Indian Gunpowder – the Force Behind Empires

Posted in Business, European History, Gold Reserves, History, India, politics by Anuraag Sanghi on June 18, 2010
A vizcacha, relative of the chinchilla, in Chile's Atacama Desert. These herbivores are among few who thrive in the Atacama. (Photo shot on assignment for "The Driest Place on Earth," August 2003, National Geographic magazine) Photograph by Joel Sartore

A vizcacha, relative of the chinchilla, in Chile's Atacama Desert. These herbivores are among few who thrive in the Atacama. (Photo shot on assignment for "The Driest Place on Earth," August 2003, National Geographic magazine) Photograph by Joel Sartore

Arid, Desolate Atacama

On Chile’s northern border is the remote, arid Atacama desert. Desolate and dry, rain in Atacama happens once in 2-3 years. Some people living in the Atacama have never seen rainfall in all their lives. Yet, there is some sparse wildlife – a tribute to hardiness of living beings.

Strangely, the Atacama is home to a few ghost-towns – once boom towns. For five years, from 1879-1884, Bolivia and Peru fought with Chile over this rainless, arid and desolate terrain.

Behind this curious importance of the Atacama desert was nitrates. It was Atacama’s nitrates interestingly that broke an important British monopoly – based on India’s saltpetre production.

Untold secrets

In 1809-1810, the British had to mount a serious campaign in the Indian Ocean. The French, from their Indian Ocean naval bases at Île de France (Mauritius), Bourbon (Réunion) and Rodrigues, attacked East India Company ships carrying valuable saltpetre (also saltpeter, nitre, niter) – so essential for the Spanish War (1808-1809).

Indian saltpetre for could not reach Confederate armies due to Union naval blockade!

Indian saltpetre for could not reach Confederate armies due to Union naval blockade!

The British army, retreating across Spain, in harsh winter conditions, needed saltpetre. Under the onslaught of the French forces, ruthlessly pursued, the final escape of the British army, from Corunna was a miracle. The British General, John Moore’s death, at Corunna, Spain, was turned into a heroic ‘victory’. Charles Wolfe’s poem, The Burial of Sir John Moore after Corunna became essential reading for every English schoolboy.

In 1800, a son from a rich family of refugees from the French Revolution in America, after a survey of business opportunities in America, wrote

There already exist in the United States two or three mills which make very bad powder and which do however a very good business. They use saltpeter from India which is infinitely better than that which is produced in France but they refine it badly.

The son was Eleuthère Irénée du Pont, the family was the Du Pont family – and their firm is now known as EI du Pont de Nemours and Co. EU du Pont’s expertise in manufacturing saltpeter came from his training with the French Agency for Powder and Saltpeter (Regie royale des poudres et Salpetres) – and under the tutelage of Antoine Lavoisier, the French chemist, he boasted.

Behind the Dupont fortune was Indian saltpetre. Behind Lincoln’s success in the American Civil War was saltpetre. Behind Anglo-French confidence against Germany in WW1 was the control of the saltpetre deposits from India. Germans were able to sink many of these British saltpetre shipments. In turn, Germans with the Haber-Bosch process, in BASF factories, continued the war – without Indian saltpetre or Chilean nitrate supplies.

Saltpetre – what’s that?

What was saltpetre? Why was saltpetre important. Why did India play such an important role in saltpetre?

Unusually important, the chemical name of saltpetre is potassium nitrate – an essential ingredient in gunpowder. Indians had perfected the method of preparing potassium nitrate (KNO3). The other two ingredients in gunpowder being charcoal and sulphur – easily and freely available and cheap.

India’s military technology is history’s greatest ‘hidden’ secret. Official (and Western) portrayal of Indian military systems in the face of Islamic invaders, Mughal sultanate  and the rise of British imperialism makes out India as a sitting duck with ill-trained and terrified soldiers, armed with bows and arrows, who were hopelessly outclassed by the enemy.

Facts being otherwise, it raises questions about motives for this deliberate wrong portrayal.

The story from Mongolia

In the last 1000 years, there are sketchy records of gunpowder in India, with Rai Hamir Deva of  Ranathambore of the Malwa region, who supposedly used some Mongol deserters (1300 AD) to fight Khilji armies with gun powder. This may be misleading for two reasons.

Modern history credits China with the invention of gunpowder. Firstly, this is largely based on the work of a self-confessed Sinophile – Needham. With a dismissive one sentence, Needham opines, “On Gunpowder history in India, Oppert (1) was duly exploded by Hopkins(2).” And Indian history as the world’s largest producer of gunpowder was swept under the carpet. Needham conveniently ignores evidence like how

Jean Baptiste Tavernier recorded a local tradition in the 1660s that gunpowder and artillery were first invented in Assam from whence they spread to China and he mentioned that the Mughal general who conquered Assam brought back numerous old iron guns captured during the campaign.

Secondly, Mongol territories extended from Mongolia to the gates of Vienna and Russia – but not India. How is it that a few deserters-soldiers could establish the world’s largest gunpowder production system, so rapidly in non-Mongolian India. But, could not do so in conquered territories of China, Central Asia, Middle East, West Asia, and Europe.

A 100 years before Needham, India’s pioneering status in saltpetre was common knowledge. English publications, for instance in 1852 and another in 1860 gave weightage to the opinion of

those who believe that gunpowder was invented in India and brought by the Saracens from Africa to the Europeans; who improved its manufacture and made it available for warlike purposes.

