutiny took place during the first Anglo-Burmese War when the 47th Native Infantry refused to march without receiving double batta (additional allowance for distant expeditions).  the immediate cause for provocation was the exorbitant rate at which the sepoys were required to procure bullocks for transport. At the parad held on 30 Oct. 1824, they appeared without their knapsacks and refused to bring them even after being ordered. The example of the 47th spread and there was open insubordination The Commander-in-Chief , Sir Edward Paget rushed to the spot from Calcutta The reinforcements were kept in hiding with orders to fire if the mutiny continued.The sepoys of the 47th regiment were paraded and given the option of marching or grouding their arms. They continued in defiance and were massacredfrom behind.
The report of the Enquiry Committee dated 24 Nov 1824, listed the causes that aggrieved the sepoys.Many of these grievances were not satisfied for long.The Bengal army , being recruited mainly from Bihar, Benaras, Avadh often complained of the uncongeniality of the climate of Bengal and areas further east.Their pay of rs.7/- was never upgraded during the entire period from 1796 to 1857.
Memories of the Barrackpur mutiny continued for more than a quarter of a century.            

Mutinees in Indian army, British Rule before 1857

Mutinees in Indian army were widespread rebellions against the British administration in the country. The Mutinee of 1857 which sparked off in Bengal and later spread to the whole of northern India has been correctly termed as the first organised fight for independence.As far as the army raised by the British East India Companywas concerned, there were several records of a number of mutinees both by Europeans and Indian troops.The causes behind the mutinees were always far and wide. Poor allowances and low pay rates have always been the cause of discontent.
In the year 1764 Bengal Sepoys rebelled for higher rates of pay and gratuities in the campaign against Mir Kasim. Major hecto Munro, the commander in chief , punished he offenders by blowing them off from mouths of the guns. In between 1765-1766, officers in Bengal Army rebelled against the British Government for more allowances.
In the year 1765, Robert Clive issued orders that double-batta be withdrawn except to the brigade stationed at Allahabad. The old single batta was to be issued to the troops in cantonments or in garrisons until they were recalled back within the Presidency. The rest of the army was to  receive single batta when marching or in the field and half single batta when in Catonments or in garrisons. While within the presidency officers were to receive no batta at all but free quarters in lieu. Doubl batta had been grated by Mir jafar to all officers of the company after the battle of plassey. His successor Mir Kasim continued to pay the allowance. On receipt of the latest order there were great dissatisfaction in all the cantonments and out-posts .They had their headquarters in almost all the out-posts namely Murshidabad, Munger, Allahabad, Surajpur and Benkipur. Even the civil  services contributed rupees one lakh and 40 thousand to aid the movement. Two hundred English officers  were determined to resign their commission unless their demands were fully met.As soon as  Lord Clive came to know of this he took immediate measures to meet the threat.Stringent measures were adopted and even India troops were employed to to force the Europeans into submission.Some officers were court-marshalled while others were deported. The majority were pardoned of promise of good behaviour. The European officers in the south also mutined openly at Masulipatam, Seringapatam, Hyderabadand other places when their Tent Contract.      

