How Britain ‘lost’ America. Really!

Posted in America, British Raj, European History, History, India, politics by Anuraag Sanghi on September 22, 2010

The Dutch Factory at Hougly, 1665 (Hendrick van Schuylenburgh).   Image source & courtesy - rijksmuseum.nl  |  Click for larger image.

The Dutch Factory at Hougly, 1665 (Hendrick van Schuylenburgh). Image source & courtesy – rijksmuseum.nl | Click for larger image.

The making of the modern world

The modern world has been significantly shaped by four historic events, in the 35-year period of 1765-1800.

One – The most influential of the four was the French Revolution (1789–1799) that released a secular spirit across Europe. This French idea tried to unite Europe under a Republican banner, in the personages of Napoleon and Hitler. The French Revolution also, for the first time, united anti-Republican monarchies of Europe like Catholic Spain, Protestant Britain and Prussia against Republican-Catholic France. In spite of being a colossal failure, the French idea of Republican nations finds takers even today.

Two – The event that inspired the most fear was the war of freedom by African slaves in Haiti. Events of 200 years ago in Haiti trouble and worry the West even today.

Three – The British loss of colonies in North America (now USA) is easily the most well-known of the four events.

Four – Events in India, during this 35-years period, as British power in India grew, are the least understood of the four.

Modern history ignores the complex interplay between these four events. What linkage could Tipu Sultan have with War of American Independence?

'Luigi van Beethoven had initially planned on dedicating the Eroica Symphony to Napoleon - till he crowned himself Emperor.

‘Luigi’ van Beethoven had initially planned on dedicating the Eroica Symphony to Napoleon – till Napoleon crowned himself Emperor. Click for larger image.

Where did the US get their gunpowder

British supplies of gunpowder were assured as they controlled India’s saltpetre production, the largest in the world. Where did the American leadership get the gunpowder to fight a war against the British?

George Washington and the other leaders of the revolt “called upon all Americans to boycott East India Company products (except saltpeter and spices).” Saltpeter was the most crucial element.

As war began to appear inevitable in 1775, the Continental Congress launched an all-out drive to stimulate gunpowder making. Its main focus was on manufacturing adequate quantities of saltpeter. By January 1776 these efforts began to bear fruit as 50 tons of saltpeter poured into Philadelphia and many more tons to New York. While some new mills aided in this production, the bulk of the saltpeter appears to have been produced by farm families encouraged by government bounties and instructed by many “how to” articles printed in newspapers and other publications.

Limited natural deposits of saltpeter were found in the USA, but the Spanish and French contribution was significant.

Powder was often very scarce, especially at the beginning of the war. Much was later imported from France, but though great efforts were made to manufacture an adequate supply in America, there was often a shortage.

Another writer confirms

Imports of both gunpowder and saltpeter had to be depended upon, principally from the West Indies islands of St.Eustasia and Martinique. It is estimated that 115000 pounds of gunpowder were manufactured prior to 1777 in America from domestic saltpeter. An additional 2152000 pounds of gunpowder was imported, captured, or manufactured from imported saltpeter. Although this sounds like an impressive amount, gunpowder was to remain in comparatively short supply at Ticonderoga throughout 1776. It was not until the French entry into the war in 1778, that an adequate quantity of high quality gunpowder was available to the Continental army. (from The American northern theater army in 1776: the ruin and reconstruction of … By Douglas R. Cubbison.).

Frenchmen like Pierre Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais, worked on a commercial arrangement through a front company Rodrigue Hortalez et Cie (Roderigue Hortalez & Co. in English) to route American tobacco to Europe and buy saltpeter from France and Spain for fighting this war.

A Haiti Anthology: Libete By Charles Arthur, J. Michael Dash; page 28. Click to read book extract.

A Haiti Anthology: Libete By Charles Arthur, J. Michael Dash; page 28. Click to read book extract.

The French go with Haiti

Why would France sell gunpowder?

Behind this stratagem was the French fear that the stretched British would not attempt conquest of Haiti, a prized French colony.

After The Seven Years War (French and Indian Wars in American History) ended in 1763, the French chose to keep its sugar colonies of Haiti (and Gaudeloupe, Martinique). The French agreed to give away their Canadian colonies, parts of America, and were left with little of their colonial possessions.

Except Haiti.

The purchase of Louisiana

Obtained from Spain, Louisiana was retained by the French to serve as “a granary for this empire and produced flour, salt, lumber, and food for the sugar islands” of Haiti (and Gaudeloupe, Martinique). After Haiti’s successful war of freedom, by the African Slaves, the territories of Louisiana were of little use to France.

The sale of the remnant American possessions by Napoleon, bought by USA (1803-Louisiana Purchase during Jefferson’s presidency), limited European possessions in North America to a still sizable Canada (Britain) and Mexico (Spain). It is the freedom fighters of Haiti, who the Americans must thank for Louisiana, and not the foresight of Thomas Jefferson, who considered the purchase as one of his greatest achievements“.