Unlike China, with an odd textual reference or a drawing or a singular artefact, was the entire industry in India – which remained unrivalled in the history of the world. Compared to China’s paltry production of gunpowder, India’s widespread and organized gunpowder production system points towards indigenous development. There are reports, that in “664 an Indian visitor to China reportedly demonstrated the peculiar flamability of saltpeter and provided instructions on how to locate it (Pacey 1990, 16).”

Tall tales … thin stories

The deserter Mongol soldier source seems rather far-fetched considering that Mongol armies studiously avoided attacking India.  India, the richest economy of the world at that time, known and famous for its wealth, was spared by Genghis Khan! Just why would history’s foremost looter, invader, pillager spare India?

When Genghis Khan’s Mongol armies were running rampant, Islamic refugees found shelter in India, during the reign of Iltutmish. In 1221, Khwarezm-Shah and other Persian refugees, sought refuge in India, across the Indus into the Punjab, India, from Genghis Khan’s Mongol armies.

Encyclopedia Britannica says Fortunately, the Mongols were content to send raiding parties no further than the Salt Range (in the northern Punjab region), which Iltutmish wisely ignored …” (emphasis mine). As Indian military reputation waned under foreign Islamic rule, the Mongols mounted a military expedition. The Mongols could succeed in India only under the foreign rule of the much-derided Islamic Tughlaks.

Was Nalanda behind the gunpowder expertise in Bihar and Bengal region. A section of the Nalanda Mahavihara. The qualities of Buddhahood were personified in the vibrant style of art that was created in the university's intellectual atmosphere. (Picture by BENOY K. BEHL, courtesy: The Frontline). Click for larger image

Was Nalanda behind the gunpowder expertise in Bihar and Bengal region. A section of the Nalanda Mahavihara. The qualities of Buddhahood were personified in the vibrant style of art that was created in the university's intellectual atmosphere. (Picture by BENOY K. BEHL, courtesy: The Frontline). Click for larger image

India – the largest gunpowder source in the world

Now, combine saltpetre production with the fact that the heart of the Indian saltpetre production was in Bihar, which was also the home of the Nalanda seminary /university.

By the 16th-17th century,

In parts of India that never were frequented either by Mohammedans or Europeans, we have met with rockets, a weapon which the natives almost universally employ in war. The rocket consists of a tube of iron, about eight or ten inches long, and above an inch in diameter. It is filled in the same manner as an ordinary sky-rocket, and fastened towards the end of a piece of bamboo, scarcely as thick as an ordinary walking cane, and about five feet long, which is pointed with iron.

What about Europe

Saltpetre based gunpowder was in constant short-supply in Europe. Gold from the Americas, flowing into European trade channels, fuelled demand for gunpowder. Gunpowder became an essential ingredient for subjugation of natives, extraction of gold, capture of territories and slaves, piracy on the high seas – all the real reasons for ascent for European power.

The European gunpowder situation was grim. This can be gauged from “a letter of 1605 from the King of Spain to the Viceroy of Goa (the Portuguese trading settlement on the south-west coast of India) for example ordering the annual dispatch of 10 or 12 caskets of saltpetre.” Remember in 1605, Spain was the prime power European power. Compare that to the Indian situation.

When Raja Pratapaditya of Jessore capitulated to Islam Khan in 1609, he agreed to surrender twenty thousand infantry, five hundred war boats, and a thousand “maunds” (41 tons) of gunpowder.

Saltpetre from India kept the British 6-pounders busy at Waterloo!

Saltpetre from India kept the British 6-pounders busy at Waterloo!

The outcome of Waterloo can be gauged from a forgotten statistic – “In the year before the battle of Waterloo (1815) the East India Company exported 146000 cwt. of saltpetre to England.” 146,000 cwt is  7300 tons of saltpetre. British Ordnance Board powder mills in 1809,

produced 36,623¾ ninety pound barrels of powder and private contractors using government supplied saltpetre a further 24,433 ninety pound barrels. Some of British munitions output was supplied to allied governments: Portugal received in the years 1796-1801 … 10,000 barrels of powder, 500 tons of saltpetre; the British Government put into execution the gigantic plan of being a depot, the manufactory, the place of arms, and the centre of the European war

Spain and Sweden also received munitions for fighting on the British side against Napoleon. British victory at Waterloo, was in no small measurethanks to the use of Indian saltpetre, British gunpowder was widely recognised to be far superior to the charcoal-like French product.” British creditworthiness received a boost just before Waterloo. British debt, trading at 25% discount in 1813, was boosted by Indian gold, in 1813, procured by Britain.

Western historians now reluctantly admit, that without the “accumulated credits from Indian transfers since 1757, Britain’s financing of land warfare during the French wars could have been compromised.” Napoleon and France could not “march their combined armies to India, and strangle the supplies of British gold that had been financing successive coalitions against France.”

Without the advantage of Indian saltpetre, with a threatening Britain

in 1792 France was able to face danger on all sides, it was because Lavoisier, Fourcroy, Guyton de Morveau, Chaptal, Berthollet, etc., discovered new means of extracting saltpetre and manufacturing gunpowder.

Some 6000 factories manned by ‘salpetriers worked in France to overcome the naval blockade.

Meanwhile in India

Malwa’s rulers recruited  Purbias from Bengal and Bihar for their expertise in gunpowder. The British initially valued and later (after 1857) feared the Purbias for the same reason. The other reason was an established saltpetre production in the Malwa region till the 19th century. In Punjab, the main centres were Lahore, Hissar, Multan and Amritsar.