Thursday, July 28, 2011

History of Indian Army

Indian Army History

India's present-day army has emerged from the land forces set up by the British between the 1600's and the 1800's. But there have been many other Indian armies throughout the nation's history. India has been ravaged by internal wars and invasions, and a number of warlike people have come to prominence over the centuries, most notably the Rajputs and the Sikhs.
The roots of the modern Indian army are traced to the forces employed by the English (later British) East India Company, chartered in 1600, and the French East India Company (Compagnie des Indes Orientales), established in 1664. The British East India Company arrived in India in 1607. It formed armed troops of men to act as factory guards in Madras (now Chennai) and Bombay (now Mumbai) in 1662. By 1708, the three presidencies of Bengal (Calcutta), Madras, and Bombay were formed, and each established its own armed forces. British units were divided into three armies corresponding to the company's centers of Bengal (headquartered at Fort William in Calcutta), Bombay (or Mumbai in the Marathi language), and Madras (headquartered at Fort Saint George). The French, headquartered at Pondicherry (Puduchcheri) by the 1670s, were the first to raise Indian companies and use them in conjunction with European soldiers. The war between France and England in 1744 forced a reorganization of the East India Company's forces, and artillery and an ordnance service were introduced. Subsequently, in the 1740s, the British started to organize and train Indian units.
In 1748 the East India Company armies were brought under the command of Stringer Lawrence, who is regarded by historians as the progenitor of the modern Indian army. Under his guidance, British officers recruited, trained, and deployed these forces. Although formally under a unified command, the three armies in practice exercised considerable autonomy because of the great distances that separated them.
In 1796, the company had 18,000 Europeans and 84,000 Indians in its uniform, and these numbers had been expanded to 37,000 and 223,000 by 1830. Toward the end of the eighteenth century, the vast majority of the soldiers of each army was composed of Indian troops known as sepoys (from the Hindi sipahi, meaning police officer, or, later, soldier). Sepoy units had Indian junior commissioned officers who could exercise only low-level command. British officers held all senior positions. No Indian had any authority over non-Indians. In addition to these all-Indian units, the British deployed some units of the British Army. The forty battalions ot which which the Madras army was composed was homogeneous, the men of each regiment being recruited generally from the southern parts of the peninsula. The Bombay Army was smaller than that of Madras, consisting of only thirty battalions of infantry, with a little over 20,000 men. The whole of this force is raised generally from the districts occupied by it. The Bengal Presidency was not garrisoned wholly by the regular army.
By the middle of the 19th Century the armies of the Native States looked formidable on paper, for they were said to number altogether about 380,000 men, of whom 69,000 were cavalry and 11,000 artillery, with some 4,000 guns. These figures were very deceptive. A small portion only of these so-called armies had any military organisation. They consisted for the most part of men who could hardly be called soldiers. The majority of them are maintained for purposes of display, without the least idea that they can ever be used for fighting. The so-called array includes multitudes of the armed retainers of the chiefs and nobles, and nearly the whole of the men whom we should class as police.
There were only two cases in which it seemed possible that the armies of the Native States might become causes of anxiety to the Government. The first was the army of Gwalior. Among all the armies of the Native States this was the most completely organised. It consisted of about 11,000 men, of whom about 6,000 are cavalry, all fairly drilled and disciplined, with several fully equipped batteries of artillery. The largest of the armies of the Native States was that of the Nizam of Hyderabad, also a foreigner in the country belonging to him. It was so heterogeneous a body that it was difficult to state its numbers, but that part of it which may with some reason be called an army consisted of about 45,000 men.
The troops of the Rajputana States consisted, on paper, of more than 100,000 men, with 1,400 guns, but these figures had no military significance. The men were not, for the most part, soldiers in the service of the State, but the members of a military class. None of the guns were equipped for service.
The troops of the Sikh States were composed of good material; they were well officered, and have on occasions done excellent service for the British Crown. They are devoted to their chiefs, who are conspicuously loyal, and bound to the British Government by mutual goodwill and good offices, which had extended over many years.
The troops of no Native State possessed arms of precision ; they had no breech-loading rifles, no rifled ordnance, and very little organised artillery. They were, for the most part, an un-drilled, wretchedly armed rabble, and two or three British regiments, with a battery of horse artillery, would disperse 50,000 of them. With the few exceptions named, they could not cause the British anxiety. They were not armies in the ordinary sense of the term.
Field brigades were organized, then divisions, until at last, just before the Mutiny of 1857, the British had 311,000 native troops, forming, with the European forces, 40,000 strong, three 'presidential ' armies, and various local forces and contingents. These separate armies, belonging to the presidencies of Fort William in Bengal, Fort St. George in Madras, and Bombay, had grown up into almost independent forces. The total strength of the Indian army, in 1857, the year before the mutiny, consisted of 45,522 Europeans, and 282,224 natives.
The Crown assumed the government of India, and after the Mutiny was quelled a period of reconstruction followed. The local European forces were merged into the general army; the native armies were reorganized on the ' irregular' system, under which there were but few British officers in each regiment; a Staff Corps was formed; but in creating a new Bengal Army, the Madras and Bombay armies, the Punjab frontier force, and the Hyderabad contingent, all of which had done admirable service in putting down the rebellion in a series of arduous campaigns, were maintained as separate entities.
Shortly after the Sepoy Rebellion of 1857-58, the role of the presidency armies was reevaluated. In 1861 the Bengal Army was disbanded, and the total number of sepoys was reduced from 230,000 to 150,000 while the British element was increased from 40,000 to 75,000. Most Indian artillery units were disbanded, and artillery was placed under British control. Under the aegis of the imperial "divide and rule" policy, which had its inception at this time, the British ensured that a sense of nationality would not be allowed to develop among the sepoys. The growth of such feelings, it was feared, would undermine the prospects of imperial control. Accordingly, Indian regiments increasingly were organized on a territorial basis; individual companies -- and in some cases entire regiments -- were drawn from the same religious, tribal, or caste backgrounds. When companies from several regiments were grouped into battalions, considerable efforts were made to promote cultural and social distinctions among companies of different compositions.
The total strength of the army in British India during the year 1866 consisted of 66,814 Europeans, and 117,095 natives. The staff and staff-corps consisted of 1,866 Europeans; the engineers, sappers and miners, 378 Europeans and 2,794 natives; the artillery, horse and foot, of 12,299 Europeans and 1,891 natives; the cavalry, of 6,050 Europeans and 18,776 natives; the infantry of 45,910 Europeans and 93,631 natives; and the invalids, veterans, and warrant officers, of 810 Europeans; the medical establishment being included in each arm of the service. Of these total numbers, 38,993 Europeans and 43,394 natives were stationed in Bengal, 14,184 Europeans and 46,485 natives in Madras, and 13,638 Europeans aiitl 27,268 natives in Bombay ; those stationed in the northwest provinces and Punjab being included in the presidency of Bengal. Among the remarkable features of the iul- ministration of Sir John Lawrence, is gent-rallf counted the execution of a grand scheme of great military barracks and fortifications. Jn>t before Sir John Lawrence's arrival, LorJ Elgin government had determined to provide barracks after the most approved sanitary fashion for the English troops, and strategical buildings and appliances, such as might be required in an emergency, thus saving- soldiers' lives ??? rendering it possible to hold the country with a smaller number than the 90,000 of 1859- The development and maturing of his poh? fell to his successor, and Colonel Crommelffl, the first of military engineers, was placed it the head of a special department for this par- pose. Some time was necessarily spent in agreeing upon model plans for the housin:: ot soldiers. As in the course of 1864 and IS*"' the scheme gradually assumed shape, it vx found that its cost would be not under ta millions sterling. It is now expected that the whole of India will be supplied withnt» barracks and forts on the best plan and of the most durable character by the close of 1871, by which time, too, the Great Trunk railfsy system of Lord Dalhousie will be ??????? besides several extensions. Forts and fort if. Ím posts are being constructed at almost ever/ military station, and especially near every gra' railway station a place of refuge, for womenand children and non-combatants, is to be provided against an emergency. These posts take Uk form of a four, five, or six-sided enclosure flanked by bastions at the angles, and of which the hospitals and two or more barracks constitute the curtains. Sueh posts are to be form« at Nowgong, Sealkote, Jnllundher, Umbalb. and Hyderabad, in the Deccan. Where the« are magazines and positions exposed tribes, or commanding unruly neighbors, great forts are to be erected. The main constituents of the army were Pathans, Sikhs, Punjabi Mohammedans, Dogras, Gurkhas, Jats, Hindustanis, Mahrattas, Rajputs, and Madrasis. There are other classes from which we draw recruits, but these were the main elements. Of these, the Pathans and Gurkhas may be called 'foreigners,' as they did not belong to British India, although many Pathan tribes dwelled within the British borders. Pathans are physically fine men, and, as soldiers in our ranks, brave, loyal, and devoted. The merits of Gurkhas are well known. They are brilliantly courageous, cheerful, staunch, and dogged. The Sikh is a splendid soldier in physique, in character, and resolute bravery. Neither he nor the Gurkha could pass examinations or reach a standard of education such as some think should be exacted of all soldiers, but both have the true soldierly instinct, and no finer soldiers can be found.
The Punjabi Mohammedan was an admirable soldier - although the quality varies with the particular tribe - sturdy, brave, and with many martial instincts. The Dogra from the lower Himalayas became an excellent fighting man. Jats, mainly from the Delhi territories, furnish good material. Hindustanis, Brahmans, and Rajputs still produce good soldiers, but have fallen from their high estate since the days when the British conquered India with their aid. By around 1900 the Rajput was not the soldier he once was, but was still capable of doing good service when well led. The Mahratta, once the fighting man of the Deccan, who did such fine service under Wellington, seemed to have lost much of his military virtue; while the Madras soldier, whether Tamil (Hindu) or Mohammedan, was no longer the soldier of our early history in India.
By the end of the 19th Century the regular native army drew its recruits from the North-West Frontier and beyond for Pathans, from Nepal for Gurkhas, from the Punjab for Sikhs and Punjabi Mohammedans, and from the United Provinces of Agra and Oudh for Hindustanis-both Hindus and Mohammedans. The Western or Bombay area furnished Mahrattas, Rajputs, and some Mohammedans, while the Madras territories are now called upon to furnish only a few men, Tamils (Hindus) and Mohammedans. The center of military activity had shifted more and more to the north, and the tendency is to draw to a much larger extent upon the resources of that part of India.
From 1879 through 1903 immense progress was made in every branch of the army and in every department appertaining to it. Increase of the army by 10,000 British and 20,000 native troops, reserves, linking of battalions, establishment of regimental centers, the amalgamation of hitherto separate presidential departments, the creation of Imperial service troops, increase of pay to the native army, reorganization of recruiting, re-armament, elimination of inferior material, introduction of the double-company system in the infantry, complete reorganization of the transport, increase to the supply and transport corps, establishment of mounted infantry schools, formation (1886) of a plan of mobilization and its development, completion of frontier and coast defences, reform of horse-breeding, remount, and military account departments, institution of an ambulance corps, a great development in the manufacture of warlike stores, and continuous improvements in the sanitary service of the army were some of the measures which were carried out prior to 1903.
Administrative reforms in 1895 abolished the presidency armies, and command was centralized under the aegis of a single army headquarters at Delhi. In 1895 that the Bengal Army was divided into two parts, or Commands-the Punjab, with its Pathan, Sikh, and Punjabi regiments; the Bengal, with its Hindustanis - and the Madras and Bombay armies allotted to the areas to be known as the Madras and Bombay Commands; while the Commander-in-Chief in India was given full powers over all, with the intention that he should delegate to the Generals commanding the forces in these great territorial areas a large measure of initiative and responsibility.
The key of the policy which, after many years, led to the reorganization of 1895 was decentralization, power of mobilization, with the more complete segregation of the races. It was to be one army divided into four watertight compartments-the Punjab, Bengal (or Hindustan), Bombay, and Madras. It was found by experience that, for example, Sikh regiments degenerated, and were prone to assimilate with other elements, when quartered long away from their homes. There was to be no 'localization' in the exact sense, but so far as was practicable the troops were to be stationed in the main area from which they were drawn. The idea was not merely the preservation of the balance of power, which all history has taught is necessary in dealing with mercenary Asiatic armies, but to introduce a simpler and decentralized system.
In the early twentieth century, the process of centralization continued; and during this period, the separation between military and civilian spheres of influence and the ultimate primacy of civilian authority gained final acceptance in both civilian and military circles. The army in India had to undertake not merely the defense of India or of Afghanistan, but the active defence of India, and, added to that, the maintenance of order within India itself. The area of India is 1,870,000 square miles, the frontier line is about 6,000 miles long, its length from north to south is some 1,900 miles, and its breadth from east to west about the same, and the population of India was 300,000,000.
The regular army in India of 1900 embraced both British and native troops, the former in round numbers some 74,000, and the latter 157,000 with a small reserve of 25,000, and a total of 486 guns. But just as other countries have a second line of militia, yeomanry, and volunteers, so in India there was a second line of European volunteers, Imperial service troops, militia, and military police, numbering about 76,000. The total regular army, British and native, including the reserve, was 256,000 strong, and the second line 76,000. The reserve is to be increased to 50,000, and might be further enlarged. The British Army and volunteers numbered 106,000, the regular native army and its reserves 182,000, and the native auxiliaries 44,000.
In 1903 a fresh departure took place in the unification of the army, and a further 'reorganization' was initiated under the auspices of the Commander-in-Chief in India, Lord Kitchener. The first step in the abandonment of the principles which had held the field for so long was made in 1903. The regiments of cavalry and battalions of infantry were re-numbered and re-named, so as to get rid of all territorial connection. The object aimed at was to have one army in India, and not four bodies in one army-a complete reversal of the older policy. The next step was to abolish the Southern or Madras Command, and practically the Madras army, substituting regiments recruited from northern races for the Madras.
The re-distribution of the army, which is understood to be largely due to Lord Kitchener, although it has been often discussed before, and put on one side owing to its great cost, was an attempt to organize the army in units of command similar to those in which it would take the field. The idea is that each divisional area shall furnish one fighting division, subdivided into three brigades, to concentrate the main portion of the army in large cantonments, and abandon a number of the smaller stations. There will also be some separate troops on the North- West Frontier, at Aden, and a divisional command in Burma.
For instance, the Eighth (or Lucknow) Division had its headquarters at Lucknow, with a brigade at Fyzabad ; a second brigade distributed between Cawnpore, Allahabad, and Benares, hundreds of miles apart; a third at Calcutta, the capital of India, and seven hundred miles from Luck- now, embracing garrisons and outposts from Dinapore to Darjeeling, and from Buxa Duar, on the Bhutan frontier, to Cuttack in Orissa, on the Bay of Bengal; and a fourth brigade in still more distant Assam, and distributed in various stations and outposts for the protection of a frontier liable to the incursions of savage tribes. To call the troops stationed all over this immense area a 'division' is, of course, merely calling old things by new titles.
Even though the Crown had taken direct charge of India from the East India Company in 1857, the three Presidency armies still existed and as late as 1904 there was no "Indian Army". In that year Lord Kitchener, appointed commander-in-chief of Indian forces in 1902, embarked on a reorganization to create an integrated all-India army. This 9 division, 9 cavalry brigade plan entailed divisions were 1 through 9, and associated cavalry brigades, also numbered 1 through 9. The Kitchener reorganization established 39 cavalry regiments in sequence from 1 - 39, with each regiment bearing its traditional name.

