2ndlook

Indian Independence – Prison Logistics

Posted in British Raj, Desert Bloc, History, India, politics by Anuraag Sanghi on March 4, 2012

Can jail bharo andolan work today? Surprisingly, it can. The Indian government does not have the capacity jail too many people.

MahatmaGandhi with leaders of the All-India Congress Party, August 1942, at a press confrence in picture (from R to L) Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, Sarojni Naidu, Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, Gandhiji, wearing a cap not known and JB Kripalani |  Source-Associated Press  |  Click for image.

MahatmaGandhi with leaders of the All-India Congress Party, August 1942, at a press confrence in picture (from R to L) Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, Sarojni Naidu, Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, Gandhiji, wearing a cap not known and JB Kripalani | Source-Associated Press | Click for image.

The numbers

Before the end of the British Raj, the part of India that the British ruled, (roughly 60% of modern India), had about 200 prisons.

This number of 200 prisons does not include prisons in the kingdoms of more than 500 Indian kings, princes and rulers, who were allied but not a part of the British Raj.

These prisons and jails of the British Raj, my estimate is, roughly held about 100,000 prisoners. Prior to Gandhiji’s non-cooperation movement took steam, the number of political prisoners were few – and Indian political leadership was afraid of going to jail.

Gandhiji’s movement changed that.

Overflowing jails

Anna Hazare protests. If 2-3 lakh people can volunteer for imprisonment, the Indian Government will be forced to negotiate.  |  Image source and courtesy - tribune.com.pk

Anna Hazare protests. If 2-3 lakh people can volunteer for imprisonment, the Indian Government will be forced to negotiate. | Image source and courtesy - tribune.com.pk

Like this extract below shows, the Congress alone created nearly 100,000 prisoners.

The British just did not have the capacity to jail any more people. This lack of capacity to jail was in itself a short term pressure on the British Raj. At a point, they had to stop arresting people, because there was no capacity.

What now!

The situation is not very different now.

India has a capacity to imprison about 2,75,000 prisoners. It already has 3,75,000 prisoners. This is the lowest per-capita prisoner-to-population ratio in the world.

If a few lakhs people were to go to jail, the Indian Government’s jail system will collapse.

Extract from: Constitutional Schemes and Political Development in India- Towards Transfer ... - |  By Verinder Grover  |  Page 209  |  Courtesy - Google Books |  Accessed on 2012-03-04 21-46-54  |  Click to access source page at books.google.com

Extract from: Constitutional Schemes and Political Development in India- Towards Transfer ... - | By Verinder Grover | Page 209 | Courtesy - Google Books | Accessed on 2012-03-04 21-46-54 | Click to access source page at books.google.com


Understanding The 5-point Indian Compact

Posted in Business, Current Affairs, Gold Reserves, History, India, Indo Pak Relations, Media, politics by Anuraag Sanghi on November 13, 2010
The boycott of Simon Commission by Indian negotiators sounded the death knell of the British Raj in India. (Cartoonist - David Low (1891-1963) Published - Evening Standard, 11 Feb 1928). Click for larger image.

The boycott of Simon Commission by Indian negotiators sounded the death knell of the British Raj in India. (Cartoonist - David Low (1891-1963) Published - Evening Standard, 11 Feb 1928). Click for larger image.

Beginning of the end

With the rejection of Simon Commission and the death of Lala Lajpat Rai, a triumphant Congress took pole position, in the race among Indians, to throw the British back into the sea. As the British realized their futile  position, and the Indian leadership took over initiative from the British, a few things happened.

British favored the Congress

The Congress leadership (especially Gandhiji) was favored with a significant negotiating position by the British.

During these negotiations with the British Raj, the Congress adopted some unorthodox ideas, in the Indian political context of that time. These Congress proposals were momentous and path-breaking for India. Though Western opinion was uniformly derisive and dismissive, Indians suspended their judgment on these Congress proposals.