India’s gunpowder production system

India was the largest gunpowder production system – in the history of the world, till the 20th century. Specifically Bengal and Bihar regions. Operated by a caste of peoples called the nuniah, saltpetre beds supplied the most vital element in gunpowder – saltpetre. And India produced virtually all of it.

Especially, Bihar, Bengal, Agra and Tamil Nadu, Andhra and Karanataka regions (Anantapur, Coimbatore, Guntur, Kurnool). The Guntur Sircar also manufactured saltpetre on a commercial scale. A mid 17th century Royal Society paper documented how saltpetre was made in India. Most of the miniscule amounts of saltpetre produced in the rest of the world was calcium nitrate, a hygroscopic salt, which spoilt easily by absorbing moisture from air.

The Armenians, the ill-fated Omichund, a “notorious Calcutta merchant who was later to engineer the Plassey Revolution” played an important part in the Bengal/Bihar saltpetre trade. They were all significant players in the export of saltpetre (potassium nitrate). Also known as niter, saltpetre was a necessary ingredient for gunpowder.

Gunpowder becomes a British monopoly

After the annexation of Bengal,

“By seizing Bengal, the British exerted mastery over 70 percent of the world’s saltpeter production during the latter part of the eighteenth century. Since powder stocks could not be prepared quickly or easily, demand was no less during peaceful interims than during times of war, for, in addition to normal sales for peaceful purposes, gunpowder was steadily purchased or produced to build up military powder reserves for emergency use.

One reason why China developed fireworks, rockets, and other incendiaries rather than shot-firing artillery was China’s reliance on artificial saltpeter for making gunpowder. The Chinese also often used a higher proportion of charcoal and sulfur, which resulted in more fire and less ballistic strength. (16) India, on the other hand, produced saltpeter of very high quality, enabling the development of gunpowder weapons, in particular heavy siege guns, in addition to rockets. In many ways, Indian gunpowder making was more advanced than that of China, particularly regarding the strength of the final product, in its commercial organization, and in its application to military purposes.

As early as the 1460s, nearly forty years before the commencement of the East India trade, these Persian sources make it clear that the rulers of Jaunpur and Bengal already had organized saltpeter production as state monopolies managed by their chief merchants.

India was roughly a century ahead of Western Europe in terms of developing the infrastructure for gunpowder technology. It is significant, though, that gunpowder was not shipped to India from Europe in any significant quantities. By 1617, the Portuguese king had joined the general European clamor for more saltpeter. The capitalization of the saltpeter trade at Rajapur was in the hands of Saraswat Brahmins, with investors participating from as far away as Goa and Diu. Shivaji (r. 1664-1680) and his successors made nitrate procurement into a state monopoly, thus forcing the Portuguese, their Indian agents, and Banjara peddlers to deal with the Maratha state.

The Mughal Empire has been styled a “gunpowder empire,” which is a debatable characterization. (34) It is clear from Mughal records that guns were important, if only as symbols and occasional instruments of imperial power. The victory of Babur (r. 1526-1530) over Ibrahim Lodi (r. 1517-1526) often is attributed to his use of artillery, however, Babur himself valued his own judgment at least as much as his Turkish guns. (35) After the Battle of Panipat (1526), the first Mughal ruler ordered executions by firing squad, which are some of the first such killings recorded. Contemporary descriptions of Babur’s battles, however, emphasize the continuing dominance of cavalry, with guns present but not decisive. Nevertheless, warfare was changing in South Asia. Babur’s eldest son and successor, Humayun (r. 1530-1539/1555-1556), was keen to bring Rumi Khan, the Turkish artillery expert employed by the Sultan of Gujarat, over to his side. (36) The widespread use of firearms by Sher Shah (r. 1540-1545) during the brief Sur interregnum is significant, as is the fact that Sher Shah himself was killed by a gunpowder explosion. (37) The early sixteenth century, for India, was a time of significant military change, a watershed between the age of the blade and the age of the gun.

Sher Shah realized that a large army of peasant matchlockmen, recruited and paid by the state, could only exist in the context of a bureaucratic regime with enhanced revenue-collection capabilities and in a kingdom with strong commercial institutions. This lesson was not lost upon Akbar (r. 1556-1605), whose advisor, Abu al-Fazal, adopted many of Sher Shah’s innovations. The rising importance of the saltpeter trade, as well as its lowly origins, may be gauged by the meteoric rise of the warlord Hemu, who had opposed Akbar’s accession to the throne. Akbar’s biographer-courtier, Abu al-Fazl, uncharitably informs us that Hemu was a member of “the Dhusar tribe, which is the lowest class of hucksters in India. At the back lanes he sold saltpetre (nimak-i-shor) with a thousand mortifications … till at last he became a government huckster….” As Akbar’s army set out to challenge Hemu, their spirits were roused by a giant image of the saltpeter merchant-turned-general, filled with gunpowder and set on fire. (38) Ironically, Hemu was killed by the Mughals not with a musket shot, but in the old-fashioned style, with an arrow in the eye, followed by a sword blow to the neck.

Significantly, Sher Shah’s infantry, carrying firearms, were recruited from the eastern Ganges Plain, the same region in which saltpeter production had already become an important component of the regional economy. Later, this area provided infantry for the Mughals and eventually for the British, too. (from The Indian saltpeter trade, the military revolution and the rise of Britain as a global superpower. from: The Historian, Article date: September 22, 2009, Author: Frey, James W.)