Northern CommandPeshawarFirst Division
Rawal PindiSecond Division
LahoreThird Division
Western CommandQuettaFourth Division
IndoreFifth Division
PoonaSixth Division
Eastern CommandMeerutSeventh Division
LucknowEighth Division
SecunderabadNinth Division

During World War I (1914-1918), Indian Army units served on the Western Front, and at Gallipoli and in Salonika. But the main effort was in Mesopotamia, where more than 300,000 Indian soldiers were deployed. During World War I, India's contribution of troops, money, and supplies to the Allied cause was substantial. More than 1 million Indian soldiers were sent abroad, and more than 100,000 were either killed or wounded.
The mobilization for the war effort revealed a number of shortcomings in the military establishment. Officer casualties had a particularly pernicious effect on military formations because only the British officers assigned to a battalion had the authority and standing to exercise overall command. In addition, Indian officers from one company could rarely be transferred to another having a different ethnic, religious, or caste makeup. As a consequence, after the war most battalions were reorganized to ease reinforcement among component companies.
In 1921, the Indian Army was re-organised. The Infantry was grouped in 19 groups, each called a Regiment. Battalions became mixed class battalions, with companies of prescribed classes. The double company system was abolished. Each Regiment had five active battalions, one Training Centre and one Territorial Battalion.
Strong pressure from the Indian public drove the British to begin training a small complement of Indians for commissions as a first step in the Indianization of the officer corps. The Royal Indian Air Force was established in 1932, and a small Indian marine unit was reorganized into the Royal Indian Navy in 1934. Indian artillery batteries were first formed only in 1936. Although the practice of limiting recruitment to the martial races had proved inadequate during World War I and entry had been opened to "nonmartial" groups, the traditional recruitment emphasis on martial races was nonetheless resumed after demobilization.
The political situation in India underwent a fundamental transformation at the time of Britain's entry into World War II. The viceroy and governor general of India, Victor Alexander John Hope, Marquis of Linlithgow, without consulting Indian political leaders, declared India to be at war with Germany on September 3, 1939. The legislature sustained the viceregal decree and passed the Defence of India Bill without opposition, as the representatives of the Indian National Congress boycotted the session. Between 1939 and mid-1945, the British Indian Army expanded from about 175,000 to more than 2 million troops -- entirely through voluntary enlistment.
Altogether, more than 620,000 Indians served overseas During World War II (1939-1945), Indian Army strength rose to more than two million. Indians fought in North Africa and Italy. After Japanese forces defeated United Kingdom troops in Burma, the Indian Army had to defend its own country at the battles of Imphal and Kohima in 1944. The Japanese besieged Kohima but never captured it. About 340,000 Indians served in the Allies' 14th Army, which eventually drove the Japanese out of Burma.
The incipient naval and air forces were also expanded, and the Indian officer corps grew from 600 to more than 14,000. Indian troops were deployed under overall British command in Africa, Italy, the Middle East, and particularly in Burma and Southeast Asia. The great expansion in strength, the overseas service of Indian forces, and the demonstrated soldierly ability of Indians from all groups did much to dispel the martial races theory.
In Asia the Japanese sought to exploit Indian nationalism and anti-British sentiment by forming and supporting the Indian National Army (INA--Azad Hind Fauj), which was composed primarily of 25,000 of the 60,000 Indian troops who had surrendered to the Japanese in Singapore in February 1942. The army was led by Subhas Chandra Bose, a former militant president of the Congress, who also appointed himself head of the Provisional Government of Azad India (Free India). An unusual feature of the INA was an all-woman, intercaste regiment composed of some 1,500 Indian women from Burma, Malaya, and Singapore. Both the women and the 25,000-strong male contingent were organized to fight alongside the Japanese in Burma, but they actually saw little action. Only 8,000 were sent to the front. Japanese and INA troops invaded Manipur in March 1944 and fought and were defeated in battles at Imphal and Kohima. By May 1945, the INA had disintegrated because of acute logistical problems, defections, and superior British-led forces. It is widely held that Bose was killed in an air crash in Taiwan as he fled at the end of the war. The British court martialed three INA officers. Nationalist-minded lawyers, including Nehru, defended them as national heroes, and the British, feeling intense public pressure, found them guilty but cashiered them without any further punishment. However, after independence Nehru refused to reinstate them into the Indian armed forces, fearing that they might sow discord among the ranks.
From V-J Day to the end of August, 1947, the net reduction in the strength of the Indian and Pakistan armies amounted to 1,648,772 men and women. Of these, 32,677 were British and Indian / Pakistan officers, 12,177 were officers and auxiliaries of the WAC(I), 49,024 were British other ranks serving with Indian and Pakistan armies and 1,533,570 were Indian and Pakistan ranks, including 64,321 civilians attached to Indian /Pakistan armies. In August, 1947, there was a net reduction of 492 officers, 1,566 Indian and Pakistan ranks, 2,639 non-combatants enrolled and 2,348 British other ranks attached to Indian and Pakistan armies. During that month 144 army units were disbanded. A total of 8,668 army units had been disbanded, 61 Indian State Forces units have returned to the states and 11 Nepalese contingent units have returned to Nepal. Up to the end of August, 1947, a total of 37,458 I.S.F. personnel have returned to their states and 9,178 Nepalese contingent personnel had returned to Nepal.
The old Indian Army prior to 15 August, 1947, was divided into three Commands Northern, Southern and Eastern. A fourth, Central Command, was raised during the war and disbanded in September, 1946. Of the Indian divisions which took part in the World War II, the 6th, 8th, 10th, 14th, 17th, 19th, 20th, 23rd, 25th, 26th and 39th were disbanded, those remaining being the 4th, 5th, 7th Infantry Divisions, 1st Armoured Division and the 2nd Airborne Division.
Independence and the partition from Pakistan imposed significant costs on the Indian defense establishment that took years to redress. The partition of the country into the two Dominions of India and Pakistan in 1947 meant a division of the armed forces. The Royal Indian Navy, the Indian Army and the Royal Indian Air Force were divided between the two Dominions on a territorial-cum-optional basis and the result was a division in the approximate proportion of one-third to Pakistan and two-thirds to the Union of India.
The partition of the country entailed the division of the armed forces personnel and equipment. As a result of partition, regiments and formations of the armed forces of India, which had for long years been composed of sub-units comprising men of various castes and creeds, had to be reorganized into regiments containing only representatives of their own Dominion. Such a division and re-organization of tho armed forces needed a co-ordinating authority, which was provided by the Supreme Commander's Headquarters. Field-Marshal Sir Claude Auchinleok, former Commander-in-Chief, was appointed as Supreme Commander with the specific purpose of reconstituting the armed forces for the two Dominions under the directional control of the Joint Defence Council, which consisted of representatives from both Dominions, the Governor-General of India, Earl Mountbatten being the independent chairman.
On 15 August, 1947, the army was divided into Indian Army and Pakistan Army. Northern Command was allotted to Pakistan and the Southern and Eastern Commands were allotted to the Indian Army. A new Command, Delhi and East Punjab Command, was raised on 15 September 1947. There was also a considerable amount of expansion in B.I.A.S.C. transport services. From 36 A.T. Coys, and 29 M.T. Units of various types, they were increased to 80 A.T. Coys, and 304 M.T. Units. The elephant for the first time was taken in the service and was found to be very useful in Burma. Bullocks were also utilized to provide transport in static areas. Other additions to the service were tank transporters, amphibians and water transport companies. There has also been a very great expansion in air supplies, which at one time was the main source of supply in Burma.
Predominantly Muslim units went to Pakistan, followed later by individual transfers. Close to two-thirds of all army personnel went to India. As a secular state, India accepted all armed forces personnel without regard to religious affiliation. The division of the navy was based on an estimation of each nation's maritime needs. A combination of religious affiliation and military need was applied to the small air force. As a result of partition, India also received about two-thirds of the matériel and stores. This aspect of the division of assets was complicated by the fact that all sixteen ordnance factories were located in India. India was allowed to retain them with the proviso that it would make a lump sum payment to Pakistan to enable it to develop its own defense production infrastructure.
Independence also resulted in a dramatic reduction of the number of experienced senior personnel available. The armed forces of India used to contain a very large British element but the government of new India decided to completely nationalize her armed forces. Only a small number of British officers, mostly in technical branches, were retained on contractual basis for a short period to fill the gap. In 1947 only six Indians had held brigade-level commands, and only one had commanded a division. British officers, out of necessity, were retained for varying periods of time after independence. British chiefs stayed on the longest in the navy and the air force. The navy had a British service chief until 1962 and the air force until 1954. The armed forces also integrated qualified members of the armies of the former princely states that acceded to India. The term sepoy, made popular during the colonial era, was dropped about this time, and the word jawan (Hindi for able-bodied man) has been used ever since when referring to the Indian soldier.