Illustration shows burning of Le Cap, Haiti, and massacre of whites during Haitian War of Freedom. (Incendie du Cap. Révolte générale des Nègres. Massacre des Blancs. Frontispiece from the book Saint-Domingue, ou Histoire de Ses Révolutions. ca. 1815. Paris - Chez Tiger. ).

Illustration shows burning of Le Cap, Haiti, and massacre of whites during Haitian War of Freedom. (Incendie du Cap. Révolte générale des Nègres. Massacre des Blancs. Frontispiece from the book Saint-Domingue, ou Histoire de Ses Révolutions. ca. 1815. Paris – Chez Tiger. ). Click for larger image.

What was the British reading of this situation

Not just the French thought that territories of North America were less valuable.

Even the British thought so.

A highly influential British writer of the time, who wrote of these affairs was David Hume, the historian-philosopher. Hume’s most successful work was History of England. Initially a 6-volume work, written and published over 1754-1762 period, it became a best seller, with more than 10 editions over the next 100 years, with the 1810 edition growing to 12 volumes. Written just before The Battle of Buxar, and the American War of Independence, concurrently, during The Seven Year War, Hume wrote how

by the restoration of her West India possessions[Haiti], we had given her [France] back the means of a most beneficial commerce; and thus had put her in the way of recovering her losses, and being again formidable on our own element. …

France, by possessing a much greater quantity of sugar land, had been long superior to us in this lucrative branch of commerce. She had thus enriched her merchants, increased her revenue, and strengthened her navy: why then, after we had in a just and necessary war deprived her of such valuable possessions, should we restore to her the means of again annoying ourselves ? The retention of the considerable French plantations, was necessary to the permanent security of a peace. Besides, after so expensive a war, our victories gave us a claim to some indemnification ; in that view, the islands would have been the most productive of our conquests.

Our acquisitions in America might tend to our security, but it would be very long before they could lead to our indemnification. They neither increased in any important degree our commerce, nor diminished the commerce of France; but the West India islands, if retained, would have been an immediate great gain to Britain, and loss to our rival. The retention of the West Indies was farther necessary to the improvement of our acquisitions in North America, and also to our commerce with Africa.

In that event, it was argued, the African trade would have been augmented by the demand for slaves, and the trade of North America would have all centred in Britain; whereas, the islands being restored, a great part of the northern colony trade must fall, as it had hitherto done, to those who had lately been our enemies, and would still he our rivals. For these reasons, either Martinico or Guadaloupe, or even both, should have been retained by Britain.

The cessions made in Africa and in the East Indies would have fully justified the reservation to ourselves of our West India conquests. Provident policy required that we should have reserved those possessions, and our resources and resistless naval strength would have enabled us to retain them, in defiance ol the enemy. If in the negotiation, availing ourselves of our advantages, we had decisively refused such cessions, the enemy would not have adhered to the requisition, with the alternative of the continued war; or, had they been so obstinate, British force would soon have reduced them to compliance. (from The history of England: from the invasion of Julius Cæsar, to …, Volume 12 By David Hume; text within […] supplied.).

This reading of French actions dilutes current historical assumptions of mishandling and bungling of the American possessions by the ‘visionary’ George-III.

A Jamaican slave revolt, 1759. From Histoire d'Angleterre by David Francois. (Courtesy - Bristol Radical History Group.).

A Jamaican slave revolt, 1759. From Histoire d’Angleterre by David Francois. (Courtesy – Bristol Radical History Group.). Click for larger image.

Spain fights for American colonies

Much before Spain declared war on England 21 June 1779, Spain started hostile actions and support to the American rebels. This continued, till peace was declared in September 1783. The Spanish contribution has been ignored (was it due to subsequent Spanish-American War over Cuba). The actions of Spanish General Bernardo Galvez at Pensacola are rarely recalled today.

How long would have Washington’s mutinous troops fought against the British, without Spanish monetary contributions and gun-powder supplies, arranged by uncle-nephew-Galvez-duo of Jose de Galvez and Bernardo de Galvez? Can America ignore Don Francisco de Saavedra de Sangronis?

India – prized and essential

Portrayed by modern history as an uncaring and bungling despot, George-III had few choices. For 18th century Britain, forced to choose between their American possessions and India, was a no-brainer. The Indian prize was essential for the ’emerging’ British imperial agenda – and more prestigious.

Essential because of India’s industrial capacity in shipbuilding, steel and gunpowder – all essential to Britain. Prestigious, no doubt, as India was the land that Semiramis, Cyrus The Great, Alexander, Rome, Abbasids, Aghlabids, Fatimids, Ummayads, Genghis Khan had failed to conquer.

We have seen in earlier posts, how historical characters like Semiramis and Alexander were portrayed differently – as was India. For Britain, the ‘conquest’ of India was vastly more rewarding. Economically rewarding and definitely more challenging than defeating some upstart ‘freedom-fighters’.

The rest, as they say is history.

After Buxar

Britain were still not in a strong position, even after cornering the saltpetre trade and the diwani of Bengal. In 1764, after Buxar, the British gained their first sense of the Indian ‘opportunity’, after 150 years in India. British rule through the East India Company, immediately sparked conflict across India.

