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Thursday, February 28, 2013

APOLOGY EXCHANGE - The debate about Cameron at Jallianwala Bagh is rather silly


By Swapan Dasgupta

The accomplished British cartoonist Martin Rowson is—as befitting his profession—naturally attracted by the absurdities of public life. Last week, he directed his fire at the Think Tanks. “Let’s form a Think Tank”, he suggested to his Twitter followers, “Call it… ‘Policy Carousel’…Front it up with a couple of nerdy teenagers in suits…and start issuing press releases…arguing the dumbest things that comes into our heads. Insist that children reared in trees are better at French; nurses who eat nothing but jam have better mortality outcomes; if the moon was painted mauve reading standards would improve among ‘White British’ mice living in buckets…Then see how long it is before lazy news editors at the BBC makes our latest batshit…the third story on their main morning news…”

As a response to my endorsement of the whacky scheme, Martin suggested I open a Delhi chapter of Policy Carousel. Ever helpful with identifying the bizarre, he suggested an opening initiative—an ‘Apology Exchange: Amritsar for Black Hole.”

Since the authenticity of the Black Hole of Calcutta remains in some doubt—there are grave suspicions that an imaginative account by a survivor written many years after the event was responsible for the infamy that was bestowed on the area around the majestic General Post Office—there are other possible initiatives that Apology Exchange can mentor. How about restoring the beautifully crafted Angel of Cawnpore to the original site of the Bibighar massacre where an estimated 120 people, including large numbers of women and children, were massacred by the troops of the ‘perfidious’ Nana Sahib on July 15, 1857? After Independence, the memorial was relocated to a corner of the All Souls Church in Kanpur.

And, just to demonstrate that it is not merely the loathsome Lt-General Dyer who is being pilloried by history, how about an appropriate memorial in Delhi’s Chandni Chowk to commemorate one of the worst massacres of civilians in India? I am, of course, referring to the massacre of Delhi by Nadir Shah on March 9, 1739 in retaliation for the mob fury the night before that led to the killings of some 3,000 Kazalbash troopers. According to a contemporary account, the Iranian troops began the carnage at 9 am “and forced their way into shops and houses killing the occupants and laying violent hands on anything of value… No distinction was made between the innocent and the guilty, male and female, old and young.” By the time Nadir Shah called off the pogrom after six hours, the roads of Delhi were blocked by heaps of bodies. The death toll was said to be anything between 8,000 and 40,000—a darn shade more than the highest estimates of those killed in the Jallianwala Bagh massacre of 1919.

Nadir Shah, who continues to be celebrated in modern Iran as a great national hero, also made off with the Peacock Throne and the Kohinoor diamond (which subsequently found its way into the Tower of London). Indeed, to this day, the term ‘Nadirshahi’ is used is northern India as a synonym for brutality and oppression. How come, therefore, the frequent visits of Shah Reza Pehlavi in the past and more infrequent visits of the stalwarts of the post-1979 theocratic regime these days isn’t peppered with calls for either the return of the Peacock Throne to Delhi or at least a heartfelt but grovelling apology? Instead, the representatives of Independent India lose absolutely no opportunity to emphasise the “deep civilizational ties” that bind the peoples of Persia and Hindustan.

Going back a little further in time, there was also the invasion of the Moghul Tamerlane in 1398, a mere 615 years ago. That invasion was marked by an equal show of blood-thirstiness by the Moghul army. Having taken nearly a lakh prisoners during the course of his advance from the Indus, Timur was apprehensive that they would “join their countrymen against him” when he attacked Delhi. To forestall that possibility, he massacred the lot of them in cold blood. Having taken Delhi, Timur allowed his soldiers to go berserk. According to a contemporary account Firishta, “the Hindoos, according to their custom, seeing their females disgraced, set fire to their houses, murdered their wives and children , and rushed out on their enemies.” A massacre followed and, like in 1739, the streets were clogged with corpses. “The desperate courage of the Delhiyans was at length cooled in their own blood, and throwing down their weapons, they at last submitted themselves like sheep to slaughter…”