India's First War of Independence-Karl marx

Indian soldiers being executed
Rani Jhansi
Karl Marx in the New-York Tribune 1857

The Indian Revolt

Kanwar Singh

Source: New-York Daily Tribune, September 16, 1857;
Transcribed: by Tony Brown.

London, Sept. 4, 1857

The outrages committed by the revolted Sepoys in India are indeed appalling, hideous, ineffable — such as one is prepared to meet – only in wars of insurrection, of nationalities, of races, and above all of religion; in one word, such as respectable England used to applaud when perpetrated by the Vendeans on the “Blues,” by the Spanish guerrillas on the infidel Frenchmen, by Servians on their German and Hungarian neighbors, by Croats on Viennese rebels, by Cavaignac’s Garde Mobile or Bonaparte’s Decembrists on the sons and daughters of proletarian France.
However infamous the conduct of the Sepoys, it is only the reflex, in a concentrated form, of England’s own conduct in India, not only during the epoch of the foundation of her Eastern Empire, but even during the last ten years of a long-settled rule. To characterize that rule, it suffices to say that torture formed ail organic institution of its financial policy. There is something in human history like retribution: and it is a rule of historical retribution that its instrument be forged not by the offended, but by the offender himself.
The first blow dealt to the French monarchy proceeded from the nobility, not from the peasants. The Indian revolt does not commence with the Ryots, tortured, dishonored and stripped naked by the British, but with the Sepoys, clad, fed, petted, fatted and pampered by them. To find parallels to the Sepoy atrocities, we need not, as some London papers pretend, fall back on the middle ages, not, even wander beyond the history of contemporary England. All we want is to study the first Chinese war, an event, so to say, of yesterday. The English soldiery then committed abominations for the mere fun of it; their passions being neither sanctified by religious fanaticism nor exacerbated by hatred against an overbearing and conquering race, nor provoked by the stern resistance of a heroic enemy. The violations of women, the spittings of children, the roastings of whole villages, were then mere wanton sports, not recorded by Mandarins, but by British officers themselves.
Even at the present catastrophe it would be an unmitigated mistake to suppose that all the cruelty is on the side of the Sepoys, and all the milk of human kindness flows on the side of the English. The letters of the British officers are redolent of malignity. An officer writing from Peshawur gives a description of the disarming of the 10th irregular cavalry for not charging the 55th native infantry when ordered to do so. He exults in the fact that they were not only disarmed, but stripped of their coats and boots, and after having received 12d. per man, were marched down to the river side, and there embarked in boats and sent down the Indus, where the writer is delighted to expect every mother’s son will have a chance of being drowned in the rapids. Another writer informs us that, some inhabitants of Peshawur having caused a night alarm by exploding little mines of gunpowder in honor of a wedding (a national custom), the persons concerned were tied up next morning, and
“received such a flogging as they will not easily forget.”
News arrived from Pindee that three native chiefs were plotting. Sir John Lawrence replied by a message ordering a spy to attend to the meeting. On the spy’s report, Sir John sent a second message, “Hang them.” The chiefs were hanged. An officer in
the civil service, from Allahabad, writes:
“We have power of life and death in our hands, and we assure you we spare not.”
Another, from the same place:
“Not a day passes but we string up front ten to fifteen of them (non-combatants).”
One exulting officer writes:
“Holmes is hanging them by the score, like a ‘brick.’”
Another, in allusion to the summary hanging of a large body of the natives:
“Then our fun commenced.”
A third:
“We hold court-martials on horseback, and every nigger we meet with we either string up or shoot.”
From Benares we are informed that thirty Zemindars were hanged or) the mere suspicion of sympathizing with their own countrymen, and whole villages were burned down on the same plea. An officer from Benares, whose letter is printed in The London Times, says:
“The European troops have become fiends when opposed to natives.”
And then it should not be forgotten that, while the cruelties of the English are related as acts of martial vigor, told simply, rapidly, without dwelling on disgusting details, the outrages of the natives, shocking as they are, are still deliberately exaggerated. For instance, the circumstantial account first appearing in The Times, and then going the round of the London press, of the atrocities perpetrated at Delhi and Meerut, from whom did it proceed? From a cowardly parson residing at Bangalore, Mysore, more than a thousand miles, as the bird flies, distant from the scene of action. Actual accounts of Delhi evince the imagination of an English parson to be capable of breeding greater horrors than even the wild fancy of a Hindoo mutineer. The cutting of noses, breasts, &c., in one word, the horrid mutilations committed by the Sepoys, are of course more revolting to European feeling than the throwing of red-hot shell on Canton dwellings by a Secretary of the Manchester Peace Society, or the roasting of Arabs pent up in a cave by a French Marshal, or the flaying alive of British soldiers by the cat-o’-nine-tails under drum-head court-martial, or any other of the philanthropical appliances used in British penitentiary colonies. Cruelty, like every other thing, has its fashion, changing according to time and place. Caesar, the accomplished scholar, candidly narrates how he ordered many thousand Gallic warriors to have their right hands cut off. Napoleon would have been ashamed to do this. He preferred dispatching his own French regiments, suspected of republicanism, to St. Domingo, there to die of the blacks and the plague.
The infamous mutilations committed by the Sepoys remind one of the practices of the Christian Byzantine Empire, or the prescriptions of Emperor Charles V.’s criminal law, or the English punishments for high treason, as still recorded by Judge Blackstone. With Hindoos, whom their religion has made virtuosi in the art of self-torturing, these tortures inflicted on the enemies of their race and creed appear quite natural, and must appear still more so to the English, who, only some years since, still used to draw revenues from the Juggernaut festivals, protecting and assisting the bloody rites of a religion of cruelty.
The frantic roars of the “bloody old Times,” as Cobbett used to call it – its, playing the part of a furious character in one of Mozart’s operas, who indulges in most melodious strains in the idea of first hanging his enemy, then roasting him, then quartering him, then spitting him, and then flaying him alive — its tearing the passion of revenge to tatters and to rags – all this would appear but silly if under the pathos of tragedy there were not distinctly perceptible the tricks of comedy. The London Times overdoes its part, not only from panic. It supplies comedy with a subject even missed by Molière, the Tartuffe of Revenge. What it simply wants is to write up the funds and to screen the Government. As Delhi has not, like the walls of Jericho, fallen before mere puffs of wind, Jolin Bull is to be steeped in cries for revenge up to his very ears, to make him forget that his Government is responsible for the mischief hatched and the colossal dimensions it has been allowed to assume.

South Indian Rebellion-Rajayyan-First War of Independence

Polygar War

Polygar War or Palayakarar Wars refers to the wars fought between the Polygars (Palayakarrars) of former Madurai Kingdom in Tamil Nadu, India and the British East India Company forces between March 1799 to May 1802. The British finally won after carrying out long and difficult protracted jungle campaigns against the Polygar armies and finally defeated them. Many lives were lost on both sides and the victory over Polygars made large part of territories of Tamil Nadu coming under British control enabling them to get a strong hold in India.

 First Polygar War 1799

The war between the British and Kattabomman Nayak of Panchalankurichi Palayam in the then Tirunelveli region is often classified as the First Polygar war. In 1799, a brief meeting (over pending taxes) between Kattabomman and the British ended in a bloody encounter in which the British commander of the forces was slain by the former. A price was put on Kattabomman's head prompting many Polygars to an open rebellion.
After a series of battles in the Panchalankurichi fort with additional reinforcements from Thiruchirapalli Kattabomman was defeated, but he escaped to the jungles in Pudukottai country. Here he was captured by Pudukottai Raja (after an agreement with the British) and after a summary trial Kattabomman was hanged in front of the public in order to intimidate them, near Kayattar Fort, close to the town of Kovilpatti and in front of fellow Polygars too who had been summoned to witness the execution.
Subramania Pillai, a close associate of Kattabomman Nayak, was also publicly hanged and his head was fixed on a pike at Panchalankurichi for public view. Soundra Pandian Nayak, another rebel leader, was brutally done to death by having his head smashed against a village wall. Kattabomman’s brother Oomaidurai was imprisoned in Palayankottai prison while the fort was razed to the ground and his wealth looted by the troops.

