H C Singh

How India won Independence and How India became closer to USA

Without help in any form from USA or other countries India won Independence in 1947 after a struggle of 100 years from 1847 when British East India Company Conquered Ranjit Singh’s Sikh Empire mainly through British conspiracy with the clandestine assistance of Dogras Dhyan Singh who was Prime Minister and his brother Gulab Singh. From 1847 to 57 British rule was in turmoil and there was uprising of 1857 what British called revolt and India considered First war of Independence. British succeeded by employing the entire then Indian allied troop headed by British Army with latest weapons, canons and trained artillery. After prolonged struggle Muslim rule of almost a thousand years ended and the last Mughal King Bahadur Shah though nominal, confined to Red Fort, was taken prisoner and extradited from India.

Next most historic event was Jallianwala Bagh massacre by the British General O’Dyer killing more than a thousand unarmed citizens, men, women and children who had gathered to listen to Indian leaders. This cruelty of British was turning point in India’s fight for independence. Even Gandhi who was till then pro British joined and ultimately led the independence movement though through non-violent and peaceful means. Leaders like Subhash Chader Bose wanted Independence by all means. Bose was elected Congress President but as Gandhi opposed it he resigned. He went to Germany and then during 2nd world war beginning to fight for India’s Independence through Indian National Army.

Had Allies not been supported by USA, Britain would have been conquered by Germany as France and all the European countries. Thus, British after 1945 war losses in men and material realized that it would not be possible to rule such a vast country like India. So Indian independence movement both of Gandhi and Subhash Bose succeeded and in 1947 India won Independence. This is in brief how India won Independence despite Churchill’s opposition which resulted in partition of India and creation of Pakistan. Nehru became Prime Minister of India and Sardar Patel Home Minister. Gandhi who had become Mahatma opposed partition of India and in view of partition riots initiated by Pakistan under Jinnah right from August 47. Thus Mahatma Gandhi started fast on 15th August 1947 instead of celebrating independence of India, by prolonged struggle spread over 100 years. He was ready to go to Pakistan for which he paid with his life.

During Nehru era from 1947 to 1964 and for some years thereafter India had close relations with USSR and Nehru followed Socialist pattern of Society and controlled economy almost banning private enterprise. This policy became injurious to India’s growth and economy as it became more of inspector rule and hub of corruption all over. India’s GDP during this period of State control of economy remained static. It is India’s defeat in 1962 against Chinese aggression in North East of India that Nehru woke up to the horrors of following a communist USSR and approached USA for assistance, which reluctantly USA gave though with conditions. Here after era a mixed economy started. After Nehru’s demise in 1964 because of the shock of defeat of 1962. Hereafter relations with capitalist countries particularly USA started developing fast. This is how communist influence declined and American cooperation and influence increased since 1964 onward.

Earlier US President Clinton had visited India. It too, was a remarkable visit as he was very popular at home and abroad especially in India. But President Obama’s visit in November 2010 after commonwealth games was very significant as well as memorable. He promised, among other economic, social and agricultural cooperation that India deserves to be permanent member of UN Security Council, like USA. UK, France, Germany and China. For this announcement he got tremendous applause both from the government and people of India. Here are some extracts and valiant points from his speeches and agreements.

President Obama’s India’s visit along with his wife to India was historic in many respects. In one of his speeches he welcomed India’s rise in comity of nations as a great and fast growing democratic country. He said ‘ I believe that in one interconnected world increased commerce between the connected states and India can be and will be a win-win proposition for both nations ‘There was business and entrepreneurship conference between more than 100 US businessmen that accompanied Obama and India’s top businessmen in equal number to discuss and finalize trade agreements between two countries.