The irony is that 228 years later, a scion of the Timurid dynasty established the Moghul empire in India, an empire that is celebrated as an authentic encapsulation of the Indo-Islamic encounter. In 1857, when the sepoys and dispossessed chiefs rose against the firinghees of the East India Company, they did so in the name of the bewildered and bedgraggled Mughal who was perceived as the alternative pole of sovereignty. In the 459 years between Timur being loathed as the barbaric invader and Bahadur Shah Zafar’s emergence as the symbol of what some historians regard as patriotic resistance to the British, the Moghuls had been recast. Their legitimacy was no longer a contested issue, a reason why street names in the showcase Capital of the Republic bear the names of Babur, Humayun, Akbar, Shah Jehan and even Aurangzeb.

There are many reasons why the absorptive powers of India which Rabindranath Tagore wrote about—and, incidentally, included the English, along with the Huns and the Moghuls, as communities of ‘them’ who became ‘us’—has escaped the British Raj. One of the possible reasons could be expedient erraticism that accompanies the already feeble Hindu grasp of chronology. In contemporary discourse, for example, the Great Calcutta Killings and the accompanying bloody Partition of India is ‘history’, as is, say, the Emergency of 1975-77. At the same time, the Jallianwala Bagh butchery that happened 94 years ago still warrants a limited debate over whether visiting British Prime Minister David Cameron should have opted for an unequivocal apology—akin to his predecessor Tony Blair’s ‘sorry’ for the Irish famine or former West German Chancellor Willy Brandt’s famous genuflection in Poland in 1970—rather than mere ‘regret’.

Without underplaying the importance of the Amritsar killing which effectively broke the moral backbone of an Empire that had cast itself in a paternalist garb, today’s debate is rather silly. For a start, the pressure to distance an economically beleaguered United Kingdom from its Empire inheritance hasn’t originated from the Dominions and the former colonies. Its origins are strictly rooted in the post-colonial angst that has gripped the younger and more cosmopolitan generation of Britons. In India, the Raj is well and truly history and a toy wheeled out by the tourism industry for hard currency. Apart from politicians and xenophobes who peddle pop history as political slogans, the mass of young India crave for proficiency in the English language, western culture and global opportunities. M.K. Gandhi and Tagore would have squirmed in despair.

Ironically, that doesn’t make them any less nationalist. Perhaps the greatest satisfaction Indians drew from Cameron’s visit was not the ‘regret’ in Amritsar but the caricature in a British publication depicting Cameron as the supplicant before the throne of Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi. The perverse like me  would say that this wasn’t a parody of Sir Thomas Roe in the court of Jehangir; it corresponded more to Lord Clive extracting his due from a cowering Shah Alam whose realm, as we all know, extended from Delhi to Palam.

History is cruel but fun. Why kill it with pedestrian earnestness?

The Telegraph, February 28, 2013 

15 comments:

Jitendra Desai said...

Well said.Compliments.Such artifical apologia can't substitute present day policies.We need to deal with Iran,Turkey, Briton and the world at large in the "present".This apology has been made fashionable by MMS and Mrs G when they apologised to Sikhs.Pope and Europeans too have been apologising for this or that crime done in the past.None of the apologisers though give us the confidence that they will not repeat those acts if again given a chance.It is our job to ensure that they are not allowed to do so.

Anonymous said...

Very well written !

Particularly " Nadir Shah, who continues to be celebrated in modern Iran as a great national hero, also made off with the Peacock Throne and the Kohinoor diamond (which subsequently found its way into the Tower of London). Indeed, to this day, the term ‘Nadirshahi’ is used is northern India as a synonym for brutality and oppression. How come, therefore, the frequent visits of Shah Reza Pehlavi in the past and more infrequent visits of the stalwarts of the post-1979 theocratic regime these days isn’t peppered with calls for either the return of the Peacock Throne to Delhi or at least a heartfelt but grovelling apology? Instead, the representatives of Independent India lose absolutely no opportunity to emphasise the “deep civilizational ties” that bind the peoples of Persia and Hindustan".


As someone commented in tamil "The Empire might have shrunk.Still UK is governed better than India.So they should not return Kohinoor Diamond".