After obtaining this vital monopoly, Britain protected this. Saltpetre exports were banned. Thus an ancient Indian technology was harnessed by the English to subjugate the Indian.

From gold came saltpetre, which made getting gold easier

Greater access of saltpetre to the British and with the shutting out of other European powers, saltpetre became essential for other European powers, because English had it. It became rare, as the English monopolised the trade.

In 1775, the French scientific publication, Observations sur la physique a proposal by Academie Royale des Sciences for increased saltpetre production within France.  Finally, a prize was announced in 1783. Nicolas Leblanc set up a factory at St.Denis, during 1791-194, near Paris for manufacture of saltpetre in France. The whole of France was mobilized for this saltpetre collection and gunpowder production.

Directions for gathering of saltpeter were printed and sent all over France. The prescribed recipe for saltpeter, charcoal, and sulphur was dispatched to the flour mills and the powder was ground according to simple specifications. Each district was directed to send two citizens to Paris for a month’s course in the casting of bronze and iron and in new methods for the manufacture of powder. (from From crossbow to H-bomb By Bernard Brodie, Fawn McKay Brodie.).

At the start of the American Civil War, against the Southern  Confederates, The North started with the benefit of a stockpile of some 3 million pounds of niter – i.e. saltpetre. The Confederates  sent James Mason and John Slidell to obtain saltpetre from Britain – and not empty diplomatic recognition from European powers. Mason and Slidell were captured by Unionist forces. Britain demanded release of Mason Slidell. Lincoln refused.

Queen Victoria issued a proclamation forbidding the export from all ports of the United Kingdom, of gunpowder, nitre, nitrate of soda, brimstone, lead, and fire-arms.—London Gazette, Dec. 4.

Britain imposed a ban on exports of saltpetre. Known in history as the Trent Affair, as Union saltpetre stocks went down, Lincoln backed down and agreed to release Mason and Slidell. Prices of saltpetre skyrocketed from some US$0.20  to US$3.0 within one year after the war began. The  Confederates established a Niter Corps to manage this shortage. British godowns overflowing with Indian and Egyptian cotton, did not really depend on Southern cotton, declared neutrality – and supplied both sides with Indian saltpetre.

Well understood by the US Government, C.H.Davis, of the Bureau Of Ordnance, Navy Department, on November 22, 1862 reported to the US Congress,

I feel it, therefore, to be my first duty to urge that suitable provision of ordnance material be made for probable future necessities of the Navy. Most important among them is nitre, which enters so largely into the composition of gunpowder that it may be said to be gunpowder itself, with some slight additions of sulphur and charcoal under proper combination.

It is not produced naturally in this country, nor by any other but India, except in insignificant quantities.

Hindostan alone supplies the whole world, which being a British dependency, places us entirely at the mercy or caprice of that power for our stock of this essential article.

India's widespread manufacture of saltpetre was private enterprise! Without state subsidy or support! (Picture by BENOY K. BEHL, courtesy: The Frontline). Click for larger image.

India's widespread manufacture of saltpetre was private enterprise! Without state subsidy or support! (Picture by BENOY K. BEHL, courtesy: The Frontline). Click for larger image.

End of the saltpetre era

With the arrival of Chile’s nitrate (sodium nitrate – NaNO3) deposits in Atacama desert, the world was weaned away from Indian saltpetre. Chilean nitrates were used to derive nitric acid, a key intermediate for explosives manufacture.

Chilean nitrate was sodium nitrate, (NaNO3), which could be used to derive nitric acid. Nitric acid was used for manufacture of explosives. HAPAG, the Hamburg based shipping line,  became the biggest in the world, carrying Chilean nitrates to Germany. The end of Boer War (1899-1902) saw the emergence of Germany as a major producer of munitions – especially the smokeless gunpowder. Even Britain started buying from Germany.

For a brief while, guano, a natural fertiliser composed of bird droppings, was also a source of nitrates for explosives. But, with the Haber-Bosch process, Germany could manufacture explosives – without the Chilean nitrate.

With the discovery of nitroglycerine and TNT and its widespread commercialization by Alfred Nobel (of Nobel Prize fame) from the 1860s onwards, this British saltpetre monopoly end. As the British monopoly over gunpowder started weakening, the British policy changed.

Pirate nation to super-power

Till 1856, sea piracy was legal.

The British crown gave permits for pirates to operate on high seas – through, what were known as, letters of marque. With the sanction of the English State, high seas piracy became a national pastime in Britain. Pirates like Sir John Hawkins made money on slave trade and piracy – targeting Spanish ships. Queen Elizabeth, apart from knighting him, also participated in these criminal enterprises. The Spanish Armada was assembled by Spain to end British piracy. Further on, British propaganda made these pirates and privateers into heroes – and the Spanish Armada into an instrument of Catholic repression.

Piracy was outlawed by The Declaration of Paris, in 1856, ratified by various powers. Initially by Austria, France, Great Britain, Prussia, Russia, Sardinia and Turkey – but not by Spain, Portugal and the USA. Soon after, Britain became a buyer of explosives, munitions. Challenges to British power started soon after this.

In less than than a 100 years after invention of alternates to Indian saltpetre, Britain was a shadow of its former imperial self.

The end of Indian saltpetre

To cover the cost of the Anglo-Indian War of 1857, the British Raj increased taxes on saltpetre. British traders from India started clamoring for a reduction in export duty from 1860 onwards. From more 20,000 tons of saltpetre exports in 62-62, it fell to around 11000 tons by 1865, and continued declining there after.