The company, informed of the wars that had broken out in India, sent over lord Clive, with powers to act as commander in chief, president, and governor of Bengal. His’lordship arrived at Calcutta, on the 3rd of May 1765.

To deal with this, the East India Company turned to Robert Clive. To work with Clive a council of four empowered members was created.

An unlimited power was also committed to a select committee, consisting of his lordship and four gentlemen, to act and determine every thing themselves, without dependence on the council. It was, however, recommended in their instruction«, to consult the council in general as often as it could be done conveniently ; but the sole power of determining in all cases was left with them, until the troubles of Bengal should be entirely ended. (from Encyclopaedia Britannica: or, A dictionary of arts, sciences, and miscellaneous literature, enlarged and improved, Volume 11; Publisher A. Constable, 1823 edition).

This was the very same Robert Clive, who had earlier faced a prolonged investigation with his reputation in tatters. For the EEIC to turn to this very Robert Clive, whom they had hounded a few years earlier, must have been a bitter pill.

But, then the situation in India was grave.

Helmet taken from Tipu Sultan's palace at the capture of Seringapatam in 1799  |  Source & courtesy - nam.ac.uk  |  Click for image.

Helmet taken from Tipu Sultan’s palace at the capture of Seringapatam in 1799 | Source & courtesy – nam.ac.uk | Click for image.

Tiger, tiger … burning bright

First came the Mysore Wars.

Tipu Sultan was one of the first Indian rulers to see the irreversible decline of the Mughals and the rise of the Marathas.

The First Mysore War (1766-1769), saw the tripartite alliance of Marathas, Nizam and the British against Hyder Ali, the King of Mysore. Yet to recover from the enormous Seven Years War, the British and their Indian allies were dealt a significant defeat – just 7 years before the American Declaration of Independence.

The Second Mysore War (1780-1784) ran concurrent to the American War Of Independence. A Wikipedia entry enthusiastically writes how Mysore armies, “decimated British armies in the east, repelled a joint Maratha-Hyderabad invasion from the north and captured territories in the south”.

Surprisingly, there is an overlap between the First Maratha Wars (1775-1782) and the Second Mysore War. It seems strange that the Marathas were battling the English in part of the country and collaborating with them in another theatre. This colonial classifications of War and battles probably needs re-examination of the battles in these wars.

The British fighting a wars on two fronts at the opposite sides of the world, lost both the wars.

The Third Mysore War (1789-1792) On the eve of this war, we are told, “Cornwallis saw danger near and far, to all British interests in India, and in the wider international spheres of Europe and America. His experience had accustomed his mind to world-wide maps.” I am willing to believe that such a danger to the British Empire existed.

The end of the War in America had an impact in India. Relieved from pressures of waging a war in America, the British concentrated their military resources on Tipu Sultan. This 3-year war went badly for Tipu Sultan – and he lost half his kingdom. His sons were taken hostage by the British.

The Fourth Mysore War (1799) – A truncated Mysore kingdom, faced a resurgent Britain. Rid of their American War, with the French in disarray, the British were poised at the edge of initiating their imperial ambitions.

Tipu’s European allies, the French were in disarray. The Catholic Bourbons of France were out of power. The French Republic had became a danger to European monarchies. Catholic Bourbons of Spain allied themselves with a Protestant Britain to fight against a Republican France under Napoleon. The Marathas and the Nizam, the two major military powers were allied with the British.

Tipu’s Mysore kingdom came to an end.


The challenge in North America, was tame in comparison to action in India. At the Battle of Yorktown, where Cornwallis finally surrendered to the French-Americans troops, the total number of soldiers on both sides were 25,000. 17,000 French and American troops surrounded 8,000 of Cornwallis troops.

On the other hand, it has been estimated that “Tipu Sultan deployed as many as six thousand jurzail-burdars, or “rocket-men” during the battles of Seringapatam (1792 and 1799) against the armies of the English East India Company”.

The machinery for Tipu demonizing and British self-glorification worked very well: the London stage between 1791 and 1793 saw three full-scale shows produced on Tippoo Sultawn or British Valour in India, with subsidiary productions (usually with official sponsorship) offered in all the major cities of England, Ireland and Scotland. Countless satiric skits, newspaper caricatures, and crude engravings and prints (of Tipu clothed like a tiger and in a cage, feasting on raw meat, beating a young English boy, standing over a group of scantily clad and cowering Indian women) helped further establish the notion that an alien and illegitimate ruler in a distant, exotic land could be the British public’s Enemy Number One (from Indian Renaissance: British romantic art and the prospect of India By Hermione De Almeida, George H. Gilpin.).

Like Robert Clive in 1765, the British this time turned to Charles Cornwallis, the loser at Yorktown. The selection of Cornwallis by the EEIC to head its India operations, “by the singular caprice of circumstances, the man who had lost America was sent out to govern India.” After much persuasion, Cornwallis accepted.