There was agreement between Reliance Power and US Exim Bank to provide about 5 billion US dollars in financial support for development of up to 8000 mw of gas powered electricity generating units and in addition up to 900 mw solar and wind renewable energy facilities. Spice jet of India and Boeing of USA concluded an agreement for the sale of 30 B 737-800 aircrafts for the commercial use by Spice jet. In the sphere of Railway improvement in India, there was agreement to manufacture and supply 1000 diesel locomotive in 10 years, about 100 such locomotives every year. This will make Indian Railways more efficient and modern. To help India provide houses for the poor, an agreement for production of equipment and manufacture of pre fabricated house has been reached. There are many other MOU’S and agreements, details of which cannot be given in this brief survey. Support of USA to India is vital as India is no more dependent on Russia or any other country for its development and rise as a big power in all spheres in another 10 to 20 years.

December 18, 2010 Posted by | India, Mahatma Gandhi in South Africa, Political Commentary, USA | , , , , | 1 Comment

Defeat Of Churchill And Victory Of India

  In a recent book written by Arthur Herman ‘Churchill and Gandhi’, there are many aspects which reveal both Gandhi’s ideology and Churchill’s anti-Indian views because Gandhi wanted and worked for India’s independence while Churchill was on the other extreme to deny India independence by all means. Gandhi felt that independence was India’s birth right while Churchill worked hard in and out of Parliament to put obstacles in the way of India’s Freedom Movement. Churchill was convinced that if India won freedom “sun will set on British Empire” and this is what happened. Here are some enlightening facts.

Winston Churchill who was Prime Minister of UK during Second World War and remained so till the end of war was considered virtually by all the people of UK as savior of England as well as of British Empire. Accordingly after end of war, Churchill vehemently opposed India’s independence saying “I have not become His Majesty’s First Minister to preside over liquidation of Empire. Churchill thus considered, as his and British empires enemies all those Indians who were fighting for independence whether by Gandhi’s non violence or by taking up arms against the British like Subhash Bose of Indian National Army(INA). Accordingly when after the war PM Attlee of Labor Party tried to negotiate for independence of India, though at that time as a Dominion, Churchill started through Jinnaha, to create problems for unity of India and even went so far as to encourage Jinnaha to demand a separate state for Muslims (Pakistan) with all the Muslim majority provinces including whole of Punjab and entire Bengal.

Churchill was convinced that if India gains independence, it will herald end of British Empire all over the world. Therefore Churchill and Gandhi were irreconcilable opponents throughout, particularly after 1919 Jallianwala Bagh massacre.

It is best to know how Winston Churchill grew up. Winston’s father, Randolf and his mother ignored him even during his illness. Later Churchill said about his father, “He treated me as if I had been a fool: barked at me whenever I questioned him… He wouldn’t listen to me or consider anything I said”. This type of bringing up made Winston, like his father, Lord Randolf Churchill who was Secretary of State for India in 1885.So Winston became more self-centered and aggressive than his father. Even at the young age of twelve Winston was called by his teacher: “The naughtiest little boy in the world”.

From 1920 to 1936-37 Churchill considered Gandhi a “fakir” and “fanatic”, a threat to British rule in India. He became a threat to everything Churchill believed in and in the end Churchill would fight him with everything he had. (Arthur Herman).

As war clouds gathered in 37-38, Churchill feared Axis between Germany and Japan. He got worried about Japan’s military effort in the East just as that of Germany against England and rest of Europe except Italy. Thus Churchill to keep India on British side had couple of dinner talks with G D Birla in July 1937 to apprise him of Japan’s dangerous intentions about India. Churchill discussed with Birla for two hours. “Well a big experiment has begun” Churchill asserted meaning the new Indian constitution (1935 Act).

For the first time because of danger of imminent war by Germany, Churchill “swore” that he had not said a word against India Act since the King had signed it. Churchill even said that viceroy of India had invited me to visit India “I will go” if Mr. Gandhi also desires it. He even told Birla that he had great respect for Gandhi. The statement of Churchill was in complete contrast to what he said and meant for the last 20 years about Gandhi. Thus when in September 1938 Churchill heard PM Chamberalin going to meet Hitler at Munich to sign an agreement with Hitler,Churchill lost control and said: “This is end of British Empire” The agreement was duly signed.

