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NYT - Pankaj Mishra - The Malign Incompetence of the British Ruling Class

Describing Britain's calamitous exit from its Indian empire in 1947, the novelist Paul Scott wrote that in India the British "came to the end of themselves as they were" -- that is, to the end of their exalted idea about themselves. Scott was among those shocked by how hastily and ruthlessly the British, who had ruled India for more than a century, condemned it to fragmentation and anarchy; how Louis Mountbatten, accurately described by the right-wing historian Andrew Roberts as a "mendacious, intellectually limited hustler," came to preside, as the last British viceroy of India, over the destiny of some 400 million people.

Britain's rupture with the European Union is proving to be another act of moral dereliction by the country's rulers. The Brexiteers, pursuing a fantasy of imperial-era strength and self-sufficiency, have repeatedly revealed their hubris, mulishness and ineptitude over the past two years. Though originally a "Remainer," Prime Minister Theresa May has matched their arrogant obduracy, imposing a patently unworkable timetable of two years on Brexit and laying down red lines that undermined negotiations with Brussels and doomed her deal to resoundingly bipartisan rejection this week in Parliament.

Such a pattern of egotistic and destructive behavior by the British elite flabbergasts many people today. But it was already manifest seven decades ago during Britain's rash exit from India.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Jan 20th, 2019 at 01:11:24 PM EST
Vinay Lal, History of British India, Lec03 (transcript -- ed.)
... We will seek to understand how the Europeans use the template of European history to define and construct India and how and with what consequences. And when I say, "the template of European history," What do I mean? By way of illustration, I've given this kind of illustration before and now I'm using a different language, because our endeavor will always be to try to explain the same thing using different languages. Some people understand it better through certain concepts than others. So when I say, "the template of European history", when the Europeans come to India, they assume that religious conflict is endemic in India, too. Why do they make that assumption? Because it was endemic in their society. I mean, remember the crusades. Remember the Reformation, the Counter-Reformation, the brutal wars over religion that are fought in Europe. They assumed that similarly such religious conflict has in fact shaped the Indian past. And that's what it means to use the template of their history to try to understand India. ...
Africa, North America, Caribbean or "West Indies", China, "East Asia", "Indonesia," the "Middle-East," and "Pacific Islanders"

Happy Black History Y4 D20

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Sun Jan 20th, 2019 at 07:05:22 PM EST
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