I also feel the same way. That it remains safe is important.If it is safe in UK so be it.We have lots of other problems plaguing us.

A country adamantinely wanting to go ahead with Sethusamudram project does not deserve Kohinoor Diamond & Peacock Throne I strongly feel.

Anonymous said...

I have written many times The Sword of ISLAM alone is quite effective in dealing with hubris filled holier than thou liars & cheats among Indians.

Recent example is the worthless movie of the alleged tambram pornstar Kamalhassan. Hindus have absolutely NO EXCUSE as overwhelmimgly it is the HINDUS & the BRAHMINS ( those pursuing various professional careers like engineering MBBS blah blah after gaining entry into IIT , IIM , medical colleges & the chartered accountants who are the SHAMELESSLY unscrupulous worshippers of this kollywood tambram pornstar & EQUALLY worthless scum manirathnam , his clan & his sycophants.

The mercifully dead ( though belatedly) IIT EVM inventor of India writer cum engineer calling himself SUJATHA ( Rangarajan but wrote in his wife's name Sujatha) another tambram joined hands with both Kamalhassan & Manirathnam writing scripts & screenplays / stories for their worthless ASININE movies.

This is another PERIL spawned by our own needless religious bigotry. As I have unalloyed admiration & respect for another TAMIL scriptwriter called AroorDas. I heard him only once on some tamil tv channel & my admiration only enhanced further. He is a converted christian. YET, it is AroorDas whose Tamil , content etc etc are extremely thought provoking when pitted against tambrams like Sujathas , K.Balachanders & Suhasinis.

It is AROORDAS who has written the script of excellent Tamil movies like Paasamalar ( BhimSingh), Petraalthan Pillaiya , Pudhiya Paravai , Anbae Vaa & lots more.

Script & language are of IMMENSE significance.

Anonymous said...

Continuing,

It was actually MUSLIM Khalid Mohammed who had the conviction & pluck to express his candid opinions on the same swollen headed tambram's Hey Ram rightly calling it downright VULGAR.

Whereas my own relatives lots of vegetarian & non vegetarian pujas doing bhajan singing womenfolk , WIDOWS included along with their sons, daughters in law , daughters & grandchildren sat & watched the movie rewinding it several times & watching it successively. One of the widows shamelessly told me :-

" We found nothing vulgar at all...that BUTT BITING scene was particularly sso good ....our minds are pure to appreciate such butt bitings.....".

The same tambram diaspora spent enormously on international air travel ( transatlantic) as they wanted to watch Amala's navel in Manirathnam's Agni Natchathram shown in tight closeups.As they could not access that dvd at that particular time in America & Canada & Australia. It was running in some cinema hall in Tamil Nadu.

Amla ( who changed the spelling to AMALA after consulting some numerologist) is the second wife of telugukollybolly actor Nagarjuna cum blue cross socialite and someone who also attends some godman's organization to drive away her "depression" AND presides as a judge in sooopermom (Super Mom) contests in tv channels. First joined Rukmini Arundale's Bharathanatyam institution famously called Kalakshetra. She herself said she always desired to join movie industry as she "wanted her fair complexion , her features & ANATOMY to be drooled over by many".( Amala's OWN words)
Learning dance by joining Kalakshetra was just using it as a launching pad".

Not misquoted.

Incidentally Rani Mukherjee also pontificated 'why make a fuss...I enjoyed that butt biting scene...".

And Vasundhara another actress said while being slobbered all over & kissed by kamalhassan "her PARENTS were watching & cheering the entire shoot".

Hence let us not waste tears over rapes & bomb blasts & get swayed by shabana azmi's bemoaning "commodification of woman's body in cinema".

Anonymous said...

Continuing,

It was actually MUSLIM Khalid Mohammed who had the conviction & pluck to express his candid opinions on the same swollen headed tambram's Hey Ram rightly calling it downright VULGAR.