By which time, Britain was already the preeminent power in the world. On the back of Indian gunpowder factories.

Behind the Dupont chemical empire and  fortune was Indian saltpetre.

Slavery & Oppression – In The West and In India

Posted in Current Affairs, Feminist Issues, History, Uncategorized by Anuraag Sanghi on February 18, 2008

The Moral Offensive

In 1901, Dadabhai Naoroji published his famous research – “Poverty and Un-British rule in India”. Before that, his 1876 paper, “Poverty In India” traced the rise of poverty in India due to colonialism. This laid the background for India’s Independence and shaped the strategy of Swadesh and Satyagraha. Fifty years later we were a Republic of the kind the world had never seen.

But …

This moral offensive continued for the next hundred years – provoking Nixon’s reaction during the Bangladesh War. “The Indians put on their sanctimonious peace Gandhi-like, Christ-like attitude,” an angry Nixon observed. Nixon declared, to George Bush Sr., then the USA ambassador to the United Nations, (later the President) on December 8, 1971, “We can’t let these goddamn, sanctimonious Indians get away with this. They’ve pissed on us on Vietnam for five years.”

Harry & Kill – Lord Irwin’s Peace Pact

The use of reverse-propaganda (a European tool) by the Congress against the British was singularly successful – and put the Colonial administration on the moral defensive. The British Colonial administration worn out by the “harry and kill” moral offensive of the Congress made peace. The British Viceroy, Lord Irwin brought some semblance of propriety in colonial administration thereafter. Military war then became less important.

The British response to that was ‘divide et impera’divide and rule; like the Euro-colonial cousins, the Austro-Hungarian Habsburg rulers. In the dying years of the Raj, the colonial administration put up issue of ‘untouchability’ and caste ‘oppression’. Untouchability, the caste system, social prejudices remained significant issues in post colonial India – and it continues to be a much debated and a divisive issue. Harijans, Dalits, manuvadis are terms and names used freely.

How much of this is real? Bad luck. It is a hoisted petard, which will blow up on the those who raise this.

Oppression – And It’s Many Avatars

Legal support for slavery is a feature of the Western and Levantine societies. Trade of human beings in market place had the support of the state. In Europe and USA, laws and courts  slavery. In Indic legal systems, such a feature has not been seen for the last 3000 years. The last Indic system which had explicit slavery laws were the Hittites around 1000BC. To cover up this aspect, and to shore up their image as champions of human rights, Western powers have tried to fuzzy the definition of slavery through the ILO – a creation of the Western powers after WW1.

To get some understanding on the oppression issue, a comparative examination may give a better perspective.

 Indian Removal

Painting by Robert Lindneux (Woolaroc Museum)

Wipe out of the Red Indian Population in North America

In 1492, when Columbus landed in the West Indies, the native American population was 3 million (in the what is currently USA) and more than 10 million in the Americas – and they spoke a 600 languages.

300 years later, they had become tourist attractions. The entire Anglo-Saxon race was against the very existence of the native Red Indian.

The British and the independent Americans were equally brutal with the Red Indians. During the French and Indian Wars, Britain waged a biological warfare against the Red Indians by distributing small pox infected blankets to Red Indians. 70 years later, Andrew Jackson delayed (some say withheld) small pox medical supplies and vaccines from Red Indians.

During the American War of Independence, George Washington, on May 31, 1779 Washington sent his official Instructions to Major General John Sullivan:

Sir: The expedition you are appointed to command is to be directed against the hostile tribes of the six nations of Indians, with their associates and adherents. The immediate objects are the total destruction and devastation of their settlements and the capture of as many prisoners of every age and sex as possible…whence parties should be detached to lay waste all the settlements around, with instruction to do it in the most effectual manner; that the country may not be merely overrun but destroyed

Reminiscent of George Bush threatening the world, either you are for us or against us , George Washington, made a similar remark more than 200 years ago. George Washington wrote to the President of the Continental Congress in 1776:

In my opinion it will be impossible to keep them [Indians] in a state of Neutrality, they must, and no doubt soon will take an active part either for, or against us…

Thomas Jefferson view of the native Red Indians was equally dismissive. He (King George III) has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions… (Thomas Jefferson, Declaration of Independence, 1776).

Treaty after treaty was made with Red Indians – which were broken time and again. The Whites coveted everything that the Red Indian had – but mostly, his life. This “land of the free” by all possible (and some impossible) means was soon made land free of the “natives and savages”.

The US President, Andrew Jackson started by (December 8, 1829) posing as a Red Indian sympathiser. He proclaimed

“By persuasion and force they (Red Indians) have been made to retire from river to river and from mountain to mountain, … tribes have become extinct … Surrounded by the whites … which by destroying the resources … doom him to weakness and decay … That this fate surely awaits them if they remain within the limits of the states … Humanity and national honor demand that every effort should be made to avert so great a calamity.” (parts excised for brevity and ellipsis inserted; bold letters mine).

His solution – remove the Red Indians.

In 1830, 40 years after George Washington became the President, the “land of the free”, a law was passed to make the land free of the native Cherokee (Red Indian) population. The vast prairie lands were expropriated – and the Cherokee Indians were marched out by the US army. This march, Trail Of Tears, signalled the break of treaty by White Anglo Saxons. Land West of the Mississippi were to belong to the Eastern Indians ‘in perpetuity.’