Gandhi said “Peace has been preserved but at he cost of honour”. But 41 year old Subhash Bose announced “The time has come, for Indians to take advantage of it”.

But in mid March just six months after the signing of agreement, Hitler’s army invaded Czech capital. All England wanted Churchill to be at helm to lead Britain in war against Hitler. Accordingly at first Churchill was included in the Cabinet. In May 1940 he “pushed the door of Downing street” and was PM. Chamberlein and many had preferred Holifax to be PM but Holifax realized Churchill potential on the war and said “I think Winston is better choice”. There were shouts against Chamberalin and demand to resign, “Go, in gods name go”. This is how Churchill became PM.

During Second World War India decided to fight for India’s independence through mass satyagraha i.e. agitations and civil disobedience. Viceroy Linlithgo, unlike Churchill, wanted some compromise, some promise of independence after war. Gandhi met Linlithgo before launching the mass agitation and told the viceroy “He would encourage every Indian to refuse to support the war effort”.

The fall of Singapore, virtually without a fight by British officers and Indian Army heralded the end of British Empire in India and South East Asia. Fall of Singapore was first and greatest shock to Churchill as PM as Japanese had sunk both the ships ‘Prince of Wales’ and ‘Rapulse’. Next shock was for Churchill and his war cabinet during the headlong flight from Burma. “He got worried whether Indians will help Britain in their war effort. Even more frightening possibility was that Indians would rise up against British workers and join the Japanese. One man was already working to make that happen ‘Subhash Chandra Bose’ Head of INA in Singapore “worshiped Bose as God”.

Bose spoke the language of Indian manhood and heroic self confidence…..like Churchill, Bose was committed to waging war to the hilt to win that struggle (independence for India) Bose famous and inspiring words became a maxim “Give me blood and I will give you independence”.

India, wrote Leo Amery who was Secretary to State for India during Second World War, “when the conflict between Indian nationalism reached climax particularly in 1942. Churchill had “wholly uncontrollable complex” Churchill’s outburst were sometimes so intemperate that Amery wondered in his diary if ‘on the subject of India he (Churchill) is really quote sane”.

Though Churchill one of the greatest British politicians and Prime Minister, he was also a great British writer on Political History and won Noble Prize, but he was utter failure so far his hatred for Gandhi, India and Indian Independence was concerned. Despite Churchill’s all efforts like encouraging and helping Jinnaha and to an extent Mountbatten, though at cost million of lives in partition riots India won Independence on 15th August 1947. It was a day of India’s victory and Churchill’s personal defeat.

March 10, 2010 Posted by | Achievers, India, Indian History, Mahatma Gandhi in South Africa, Political Commentary | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Some Little Known Facts about Jallianwala Massacre

  Very few people in India, perhaps none abroad, know as to why General Dyer ordered massacre of innocent men women and children on April 13 1919, the Baisakhi day. Here are some important little known or unknown facts which resulted in the massacre of more than 500 and serious bullet injuries to more than 1500, mostly citizens of Amritsar who had gathered there to listen to Gandhi and other leaders against what Gandhi called “Devilish” piece of legislation ie. two Bills under Rowlett Act.

 Arthur Herman, the author of Book “Gandhi and Churchill, describes the event before massacre of hundreds of innocent Indians gathered in Jallianwala Bagh as under:

‘ Winston Churchill told the House of Commons , “Never has there been a time when people (Indians) were more disposed to turn to courses of violence or show such scant respect for law and custom , tradition and procedure.” To ally the fears of men like Churchill Indian government officials decided to act.’

In February 1919, as the Defense of India Act was to expire six months after the war; two bills by Sydney Rowlett, reached the Legislative Council in Delhi; “an outery began. Even with every Indian member (of legislative council) voting against it the bills were passed in March and became law. The two bills contained two controversial provisions. One allowed judges to convict suspected terrorist or subversives without a Jury, the other sanctioned interning those same suspects without trial.”