 Second Polygar War 1800-1805

Despite the suppression of the First Polygar War in 1799, rebellion broke out again in 1800. The Second war was more stealthy and covert in nature. The rebellion broke out when a band of Polygar armies bombed the British barracks in Coimbatore in 1800. The leaders were more cohesive and united with people from Kerala and Mysore taking part. The Second Polygar War marked the joining of the entire western Tamil Nadu with the Malabar and south Mysore regions (which was under British dominion after the death of Tipu Sultan). It was commandeered by the Kongu Chieftain Theeran Chinnamalai, with a vast army under him. He settled down at Odanilai and constructed a fort there to continue his fight against the British whom he defeated in battles at Cauvery in 1801, Odanilai in 1802 and Arachalur in 1804. Later, Theeran Chinnamalai left his fort to avoid cannon attack and engaged in guerrilla warfare while he was stationed at Karumalai in the Palani region. He was betrayed by his cook and captured by the British who hanged him at Sankagiri Fort on July 31, 1805.
The Other Palayakarar army initially made surprise attacks at night on the British barracks causing heavy damage but went into a full scale war after the death of Tipu Sultan. The war, often classified as guerilla warfare in nature, made it very difficult for the British troops to suppress.
The Palayakarrars were all in control of their forts, had artillery and even had a weapon manufacturing unit in Salem and Dindigul jungles. They also received clandestine training from the French in the Karur region. The confederacy of the new forces consisted of Maruthu Pandiyar Brothers of Sivaganga, Gopal Nayak of Dindigul, Kerala Varma Pazhassi Raja of Malabar and Krishnappa Nayak and Dhoondaji of Mysore.
The British columns were exposed throughout the operations to constant harassing attacks; and had usually to cut their way through almost impenetrable jungles fired on from undercover on all sides. The Polygars often had artillery and resisted stubbornly and the storming of their hill-forts proved on several occasions sanguinary work.
By May 1801, it had reached the Southern provinces where Marudu Pandian, Melappan and Puttur provided the leadership. Oomathurai, the brother of Kattabomman Nayak emerged as a key leader. In February 1801, Oomathurai and two hundred men by a clever tactic took control of Panchalankurichi Fort, in which Oomathurai's relatives were imprisoned. Its fort now re-occupied and reconstructed by rebel forces Panchalamkurichi became the nerve centre of the uprising.
British dismay was boundless. As one eyewitness put it: 'to our utter astonishment, we discovered that the walls which had been entirely levelled were now rebuilt and fully manned by about fifteen hundred Poligars'.
Three thousand armed men of Madurai and Ramanathapuram dispatched by Marudu Pandiyan Brothers joined up with the Panchalankurichi forces.


The British finally won after a long expensive campaign that took more than a year. However, the superior British military who had recently defeated the powerful Tipu Sultan of Mysore quickly asserted itself. The British had better artillery compared to the Polygar troops who had country-made gunfire artillery, barring a few proper ones received from erstwhile Tipu Sultan's army. The war being regional in nature, the British forces could easily mobilize additional forces from other regions.
Eventually the Polygar forces based at Panchalankurichi were crushed and by the orders of the colonial government, the site of the captured Panchalankurichi Fort was ploughed up and sowed with salt and castor oil so that it should never again be inhabited. The colonial forces quickly overpowered the remaining insurgents. The Marudu brothers and their sons were put to death, while Oomathurai and Sevathaiah were beheaded at Panchalankurichi on 16 November 1801. Seventy-three of the principal rebels were sentenced to perpetual banishment. So savage and extensive was the death and destruction wrought by the British that the entire region was left in a state of terror.


The suppression of the Polygar rebellions of 1799 and 1800-1805 resulted in the liquidation of the influence of the chieftains. Under the terms of the Carnatic Treaty (31 July 1801), the British assumed direct control over Tamil Nadu. The Polygar system which had flourished for two and a half centuries came to a violent end and the Company introduced a Zamindari settlement in its place.

 Later day folklore

In subsequent years, a good deal of legend and folklore would develop around Dheeran Chinnamalai and his two brothers,hanged in Odanali on Aadi 18, and also around Kattabomman and the Maruthu
Pandiyar Brothers. Long after Kattabomman's execution, Kayathar, Kattabomman's place of death,
 became and remained a site of political pilgrimage
India's First War of Independence (term)
The First War of Indian Independence is a term that is sometimes used, predominantly in India to describe the Indian Rebellion of 1857, which has been described variously outside of India as "uprising", "revolt" and "mutiny".



Though the Indian Rebellion of 1857 developed into more than just a mutiny, due to the manner in which it started the name Sepoy Mutiny became the standard name for events, a convention which stuck for over 100 years. Contemporary 'anti-imperialists' viewed this term as propaganda, and pushed to characterize it as more than just the actions of a few mutinous native soldiers. Karl Marx was the first Western scholar to call the 1857 revolt a "national revolt", though he used the term "Sepoy Revolt" to describe the event.
In India, the term "First War of Independence" was first popularized by Vinayak Damodar Savarkar in his 1909 book The History of the War of Indian Independence, which was originally written in Marathi.
Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India, insisted on using the term "First War of Independence" to refer to the event, and the terminology was adopted by the Government of India.

 Criticism of the term

Some Punjabis have opposed the use of the term "First War of Independence" by the Government to describe the 1857 revolt. They insist that the First Anglo-Sikh War (1845–46) should be called the First War of Independence instead. In May 2007, the Lok Sabha Deputy Speaker Charanjit Singh Atwal and three other MPs from Punjab protested against the commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the 1857 revolt over this issue.
Some South Indian historians have also opposed the use of the term, and have unsuccessfully taken the issue to the court. These historians insist that several other anti-British uprisings in South India (such as the Vellore Mutiny) had preceded the 1857 revolt, and should be called the First War of Indian independence. In 2006, when the Indian postal department issued a postal stamp to commemorate the Vellore Mutiny of 1806, M. Karunanidhi, the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, said that the move had given "due recognition" to India's "first war of independence".
Some Indian writers also insist that none of the armed uprisings against the British in India, including the 1857 uprising, should be termed as a "war of independence", since they were not national in nature, not motivated by nationalist sentiment and only involving a minority of people or soldiers.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Different views on India's first war of Independence

The First War of Indian Independence is a term that is sometimes used, predominantly in India to describe the Indian Rebellion of 1857, which has been described variously outside of India as "uprising", "revolt" and "mutiny".

1 History
2 Criticism of the term

Though the Indian Rebellion of 1857 developed into more than just a mutiny, due to the manner in which it started the name Sepoy Mutiny became the standard name for events, a convention which stuck for over 100 years. Contemporary 'anti-imperialists' viewed this term as propaganda, and pushed to characterize it as more than just the actions of a few mutinous native soldiers. Karl Marx was the first Western scholar to call the 1857 revolt a "national revolt", though he used the term "Sepoy Revolt" to describe the event.
In India, the term "First War of Independence" was first popularized by Vinayak Damodar Savarkar in his 1909 book The History of the War of Indian Independence, which was originally written in Marathi.
Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India, insisted on using the term "First War of Independence" to refer to the event, and the terminology was adopted by the Government of India.
 Criticism of the term:
Some Punjabis have opposed the use of the term "First War of Independence" by the Government to describe the 1857 revolt. They insist that the First Anglo-Sikh War (1845–46) should be called the First War of Independence instead. In May 2007, the Lok Sabha Deputy Speaker Charanjit Singh Atwal and three other MPs from Punjab protested against the commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the 1857 revolt over this issue.
Some South Indian historians have also opposed the use of the term, and have unsuccessfully taken the issue to the court. These historians insist that several other anti-British uprisings in South India (such as the Vellore Mutiny) had preceded the 1857 revolt, and should be called the First War of Indian independence. In 2006, when the Indian postal department issued a postal stamp to commemorate the Vellore Mutiny of 1806, M. Karunanidhi, the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, said that the move had given "due recognition" to India's "first war of independence".
Some Indian writers also insist that none of the armed uprisings against the British in India, including the 1857 uprising, should be termed as a "war of independence", since they were not national in nature, not motivated by nationalist sentiment and only involving a minority of people or soldiers.
India's First War of Independence, termed Sepoy Riots by the British was an attempt to unite India against the invading British and to restore power to the Mogul emperor Bahadur Shah. The resistance disintegrated primarily due to lack of leadership and unity on the part of Indians, as also to cruel suppression by the British Army. It was a remarkable event in Indian history and marked the end of the  Mogul empire and sealed India's fate as a British colony for the next hundred years.
According to R.C,Majumdar, these divergent views may be broadly divided into two classes,
1. some think that the outbreak was really a rebellion of the people rather than merely a mutiny of the soldiers, and 2. others hold that it  was primarily and essentially a mutiny of sepoys , though in certain areas it drifted into a revolt of the people.

Even an orthodox historian S.N.Sen, termed it as, " a revolt assumed a national dimension.".
According to R.C.Majumdar, the motive behind the participation is the very important factor in this respect. Howver, it was a mutiny of the soldiers first, and when it was clear that the administration had totally collapsed entry of the opportunist people took place. Majumdar pointed out that an exception in the outbreak at Muzaffarnagar, 0n May 14, when a civil revolt took place without any mutinee of the local troops preceding it.the mutiny of the sepoys and the subsequent uprising of the people in various parts of India was an entegral part of the whole incident. It has been rightly pointed out that the sepoys " the peasants in uniform"- were very much part of the people sharing the same sentiments and even sufferings with them.
Richard Collier wrote, in other words, "all down the valley of the Ganges, the village war-drums were pulsating in the night, bringing news of rebellion spreading so fast, it could be charted now by the uprush of flames as station after station took fire, on 20th May Azimgarh, on 21st May Bareilly, on 3rd June Fategarh, on 4th June Benaras, on 6th June allahabad, on 7th June Fyzabad, on 9th June fatepur. Thus mutiny has swept across an area a quarter of the size of Europe."
To claim it as an 'war of independence' two things must be clear. 1. identification of the foreign power, 2. replacement of the foreign power by an alternative national power. This Great Revolution of 1857-58 had surpassed both the critareas to be termed as an War of Indpendence. But there are also other claims as India's  First War of Independence.