The Red Indians resisted removal and forcible transfers. Their resistance was brutally crushed. By December 4, 1832, Andrew Jackson was saying,

“After a harassing warfare, prolonged by the nature of the country and by the difficulty of procuring subsistence, the Indians were entirely defeated, and the disaffected band dispersed or destroyed. The result has been creditable to the troops engaged in the service. Severe as is the lesson to the Indians, it was rendered necessary by their unprovoked aggressions, and it is to be hoped that its impression will be permanent and salutary.” (bold letters mine)

Gen. Winfield Scott was sent in May 1938, (with an army) to deliver the ultimatum to the Cherokees. Move or we will make you. At your cost.

President Woodrow Wilson echoes the ideology behind the alleged “genocide” –

“The experience of Liberia and Haiti show that the African race are devoid of any capacity for political organisation… there is an inherent tendency to revert to savagery and to cast aside the shackles of civilisation which are irksome to their physical nature. Our industries have expanded to such a point that they will burst their jackets… Our domestic markets no longer suffice; we need foreign markets. In the matter of Chinese and Japanese coolie immigration, I stand for the national policy of exclusion… We cannot allow a homogeneous population of a people who do not blend with the Caucasian race.”

Just like Romani Gypsy and Australian aboriginal children were taken away from their parents, Red Indian children were also removed. In different continents, at different times, similar tactics were used by Europeans and the Anglo Saxons in the colonies.


In 1788, the estimated Aboriginal population was 7,50,000. By 1911, the survivors, were estimated at 31,000. Prior to the Anglo-Saxon settlement, “Australia was an ‘empty land’ because its inhabitants did not count as human“. Today, the Anglo-Saxon race prides itself for the building of Australia. Australia was a British colony and till date the Queen (or King) of Britain is the head of State for Australia.

Consider a one-time leader of the ‘free world’, the British Prime Minister during WW2, one time Chancellor Of The Exchequer, Winston Churchill, had his views on Arabs, Indians, Aborigines, Red Indians –

I do not agree that the dog in a manger has the final right to the manger even though he may have lain there for a very long time. I do not admit that right. I do not admit for instance, that a great wrong has been done to the Red Indians of America or the black people of Australia. I do not admit that a wrong has been done to these people by the fact that a stronger race, a higher-grade race has come in and taken their place.

Churchill similarly had highly enlightened views on Arabs. After all “the Arabs are a backwards people who eat nothing but Camel dung.” was Churchill’s stated stand.

One of the main causes of deaths was public health. In India, in the early 19th century, an estimated 25 million died due the cholera epidemic – as the colonial Government did not bother (to give them the benefit of any doubt). In Northern Ireland, during the Irish Famine, the then British Prime Minster with held supplies and essential aid from starving Irishmen. In USA, the Government delayed allocations to fight small pox, 20 years after similar actions for the Whites. Similarly from the Australian aborigines.

From 1860-1960

Little changed in 100 years after the American Civil War – except the matter of 25 million missing Blacks. At the start of the Civil War, the White Population of North and South was 22 million. And Blacks was 5 million. By 1960, the White population had grown by nearly 800%, to 160 million. The Black population in the meantime had grown by only 400% – from 5 million to 20 million.

What happened to the missing 400% of Black population growth? Apologists (and defenders) use white immigration to explain away some of the difference. But that further compounds the problem – because there was also about 1 million of Black immigration from Haiti, Jamaica, Africa and other countries.

Mortality amongst Blacks due to AIDS is higher than for Whites – 60,000 higher Black deaths every year. The New England Journal Of Medicine states,

Among patients infected with HIV, blacks were significantly less likely than whites to have received antiretroviral therapy or PCP prophylaxis when they were first referred to an HIV clinic“.

Nett, nett – about 20-25 million Blacks are missing. Due to deprivation, poor health care and indifference. The maths? US population today is 300 million. Black population was estimated 4-5 million and whites at 20-22 million at the start of the Civil war in 1860. By the 1860 ratios, there should be another 20 million to 25 million Blacks in the USA.

Woodrow Wilson Plugging Birth Of A Nation & KKKBut rights and equality is something else

From 1865 to 1965 Blacks though no longer bought and sold – were still excluded from the political and social systems – in the land of the free. The Freedman’s Bureau made the ‘free’ blacks into poor sharecroppers and destitute. The Ku Klux Klan became a vigilante group to ensure that Blacks stayed where they were – at the bottom of the economic, social and political ladder.

By 1890’s the disenfranchisement laws came into effect – which ensured that the disproportionate numbers of Blacks could not vote. Petty crime (where poor) where Blacks were convicted in higher ratios were grounds for disenfranchisement. These laws ensured that 10 times higher number of Blacks were disqualified compared to Whites. If that is not bad enough, it continues till now. After some 60,000 Black Voters were disenfranchised, George Bush, technically, won by less than 1000 votes (most were expected to vote against George Bush). Such tactics continue to be used to limit Black participation in democracy.

Martin Luther King in the Birmingham Alabama Jail April, 1963

The re-emergence of the Ku Klux Klan in its second avatar continued with its agenda of Black subjugation till the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s. The second coming was a mainstream event with President Woodrow Wilson endorsing the film and the message.

Black Emancipation

Black emancipation in the USA is a 1970s phenomenon, 30+ years ago event – and not 200 years ago as this article in New York Times seems to make out.

It took non-violent protests (Martin Luther King, inspired by Gandhiji) and violent threats (Malcolm X) for ’emancipation’ and equity to come in. In the Cold War scenario, under international media glare, during the Little Rock School stand-off, Eisenhower (a Southerner himself) reacted.