Neither the government nor the English people blamed Cornwallis. His schemes had been admirable in a political as well as in a military aspect, and had it not been for the arrival of the French troops they might have succeeded. As early as May 1782, when Cornwallis was still a prisoner on ‘parole’ he was asked to go to India as governor-general and commander-in-chief …

Both Pitt and Dundas thought him the only man capable of restoring the military and civil services of India to an efficient state and of repairing the bad effect upon English prestige of the defeat experienced in the second Mysore war.

A subsequent British account points out how,

Lord Cornwallis was making the greatest efforts … It was the first time the British armies in India had been led by a Governor-General in person, who enjoyed the undivided exercise of all the civil and military powers of the state, and commanded the resources of all the Presidencies (from The history of India By John Clark Marshman.).

The British put everything they had, behind their military campaign against Tipu Sultan. Clive’s extraction and loot, or the loss of American colonies did not occupy their minds. Cornwallis defeat did not mark him out to be loser.

India – continuing wars

British problems did not cease after Tipu’s death. In 1799, Dhondia Wagh continued the war against British across Shimoga, Chitradurg, Dharwad and Bellary districts (soon after the defeat of Tipu Sultan). By 1824, it was the turn of the Kittur region, where Rani Chennamma spread the fire. Five years later, Sangoli Rayanna’s started his guerrilla war. Peasant revolts continued in Karnataka up to 1833.

Coinciding with the War in America and the Mysore wars was also a series of battles between the British and the Marathas – known as First Maratha War (1775-1782). Frequently, involving tens of thousands of troops, British energies were divided. After the end of the First Maratha War in 1782, the British held their peace with the Marathas for the next 20 years.

Till Tipu Sultan was dealt with.

From all sides

A significant opposition to the British misrule came from Indian forest-dwellers and migratory peoples. The Chotanagpur area (Surguja, Ranchi and Hazaribagh areas) passed to the British from Mughals in 1765. War and famine followed. The Bengal Famine of 1770 (1769-1773) was much written and analysed. The Jharkhand area remained on the boil for nearly 150 years after Buxar.

On the conflict side, the Paharia Revolt (1766-1778), by the hill-dwellers of Rajmahal Hills, soon followed. Santhals, opened a wide front against the British. One of the first of many such campaigns, started operations from the Tilapore forest against the British from 1781-1785 – led by Tilka Manjhi (also spelt Majhi). The dates of Tilkha Majhi’s revolt, vary widely – some continuing till 1799. The Tamar revolt (1783-1789) was another revolt in the modern Jharkhand area which occupied British attention in India – while they were fighting the American colonies. The Anglo-Santhal battles continued for the next 100 years. The Kol (also Khol, Khole) continued these insurrections in early 19th century.

Immediately after Buxar, in 1764 Major Hector Munro, who took charge of “the Company’s army, found the sepoys in a state of open revolt. There is no instinct of obedience in native armies in India …” complains the English ‘historian’. In 1780, the East India Company faced revolt in Benares from Raja ‘Cheyt Sing’ who was appointed to “furnish the company with three regular battalions of Seapoys” who instead ‘massacred , in cold blood, thirteen of Capt.Wade’s men, who fell into his hands in the Hospital at Mirzapoor’.

If this was not enough, there were the Sannyasi rebellions (1763-1800)

When the levee breaks

The Anglo-Maratha Wars, the Sikh Wars continued to plague British rule in India. This was apart from suppressing nearly another 200 revolts in India.

From the Sikh Empire, Britain could retain only the southwest areas. Having failed in capturing Sikh Empire’s north-east Afghan areas, Britain declared Afghan areas as separate from India. Britain could declare their conquest of India as complete only after declaring Afghan areas as separate from India. This break of Afghanistan from India remains till date, ‘official’ Indian history.

With the ‘conquest’ of India complete in 1840, Britain’s reign over India was short-lived. From 1840-1947. Slightly longer than the foreign rule by the Slave Dynasty-Tughlaq rule (1206-1290). With the end of African slavery between 1830 (Britain)-1865 (USA), the focus of slavery shifted. India’s indentured labour fed the sugar colonies and the building of colonial infrastructure across Africa (railways, telegraph networks).

An estimated 10-15 million Indians were shipped out of India by Britain. This transshipment of Indians picked up steam in 1830,and continued till 1917 – but most were shipped out during 1850-1900 period. This, from a population of some 3 crore men of prime working age of 20-35 (from a total population of 25 crores). The supply of Indian indentured labour dried up under the kaala-paani campaign, an ingenious ploy devised by Indian Brahmins. As the supply of Indian labour dried up, so began the beginning of the end of the British Empire.

No longer able to build imperial networks (railway, telegraph) on the backs of cheap coolie labour, British grip on their Empire weakened. A 100 years after Napoleon, Britain was challenged on European mainland again, this time by Germany. As the German challenge ended, in 1945, so did the British Empire.

The American response

The rich and landed American leadership, sensed the European stretch and exploited the ready-made opportunity to take-over Britain’s American possessions. They found a ready-made supporters in the European Bourbon royal family (Catholic rulers of France and Spain).