Whereas my own relatives lots of vegetarian & non vegetarian pujas doing bhajan singing womenfolk , WIDOWS included along with their sons, daughters in law , daughters & grandchildren sat & watched the movie rewinding it several times & watching it successively. One of the widows shamelessly told me :-

" We found nothing vulgar at all...that BUTT BITING scene was particularly sso good ....our minds are pure to appreciate such butt bitings.....".

The same tambram diaspora spent enormously on international air travel ( transatlantic) as they wanted to watch Amala's navel in Manirathnam's Agni Natchathram shown in tight closeups.As they could not access that dvd at that particular time in America & Canada & Australia. It was running in some cinema hall in Tamil Nadu.

Amla ( who changed the spelling to AMALA after consulting some numerologist) is the second wife of telugukollybolly actor Nagarjuna cum blue cross socialite and someone who also attends some godman's organization to drive away her "depression" AND presides as a judge in sooopermom (Super Mom) contests in tv channels. First joined Rukmini Arundale's Bharathanatyam institution famously called Kalakshetra. She herself said she always desired to join movie industry as she "wanted her fair complexion , her features & ANATOMY to be drooled over by many".( Amala's OWN words)
Learning dance by joining Kalakshetra was just using it as a launching pad".

Not misquoted.

Incidentally Rani Mukherjee also pontificated 'why make a fuss...I enjoyed that butt biting scene...".

And Vasundhara another actress said while being slobbered all over & kissed by kamalhassan "her PARENTS were watching & cheering the entire shoot".

Hence let us not waste tears over rapes & bomb blasts & get swayed by shabana azmi's bemoaning "commodification of woman's body in cinema".

Anonymous said...

While living in Kolkata another tambram married a girl from Chennai.
Arranged marriage like the usual Indian marriages.

Soon started complaining of marital discord. Only once she was brought to our house as that husband complained " her health needed improvement".

On further probing the wife blurted out " he is complaining my midriff does not look like Sridevi's midriff (of Mr. India , Tohfa etc)".

Soon she left him & returned to Chennai. But that husband's relatives living in an apartment called Prashanti ( Lake Avenue) told all " that woman is characterless...hence we threw her out....".

It was actually my brother Prakash who told me that husband even before entering into matrimony was a frequent visitor of brothels in Sonargachi area.An alcoholic & a rotten scoundrel.Tambrams.

Anonymous said...

Rulers of countries like Kuwait , UAE , Oman , Saudi Arabia do not sit & wonder like useless scoundrels of India ( read congress dmk communists dk ,ndtv cnn ibn):-

" Is there a God ? Where is His IIT degree ".

None of those ARAB rulers invite Prannoy Roys , Barkha Dutts , Yechurys , Bardhans , Prakash Karats, Arnab Goswamis , Rajdeep Sardesias , Vikram Chandras & Sagarika Ghoses to clear any queries /doubts on GOD.

No wonder Arab countries are doing very well.

Anonymous said...

I also remember Kaanchi Paramacharya Himself telling some Original Manuscripts / Pictorial Representations ( I am not sure ) connected with Aadi Shankarar's Soundharya Lahari are well preserved in some American Library/Museum.
Whose photographs were shown to The Pontiff by some American himself.

After talking to him The Seer said:-
" Let them remain in America as they are now".

He never agitated clamouring how dare you, return that at once...blah blah.

That sums up everything.

Anonymous said...



In the 1960s there was this writer cum editor of a Tamil weekly called Ananda Vikatan. His name was Manian.

He travelled all over the world , took lots of photographs of all places never failing to put his arms around foreign women & publishing them all in his weekly travelogues in Ananda Vikatan. Like all kosher Indians carried bottled pickles , ground spices , maybe even rice & wheat to cook & eat in those foreign countries. Once carried a bottle of deep fried ” மோர் மிளகாய் ” also which ALARMED the American officials at their airport as they thought they were some deadly explosives. I don’t blame the Americans at all. They do look scary. And this Manian lectured them on great indian culture swadeshi pickles recipes vegetarianism blah blah so much they gave up letting him enter America with those deep fried charred looking ” மோர் மிளகாய் “.