Karl Marx on India (from The hindu)

Marx on India under the British

KARL MARX ON INDIA — From the New York Daily Tribune (Including Articles by Frederick Engels): Iqbal Husain — Editor; pub. by Tulika Books, 35 A/1 (3rd Floor), Shah Pur Jat, New Delhi-110049. Rs. 495.
This book, edited meticulously and with commendable scholarship by Iqbal Husain and brought out by Tulika Books and the Aligarh Historians Society, is a very important addition to the scholarly literature on both Karl Marx's analysis of India and the nature of British imperialism in the 19th Century. At the same time, the book is also accessible to the lay reader who wishes to understand the views of the most significant thinker of the modern era on the specific issue of India under the British rule.
The main body of the book contains articles written by Marx in The New York Daily Tribune (NYDT) and a few by Marx's comrade-in-arms Frederick Engels between 1853 and 1862. It also contains excerpts from the letters of Marx and Engels relating to India as well as a very thorough compilation, by Irfan Habib, of references to India in other writings of Marx and Engels.
Husain has included in the appendices unsigned articles on India — not conclusively established to be by Marx — published in NYDT between 1853 and 1858. Most importantly, the book includes, besides Husain's useful prefatory note, two outstanding articles, one by the foremost Marxist historian of India, Irfan Habib, and the other by the foremost Marxist economist of India, Prabhat Patnaik.
Insightful essays
Marx's articles are a treat to read and enormously insightful. Of the numerous NYDT articles by Marx, two namely `The British Rule in India' (NYDT, June 25, 1853) and `The Future Results of British Rule in India' (NYDT, August 8, 1853) have been widely cited, and understandably so. In these essays, Marx provides a brilliant critique of the horrors of British colonial rule in India as well as an incisive analysis, breathtaking for its prescience, of the consequences of British rule, which were to be very different, as Marx correctly pointed out, from the intentions of the colonial masters.
These and other essays thoroughly expose the hypocrisy of the `Free Traders' and bring out the `happy coexistence' of imperialism and free trade. One finds the letters strikingly relevant for contemporary times, as a critique of present-day neoliberalism as much as of classical liberalism whose attitude on the question of colonial exploitation was typically Janus-faced!
Also to be noted is the dialectical understanding that Marx provides. Thus even while he notes that "England has broken down the entire framework of... Indian society, without any symptoms of reconstitution yet appearing. This loss of his world, with no gain of a new one, imparts a particular kind of melancholy to the present misery of the Indian, and separates India, ruled by Britain, from all its ancient traditions, and from the whole of its past history" (NYDT, June 25, 1853), Marx also remarks that British actions in India undertaken with the aim of benefiting British capitalists, would nevertheless lay the basis for far reaching changes.
Thus he says: "All that the English bourgeoisie may be forced to do will neither emancipate nor materially mend the social condition of the mass of the people, depending not only on the development of the productive powers, but of their appropriation by the people. But what they will not fail to do is lay down the material premises for both. Has the bourgeoisie ever done more? Has it ever effected a progress without dragging individuals and people through blood and dirt, through misery and degradation?" (NYDT, August 8, 1853).
Completing his argument, Marx adds, "The Indians will not reap the fruits of the new elements of society scattered among them by the British bourgeoisie, till in Great Britain itself the now ruling classes shall have been supplanted by the industrial proletariat, or till the Indians themselves shall have grown strong enough to throw off the English yoke altogether."
Contrast this incisive analysis of 1853, more than three dacades before even a very timid Indian National Congress was born, with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's views expressed at Oxford University last year on the benefits of British rule(!).
Marx's perception
Habib in his essay `Marx's Perception of India' demonstrates both the perspicacity of Marx's analysis of British India and its contemporary relevance, and the fact that Marx was constantly, till the very end of his life, reading up on India, and enriching his views in the light of new knowledge. He also provides a stimulating critique of the notion of the Asiatic mode of production.
In his essay `The Other Marx', Prabhat Patnaik brings out the very important theoretical implications of Marx's articles on India in NYDT, especially for understanding the relationship between capitalism and pre-capitalist modes of production and resolving the debate over the necessity or otherwise of imperialism (in various forms) for sustaining capitalism as an economic system.
All in all, this is an exceptionally important book, well worth the time of the interested lay reader as well as the specialist