Adams went to work right away in drafting what would be known as the Plan of Treaties. He ensured the document was primarily a commercial agreement. Offering any nation the right to trade with the newly formed United States was thought to be sufficient for any foreign aid … The calculated maneuver by Congress to declare independence as a means to gain foreign assistance was risky. They had no assurance of knowing their calculated maneuver would be successful.(from Irreconcilable Grievances: The Events That Shaped American Independence By Patrick J. Charles.).

With this support, America could win against a stretched Protestant British Government – fighting many wars in India. Much like how Romans had taken over Alexander’s Mediterranean territories and expanded into Europe and Asia Minor.

Spain, France and Britain, the three main European powers derived significant benefits from the West Indies (the Caribbean), including Cuba, Haiti et al. Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais, the French supporter of America’s cause, spelt out the rationale of French interest in this war. A worried de Beaumarchais wrote to the French king that the Frenchsugar islands have, since the last peace, been the constant object of the regrets and hopes of the English“.

The Catholic Franco-Spanish rulers from the Bourbon dynasty saw benefits of keeping a Protestant Britain engaged in North America to buffer their Caribbean territories from British expansion. Spain saw benefit when it loaned the American leadership, 8 million reales for food and supplies (military and medical).

The end of the Bourbons in France, overthrow of French rule by African slaves in Haiti changed this calculus. Modern narratives of King George-III as a blundering king, ignore the realities of 18th century, as also the other ‘achievements’ of King George -III.

Front Cover - Irreconcilable Grievances: The Events That Shaped American Independence Front Cover Patrick J. Charles

Front Cover – Irreconcilable Grievances: The Events That Shaped American Independence Front Cover Patrick J. Charles

The king who lost America was also the king who triumphed over Napoleon, oversaw the Industrial Revolution in Britain, and saw the birth of the successful expansion of the British Empire into India and Canada. (from Colonialism: an international social, cultural, and political encyclopedia By Melvin E. Page, Penny M. Sonnenburg.).

An interesting book on this period in American history is Irreconcilable Grievances:The Events That Shaped American Independence by Patrick J. Charles. Gushes a reviewer, “rare to come across a groundbreaking piece of scholarship about the nation’s founding”. The paperback version has 346 pages. How many times does this book mention India at all!


15 Responses

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  1. D. N. Rohith said, on September 28, 2010 at 3:17 am

    How about using something like timeline maps to explain your points more clearly? http://www.ammap.com/examples/timeline_map something like this would give a clear overall picture of what happened. For some of your explanations, I feel animations are better than words. eg: the simultaneous occurrence of Anglo Mysore war and AngloMaratha war. In a map even a not so keen observant can find such things.

    • samadhyayi said, on September 29, 2010 at 2:24 pm

      …and mindmaps as well. i was going to mail you a few of my mind maps on origins of christianity. i was hoping to find a few people on the internet with whom i could collaborate to dig more in history.

  2. samadhyayi said, on September 29, 2010 at 2:17 pm

    i was reading the article. i reached till “kaala pani”.
    thats it. i love you man(i was thinking i had to spend a lot of time to solve all these on my own) you have solved the kaala pani mystery as well. what a pity. what a pity. it is so misunderstood.
    i would really love to know who the mastermind was on that kaala pani plan. this is such an important thing.

    • masculineffort said, on August 2, 2014 at 11:09 am

      2ndlook makes a lot of statements without proof but with a lot of enthusiasm. Some sound plausible. Others do not. Take them with a pinch of salt. Do your own research. In general, he points out avenues of research.

  3. samadhyayi said, on September 29, 2010 at 3:17 pm

    please take a second look at telangana movement.
    check out these videos of telangana’s song bird Gadar.
    nannu ganna tallulara telugu talli pallelaara(the mothers that gave birth to me telugu mother villages)

  4. Jindal said, on September 29, 2010 at 10:28 pm

    > Switzerland is a great country – and the Swiss people are the greatest.

    You said that, not me. I’ve said Switzerland is a successful modern “socio-economic” experiment and that’s a fact. Some Indians want to learn from it, some are going to discard it out of sheer spite.

    > One problem – How come they feel threatened if a few Muslims want a building with minarets?

    It is their country inundated by Sharia-loving immigrants, and also heavily throughout Europe in the last two decades with demographics changing rapidly. Who are we to tell them what not to do? The price of our historical complacency is that we have a ridiculous court case today for a Babri minaret!

    > How come they had problems with women voters till early 1970s?

    Women have faced challenges everywhere. What about the horrific ‘Sati’ practice we had for a long time? And don’t even get me started on child labor, workplace discrimination, unreported rapes and molestations, rampant prostitution (not just the vibrant Devadasi system), dowry bride burning rituals, Muslim-like wife beating, etc. etc. Anyway, we need to look at our own “female infanticide rates” first — tops the world charts! And then we need to address our problems without cribbing all day long about the west trying to pass the buck.

    > Or they were stealing Roma Gypsy children as State-turns-blind-eye policy?