Belive it or not. At the end of each paragraph in his travelogues he cried & whinged ” why is indiAAA not like this”…” when will indiaAAA become like AmericAAAA….whyyy are indians not AT ALL good & trustworthy like Americans , Europeans , Japanese , Africans , British , Singaporeans , Malaysians , Australians , New Zealanders …..”.

The concluding lines without fail of all his travelogues ended with this “HEAVY VERY VERY HEAVY PAIN in his chest” bleating ” when will indiaaAAAA become like this “.

Towards the end of his career gave up all such pain & wishful dreaming. Became editor of a religious magazine devoted to recording Sthala Puranams of various Hindu Temples & interviews with various Aacharyas.
After that I never heard him cry & hope & pray for indiaAAA’s prosperity. Mercifully.

Anonymous said...



There is only ONE IMPORTANT reason for which Manian does command my regard.
But again , that credit OUGHT to go to ALL those foreigners (non indian women) who he forcefully HUGGED.

Unwittingly WISDOM from non indian FOREIGN women did seep into Manian as he had only ONE rhetorical question to ask throughout the years he served as Editor of that GOOD TAMIL religious magazine.

No other Indian asks that very important question till date.I DID in some other blog of an NRI settled in America. NO , I DID NOT steal Manian’s thought/ question . Only this afternoon while going through Tavleen Singh’s article in niticentral (We deserve a world class railway system) SUDDENLY Manian’s plaintive cries loomed before me after so many decades.

The question is “WHY, WHY on Earth are these indians frenziedly building more & more Temples wherever they go & settle down abroad ? WHY AT ALL?
Why spend so much demanding donations & building new new Temples all over GODFORSAKEN india also ? When already existing Ancient Sacred Temples & Theertha Kshetrams are left uncared for & in disrepair ?

The tragedy being not a single reader approved of this pertinent question.

Today also kollywood’s lecherous actor called Arjun who slobbered all over Ranjita making her wear diaphanous outfits drenched in rains has joined RSS. And has built some HUGE hanuman temple in Tamil Nadu.I would not be surprised AT ALL if hindus christen him arjunananda & fall at his feet.

How could RSS admit him as a member??

Anonymous said...

" History is cruel but fun. Why kill it with pedestrian earnestness?"

ABSOLUTELY worth ingesting & ruminating over.

It is time indoobindudindoos come to terms with Mohammedan Invasion & move on.

Sophistry ought not to be promoted claiming Shah Jehan built Taj Mahal.However any solitary individual who has internalised Lord Krishna's:-

" There is nothing called personal glory / individual glory.
ALL GLORY belongs to GOD " alone is fit enough to rule over chaotic anarchic India.

I am also a Tamil Brahmin hailing from Varagur Thanjavur of Tamil Nadu.Brought up entirely in Calcutta & several districts of West Bengal as my late Father Sri.S.Janakiraman has worked in various Jute Mills of not just West Bengal but also of Andhra Pradesh.

I have narrated only a little about the conduct of Indians in various places.Mostly hindus.

I told my son with IRREVOCABLE CONVICTION & COURAGE:-

" Nowadays I have come to DETEST indians on the whole much more than Babur The Moghul is alleged to have according to our history books.

But please don't tell this to anyone. All of them would pillory me branding me (sic) "unpatriotic/traitor/deracinated/self hating stooge slave of AmericAAAAAAAAAAA".

Anonymous said...



Indians are really quixotic IDIOTS.

Once a well known writer (playwright) of Tamil Nadu while travelling with his friends in a car had to borrow a pen to note down some important numbers / details whatever. It so happened he saw that pen was “made in CHINA”.At once in a fit of jingoistic fervour he threw the very pen out of the car window & preened himself victoriously.

The other less popular writer who narrated this actually wrote all the co passengers in the car felt very happy & patriotic.

I thought it was downright SILLY. The war of 1962 was long past. And that writer who threw the pen & his wife -both are extremely talented NORMAL GOOD people. Particularly his wife is an extremely talented versatile actress.

Even now I wonder why did he throw that pen which belonged to someone else. Exactly like that other ASININE well intentioned IDIOT Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi with his swadeshi chant & charka spinning.

