Thoughts on economics and liberty

Foolish Indians agitate mistakenly against Macaulay but forget the ACTUAL monster Lord Salisbury

Foolish Indians harp against the great whig, Macaulay, whom they've never read nor understood. They deserve their pathetic plight, these foolish Indians; whose scholarship is so poor that they imagine FALSEHOODS to be real.

But there were some real devils among the British rulers of India. Tory Lord Salisbury is one of them. He had a long association with India, starting with the India Office from 1866 (Secretary of State for India) before becoming Prime Minister of England for about 14 years.

His views on India were so negative and poisonous that he opposed ANY reform which could allow India to rise. This extract from Lord Salisbury's World: Conservative Environments in Late-Victorian Britain by Michael Bentley is important not to forget:

The language Salisbury deployed when discussing the future of India turned … showed conclusive impatience over any mutterings about greater participation or democracy. People like Northbrook failed to see, he would allege, that sweetness and light made no sense in a country that had been taken by force and must for the foreseeable future be forcibly restrained. For `no one believes in our good intentions' and no amount of rosewater would conceal the blood on the sword. `We are often told to secure ourselves by their affections — not by force — our great-grand-children may be privileged to do it — but not we.'

To his greatest blockhead in the Indian administration, Sir Philip Wodehouse, he used shorter temper and shorter words. `As to action the matter is simple: India is held by the sword: and its rulers must in all essentials be guided by the maxims which benefit the Government of the sword.' From this stark starting-point a number of deductions followed.

First, no hope should be given to the struggling millions of ryots that their lot could improve other than by emigration. If it were to be given, they would drift toward some form of `tenant right', like the Irish, and that would be a very bad thing.

Second, the bien pensants whose opinions shaped Indian administration should stop trying to give higher education to the natives. All it did was to turn them into literate, and therefore more effective, subversives — filling Calcutta with newspaper contributors, pundits and agitators. Primary education was fine, particularly if it could introduce `new ideas into a Hindoo's brain', which he rather doubted.

Third, the native princes ought to be kept sweet. Happily, they `attach so much attention to form that it is often possible to pay them in shadows for the substantial power of which we are increasingly compelled to deprive them'.

Fourth, Indians should pay taxes like everybody else and that meant widening the possible base of taxation by stimulating railway construction and other enterprises. Meanwhile they ought to pay at least for the water that the imperial authorities provided, whether or not they chose to use it. Salisbury could not understand why they might refuse. `It would be as reasonable to allow any one who chose to walk blindfold to abstain from paying the Lighting rate in London.'

Fifth, the Indians should be made to reduce their cotton duties for the sake of Lancashire industry, despite the declared intention of Northbrook in the opposite direction — `[t] he Viceroy is tiresome, of course'.  [Sanjeev: again, we see the liberals promoting liberty and education, with Tories blocking it]

Sixth, the intrusion of elective provisions in Indian administration by liberal hotheads at home should be resisted. When Dufferin tried this in his Indian reform bill in 1888, Salisbury reacted against the thought of Indian `lawyers, agents, newspaper-writers' getting themselves elected to positions of power — `the class among whom disaffection is the strongest'. Besides, the whole idea of representation was not, he said a couple of years later, `an Eastern idea' at all; `it does not fit Eastern traditions or Eastern minds'. Nor did it fit imperial objectives, as Salisbury defined them. [Sanjeev: the introduction of democracy into India came from British liberals, not from Tories]

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Sanjeev Sabhlok

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