Al Haj Malik Shabazz aka Malcolm XReluctantly,in 1954, he sent in the National Guard to Little Rock, Arkansas to enforce de-segregation. The Mayor of Little Rock, Arkansas closed down the school rather than de-segregate. The eyeball-to-eyeball confrontation during the Kennedy years produced the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Demonise, Genocide and Apologise

Now that there are only a few Red Indians and aborigines left – they serve as tourist attractions. The ritual of regret and apology about their role in the genocidal past. Since, the “Jewish Problem” was solved by Hitler (there are hardly 1 million Jews left in Europe and 5 million in USA), the West and USA has no problems, anymore with the Jews. Australia, Canada and France have tendered their ritualistic apologies – and start demonizing someone else.

In fact, Jews today serve a useful purpose to the West. After the Anglo-Saxon led alliance broke up the Ottoman Empire in the Middle East (post WW1), the Israelis were introduced into the Middle East after WW2 as the Western cat’s paw. They have been suborned to the job of keeping a lid on the simmering oil rich, Middle East, and keeping it in check.

What is the real cost to the USA – an inflated arms bill. They make up the cost of supplying free arms to Israel by selling the same arms to the oil rich sheikhs. What does it cost Israel to serve as the ‘America’s terrible swift sword in the desert’ – millions of precious Jewish lives, lost in the fight to keep the Anglo Saxons in luxury.

Western demonisation of Islam has replaced the Jewish demonisation (Shakespeare joined in with his anti-Semitic Merchant Of Venice). Without taking responsibility for the destabilisation of the Islamic World by the liquidation of the Ottoman Empire after WW1 – perpetrated by Anglo-Saxon countries and the French.

The Greatest Suffering

The Blacks in the USA and Europe have seen some justice – as they were an important constituency in the Cold War. USA propaganda was on the verge of losing Africa to Soviet Russia. The Jews have been very persistent and they have not let the world forget – or the perpetrators rest in peace.

The forgotten lot is that that of the Romani Gypsies. This one segment based in Europe and USA continues to remain on the fringes and discriminated. They have been hunted (like forest animals), their children kidnapped (to end their race and social system), they have been gassed (by Hitler along with the Jews), they have been galley slaves, In fact there was a time when they could be killed, if found alive!

The History Of King Leopold-II & Congo

“Dr.Livingstone, I presume!” and that is how Henry Stanley made his name and the life of Congolese miserable. Based on this incident, he was given a contract by King Leopold-II to establish “trading posts along the Congo River”. In time, like with other colonial possessions, with a mix of fraud, guile, deceit, force, massacre and other such ‘civilised’ norms by ‘Christian’ civilisers, Congo was also made into a colony. By King Leopold-II of Belgium, in his personal capacity.

King Leopold King Leopold (current king’s predecessor 3 times away) was murderer. Plain and simple.

What happened was that in 1871, King Leopold decided that he needed to get respect. So he called for the Brussels Conference. His colleague, Otto Von Bismarck, of Germany got into the act and called for the Berlin conference. Plans were hatched and agreements signed.

Based on Dr.Livingstone’s propaganda, it was decided there that Europe will directly enslave the Africans – instead of the the Arabs. At that time 90%of Africa was free. In the next 20 years, 90% of Africa was colonialised.

King Leopold’s personally owned the Belgian Congo territory. His personal army-men and his personal agents killed more than 1 crore people. When hardly any Congolese were left, he sold Belgian Congo to his own country for GBP3.8 million. Congo was a major producer of rubber – and the King’s agents kidnapped African families – and released them against collections of natural rubber from African forests.

To understand oppression better, we also need to look at the genesis of the various religions across the world.

The Desert Religions

Judaism, Christianity, Islam were all born within 500 miles of each other and share a common culture and history. Judaism can be said to have been born when Moses led the Hebrew slaves from the Pharoah (across the Red Sea) to freedom. This possibly happened around 500 BC at the latest to 1500 BC at the earliest. His earliest followers were the Hebrews and they were a significant part of the Middle Eastern history all through till today.

The next major religious reformer in the Middle East was Jesus Christ. For the first 300 years, Roman slaves were the major believers in his teachings. Emperor Constantine earned the loyalty of his Christian troops and won the war for Roman throne by his win over Maxentius at Milvan Bridge. Prior to Maxentius, for the previous 30-40 years, Christians had been persecuted by “rule of four’ Tetrarchy reformists in Rome, headed by Diocletan. Hence, the Christian slave soldiers of Constantine were eager for victory – as the persecution under Maxentius would have been worse.

Liberated slaves were the founders and rulers of Islamic dynasties, (in India, the Slave dynasty – builders of Qutub minar). Thus all the three “desert religions” were first adopted by the slaves and only after gaining significant numbers of adherents, these religions became mainstream and commenced aggressive proselytising and conversions.

What’s Going On Here

‘Caste systems’ (by different names) are prevalent all over the world, in all societies, based on colour, race, income, wealth, education, social status, political position, et al. Most such ‘caste systems’ have no force of the state behind it or are legal. They are the burakumin in Japan today and the Blacks in Europe and USA. The most ‘respected’ caste system is the British nobility which exists even today – a caste system, approved by law. In India, colonial administration encouraged and increased divisions within society. Through propaganda efforts of the ILO, the Indian caste system, is now being equated with slavery.