Asuric maya against the asurs

Based on the collaborative-school of ideology, promoted by Gokhale-Chiplunkar-Phule and Arya-Brahma-Samaj, Congress proposed that Indians must embrace the Western-Asuric model of the State as a pivot of their future.

August 1942 - Subhash Bose gains strength; Gandhiji and other Indian leaders call for Quit India. (British Cartoon - Cartoonist - Leslie Gilbert Illingworth, 1902-1979; Published - Daily Mail, 12 August 1942). Click for larger image.

August 1942 - Subhash Bose gains strength; Gandhiji and other Indian leaders call for Quit India. (British Cartoon - Cartoonist - Leslie Gilbert Illingworth, 1902-1979; Published - Daily Mail, 12 August 1942). Click for larger image.

Whatever elements that remained of भारत-तंत्र Bharat-tantra based on a defined, limited, narrow concept of polity related to rule as per dharmashastras, would take a back-seat, the Congress proposed.

Instead, the Congress strongly pressed its claim that the Western system of governance was what India needed to end and recover from the 100-odd years of ‘peak’ British misrule.

Congress writes its own ticket

After a few decades of debate and discussions, so be it, was the Indian decision on this Congress model. Since, the Congress seemed to be in a position to best deliver the ‘goods’, they got a carte-blanche from Indians.

The ways of the West

The Congress model was based on 5-points of significant departure from Indic model of polity.

  1. Common currency for India based on legal tender laws. Private coinage or multi-currency system would no longer be legal practice.
  2. English language and culture would be used extensively – even in independent India. Vishnu Shastri Chiplunkar (1850-1882), a Marathi essayist thought that English language and education were vaghiniche doodh or tigress’ milk.
  3. Democracy and Republicanism in. Princes and Rajas out. India is one of the few countries (less than 7) which survived the initial 50 years of Republican Democracy.
  4. Centralized powerful State rather the village level government – including the judiciary.
  5. Adoption of Western models of education – schools, colleges and universities.
India's political stability and smooth leadership changes happened against all odds - and predictions of disaster. (Cartoonist - David Low (1891-1963) Published - The Guardian, 27 Oct 1959). Click for larger image.

India's political stability and smooth leadership changes happened against all odds - and predictions of disaster. (Cartoonist - David Low (1891-1963) Published - The Guardian, 27 Oct 1959). Click for larger image.

The one success

Republican Democracy has been a signal success, in providing a platform for:-

  1. Competitive electoral politics,
  2. Co-opting or exiling violent dissent
  3. Global respectability – precluding external overt interference (e.g. Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, et al.)
  4. Most importantly continuity, without a power-vacuum

20:20 hindsight

The failure (partial success, if you must) of the State on 4 of the 5 parameters is clear and sure. Every Indian success has been hobbled by the remaining four elements of this compact.

Whether it was the Anglo-Jinnah idea of Pakistan or the significant corruption in the Indian system (like in any system based on concentration of power), each are a result of this 5-point compact that Congress sold to Indians.

Nehru, Patel, Ambedkar – all saw a need for a strong centre. Inspite of Gandhiji’s push for Ram-Rajya (his description of भारत-तंत्र Bharat-tantra) and village panchayats, decentralized  governance was finally deemed as outdated, ancient and ‘inefficient.’

Where Sher Shah Suri failed

Never in India’s 5000 years of known-and-accepted history have Indians accepted fiat currency. From at least Sher Shah Suri onwards, many tried imposing a fiat currency on Indians, including the British. And failed.

The British started deifying Gandhiji. This cartoon titled "The saint and the tiger" (Cartoonist - David Low (1891-1963) Published - Evening Standard, 20 Jan 1948). Click for larger image.

The British started deifying Gandhiji. This cartoon titled "The saint and the tiger" (Cartoonist - David Low (1891-1963) Published - Evening Standard, 20 Jan 1948). Click for larger image.

