State In Guise of a Merchant

Wednesday 11th September 2019 07:27 EDT

Dear Readers,

In his brand new book, The Anarchy: The Relentless Rise of the East India Company, historian of the British Empire and India, William Dalrymple accounts extensive notes on how the trading mammoth went on to conquer the whole of India and rule over the country for over 100 years. He wrote, “Isolated from their baffled neighbours, the English were forced to scour the globe for new markets and commercial openings further afield. This they did with piratical enthusiasm.” With utmost humility, I would like to state that the description is a gross understatement.

Founded in 1600, by John Watts, the East India Company (EIC), was given so much power by the British royals, that they rose to hold over half of the world's trade. It was also actively involved in politics too. “Trade” was just a front used by the British Empire to be able to gain power over Hindustan, which comprised of 560 princely states at the time. By the time it reached the height of its rule in India, in 1803, the EIC had Indian revenues of £13,464,561. The Company came to rule large areas of India, exercised military power and fought over 850 wars within India. It fought with the Sikhs, the Nawabs, the Marathas, and every kingdom in India that showed restrain, had only one alternative; face war. Even the internal wars the EIC managed to lose, they still won by concocting negotiations. The Indian Rebellion of 1857, or Sepoys Mutiny as it was called, was an uprising against the British Raj which had acquired almost whole of India by that time.

Much has been written about the EIC in history. Certain flattering things have been said, while some not so flattering opinions on the beast have been voiced. In either case, one can't help themselves from being in awe of the craftiness that resulted in the Company. Dalrymple speaks of the ways the EIC tore across India, when the truth of the matter is that the country was actually ruled upon by British monarchs straight from their throne in London. Holding the Company accountable for killing, mutilating, cheating, and slaving people of India is a disgusting act of passing the buck and it is about time this stops. Britain wants to wash its hands off everything it has done in the past, which is why, it will never accept its actions.

In March 1947, the Parliament convened in the House of Commons and the Indian Independence Act was put into effect. When the UK began gradually pulling out of India, all states were given the choice of either joining India, Pakistan or claiming themselves a separate, sovereign state. The act was viewed as a practical move and many welcomed it but in reality, this was yet another attempt at breaking the already dented country. It was expected that India won't be ONE political power. Independence would be a hollow dream and sovereignty merely a mirage. All princely states will fight amongst themselves for power. However, to the Crown's dismay, all but 2 states merged within one year, without a single firing of a bullet, thanks to Sardar Patel

The British Crown practiced a tough and very effective form of mercenary globalisation, one that changed the course of Hindustan for ever. The Golden Bird, as it was once called, India was a prosperous land of spices and other resources. By the time the colonisers were done with the place, it was no more than a scattered piece of land bent and left to be broken. The Britishers however, were better for it. The British East India Company ruled as a sovereign power on behalf of the British Crown for many years. After years of rule under the disguise of trade, it is evident that they got the better part of the deal. There has been no remorse on their end.

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