    The French deportation of Roma gypsies is despicable and the loudest voices of protest came from the United States. Did the “status quo” (good-for-nothing) great powers(?) of the East say a word?

    > Should I start on Swiss banks with Blood-Money from German Jews that they have taken 65 years to acknowledge only partially?

    Who is stopping you? You too can start electronic banking and atttract loads of foreign cash. What happens in Mauritius stays in Mauritius~!

    > Swiss anti-humanity can be gauged from population growth. Just Mumbai city has added more people in the last 65 than the whole of Switzerland? What an awesome idea of a nation.

    “If” you want to positively copy the good governance part of a socio-economic experiment, and leave out any questionable socio-political aspects, you are welcome to do so. You are free to eat the strawberry, or the icing, or the cake, or all of it. But you have to be first able to discern what’s what.

    > China has set up a Mag-Lev train system? India must do the same.

    Not just because China is doing it. Let’s run down the numbers. The Shanghai maglev cost 9.93 billion yuan ($1.48 billion) to build. The New Delhi Metro cost $6.55 billion with train speeds averaging 32 km/hr (20 mph). In contrast, China’s maglev trains average about 245.5 km/hr (152.5 mph) with top speeds of 430 km/hr (268 mph). And it is not just the upfront costs. We’d get lower energy usage and increased productivity from saved commute times of hundreds of millions of passengers. By 2030, a whopping 600 million Indians would be living in cities! Meticulous city planning using the right technologies clearly has tremendous advantages. Perhaps it also gives bragging rights to the not-so-intellectual nationalists.

    I had been silently watching all the talk about the Iran-Pakistan-India pipleine. The security concerns are so obvious. Then I had a Eureka moment one day. I immediately alerted some VIP contacts of mine about the idea of exploring an alternative multi-pronged deepwater pipeline to tap gas directly from the gulf. Here it is — http://en.rian.ru/world/20100920/160655519.html i.e. it is possible to use your brains and technology to alter the world we live in.

    > Even if tickets will cost Rs.2000-5000 for a 30 minute ride. We must do it for national prestige? To create a gawking population – or impress tourists who come for gawking? What an idea Sirjee?

    Based on my estimates, tickets would range from Rs. 200 – Rs 500. The costs would initially be in the upper range for a few years. In other posts, I’ve belabored on the importance of nuclear power (especially thorium) which will reduce our carbon footprint and costs (as compared to other fuels such as coal and gas, and the “Great Game” that must be played for non-renewable resources). Within a decade, ticket prices would be comparable to average metropolitan transit costs. For all this to happen, vision is a prerequisite though. Connecting the four major metros with high-speed rail can give a good boost to the GDP. If India can throw away $4 billion on some useless CWG, might as well people start asking their MPs that the government start using tax revenues more responsibly and on India’s growth.

    > We must put more people in jail? Like the US!

    Don’t want to lock up troublemakers to avoid being like the US? Murder rates have skyrocketed. Girls are being raped (even in moving vehicles). Corruption is at historic proportions. RTI activists are going down as martys. Scammers roam free. Newspapers are filled with prostitution ads. What’s all this? I say privatize prison management along the same lines as waste management.

    > People who have been purified by conversion – like Bobby Jindal, Nikki Halley can be considered as lower-level functionaries. Of course, there is no compulsion to purify or improve yourself at all.

    Ah, so all that Desert Bloc rhetoric was about Bobby. BTW, his real name is Piyush Jindal. You have to appreciate his smug display of “political” purity in parity.

    > Which reminds me – I must ask Obama why he keeps reminding Americans that he is not a Muslim. Is it a crime for a US president to be a Muslim? I don’t know much about Great Countries like USA! You will agree Jindal, that I am a backward Indian from a backward country like India.

    Point taken — the USA has its fair share of great believers in gawd. I’m sure you’ve also heard of the infamous Bible Belt. There are lot of wierd things people believe in. However, a politician has no religion, except power. Any politician here would pose praying to a stool if that can get him elected. Who cares if below average idiots fight over what the guy’s religion is?

    > If the Indian judicial system worked half of India and one third of China will be behind bars!

    Surely, it could be less than your estimates. Nevertheless, lack of law enforcement is so glaringly obvious. Even a blind man can tell as soon as he lands at the airport — can I have your money?

    > I really wish Jindal was born with Sanjay Gandhi … Jindal and Sanjay Gandhi would have made a good two-member mutual admiration society …

    You are right. He looked a bit like me.

    > India is just not in that league.Great Country League of Switzerland, Singapore, USA, China. Now these countries have progressed – great trains and planes, superb roads and buildings, armies, police and judiciary that is good at imprisoning and killing people, awesome technology that supports all these things – paraphrasing Brother Jindal

    OK. Go worship some gawd and pray that you’ll get some awesome technology in your afterlife. What’s interesting is that you still don’t get it, but even a Koran-thumping Paki finally understands how awesome technology really is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pJ4eckNlhWw

    Data centers hosting WordPress are in my vicinity. You wouldn’t be “sniping” others here if blogging had not been invented, or an Indian-American had not invented the Pentium chip. Has this ever occured to you?