Sometimes I feel Laloo Yadav & M.K.Gandhi both have similarities in this fondness for anachronism.

As Cho Ramaswamy rightly pointed out , making IDIOT Laloo Yadav Railway Minister would make him yoke two bullocks to the engine & pull claiming this is how you make profits & cut down expenditure.



We DO need some WISE people around always to clear our mental cobwebs.It never happens by itself.

As I also did something very similar & it was my son who pointed out my utter stupidity.

While buying vegetables , he picked up some bellpeppers , chillies from Chile which made me scream ” aiyo Pinochet….don’t buy them “.

At once he said ” YOU are REally something amma…”.

Anonymous said...

EXTREMELY SOS !!!

In that RTO office in Coimbatore there were several rooms where all of us were shepherded one after the other. That is , one room on the first day from morning till noon or evening depending on the truancy and mood of the office bearer. The room was one indescribabaly dismal ill ventilated claustrophobic enclosure with a plastic pot atop a rickety stool containing NO WATER.

You are intelligent enough to supply the mandatory mosquitoes, flies , cockroaches , rats , bandicoots , cacophony, dirtiest smelly ONNNLYEE ONE toilet with a lock & its key MISSING.

The next day or any day or even after a fortnight maybe , depending on how politely the aam janata conducts himself he/she gets shepherded into room no 2.

For all of it your entire routine at home , college, office fronts & time management with ARRRRROGANT THIEVES & DACOITS , EXTORTIONISTS MAFIA in the guise of maids & auto drivers goes totally awry.

You dare not let adrenaline rush as art of living CRIMINAL SAVAGE filled with GUILE has his footsoldiers ever prowling foraging for such legitimately agitated ANGRY SANE people.

Anonymous said...

Continuing ,

One of those days I saw a CRPF man with a long rifle slung on his shoulder hailing from Bihar also standing in front of me. Very tall & polite. Knew ONLY HIndi. Not English, Tamil, Sanskrit, Vedanta, sudarshan kriya, seva, GDP , Nifty etc.

The tamil speaking MILITANT RTO coimbatore anti brahmin dravidian office bearer KNEW that CRPF knew no English. Hence threw his weight around needlessly barking his INANE questions & demands for bribery in broken faulty english.
When he saw that CRPF man flustered switched over to expletives in dmk styled semmozhitholkappiyamVULGAR language. ASKING him to get out. And not come anymore.

NOT a single person around bothered or protested.

Very slowly I followed him & asked in Hindi:-

" When you are carrying a gun & you are THE CRPF , why are you letting that unarmed useless thug walk all over you treating you so cavalierly".

He said despairingly:-

" Kya karoon".

I REPEAT with CONVICTION & ASSERT for the umpteenth time Sri.Dawood Ibrahim is NOT A TERRORIST AT ALL.

Anonymous said...

Equally Important.

The so called "handicapped" got handicapped OWING TO GOD's WILL. Period.If anuyone wants to dandle & serenade them FREE let them do so without bleeding & inconveniencing the non handicapped.

In that RTO office Coimbatore in one of the intemediary rooms a polio stricken OBESE GOONDA RASCAL THUG was the office bearer. Quota GOONDA. RESERVATION RASCAL.

He had a big ETHNIC swadeshi cottage industry made basket like those in five star hotels of India containing tandoori roti / butter nan / varieties of breads , croissants / muffins. Only difference being that quota reservation RASCAL had a CAVERNOUS basket into which ALL of us HAD to first deposit currency notes ( not one or two rupee notes ) but minimum 100 to sky is the limit.

FIRST that polio rascal truant would come very late. Then collect & stuff into his quota suitcase. Then toy with to rubber stamp or not to rubber stamp (Oh What a Hamletian dilemma tsk tsk tsk polio plunderers).

Here also these bad plunderers CON by telling " look how patriotic swadeshi we are, not keeping any DRESDEN CHINA dainty BRIBE BOWL but ethnic made by some poor ohsoindigent two bidis smoking women & men of Dharavi to Kalahandi".....biodegradable & recyclable into this vandemataramerabaratmahanmatripitribhimi.