(Vol IV) India and Karl Marx

Karl Marx in the New-York Herald Tribune 1853

The British Rule in India
Source: MECW Volume 12, p. 125;
Written: June 10, 1853;
First published: in the New-York Daily Tribune, June 25, 1853;
Proofread: by Andy Blunden in February 2005.
In writing this article, Marx made use of some of Engels’ ideas as in his letter to Marx of June 6, 1853.
London, Friday, June 10, 1853
Telegraphic dispatches from Vienna announce that the pacific solution of the Turkish, Sardinian and Swiss questions, is regarded there as a certainty.
Last night the debate on India was continued in the House of Commons, in the usual dull manner. Mr. Blackett charged the statements of Sir Charles Wood and Sir J. Hogg with bearing the stamp of optimist falsehood. A lot of Ministerial and Directorial advocates rebuked the charge as well as they could, and the inevitable Mr. Hume summed up by calling on Ministers to withdraw their bill. Debate adjourned.
Hindostan is an Italy of Asiatic dimensions, the Himalayas for the Alps, the Plains of Bengal for the Plains of Lombardy, the Deccan for the Apennines, and the Isle of Ceylon for the Island of Sicily. The same rich variety in the products of the soil, and the same dismemberment in the political configuration. Just as Italy has, from time to time, been compressed by the conqueror’s sword into different national masses, so do we find Hindostan, when not under the pressure of the Mohammedan, or the Mogul[104], or the Briton, dissolved into as many independent and conflicting States as it numbered towns, or even villages. Yet, in a social point of view, Hindostan is not the Italy, but the Ireland of the East. And this strange combination of Italy and of Ireland, of a world of voluptuousness and of a world of woes, is anticipated in the ancient traditions of the religion of Hindostan. That religion is at once a religion of sensualist exuberance, and a religion of self-torturing asceticism; a religion of the Lingam and of the juggernaut; the religion of the Monk, and of the Bayadere.[105]
I share not the opinion of those who believe in a golden age of Hindostan, without recurring, however, like Sir Charles Wood, for the confirmation of my view, to the authority of Khuli-Khan. But take, for example, the times of Aurangzeb; or the epoch, when the Mogul appeared in the North, and the Portuguese in the South; or the age of Mohammedan invasion, and of the Heptarchy in Southern India[106]; or, if you will, go still more back to antiquity, take the mythological chronology of the Brahman himself, who places the commencement of Indian misery in an epoch even more remote than the Christian creation of the world.
There cannot, however, remain any doubt but that the misery inflicted by the British on Hindostan is of an essentially different and infinitely more intensive kind than all Hindostan had to suffer before. I do not allude to European despotism, planted upon Asiatic despotism, by the British East India Company, forming a more monstrous combination than any of the divine monsters startling us in the Temple of Salsette[107]. This is no distinctive feature of British Colonial rule, but only an imitation of the Dutch, and so much so that in order to characterise the working of the British East India Company, it is sufficient to literally repeat what Sir Stamford Raffles, the English Governor of Java, said of the old Dutch East India Company:
“The Dutch Company, actuated solely by the spirit of gain, and viewing their [Javan] subjects, with less regard or consideration than a West India planter formerly viewed a gang upon his estate, because the latter had paid the purchase money of human property, which the other had not, employed all the existing machinery of despotism to squeeze from the people their utmost mite of contribution, the last dregs of their labor, and thus aggravated the evils of a capricious and semi-barbarous Government, by working it with all the practised ingenuity of politicians, and all the monopolizing selfishness of traders.”
All the civil wars, invasions, revolutions, conquests, famines, strangely complex, rapid, and destructive as the successive action in Hindostan may appear, did not go deeper than its surface. England has broken down the entire framework of Indian society, without any symptoms of reconstitution yet appearing. This loss of his old world, with no gain of a new one, imparts a particular kind of melancholy to the present misery of the Hindoo, and separates Hindostan, ruled by Britain, from all its ancient traditions, and from the whole of its past history.
There have been in Asia, generally, from immemorial times, but three departments of Government; that of Finance, or the plunder of the interior; that of War, or the plunder of the exterior; and, finally, the department of Public Works. Climate and territorial conditions, especially the vast tracts of desert, extending from the Sahara, through Arabia, Persia, India, and Tartary, to the most elevated Asiatic highlands, constituted artificial irrigation by canals and water-works the basis of Oriental agriculture. As in Egypt and India, inundations are used for fertilizing the soil in Mesopotamia, Persia, &c.; advantage is taken of a high level for feeding irrigative canals. This prime necessity of an economical and common use of water, which, in the Occident, drove private enterprise to voluntary association, as in Flanders and Italy, necessitated, in the Orient where civilization was too low and the territorial extent too vast to call into life voluntary association, the interference of the centralizing power of Government. Hence an economical function devolved upon all Asiatic Governments, the function of providing public works. This artificial fertilization of the soil, dependent on a Central Government, and immediately decaying with the neglect of irrigation and drainage, explains the otherwise strange fact that we now find whole territories barren and desert that were once brilliantly cultivated, as Palmyra, Petra, the ruins in Yemen, and large provinces of Egypt, Persia, and Hindostan; it also explains how a single war of devastation has been able to depopulate a country for centuries, and to strip it of all its civilization.
Now, the British in East India accepted from their predecessors the department of finance and of war, but they have neglected entirely that of public works. Hence the deterioration of an agriculture which is not capable of being conducted on the British principle of free competition, of laissez-faire and laissez-aller. But in Asiatic empires we are quite accustomed to see agriculture deteriorating under one government and reviving again under some other government. There the harvests correspond to good or bad government, as they change in Europe with good or bad seasons. Thus the oppression and neglect of agriculture, bad as it is, could not be looked upon as the final blow dealt to Indian society by the British intruder, had it not been attended by a circumstance of quite different importance, a novelty in the annals of the whole Asiatic world. However changing the political aspect of India’s past must appear, its social condition has remained unaltered since its remotest antiquity, until the first decennium of the 19th century. The hand-loom and the spinning-wheel, producing their regular myriads of spinners and weavers, were the pivots of the structure of that society. From immemorial times, Europe received the admirable textures of Indian labor, sending in return for them her precious metals, and furnishing thereby his material to the goldsmith, that indispensable member of Indian society, whose love of finery is so great that even the lowest class, those who go about nearly naked, have commonly a pair of golden ear-rings and a gold ornament of some kind hung round their necks. Rings on the fingers and toes have also been common. Women as well as children frequently wore massive bracelets and anklets of gold or silver, and statuettes of divinities in gold and silver were met with in the households. It was the British intruder who broke up the Indian hand-loom and destroyed the spinning-wheel. England began with driving the Indian cottons from the European market; it then introduced twist into Hindostan, and in the end inundated the very mother country of cotton with cottons. From 1818 to 1836 the export of twist from Great Britain to India rose in the proportion of 1 to 5,200. In 1824 the export of British muslins to India hardly amounted to 1,000,000 yards, while in 1837 it surpassed 64,000,000 of yards. But at the same time the population of Dacca decreased from 150,000 inhabitants to 20,000. This decline of Indian towns celebrated for their fabrics was by no means the worst consequence. British steam and science uprooted, over the whole surface of Hindostan, the union between agriculture and manufacturing industry.
These two circumstances – the Hindoo, on the one hand, leaving, like all Oriental peoples, to the Central Government the care of the great public works, the prime condition of his agriculture and commerce, dispersed, on the other hand, over the surface of the country, and agglomerated in small centers by the domestic union of agricultural and manufacturing pursuits – these two circumstances had brought about, since the remotest times, a social system of particular features – the so-called village system, which gave to each of these small unions their independent organization and distinct life. The peculiar character of this system may be judged from the following description, contained in an old official report of the British House of Commons on Indian affairs:
“A village, geographically considered, is a tract of country comprising some hundred or thousand acres of arable and waste lands; politically viewed it resembles a corporation or township. Its proper establishment of officers and servants consists of the following descriptions: The potail, or head inhabitant, who has generally the superintendence of the affairs of the village, settles the disputes of the inhabitants attends to the police, and performs the duty of collecting the revenue within his village, a duty which his personal influence and minute acquaintance with the situation and concerns of the people render him the best qualified for this charge. The kurnum keeps the accounts of cultivation, and registers everything connected with it. The tallier and the totie, the duty of the former of which consists [...] in gaining information of crimes and offenses, and in escorting and protecting persons travelling from one village to another; the province of the latter appearing to be more immediately confined to the village, consisting, among other duties, in guarding the crops and assisting in measuring them. The boundary-man, who preserves the limits of the village, or gives evidence respecting them in cases of dispute. The Superintendent of Tanks and Watercourses distributes the water [...] for the purposes of agriculture. The Brahmin, who performs the village worship. The schoolmaster, who is seen teaching the children in a village to read and write in the sand. The calendar-brahmin, or astrologer, etc. These officers and servants generally constitute the establishment of a village; but in some parts of the country it is of less extent, some of the duties and functions above described being united in the same person; in others it exceeds the above-named number of individuals. [...] Under this simple form of municipal government, the inhabitants of the country have lived from time immemorial. The boundaries of the villages have been but seldom altered; and though the villages themselves have been sometimes injured, and even desolated by war, famine or disease, the same name, the same limits, the same interests, and even the same families have continued for ages. The inhabitants gave themselves no trouble about the breaking up and divisions of kingdoms; while the village remains entire, they care not to what power it is transferred, or to what sovereign it devolves; its internal economy remains unchanged. The potail is still the head inhabitant, and still acts as the petty judge or magistrate, and collector or renter of the village.”
These small stereotype forms of social organism have been to the greater part dissolved, and are disappearing, not so much through the brutal interference of the British tax-gatherer and the British soldier, as to the working of English steam and English free trade. Those family-communities were based on domestic industry, in that peculiar combination of hand-weaving, hands-spinning and hand-tilling agriculture which gave them self-supporting power. English interference having placed the spinner in Lancashire and the weaver in Bengal, or sweeping away both Hindoo spinner and weaver, dissolved these small semi-barbarian, semi-civilized communities, by blowing up their economical basis, and thus produced the greatest, and to speak the truth, the only social revolution ever heard of in Asia.
Now, sickening as it must be to human feeling to witness those myriads of industrious patriarchal and inoffensive social organizations disorganized and dissolved into their units, thrown into a sea of woes, and their individual members losing at the same time their ancient form of civilization, and their hereditary means of subsistence, we must not forget that these idyllic village-communities, inoffensive though they may appear, had always been the solid foundation of Oriental despotism, that they restrained the human mind within the smallest possible compass, making it the unresisting tool of superstition, enslaving it beneath traditional rules, depriving it of all grandeur and historical energies. We must not forget the barbarian egotism which, concentrating on some miserable patch of land, had quietly witnessed the ruin of empires, the perpetration of unspeakable cruelties, the massacre of the population of large towns, with no other consideration bestowed upon them than on natural events, itself the helpless prey of any aggressor who deigned to notice it at all. We must not forget that this undignified, stagnatory, and vegetative life, that this passive sort of existence evoked on the other part, in contradistinction, wild, aimless, unbounded forces of destruction and rendered murder itself a religious rite in Hindostan. We must not forget that these little communities were contaminated by distinctions of caste and by slavery, that they subjugated man to external circumstances instead of elevating man the sovereign of circumstances, that they transformed a self-developing social state into never changing natural destiny, and thus brought about a brutalizing worship of nature, exhibiting its degradation in the fact that man, the sovereign of nature, fell down on his knees in adoration of Kanuman, the monkey, and Sabbala, the cow.
England, it is true, in causing a social revolution in Hindostan, was actuated only by the vilest interests, and was stupid in her manner of enforcing them. But that is not the question. The question is, can mankind fulfil its destiny without a fundamental revolution in the social state of Asia? If not, whatever may have been the crimes of England she was the unconscious tool of history in bringing about that revolution.
Then, whatever bitterness the spectacle of the crumbling of an ancient world may have for our personal feelings, we have the right, in point of history, to exclaim with Goethe:
“Sollte these Qual uns quälen
Da sie unsre Lust vermehrt,
Hat nicht myriaden Seelen
Timur’s Herrschaft aufgezehrt?”
[“Should this torture then torment us
Since it brings us greater pleasure?
Were not through the rule of Timur
Souls devoured without measure?”]
[From Goethe’s “An Suleika”, Westöstlicher Diwan]
Karl Marx
Works of Karl Marx 1853

The Future Results of British Rule in India

Written: on July 22, 1853
Source: MECW Volume 12, p. 217;
First published: in the New-York Daily Tribune, August 8, 1853; reprinted in the New-York Semi-Weekly Tribune, No. 856, August 9, 1853.
Signed: Karl Marx.

London, Friday, July 22, 1853

I propose in this letter to conclude my observations on India.

How came it that English supremacy was established in India? The paramount power of the Great Mogul was broken by the Mogul Viceroys. The power of the Viceroys was broken by the Mahrattas. The power of the Mahrattas was broken by the Afghans, and while all were struggling against all, the Briton rushed in and was enabled to subdue them all. A country not only divided between Mahommedan and Hindoo, but between tribe and tribe, between caste and caste; a society whose framework was based on a sort of equilibrium, resulting from a. general repulsion and constitutional exclusiveness between all its members. Such a country and such a society, were they not the predestined prey of conquest? If we knew nothing of the past history of Hindostan, would there not be the one great and incontestable fact, that even at this moment India is held in English thraldom by an Indian army maintained at the cost of India? India, then, could not escape the fate of being conquered, and the whole of her past history, if it be anything, is the history of the successive conquests she has undergone. Indian society has no history at all, at least no known history. What we call its history, is but the history of the successive intruders who founded their empires on the passive basis of that unresisting and unchanging society. The question, therefore, is not whether the English had a right to conquer India, but whether we are to prefer India conquered by the Turk, by the Persian, by the Russian, to India conquered by the Briton.

