British Conquest of India - Unwritten History - Part I.

I was reading a book titled '1857'.

Every Indian would know the significance of the year.

It was a detailed presentation of what transpired that year over a period of six to seven months and how the Indian princes and princesses, literally committed harakiri by fighting not in unison. 

But what it reinforced was my understanding of the Indian History that the fall of India was not due to technological superiority as many historians would portray nor is it due to any grand strategy that the British had.

History as we read in our books is mostly wars, kings and generals. Unfortunately, history is made not by any of them but by the social circumstances that are in vogue then. These social changes happen gradually over decades; sometimes over centuries and millenniums. Unseen and unsung. These changes bring about wars, kings and generals who are noted in history as the change makers. But in reality, they are the outcome of these social changes.

British came to India to trade as we all know. But then, what do you mean by trade? Buy and Sell. They needed steel from India, textiles from India, copper from India, spices from India. What did they have to sell? Nothing; plain nothing.

Swords with Ceremonial Scabbards and Canons made in India were sold across the world. India had better technology than the rest of the world. How could they have defeated India, technologically?

Misleading historical statements!

What did the British sell in India? They did sell something in India that they brought with them. And what was that?

In order to understand what that was, we need to take a look at the world history.

There is almost no documentation except a few here and there which passingly talk about what they sold in India. Of course, British themselves hide it because it is a shame they would like to run away from. But the Chinese fought the British when they tried selling it in China. Chinese Emperor wrote letters after letters about this to the British monarch, asking him, will he allow such trading in his country, what these Britishers and the Europeans are doing across the world, particularly, in China?

And they were selling Opium. Britishers were primarily, drug peddlers. The East India Company declares in its trading commodities list the following items in England, since it was a joint stock company: "cotton, silk, indigo dye, salt, saltpetre, tea and opium". Every one of them was cultivated, produced and exported out of India except Opium in the initial days. The Company bought these items in India and sold Opium here. After conquest of India, Opium was also extensively cultivated in India, particularly, Afganisatan, to be sold both inland by the British and exported to China, Indonesia and the rest of the world.

British India was the largest producer of Opium in the world in those days and Britain made its riches out of drug trade!

What has this got to do with 1857?

The book talks of opium traders and how easily they moved around the country. Most of the inns built in those days were called opium inns and were primarily made for Opium traders across the country!

That shows what could happen to a country when the government sells drugs and intoxicating commodities. Today, state governments have started selling intoxicating drinks so that people do not question them. As did the British!

More in my next part.


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