    As for India to be in the league, let me begin by quoting a Chinese U.N. official, “For China one inch of the territory is more valuable than the life of our people and we will never concede on that.” I’ve written to Jaswant Singh — why is it that India sees itself as a regional power and is yet so meek to tacitly accept PLA’s stealth entry into Gilgit-Baltistan, a territory we have claimed as “integral” part of India? Would the PRC allow Indian troops in Tibet in the name of economic development or altruism or “interests”? Instead of asking China to withdraw its troops, the statement that comes from New Delhi is, “China wants a foothold in South Asia and we have to reflect on this reality.” That’s pathetic but it also ironically explains why India has been and will remain a status quo power even if its economy was larger than that of China in the future. This attitude needs to change and India needs to reinvent itself with a strong vision for the 21st century as an assertive power. How can India be even a regional power if it is unable to project power (diplomatic and military), protect regional interests or its own national security?

    The Chinese made a fool out of us with the Hindi-Chini-Bhai-Bhai slogan back in the 60s and now they are fooling again with “remember east vs west?” and “remember Chindia?” while surrounding India with a “string of pearls.” History teaches us that we don’t learn much from history.

    > Indians, lazy sods, don’t want these things very badly.

    We want Bharat Tantra. We want Bharat Tantra. Folks, read my earlier comments here:

    > Like Pol Pot they will also not ‘cleanse’ their populations.

    I’ve pointed out projections of people density in India vs arable land. Why raise hundreds of millions of pigs and kill them for food against their will? I’ve said euthanasia should be a right. In fact, I want that freedom for myself when I get old. Say a terminally ill person is willing to go for humanity’s sake, why not? What’s the point in purposely letting the situation run out of hand that future gens have to pay the price of facing painful moksha out of starvation?

    > Now, do us a favor. Forget about us Indians. For the last 800 years Muslim and Christian rulers have been trying to save us. Just like you. But, we Indians … We are irredeemable, incorrigible …

    Here comes the pied piper with the same beat again, ‘You are with us or against us’. What’s particularly disheartening is that this kind of comments never touch on a point of substance and are greatly outnumbered by those that make a reference to my arguments, but instead consist entirely of insults and invective. If you take your own moral beliefs seriously, the way to respond to a challenge to them is to make sure you understand the challenge and then to try to refute the arguments for it. If you can’t answer the challenge except by mocking the challenger, how can you retain your confidence in your own beliefs?

    > I must admit, a funny question pops into my head. Jindal has immigrated to the USA. And like many other immigrants from India, in complete awe and admiration of the USA and other great countries.

    Awe is an awesome trait. Jealosy is bad. The former makes one learn how to fix weaknesses, the latter makes one run and hide from them.

    > He has most probably benefitted from India’s subsidized education system that churns out people whose main aim is to emigrate.

    India has a surplus of talent. And don’t you worry about the contributions of the Indian diaspora. The mainland Chinese are not so unappreciative of the “Overseas Chinese” who made China the powerhouse it is today. And Indians also appreciate and are very proud of NRIs, with some exceptions such as your kind self.

    > So, why is Jindal so unhappy …Worried about India … Are you!

    You sound not only unhappy, but bitter. What is it? Insecurity, anxiety, failure?

    > Are you afraid for India … You must be damn afraid … Afraid, that India and Indians may succeed. We may party without you … Don’t worry … You can come to the party… We will give you a PIO card.

    Anyone with an IQ of 75 can tell that had I not cared about India, I’d have been having a good time in a pub in Amsterdam this summer instead of expressing some of my views here. I’d be happy for India even if I wasn’t invited. Do you believe anyone is looking for an invitation to your tea party of bigots? Broad-minded people don’t have such lofty goals in life.

    > And doncha worry! When your sorry backside lands up in a US jail, like Vikram Buddhi’s or Anand John’s, it is India, Indians and Indian Government that you will come running to … We will help you out.

    And surely, when you are down on foreign exchange reserves, you are more than welcome to repent and wipe the faces of brothers you spit on. Or when we need that $100 billion nuclear deal passed so you can have electricity to run your computer to expand upon your noble work of driving a wedge amongst Indians (instead of striving for unity). Or if we need Indian voices for the coveted UN Security Council permanent seat. Or those lovely outsourcing contracts. Then you can count on Indians like me 100% who care for India more than mere carbon footprints like yourself living off her soil.

    > Not one, even ONE of these happy immigrants will say a word to help someone like Vikram Buddhi or Anand John … Some like Preet Bharara will even join the lynching party …

    If you are a troublemaker or a rapist, you can get away with crimes in your hometown. Not here. Don’t even think about it on your Disney trip unless you wanna get your rear flamed.

    > I also guarantee that when you succeed – India, Indians will clap and feel happy. What to do. We Indians are like that only.

    Thank you for clapping.

    > I am beginning to like Jindal’s comments. He has a certain persistence, which is off-putting. But, never mind, Jindal. True genius is never acknowledged. He brings that supremely superficial, zero-depth ideas, which a lot of people carry around in their heads, without realizing. He brings these ‘worms’ out in the open. Thanks, Jindal.