Slavery (capture, kidnap, sequestration, transport, trade and transfer, re-capture of human beings) continued in the “desert bloc” till the 20th century. In the Indic territories, it was an inherited institution – and last seen in the Hittite rule around 1000BC. Faced with West Asian reluctance to give up slavery, Indo-Aryan rulers disengaged politically from West Asia and Middle East from around 1000 BC. Possibly, the slave revolt of Egypt by Moses itself was a result of the liberalising laws of the Hittites. Hence the fade out of the Indic rule from the Middle East – but the continuation of Buddhist influences, trade and peoples contact.

Reformers In India

After the slave revolts in the Middle East, India was witness to major renewal movements. More than a 100 Bodhisattvas and 24 Jain Tirthankaras were major figures in India’s renewal after the slave revolts in the Middle East. Modern history, influenced by Western historiography, recognizes only the “ahimsa twins” – Gautama Buddha and Vardhamana Mahavira.The “ahimsa twins” – Gautama Buddha and Vardhamana Mahavira were both princes of royal blood – Prince Siddharth and Prince Mahavira.

Their first adherents were the rulers and their methods of proselytising was also aimed at the ruling class. Ashoka The Great sent missions with his daughter Sanghamitra to Sri Lanka – where Buddhism was established.

Guru Nanak Dev came from the upper caste family and his focus was to end feuding on the basis of caste and creed. His first converts were from upper class families cutting across religions – and hence the opposition from some of the Mughal Kings.

Gandhiji was from the upper caste and the first item on his reform agenda was end to the “bhangis” carrying fecal refuse on their heads. His initial focus was social reform and less of anti-British activities.

Half the world today follows Indic religions and culture. The other half follows the “desert religions”. The development trajectories of these two halves has been significantly different. The motivations, behavioural and acceptable civilisational norms for these blocs are different – and mostly opposite.

Same difference?

Based on the above most notorious cases of oppression, there are some clear markers for to ‘real oppression’.

Declining Populations

In all the cases above, Jews in Europe, Black population in the Africa and USA, the Gypsies across USA and Europe, the aborigines in Australia, The Red Indians in America, or the Belgian Congo, the ‘marker’ for oppression was the decline in population. And we are not talking about a few percentage points here and there (which can be explained by many factors) but by multiples.

State Oppression versus Social Discrimination

In all these cases, these genocides were legalised – in USA with the Dredd Scott case. In Europe, anti-Gypsy laws existed till 1973 in Switzerland and other countries. The Red Indians and Aborigines were dispossessed in connivance with the State and enabling legislation. There were laws in Europe and Australia which allowed people to kidnap children of the oppressed and take them away from their parents.

Economic Rationale

All these cases of oppression are marked by a clear economic motive. Cotton plantations in the USA needed black slaves,West needed natural rubber from Congo, Red Indian land Vilfredo Paretowas needed by the West, Gypsy and Aboriginal children were kidnapped by declining European and Australian populations. Europeans historically envied Jewish business success.

How much of the division of labour in Indian society was coercive, extractive or enforced – and how much is explained by Pareto’s Law of Social Disequilibrium?

Majority Oppression Or Military Might

In all these cases, the majority oppressed the minority – or massacred them till the oppressed became a minority. Military might was used for oppressive purposes – like King Leopold-II in Congo, till such time, the oppressed became numerically weak.

Does this hold true for India?

What about Harijan massacres incidents. Two aspects – these massacres are not approved or condoned by law. Massacres and death of Red Indians, Aborigines, Jews, Gypsies were approved by law (yes, that is right! Click on links and other posts to get more info on that). There are equally massacres by the ‘oppressed’ in UP, Bihar, Rajasthan, J&K, MP – which shows a failure of the ‘over-burdened’ State and not oppression.

The Oppressed Make The Laws In India

At the time of Indian Independence, the ‘oppressors’ (the ‘ruling’ Brahmin Hindus) gave the role of Constitution writing to the leader of the ‘oppressed‘ – Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar. No ‘oppressed’ class has been ‘given’ such a position and responsibility in any country of the world – ever. No ‘oppressor’ lets the ‘oppressed’ write the laws.

And for the record, let me state, BR Ambedkar was NOT given that position – he earned it.

The Oppressed Population Grows Faster than the Oppressors

The population of the ‘oppressed’ is growing at a faster rate than the ‘oppressors’. Thus the ‘oppression’ of the majority in India is resulting in a faster growth for the oppressed. A first in the history of oppression.

Reservations Of Opportunities

The US affirmative action (a dilution of the Indian reservation system) was a persuasive system – whereas India is the only country where the ‘minority’ oppressors are supporting an enforced, legally mandated system of reservations for the ‘oppressed’ majority. The whole world is fighting to steal, rob, snatch, kill and maim for opportunities – but in India the ‘oppressors’ are giving away opportunities.

Caste System & Slavery

‘Caste systems’ (by different names) are prevalent all over the world, in all societies, based on colour, race, income, wealth, education, social status, political position, et al. Most such ‘caste systems’ have no force of the state behind it or are legal. They are the burakumin in Japan today and the Blacks in Europe and USA. The most ‘respected’ caste system is the British nobility – which is a caste system, approved by law.

Slavery was different – and a distinctive feature, promoted (largely) by the Western and Middle Eastern powers. It had state sanction, state protection, laws passed by the kings, emirs, emperors, parliaments and legislating authorities. The US Supreme Court (Dredd Scott Case) even prohibited slaves from approaching courts for any redress. There was an organised, legal, sponsored industry involved in the kidnap, sequestration, transport, trade and transfer (and might I add re-capture) of slaves – with the might of the state behind it.

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