But the newly independent Indian State was allowed to implement the system of fiat currency without much ado. Morarji Desai’s hare-brained gold control laws were accepted with a slight whimper.

As the existence of a pan-Indian currency is seen as an essential to the well-being of the Indian nation, enthusiasm for the Indian currency idea remains strong. Witness the steady public demand for RBI’s periodic issues of commemorative coins and notes.

Indians have enrolled with the State system of education, using English language, in stupendous numbers. Indians have hesitantly used the Indian judicial system – as a measure of faith and participation in nation building.

All these point towards a certain trust and space that Indians have vested with the Indian Government. Some may say, it is not faith, trust and hope, but a long rope given to the Indian Government.

The time has come when Indians must do two things:-

  • Plan to phase out this 5-point compact. This was not an endless, open-ended agreement by both sides.
  • Hold the GOI’s feet to fire on defence preparedness. After 63 years of British departure, this is the last thing that the State must deliver to India.
The idea of co-opting India into the Anglo-Saxon Bloc is apparent from this cartoon. India - a source of 'immi-grunts'. (Cartoonist - David Low (1891-1963) Published - Evening Standard, 10 Jan 1950). Click for larger image.

The idea of co-opting India into the Anglo-Saxon Bloc is apparent from this cartoon. India - a source of 'immi-grunts'. (Cartoonist - David Low (1891-1963) Published - Evening Standard, 10 Jan 1950). Click for larger image.

Empty shell of a giant crustacean

India and Indians must come out from the shell of this now irrelevant compact. This compact has proved three things clearly:-

  1. The ‘erstwhile’ Muslim rulers of India, who claimed they were superior to Indians and the nation of India. After more than 6 decades, they have demonstrated themselves to be the inept rulers of Pakistan.
  2. The British stand, naked and shivering in fright, at their emerging irrelevance. The British claim of superiority, based on how they had ‘built’ England to Great Britain can now be seen as false and hollow. British misrule of Britain, has presided over the downhill ride of Britain. From super-power status to a situation where British themselves question British claim as a P5 State in the UN Security Council – with gross national debt (public, individual and corporate) of 500%.
  3. Indian capability to rebuild – after salvaging whatever of value was left from the wreckage of colonialism, the Partition, the Great Bengal Famine, impoverishment, hunger, disease, social destruction on an unprecedented scale.
Cartoon courtest - timesofindia.com. Click for larger image.

Cartoon courtesy - timesofindia.com. Click for larger image.

India’s 5-point compact is in its terminal stage of irrelevance – having outlived its usefulness to India. Time to junk it – and all those who propose its continuation.

Be as it may, the turning point is still some distance away. It is early days to start work on a road-map for a smooth transition from the democratic Republican State to an India based on भारत-तंत्र Bharat-tantra.

 

2ndlook at British Empire

  1. Rise of the British Empire – A 2ndlook
  2. Indian Ships – British Navy
  3. British Empire & The Anglo Saxon Bloc
  4. Indian Gunpowder – the Force Behind Empires
  5. How Britain ‘lost’ America. Really!
  6. Indian Railways – The British Legacy
  7. 1945 Britain – Imperial ambitions of a starving nation
  8. Looking back at India’s Partition
  9. Where would India be without the British Raj
  10. American aid came at a price; recalcitrant nations had a 'regime' change'; India became closer to Soviet Russia. (Cartoonist - David Low (1891-1963) Published - The Manchester Guardian, 20 Aug 1957). Click for larger image.

    American aid came at a price; recalcitrant nations had a 'regime' change'; India became closer to Soviet Russia. (Cartoonist - David Low (1891-1963) Published - The Manchester Guardian, 20 Aug 1957). Click for larger image.

  11. David Hume on British character
  12. How 1857 changed world history …
  13. 1857 – Some History … Some Propaganda
  14. The Debt That India Owes Britain
  15. Quick … When Did India Become Free
  16. Asuras and Slavery – The Indic Disconnect
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