    My viewpoints have been labelled as provocative and disruptive before. I’m aware it becomes harder to take a stand when your opinion differs vastly from the general trend. My intent, however, is to learn from others about their stance on various issues, and to illuminate others on my worldview. I need to invite you someday so we can meet up for happy hour, and that will also give you a chance to take out all that bottled up rage and frustration. Thanks again.

    • samadhyayi said, on October 1, 2010 at 1:57 pm


      i totally agree with your train man. why are you thinking this blog is against your bullet train. i say we should have the latest technology and villages close to nature. both the extremes in this country.

      now dont cry tinku…
      we will get your bullet train.

      i think these comments belong on the bharat prequel page.

    • Golam Faruque said, on August 31, 2012 at 8:40 pm

      Your letter or article, whatever it is, proved again that living far from the problem faced by the Indians as a whole, the old say, ” it is easy to say but difficult to do”. Dear come to India, face the day to day problems and effort to solve those, give your effort-knowledge-IQ whatever you have and then say what you want say. Drinking in an Amsterdum Pub and delivering only means drunken men’s say…no sensible man will pay heed to those. But thanks for your effort.

  5. RamKumar said, on September 30, 2010 at 1:00 am

    kudos for writing such a informative piece, can you please elaborate on kaala-paani thing too

  6. samadhyayi said, on October 1, 2010 at 3:47 pm

    >>Anyone with an IQ of 75 can tell that had I not cared about India, I’d have been having a good time in a pub in Amsterdam this summer instead of expressing some of my views here. I’d be happy for India even if I wasn’t invited. Do you believe anyone is looking for an invitation to your tea party of bigots? Broad-minded people don’t have such lofty goals in life.

    how would we know if u wud be in amsterdam or switzerland.
    you dont have to care about india to be stuck here discussing with us. all that is needed is an ego. an ego that doesnt let you go.

    why are you calling us bigots.
    @jindal you want debate.
    then we will have a grand debate here on 2nd look.
    bring in your friends as well. you vs us.

    • Jindal said, on October 2, 2010 at 2:24 am

      @samadhyayi, I thought you’d have better judgement than that. Whether you want to be in the bigot camp or not is totally up to you. I wasn’t aware you had already made a choice in your head. That after Anuraag had opened up a bit and acknowledged that my comments brought the ‘worms’ out in the open for a 2ndlook?

      A month long grand debate is on right here:
      Thanks for inviting my friends too. I don’t need a gang to articulate my observations.

      Anyone who has debated with respect has gotten a respectful itemized rebuttal. With not one holding up to any valid arguments, Anuraag’s last resort was a sniper attack with insults and invective. Then that’s what you get in return in exact proportion. Don’t try to throw the blame of ego on me for your inability to argue your viewpoints, if you have any. I wish you well.

  7. Dost said, on January 26, 2011 at 4:00 am

    The link to the hugli photo is broken:

  8. admin said, on June 5, 2012 at 5:31 pm

  9. admin said, on June 5, 2012 at 11:02 pm

  10. miley said, on July 31, 2012 at 11:20 pm

    It is very debatable if “Britain lost America”.The US at the time was mainly populated by Protestant Englishmen.The American revolution was a family squabble.

    England put manners on the US when it burned down the White House in 1812.(1811 the US refused to renew the charter of the private central bank.

    The religious connection is much deeper than non Christians realise.Gods Chosen People,The New Jerusalem,City on the Hill,The Exodus etc.Whilst it may sound idiotic,it has been the driving force of English expansion.

    An other example is South Africa and the Boers with their “Trek”.Holland and Britain are deeply ingrained with Calvinism especially predestination.

    Predestination is the justification for their slaughter and racism.If you are not chosen then you are dammed to Hell.
    You are an agent of Satan there by justifying your murder,enslavement,abuse.

    Britain facilitated mass emigration to the US by its population especially Scottish and Irish.(Irish and Scottish land clearances).

    It could have easily directed it to Australia,South Africa or Canada instead it chose to provide the US with badly needed white settlers to facilitate its development.

    This was despite declaring independence, the US was still owned and controlled by English interests.
    England financed and supported the Confederacy who were mainly those Scottish/Irish Calvinists that I referred to earlier.(Coincidently The US had refused to allow a private central bank…Lincoln Greenbacks.)

    Since then the only time that the US has opposed England was the Suez Canal.
    England refers to it as “The Special Relationship”

    I am inclined to think of it as outsourcing.
    Letting the Americans die in the City of London’s wars.You have brainwashed kids fighting a “Crusade” and defending Israel (rebuilding the Temple) etc.

    This is very real and needs to be considered when analysing historical and current events.

    In the late 1700s Britain decided to end slavery.
    Simultaneously it cranked up opium production and the poisoning of China this was a major factor in the subjugation of India.
    Bengal was the Jewel in the Crown (Corporation).

    I could go on and on.

    “Triumph over Napoleon”?
    Yes but lost England.

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