England has to fulfill a double mission in India: one destructive, the other regenerating the annihilation of old Asiatic society, and the laying the material foundations of Western society in Asia.

Arabs, Turks, Tartars, Moguls, who had successively overrun India, soon became Hindooized, the barbarian conquerors being, by an eternal law of history, conquered themselves by the superior civilization of their subjects. The British were the first conquerors superior, and therefore, inaccessible to Hindoo civilization. They destroyed it by breaking up the native communities, by uprooting the native industry, and by levelling all that was great and elevated in the native society. The historic pages of their rule in India report hardly anything beyond that destruction. The work of regeneration hardly transpires through a heap of ruins. Nevertheless it has begun.

The political unity of India, more consolidated, and extending farther than it ever did under the Great Moguls, was the first condition of its regeneration. That unity, imposed by the British sword, will now be strengthened and perpetuated by the electric telegraph. The native army, organized and trained by the British drill-sergeant, was the sine qua non of Indian self-emancipation, and of India ceasing to be the prey of the first foreign intruder. The free press, introduced for the first time into Asiatic society, and managed principally by the common offspring of Hindoos and Europeans, is a new and powerful agent of reconstruction. The Zemindari and Ryotwar themselves, abominable as they are, involve two distinct forms of private property in land — the great desideratum of Asiatic society. From the Indian natives, reluctantly and sparingly educated at Calcutta, under English superintendence, a fresh class is springing up, endowed with the requirements for government and imbued with European science. Steam has brought India into regular and rapid communication with Europe, has connected its chief ports with those of the whole south-eastern ocean, and has revindicated it from the isolated position which was the prime law of its stagnation. The day is not far distant when, by a combination of railways and steam-vessels, the distance between England and India, measured by time, will be shortened to eight days, and when that once fabulous country will thus be actually annexed to the Western world.

The ruling classes of Great Britain have had, till now, but an accidental, transitory and exceptional interest in the progress of India. The aristocracy wanted to conquer it, the moneyocracy to plunder it, and the millocracy to undersell it. But now the tables are turned. The millocracy have discovered that the transformation of India into a reproductive country has become of vital importance to them, and that, to that end, it is necessary, above all, to gift her with means of irrigation and of internal communication. They intend now drawing a net of railroads over India. And they will do it. The results must be inappreciable.

It is notorious that the productive powers of India are paralysed by the utter want of means for conveying and exchanging its various produce. Nowhere, more than in India, do we meet with social destitution in the midst of natural plenty, for want of the means of exchange. It was proved before a Committee of the British House of Commons, which sat in 1848, that

“when grain was selling from 6/- to 8/- a quarter at Khandesh, it was sold at 64/ to 70/- at Poona, where the people were dying in the streets of famine, without the possibility of gaining supplies from Khandesh, because the clay-roads were impracticable.”

The introduction of railroads may be easily made to subserve agricultural purposes by the formation of tanks, where ground is required for embankment, and by the conveyance of water along the different lines. Thus irrigation, the sine qua non of farming in the East, might be greatly extended, and the frequently recurring local famines, arising from the want of water, would be averted. The general importance of railways, viewed under this head, must become evident, when we remember that irrigated lands, even in the districts near Ghauts, pay three times as much in taxes, afford ten or twelve times as much employment, and yield twelve or fifteen times as much profit, as the same area without irrigation.

Railways will afford the means of diminishing the amount and the cost of the military establishments. Col. Warren, Town Major of the Fort St. William, stated before a Select Committee of the House of Commons:

“The practicability of receiving intelligence from distant parts of the country, in as many hours as at present it requires days and even weeks, and of sending instructions, with troops and stores, in the more brief period, are considerations which cannot be too highly estimated. Troops could be kept at more distant and healthier stations than at present, and much loss of life from sickness would by this means be spared. Stores could not to the same extent he required at the various depots, and. the loss by decay, and the destruction incidental to the climate, would also be avoided. The number of troops might be diminished in direct proportion to their effectiveness.”

We know that the municipal organization and the economical basis of the village communities has been broken up, but their worst feature, the dissolution of society into stereotype and disconnected atoms, has survived their vitality. The village isolation produced the absence of roads in India, and the absence of roads perpetuated the village isolation. On this plan a community existed with a given scale of low conveniences, almost without intercourse with other villages, without the desires and efforts indispensable to social advance. The British having broken up this self-sufficient inertia of the villages, railways will provide the new want of communication and intercourse. Besides,

“one of the effects of the railway system will he to bring into every village affected by it such knowledge of the contrivances and appliances of other countries, and such means of obtaining them, as will first put the hereditary and stipendiary village artisanship of India to full proof of its capabilities, and then supply its defects.” (Chapman, The Cotton and Commerce of India [pp. 95-97].)

I know that the English millocracy intend to endow India with railways with the exclusive view of extracting at diminished expenses the cotton and other raw materials for their manufactures. But when you have once introduced machinery into the locomotion of a country, which possesses iron and coals, you are unable to withhold it from its fabrication. You cannot maintain a net of railways over an immense country without introducing all those industrial processes necessary to meet the immediate and current wants of railway locomotion, and out of which there must grow the application of machinery to those branches of industry not immediately connected with railways. The railway-system will therefore become, in India, truly the forerunner of modern industry. This is the more certain as the Hindoos are allowed by British authorities themselves to possess particular aptitude. for accommodating themselves to entirely new labor, and acquiring the requisite knowledge of machinery. Ample proof of this fact is afforded by the capacities and expertness of the native engineers in the Calcutta mint, where they have been for years employed in working the steam machinery, by the natives attached to the several steam engines in the Burdwan coal districts, and by other instances. Mr. Campbell himself, greatly influenced as he is by the prejudices of the East India Company, is obliged to avow

“that the great mass of the Indian people possesses a great industrial energy, is well fitted to accumulate capital, and remarkable for a mathematical clearness of head and talent for figures and exact sciences.” “Their intellects,” he says, “are excellent.”

Modern industry, resulting from the railway system, will dissolve the hereditary divisions of labor, upon which rest the Indian castes, those decisive impediments to Indian progress and Indian power.

All the English bourgeoisie may be forced to do will neither emancipate nor materially mend the social condition of the mass of the people, depending not only on the development of the productive powers, but on their appropriation by the people. But what they will not fail to do is to lay down the material premises for both. Has the bourgeoisie ever done more? Has it ever effected a progress without dragging individuals and people through blood and dirt, through misery and degradation?

The Indians will not reap the fruits of the new elements of society scattered among them by the British bourgeoisie, till in Great Britain itself the now ruling classes shall have been supplanted by the industrial proletariat, or till the Hindoos themselves shall have grown strong enough to throw off the English yoke altogether. At all events, we may safely expect to see, at a more or less remote period, the regeneration of that great and interesting country, whose gentle natives are, to use the expression of Prince Soltykov, even in the most inferior classes, “plus fins et plus adroits que les Italiens[more subtle and adroit than the Italians], a whose submission even is counterbalanced by a certain calm nobility, who, notwithstanding their natural langor, have astonished the British officers by their bravery, whose country has been the source of our languages, our religions, and who represent the type of the ancient German in the Jat, and the type of the ancient Greek in the Brahmin.

I cannot part with the subject of India without some concluding remarks.

The profound hypocrisy and inherent barbarism of bourgeois civilization lies unveiled before our eyes, turning from its home, where it assumes respectable forms, to the colonies, where it goes naked. They are the defenders of property, but did any revolutionary party ever originate agrarian revolutions like those in Bengal, in Madras, and in Bombay? Did they not, in India, to borrow an expression of. that great robber, Lord Clive himself, resort to atrocious extortion, when simple corruption could not keep pace with their rapacity? While they prated in Europe about the inviolable sanctity of the national debt, did they not confiscate in India the dividends of the rajahs, 171 who had invested their private savings in the Company’s own funds? While they combatted the French revolution under the pretext of defending “our holy religion,” did they not forbid, at the same time, Christianity to be propagated in India, and did they not, in order to make money out of the pilgrims streaming to the temples of Orissa and Bengal, take up the trade in the murder and prostitution perpetrated in the temple of juggernaut? These are the men of “Property, Order, Family, and Religion.”

The devastating effects of English industry, when contemplated with regard to India, a country as vast as Europe, and containing 150 millions of acres, are palpable and confounding. But we must not forget that they are only the organic results of the whole system of production as it is now constituted. That production rests on the supreme rule of capital. The centralization of capital is essential to the existence of capital as an independent power. The destructive influence of that centralization upon the markets of the world does but reveal, in the most gigantic dimensions, the inherent organic laws of political economy now at work in every civilized town. The bourgeois period of history has to create the material basis of the new world — on the one hand universal intercourse founded upon the mutual dependency of mankind, and the means of that intercourse; on the other hand the development of the productive powers of man and the transformation of material production into a scientific domination of natural agencies. Bourgeois industry and commerce create these material conditions of a new world in the same way as geological revolutions have created the surface of the earth. When a great social revolution shall have mastered the results of the bourgeois epoch, the market of the world and the modern powers of production, and subjected them to the common control of the most advanced peoples, then only will human progress cease to resemble that hideous, pagan idol, who would not drink the nectar but from the skulls of the slain