Gandhi thought by supporting British war effort India would get independence (Swaraj) or at least Home rule. So Gandhi had enthusiastically supported the British Empire in their war against Germany. He even went so far as to recruit 20 able-bodied persons from each village in Gujarat and walked for hundreds of miles. At the end he could recruit only forty instead of more than a thousand. He justified his war effort to the annoyance of his close associate (Sardar) Patel, who refused to be a party to that effort of Gandhi, due to twist in his philosophy of Ahimsa- Annie Besant sarcastically called Gandhi “Recruiting sergeant” of British Empire. Even many villagers felt ashamed of their Gandhi’s support to British and left his meetings or showed their back.

Gandhi justified his pro British stand. Gandhi went so far as to say “Of all my activities I regard this (recruitment) as the most difficult and the most important.”

It is surprising that there is no mention of Gandhi being pro-British upto 1919 in the ‘Advanced History of India’ by Dr R C Majumdar and others, and also Gandhi going to many villages to recruit as soldiers for British-Indian Army and the sarcastic remark of Annie Besant, that Gandhi was “Recruiting Sergeant” for the British.

It is noteworthy that Gandhi’s pro-British views in 1914 to 1919 were in absolute contrast to Annie Besant’s views…. Annie Besant a British citizen who came to India and after seeing extreme poverty in villages and the conditions of vast majority of Indians, the repressive imperialist rule by the same British who were just and democratic in their own country, got so perturbed that she started ‘Home Rule India’ party. She wanted British to concede independence to India. She said “The moment of England’s difficulty is the moment of India’s opportunity.” But Gandhi differed with her and wanted India to support British war effort “unconditionally, spiritually and physically.” Lokmanya Tilak was released from jail after the 1st world war started in 1914. Tilak wanted like many other Indians British to concede ‘Home Rule’ to India, if not independence, just now. He therefore joined Annie Besant’s Party. As a result within one year, Annie Besant’s ‘Home Rule League’ had more than 60,000 full time members while “Indian National Congress had only 20,000 members.”

However after the end of war with Germany, British Government and in particular imperialist Winston Churchill went back from their promise of conceding Home Rule to Indians. This made Indian National Congress furious and Gandhi, too, felt betrayed by British. So he joined the independence movement of Congress and was going to address congress sponsored meeting at Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar, just, adjoining the Golden Temple the holiest Sikh Gurdwara. But on way Gandhi was taken out of train before reaching Amritsar, arrested and taken to Bombay. Punjab Government, as well as the British Government of Delhi kept this and Jallianwala massacre and meeting as top secret and did not let anyone know for couple of months.

In brief here is sequence of Jallianwala Bagh Massacre on 13th April 1919: Dyer entered (Amritsar) city central with a convoy of Armoured cars, his troops following. With him was the Amritsar town “crier.” He was shouting Dyers order in Hindi and Punjabi, English and Urdu. “On reaching his temporary headquarters, he learnt that a demonstration was under way in Jallianwala Bagh. He became furious, rather lost balance, at the “deliberate violation” of his order and immediately marched with “ninety Baluchis and Gurkhas towards Jallianwala Bagh where thousands of citizens had gathered to protest against the ‘devilish’ provisions of Rowlett Act. With Dyer were only four British, two officers and two security guards. ‘Otherwise there were no white soldiers at all.’

Arthur Herman describes the order of Dyer as under:

“Dyer barked the order to open fire. For ten minutes Dyer encouraged his soldiers to keep shooting unless bodies carpeted the ground.” Dyer and his troops had marched off after completing the massacre in Jallianwala Bagh leaving about a thousand dead and more than 2000 wounded. “Cries of pain and moans rose to the roof tops, bodies lined the entire wall around the Bagh. In many places the eyewitnesses said, they were ten feet deep.”

Where an English woman had been pulled from her bicycle, “Dyer ordered every citizen of Amritsar to ‘crawl on all fours”. He also set up a whipping post where any ‘native’ who refused to crawl was to be flogged.

‘Gandhi did not hear of this massacre and cruelty at Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar ‘until June’. For almost two months there was complete clampdown. But as the news of worst ever British tyranny trickled there were unceasing protests and cries all over India.

Jallianwala Bagh massacre united all Indians against British, for the first time. Rabindra Nath Tagore returned his knighthood in protest, Gandhi returned his Kaisar-e Hind medal that was awarded for his pro-British services in South Africa. Jinnaha relinquished his membership of imperial legislature. Motilal Nehru collected his British furniture, suits and ties and made bonfire in his home garden and started wearing hand span Khadi clothes.

“The evidence was harrowing. Eyewitnesses who had watched the Jallianwala Bagh killings from the rooftops had seen “blood pouring in profusion…even those who were lying down were shot….Some had their head cut open, others had eyes shot and nose, chest, arms or legs shattered.” Some witnesses had sat all night in the Bagh with dying husbands and brothers. Others remembered the bodies of those who had been shot, but managed to escape, being left in the street for dead-including the bodies of small children.”

 “At one point an entire wedding party had been flogged for failing to follow the crawling order.”

 The pain and cries because of more than a thousand deaths in Amritsar “united Indians as never before and after”. More than any other events “Amritsar and its aftermath solidified national support for Indian independence.

February 26, 2010 Posted by | Achievers, Biography, India, Indian History, Mahatma Gandhi in South Africa, Political Commentary, Politics, Punjabi, World, World History | , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Gandhi in South Africa- Success, Failure and Firmness

 Gandhi had led agitation against registration of Indians who were required to be finger printed. Many were arrested including Gandhi for reentering Transval without registration. Gandhi had talks with General Smuts, Transval’s colonial secretary. After negotiations Gandhi, in exchange of release of all Indians agreed to the “condition” of finger printing to which earlier Gandhi had called “Block Act” that led to agitation by all Indians. This made many Indians furious for Gandhi’s surrender before General Smuts. Here is the violent reaction of some Indians to Gandhi’s surrender as detailed in book ‘Gandhi and Churchill’ by Arthur Herman (page 157)

“On Feb 10, 1908, Gandhi took a walk to the Johannesburg registration office in order to be the first to be voluntarily finger printed and registered as a resident Asian.” A man named Mir Alam stopped Gandhi as he had been active in Satyagraha Campaign that was led by Gandhi himself. “Where are you going?” he asked Gandhi in a cold tone, “I am going to take out a registration certificate” Gandhi replied and offered to take Alam with him. Instead Alam struck him across the face. Gandhi went sprawling, Sheing open his face on the sharp rock on the ground. Alam started kicking him and was joined by three or four others, cursing and shouting. Finally Gandhi’s friends managed to push them away, carried him to nearby shop and called for a doctor. “On March 5 he was again assaulted in a mass meeting in Durban….” The police had to escort Gandhi to safety” and much booing and hissing.

Young Gandhi who had studied Law in England was not able to defend his first case in an Indian court in fact he could not utter a word and walked out of court in agony. Then he left for South Africa when he helped many Indian businessmen in local courts. But finally where he led an agitation against what came to be called ‘Block Act’ he miserably failed, was beaten and humiliated. But young Gandhi did not loose heart, he stuck to his mission of getting justice for India from arrogant British imperialists. He had seen in England how the common British citizen was cared by law and justice but in contrast how, in India and to perpetuate their imperial rule the very Britishers became arrogant rulers without a bit of Western culture and justice that he had witnessed in England.

Before leaving for India, after the failure of Gandhi inspired and led agitation, he did not regret, as many Indians in South Africa expected. Gandhi was firm in his principles and philosophy of Ahimsa. All Gandhi could cling to was the most cherished faith as he put it “that all activity pursued with a pure heart is bound to bear fruit, whether or not such fruit is visible to us. Because of this philosophy of being of pure heart in whatever one does, Gandhi in due course, after leading Indian independence movement, through Ahimsa i.e. non violence, became to be known as Mahatma Gandhi.

February 17, 2010 Posted by | Biography, Indian History, Mahatma Gandhi in South Africa, Political Commentary, Punjabi | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment