Shashi Tharoor on what the British did to India | Antidote Festival at Sydney Opera House

Shashi Tharoor on what the British did to India | Antidote Festival at Sydney Opera House

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high school you went to high school in an education system that was set up by the British you you you you were educated in English you're a man who rose to be un under-secretary-general I mean these are advantage that that might not have been or almost certainly wouldn't have been possible without the British British Empire are you ignoring that that hit that historical reality you know it's a very good question because in fact the educational system in India that theme so elite subscribes to is very much indeed a legacy of the colonial era with appropriate
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modifications so we do study Indian history from a somewhat more nationalist perspective that I'm sure our ancestors did when the British were teaching it but by and large a lot of the in fact I took examinations that were nominally called the Indian school certificate but when I took them the examination answer papers were shipped off to Cambridge literally by flipper where to wait three months for somebody in Cambridge to correct them grade them and send them back I mean the system was very much though in fact the schools I went to
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happen to be missionary schools Jesuits who were not English I mean they were Belgian and French and Spanish and God knows what else and Indian too but not not too many English Jesuits nonetheless system the system came from that and I've talked about it in the book that one of the more insidious challenges of colonialism is the extent to which our minds are colonized as well and that colonization of a mind takes some growing out of for us for some of us
01:33
well never really grows out of it I mean I I do know that there are the many who can't help as it were their identification with things Anglophone an Anglophile because that's really what they were schooled to appreciate i have argued in the book for example that my fondness for what else and cricket which you were which you mentioned actually is despite in many ways the fact that they have english origins of course i am even more fond to cricket now that we regularly beat english as it but it's obviously an Indian guy
02:05
accidentally discovered by the British ah yeah that's a great line by socio these collages nothing that that it's actually an Indian game accidentally discovered by the British I mean clearly you know our climate is far more suitable to cricket than theirs for one but anyway where were we that's okay wait wait yes speed you with us for example obviously the delights who would ask are the delights that are imparted to you by your appreciation of the English language what it does with stylistic humor plotting and so on and
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so forth but the interesting thing is precisely because of that you don't actually have to have any allegiance to Britain as long as you know that you don't need you don't need that the passport is the English language but you don't need a British visa to get them you can sit in in there surrounded by a very different world from that which he describes and enjoy the escapism that his writing represents and so it goes but I realized that this is self-interested pleading because obviously I am a product of the system
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as you know as you rightly point out and and I suppose one of the great problems in history is is is is you can't establish the counterfactual it's impossible to know what India might look like had the British not been there can I can I take you to those more structural things the fact that India speaks the world language the fact that that India has a centralized unitary government that it is a democracy how much has India's why in the world been made easier by those legacies I think only contester know there's no question
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that some of this has been useful to us and the English language certainly but I want to stress and I think you alluded to the scene in your introduction that all the things that apologists for Empire like to claim credit for the English language parliamentary democracy the rule of law the railways you know they all of the classic clichés and for that matter even tea every single one of these things was brought in by the British to advance their control of
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India to enhance their profits and serve their interests not one was intended principally to benefit Indians and the fact that when they left they couldn't take this with them and we were able then to turn them around to purposes the original people who introduced them would never have intended is something that I think is more to the credit of Indian nationalists than to the Englishman I'm happy to go through the examples you mentioned you take language for example the British had no intention of imparting education to the masses of
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Indians a made it very clear there weren't going to spend the money doing that and indeed as latest 1930 the American historian will durant observed that the entire budgets of the british for education in india from the nursery level to the highest university levels amounted to less than half the high school budget of the state of new york and that was for the entire country of india with at that point ten times as many people as a state of new york the fact is that the british were not interested in investing in education and even the English language was brought in
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just to educate a narrow class of sort of interpreters between the governors and the governed people who would help the British by constituting a buffer between them and the dirty masses in their room and that was very much the attitude Macaulay actually said this in his notorious minute on on education anyway he said that we need to create a class of Indians Indian and skin and color but English in opinions and tastes and morals and an intellect that was his exactly those ways exact words and it
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was to serve their purposes now of course Indians then use English to open up another world of ideas often very radical and critical ideas and ideas that eventually made English a language of Indian nationalism our first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru wrote his classic the discovery of India in English so an Indian nationalist discovered India in English as it were but that was our if you like change of what the British had intended to do democracy and you mentioned political unity political unity is the one that
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the British point toward pride that they came into a bunch of warring principalities and they made a country out of it not so for 2,000 years before the British ever set foot on India there had been a very clear sense of a common civilization unity and an aspiration on the part of monarchs to consolidate that territorially now obviously they couldn't I mean we had two people who came very close there was the Mauryan Empire Shaka and and Chandragupta who control about 90 percent of the
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subcontinent including Afghanistan and then the Mughals particularly we've not burned our exam they control about 95 percent of the subcontinent and that was that was the the extreme but the the fact that everyone tried to do it aspire to do it and failed in trying shows that if the British hadn't succeeded somebody else around the same time with the advantages of modern communications and so on would have so political unity was not a British gift democracy had to be prized from the reluctant grasp of the British in fact the history of the
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advent of democracy in India as I demonstrate in the book is actually littered with the broken promises of English rulers who keep promising responsible self-government and then sort of yanking it away just when the time came for them to redeem their pledge and the example after example of this until finally and that sort of more or less democratic system I see more or less cure the franchise was still limited by literacy and populations it was not a majority of the people but
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still a franchise a vote was offered to Indians properly for the first time in in 1937 before that they'd been elections but for example in the nineteen twenties only one out of every 250 Indians at the boat hardly a training ground for democracy and and and even then they did not allow people to vote for a national government the national government was still the British headed by the Viceroy it was only provincial governments and Indians were allowed to form up to the second world war so given all of that it's very difficult to point them as I say the
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British did a great deal to undermine Indian unity when the Indian National Congress was established in 1885 by well-meaning Scotsman with various Indian supporters it was truly a body the British could have easily co-opted it was a bunch of largely Anglophile lawyers who wrote decorous petitions and held very civilized meetings in which they asked the English to give them the rights of Englishmen but the British so even this is a threat so far from welcoming it as a first step towards responsible self-government for
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Indians what the British did instead was trying undermine the Congress to the extent of helping encourage the setting up of a rival body twenty years later the Muslim League which was set up explicitly on sectarian lines but the British prodding them to say look these people will only represent the interests of the Hindu majority now you look at their first twenty presidents and they're Christians Muslims Parsees as well as Hindus and is even an Irish woman an Irish Catholic Annie Besant
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three of the theosophist movement say it was a very open very inclusive body but the British had no intention of cooperating with it had no intention of taking a serious and these are not retrospective judgements I've quoted for example a Sunday Times journalist from London will travel in India in 1907 1908 Henry Nevin 'some who had tended meetings of the Congress met British official officialdom and recorded his horror at the way in which the British were denying fair due process and fair
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rights to Indians so all this was apparent at the time and yet the British dragged it out as long as they could so it's a bit rich as I've said at Oxford too you know arrests maim imprison torture deny rights to our people for 200 years and then celebrate the fact that their democratic at the end of it let's talk food you one of the one of the great lines is the book is there's never been a famine in a democracy with a Free Press
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one of the striking things that comes out of this book is the is the widespread starvation that occurs in India during the first half of the 20th century can you can you talk about the famines and and and what absolutely it really was it was it was a horror show what the British didn't have any Irish people in the audience it will resonate with them because they did the same thing in Ireland the British had a compound of attitudes at the time that they were ruling India the first was that one must not give charity because it
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his idleness ii was the the rather callous notion but they justified it in Adam Smithian terms that the free market must prevail so if there is a famine and the British government buys the only grain available to ship it off to London for the bread baskets of of the East End but the the poor people left in India who are starving for food can't afford to buy it because the Brits have driven the price up well those are the rules in the free market it's tough but that's the way it's going to be fed was a Malthusian principle that if the land
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cannot sustain the population that's trying to live off it while people must die so so they did and the final thing of course was Victorian fiscal prudence thou shalt not spend money that was not budgeted for so with all of us put together they refused to help people in famines which was exactly the opposite of the Indian experience in the past where whenever there was a drought whenever there was a failure of a harvest the rich people there a stock recei the local kings and princes and so on all came in to help people and and there are no recorded instances of people just
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dying of famines until the British came along in fact there are actually accounts by British observers in the late 18th century during the first devastating British made famine in Bengal which wiped out 1/3 of the entire population saying that in the nearby states still ruled by Indians because Britain hadn't conquered all of India yet people were being helped and here in British India they were not being helped as a matter of policy now in Ireland they did the same thing which led to the great potato blight of 1841 and they and the the deaths of people but the Irish
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at least had the option of jumping onto boats and sailing off to America we didn't have that option so we stayed in India and died and and the worst example that that one can come to his Winston Churchill in the Second World War Winston Churchill personally took decisions to allow people to die while his government acquired all the grain in Bengal that they could get not to feed the war effort as well as was wrongly suggested but to enhance buffer stocks reserve stocks in the event of a likely
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future invasion of Greece and Yugoslavia and Australian ships were docking at the port Calcutta leaden with wheat and Churchill was personally deciding either he or his odious paymaster general or chervil acting on his instructions to not allow those ships to to disembark their cargo but to continue to sail on to Europe when officials in India wrote to him saying people are dying they're literally dying on the streets he said well I hate Indians there are beastly people with a beastly religion it's all
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their fault anyway for breeding like rabbits these are all exact quotes verbatim and when one particular memo reached the prime minister's desk about the unconscionable number of deaths it ended up being 4.3 million all Churchill could bring himself to do was to write in the margin somewhat peevishly why hasn't Gandhi died yet now this is the man whom the British expect us to hail as an apostle of freedom and democracy he has as much blood on his hands as the worst genocidal dictators of the 20th century [Applause]
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so then remedy we're here at the antidote festival what is the antidote to a to a historical wrong as you've laid out here and the the Oxford Union debate was on the subject of reparations is it is it fiscal is it political is it is that an apology where do where do we go from here well you know I got saddled with this reparations thing cuz that was a topic the Oxford Union students chose been and the fact is that even in that debate I said that you can't really quantify the value of the damage done by
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the bridge how do you put a price on these 35 million Indians who died totally unnecessary deaths and those feminists how do you measure the the the lives and livelihoods of the weavers whose thumbs were chopped off so they couldn't weave again when their looms were smashed in case the looms were rebuilt they no longer could ply their craft how could you measure all of this and the financial drainage has been calculated in fact an Englishman called William dig me in 1901 published a 900-page book which I have on my laptop in which he worked out down to the last
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penny and shilling how much the British had each year repatriated to England from India but I mean it was after that that India spent the equivalent of 80 billion pounds sterling and supporting the First World War and so on so those numbers of long since been overtaken so I don't want to go the financial route in that debate I said even a symbolic one pound a year for the next 200 years will do it because the larger point is not financed but reparations but atonement a bigger part is not reparations but atonement why do
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I say that because reparations any sum of money that would be payable would not be credible and any sum that would be credible that would take into account all this damage we're not available so why go that down go down that route atonement however is necessary I think all sinners need to atone and Mahatma Gandhi in fact is the one who who who wrote to a Viceroy that he considers British rule India to be a sin and for him that was a very strong word because as sins but at the same time he had the very Hindu notion that you must hate the
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sin and not the sinner so once the sin was over once the Union Jack had come there was no more any rancor towards the sinner because he was no longer a sinner however what about the past sins and my answer is first of all well the three things I'd like to suggest to the British and indeed have been suggesting to the British the first is I think they should teach unvarnished colonial history in their schools there's this very convenient historical amnesia and Britain today as a result of which what's happening is
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that you can do an a-level in history in Britain today without learning a line of colonial history most people don't know what the British did to the extent that you gov which is a poll that often looks at young people's views and written every year for the last years I've quoted one but there's another poll which is even worse showing that a significant proportion of young English people actually are proud of the Empire and would love to have it back they have no idea what they're proud of so they've got to be taught that's one thing linked
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to that I would say is is there needs to be more by way of memorials and museums London is just absolutely covered with museums of various sorts many of which are full of the products of theft from colonies they're sort of jour Bazaar for the Indians of the audience there haha masquerading as Museum brother but having said that you know you can you can even find an Imperial War Museum in Britain but you can't find an imperial museum a colonialism museum there's no
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place for children tourists visitors to go to and see for themselves the whole picture what was done by the British in their foreign rule and the third thing nobody there's even a statue to the animals that aided the war effort in relief right in the heart of London I've driven past it and there is no statute to the 1.3 million Indians who gave of their own and won in an improbable number of Victoria Crosses and so on in the First World War and the 1.7 million Indians who fought in the Second World War no statue to them the animals
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however are commemorated the British really have to recognize the debt that they owe finally you mentioned an apology to me that is important and I've got the perfect opportunity for it looming right now on the twin on the 13th of April 2000 and 19 will be the centenary of what I consider the single worst atrocity of the British Empire the jelly umbrella bog Massacre the Amritsar Massacre some people call it not because of the numbers of people killed the British actually killed a hundred thousand people in Delhi alone in putting down
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the revolt of 1857 but rather because of everything that accompanied it from giving two minutes to explain it came at the end of the first world war which even Mahatma Gandhi had supported the Indian war effort and Indians had sent money treasure taxes which they could not afford pack animals rations clothing uniforms carts even rail lines ripped out of the ground to aid the war effort in the hope that at the end of all of this there would be the grunt of what the British had promised to the white Commonwealth responsible self-government
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it never came they betrayed the promise and not only to be betrayed but but they actually reposed wartime IRRI prohibitions on freedom of speech freedom of assembly freedom of the press and so on immediately protests broke out saying this is simply not what we were promised and the British in effect declared martial law they didn't use the phrase but they send generals out to the various provinces to put down the unrest in Amritsar the second largest town Punjab we had the arrival of Brigadier
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General Reginald Dyer and he got there and he proclaimed that people couldn't gather in groups of more than five and so on and so forth but it completely failed to notice that this was the Punjabi Spring Festival of besakih and in a walled garden Coachella Malabar a large number of men women and children had gathered to commemorate the festival completely unarmed he arrives there with a bunch of soldiers he doesn't ask them what they're doing there and why they're there he doesn't even take a look at who they are he doesn't fire a warning shot he just
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orders his soldiers to shoot into the bodies of the unarmed wailing soon stampeding men women and children and as they try to flee this garden this walled garden there's only one big one exit and he stations the soldiers right there as he himself explains later because that makes these people easier targets sixteen hundred and fifty rounds were fired and he boasted proudly not one bullet wasted the British admitted to 379 killed and the rest injured the Indians claimed the figures are much higher
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whatever the truth was it was a it was a horrendous horrendous massacre at the end of it he bars the gate shut and doesn't allow even the relatives of the dead the dying and the wounded to tend to their dear ones they are forced to lie for 24 hours in the hot April Sun many of whom died because of that on top of that he forces Indians to crawl on their bellies on a narrow lane nearby and if they so much as lift their heads the heads are bashed in by British Dame's at the end of all of this of course there is outrage the House of
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Commons condemns him the House of Lords promptly passes a resolution praising him for what he had done and the British take out a collection to reward him and there is the equivalent of a quarter of a million pound sterling in today's money which is presented to him with a bejeweled sword and that flatulent voice of Victorian imperialism Rudyard Kipling hails him as the man who saved India now this that entire package the betrayal at the beginning the cruelty of the massacre the racism and indifference to
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Indian suffering that followed the justification and reward you take the whole thing together and to me it makes it the single most fitting act that is worthy of an apology and if somebody on the centenary of that event somebody from the royal family because everything was done in the name of the crown were to come to Amritsar and go down on their knees the Jallianwala Bagh and beg forgiveness or express remorse apologize for this sin I think it would have a remarkably cleansing effect and perhaps
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wash away much of the wrongs that were done in the proceeding toward [Applause] I'm gonna open the floor shortly two questions you will see there's a couple of mic stands I'm peering into the blackness here but I can see 1 & 2 if people would like to start making their way down I'm not sure if they're any defenders of the Empire in the house we're gonna go 10 rounds and shashi tharoor any Churchill fans out there can
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I ask you one question perhaps a little off-topic of the book but extrapolating it further to India's future and because you're a person who went within a handful of votes I think of being un secretary-general how do you see India's place new free independent India on the global stage in the 21st century in particular how does a rising India deal with the dominant China and and and to your experience in the UN is there is a reformed UN Security Council with India on it still an ambition caution these three are the subject of an entire other book it's called packs indica India in the world of the 21st century was
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published a couple of years ago but I mean the short answer would be that India I think has an enormous contribution to make to the world of the 21st century and it should we have the the ability to to contribute to the stewardship of the global Commons we have the skill the resources the technology the human capacity to make a difference in everything from cyberspace to outer space and we ought to step up to the plate and do it we are waiting as you rightly said for a seat on the Security Council and you can understand that because the Security
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Council reflects the geopolitical realities of 1945 and not of 2017 so countries like India but not only in there also Japan Germany Brazil South Africa others they're all asking for a place at the table and in international affairs this is very true you you're either at the table or on the menu and the fact is that we have been we have been rule takers in the international system for a long time observing the rules that others have written for us
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and I think we feel that we've come sufficiently the agent made enough of a contribution to the world system in peacekeeping and in other ways democracy promotion so on to have earned the right to be amongst the rule makers so yes I do believe India has a significant incredible role to play on China I mean you know China's way ahead of us in economic development terms GDP growth the size of their economy their manufacturing base their infrastructure I don't see this as a race I think as long as both countries are able to eradicate poverty in their
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countries give their people three DS four meals a day a roof over their heads a possibility of decent work and ultimately the hope of leading decent lives then more power to both of them and it doesn't have to be a competition there's enough available in the world and Asia to for both countries to thrive and prosper those in either country are inclined to see this as a zero-sum game I believe are wrong and I think there certainly are some in China who periodically seem to like to needle in there to keep it off balance likely
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to to remind it that it shouldn't have pretensions to challenge China and there are some in India who seem to be locked into a mindset that china is some sort of permanent enemy which I don't believe it needs to be I think the two can cooperate I pointed out for example that something like the sea lanes of communication across the Indian Ocean are actually a mutual interest instead of us worrying about every Chinese base and the Chinese suspicious of area every Indian ship we could be conducting joint anti-piracy patrols and so on because we have the same interest the same lanes
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that go from the Gulf in East Africa to China have to pass by India first so we have the same interest why don't we cooperate I'm gonna be ruthlessly democratic about our questions that I'm gonna go one two one two can I in my most politic terms urge people for questions rather than dissertations with a question at the end of it and we will try and look through we'll go ahead an umber one first thank you thank you sir for your very thought-provoking words one of the
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legacies of the inglorious Empire is the English language as you mentioned according to some stacks I saw recently the 12.1 8% of the Indian population claimed to speak English and point or 2 percent of the population ignored acknowledge it as their own as their first language however the federal civil service conducts his business in English so do the law-courts as does Parliament my question is do you believe that India is still here in colonial thrall by a small coterie of
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English speakers and if not what is F naught what is the audience to which you are addressing your book written as it is in English but available I assure you in translation in multiple Indian languages to know the the fact is that history has left us with English as the link language before the British came it was Persian that was the language of the courts and the aristocracy in the elite they would always have to be a linked language in a large and diverse country like ours if for example as some in the
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north would like Hindi were to be thrust on the rest of India as a national language it would breed far more resentment because it would mean that the Government of India and the law courts and everybody else will be addressing themselves to Sharma in a language that is not known to Subramanyam and the fact is that that would give one set of Indians unfair advantages over another whereas everyone is at an equal disadvantage or advantage in learning English I rest my case I think we need English as that linked
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language at the national level and and at the same time Indian languages are thriving and flourishing particularly since the expansion in democratization of the media every Indian language is multiple television channels serving it culture literature music cinema flourishing in every Indian language and hopefully a majority of the population doesn't need to use those locals that you're worried about sorry sorry we got a number sorry thanks dr. Tarrou my question is around the rise of populism
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in India over the last thirty years or so how much would you say that is a legacy of colonialism in India and what do we do going forward now I think we have to accept the blame for our own populism I love blaming everything on the British but in all fairness not there because what's happened is the nature of our democratic politics has I think would certainly surprise our founding fathers who created the system very much in fulfillment of the models they'd seen in
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Britain earlier I think if narrow had in cremated he'd be turning over in his grave multiple times because he thought cast would disappear for example as a good English educated Indian he thought was a backward idea and instead democracy has made cast all the more entrenched because it has become an instrument to political mobilization similarly everyone of us members of parliament elected members of parliament as opposed to the upper house all of us every one of us knows that we represent voters a majority of whom live on less
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than $2 a day you're forced to be populist because our voters need the system and they need the political representatives to ensure that their system delivers benefits for them otherwise basically you don't get reelected I mean the the re-election rate in the Indian looks up are in the last 25 years is averaged 26% so to 3/4 of our MPs don't make it a second to a second term so inevitably populism has crept into the system I think as the populace and therefore the electorate
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gets more educated and more aware undoubtedly populism will will not be able to exert the same stranglehold on them but right now it's very much our system our democracy and the way we worked it that has given us this result thank you are you really sure that populism will fade with a maturation of democracies I mean we're seeing populism all over the world we're seeing it in in you know mature democracies like the United States like this one where some form of the adjective is what I like this one look I don't know but I do think that that's the best hope we've got because
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in India the transformation that I tried to prematurely to trace was from our politics of identity to our politics of performance I did have concrete examples underlying my thesis in states like Andhra Pradesh and Bihar and so on where populist s-- won on an identity appeal and when they fail to deliver performance got turfed out and alternatives were elected who didn't appeal on identitarian grounds but spoke about you know roti kapda aur makaan
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that's that's bread bread clothing and and and and roofs over our heads and now bid lease Eric and Bani which is electricity good roads and and water drinking water which are things that voters are now judging their elected representatives by we got a number one thank you for your great insights and I really look forward to reading this book and 70 years that this book has come and great on both sides wrong from India and Pakistan coming
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like to whatever I've read you know up to since I've got the ticket about in glorious Empire that makes me think that isn't isn't that mostly implies an inglorious and even coming to the present times where we see post 9/11 what has been happening and what what the atrocities have been you know in Syria lately and before that in a Iraq and Afghanistan so what are your thoughts and also an including Indian Occupied Kashmir you know where of
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people are fighting for the freedom and here there's another perspective where a man is a freedom fighter to one and a terrorist to another so what are the lessons that would you see you know because you're with your profound experience and your long association with the United States you see that what are the takeaways and what can you really tell the present government of india and other present very long answer young lady and i hope you will read the book there's a lot of it's coming in the book a first one i do stress right
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throughout that nothing in the book is meant to absolve the present-day governments of any of these successor countries to the british raj of their failures and their actions have been ultimately i am not using the past to justify the present i believe one should face the past one should embrace the past moment you leave it in the past i've often said you know a problem in the subcontinent is we have a forgiving forget culture and forgive is good because nursing hatred and resentment and bitterness it really hurts the hate fair far more than they hate it so that's no point
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but while forgive is good forget is bad we must not forget and we must not forget because as i often say to young people like yourself if you don't know where you've come from how will you appreciate where you're going you must have a sense just as we're all curious about our parents or grandparents why shouldn't we as a society as a collectivity be conscious of what went on in the past so that's on the first and larger point there are inglorious moments in contemporary India Pakistan Bangladesh and so on and and and those have to be
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dealt with in my view in their own terms the history may have led us to that point but there's no point blaming his training more we're the ones making the decisions today on Kashmir it's a rather complicated story as you know I am NOT a fan of partition I understand many Pakistanis are because they wouldn't have a country without it whereas I I think we wouldn't have all the hostility conflict and wasted energies it's been 70 years let's
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resolve the issues and let's talk about Kashmir and how long will we keep on talking about Kashmir and enough contention I'm not you are but the points but with your profound experience with the United Nations I see you somewhere you know yes to answer that I mean the thing is that what Pakistan is often fail to appreciate is that there is a big difference in the logic underlying partition from two different
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sides of the border Pakistan is created as a result of one party wanting a state for people of a particular religion now the Indian nationalist movement never bought into that logic it always claimed to be a movement of every faith every religion every caste every language every color and so on and it never accepted the logic that because Pakistan had been created as a state for Muslims that what remained must necessarily be a state for Hindus in fact the Indian nationalist movement explicitly rejected
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that logic and so it looks to its Muslim majority province of in districts and one state with pride as belonging and affirming the idea that religion is not a valid determinant of nationhood religion frankly the kind of logic that led to the creation of Pakistan would have been the kind of logic that would have been considered disreputable to express an India that speaking in the name of one faith or one religion would have been seen as bigotry rather than as a national cause
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so this is the fundamental problem that there are two different logics at work one seeing nationhood as an earring in faith and the other seeing a large diverse nation in which people of various backgrounds can overcome differences of caste of creed of color of culture of cuisine of conviction of costume and of custom and still rally around the consensus and that consensus in a diverse country like India is that you don't really need to agree all the time so long as you agree on the ground
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rules of how you will disagree that's how we've been able to manage consensus without consensus how we've been able to preserve through our democracy this astonishingly diverse land and to us therefore the only way that works is if everybody feels an equal ownership an equal stake and whereas there have been secessionist movements and other parts of India they've been put down through a very effective combination of either law and order enforcement on the one hand or political cooperation on the other so
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that yesterday's rebel rebels and secessionists become political candidates today chief ministers tomorrow and given the vagaries of democratic politics leaders of the opposition day after tomorrow that's that's essentially the way I look I admire your enthusiasm passion I'm not sure we're gonna solve Kashmir this afternoon one one report and then we're gonna move on coming back to your you
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know we're British didn't denied the fair trials at that time and you know Indians and the subcontinent was fighting for freedoms so this is where I'm seeing that we can learn a lot from history and what is your take where we can give referendum rights to Kashmir and give them a fair trial and let the census of Gordon with we've dealt with that reasonably extensively number to show you the modern war and talking early about an apology or
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maybe a monument with there being a Conservative government for at least next four years in the UK that's probably not gonna happen what role does their Indian population in Britain have to play in getting across these meshes and why actually happened sharing good question first of all you did notice that I didn't suggest the Prime Minister should come and apologise because I knew she worked but I did suggest a member of the royal family because that's the I mean the we were the jewel in their crown so they may as well you know come and burnish
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the drew a little bit here but as far as as far as the Indian community in Britain I was struck by two contradictory phenomena during my many visits to the UK to promote the UK edition of this book the for the first few months the only pushback and the only negative reviews I got were from Indian Brits in fact I had a most amazing appearance at the House of Lords where a British vie countess title goes back 800 years praise my book and you
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know expressed a great deal of chagrin as an Englishman one of his ancestors had been a Viceroy of India and an Indian Pierre who his family had migrated from Kenya or Uganda about 40 years ago spoke up passionately in defense of the British Empire and all the good at are done so that was that paradox to begin with but subsequently I have noticed in my audiences a rather significant number of of Indian Brits feeling that in some ways this sort of
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is a reminder and a validation of their place in British society I was reminded of this wonderful photograph I saw offer of a demo demonstration against the anti-immigrant speeches made by certain conservative policy there was a wonderful demonstration and the demonstrators black and brown Britons were holding up placards saying we are here because you were there I think it's it's something that it's
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something the Brits need to be reminded often time to time well come over here hi in your book you talk about how during the heyday of colonialism the British in India were outnumbered by natives at a ratio of something like 2,000 to one and you say that Indian labor and soldiers and commercial acumen was used to further the interests of Empire across the globe to what extent
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or how culpable are Indians or were Indians in allowing that to happen and not throwing off those shackles within 200 years and helping and aiding and abetting the spread of colonialism from the Millea to to Mauritius very much culpable very much culpable Indians were complicit in their own oppression they served the states that that was oppressing their people they were very happy to betray each other for personal advancement I mean there's lots of cases in this was the very first battle the
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Battle of Plassey that Clive won in 1757 he overthrew the Nawab of Bengal see Raja that uh who was betrayed in the battle by one of his cousins and courtiers near Jaffa who not only revealed battle plans to Clive but also paid Clive off to put him on the throne in place of his cousin well 10 years later Neerja first cousin in court here Mir Qasim comes along and pays East India Company even more money to put him on the throne in place of media for in 10 years liter media for having raised more funds comes back a third time and
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has his cousin displaced I mean this was I mean it's a worst-case scenario but it's this kind of thing happened a lot Tipu Sultan for example who was one of the few heroes who actually managed to win a couple of battles against the British but then when he was defeated he retreated to his impregnable fortress at setting a Putnam south of Mysore and it was surrounded by a moat full of water and crocodiles and the besieging British army couldn't get it there was nothing they could do he had secret tunnels under the water that were bringing him supplies food and
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and so on he was actually entirely secure how did the British manage to defeat him typical story one of his aides betrayed him to the British and when I went there with my kid named IRA vealinger location of a gate under under which under the moat through thee through which the British soldiers were able to come and when I went there with my kids one of the tourist guide said to me see second water gate of Washington first of all forget sitting a but numb lifted and lifted the water gate to let
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the British come in so we did it to ourselves a great deal and the British could not have ruled India without Indian complicity without the comfort or capitalists and the native informants and frankly the Willing sepoys we have a question over here hello thank you so much for your talk I enjoyed it very much I want to ask a question about you mentioned trade before in the past about trade now and whether you think it is fair whether you think I know that Tech is very strong in India right now but a
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lot of it is just outsourcing they don't have much ownership they're just labour a new form of labour I feel what your view is on the current day kind of oppression or whatever the financial climate of India right they're a little more complicated than that in the sense that there's also high-end outsourcing going on so you've got Boeing for example get some very sophisticated airline wing parts Airlines being made by you know R and Eve outfits and India
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Philips has more rnd employees in India than they have in the Netherlands GE the same thing Intel is expanding its its research footprint in India so there is high-end working take work taking place as well it's not just the call centers you know asking you to pay your credit card bills so that's there too but but but the the big worry is that a lot of what India has been doing well because of skilled human beings could well be taken away by artificial intelligence so right now for example
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MRIs in Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston are being read by trained radiologists in India I'm told they're not developing an artificial intelligence software we'll read those MRIs for free essentially in America medical transcription was a booming industry in India dr. would dictate his notes at the end of a day into into a machine or a phone line while he was asleep a qualified Indian paramedic would type them up with all the right vocabulary and so on and when the doctor came in the next morning he would read this out
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now with voice recognition software and AI he may not need to do that anymore he might have it done for him in his in his office and so it goes so India is more and more vulnerable to advances in technology that may actually take our people out of their value added in employment Manufacturing is already China sees the opportunity in the right time India was too late India has gone in for this make in India campaign but there's a real worry that we will be
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asking companies to make in India things that will not be made by human beings anywhere because robots will be doing it so there's that risk as well that's that that's facing us so there are some real challenges absolutely real challenges as far as trade is concerned right now we're not doing terribly well but don't forget that you know the days when India and China accounted for 50% of global GDP are in any case not only over their never coming back China has climbed up to about 16 percent of global GDP but it's a long way down
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from its peak which I think at the most was 29 at one point it's not going to get there when the world is now a more complicated place more countries of prospered so I would rather now start focusing as an Indian policy maker on what we can do to ensure decent lives for our people and worry less about percentages and complications there it was a relevant argument I believe in looking at the historical experience but today in policy terms we just have to help save feed employ educate people but
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any would that look like form of protectionism and policy well at this stage there's no real political constituency protectionism I often point out that while people like mr. moody are present Prime Minister I'm in the opposition but mr. Modi is very much part of this anti global Elite cultural backlash he is not an anti globalization backlash man he wants to be da hua's man he doesn't want to knock down Davos and say Donald Trump does there's a difference there
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but at the same time the prospects have to be admitted to be to be rather tough right now he's not heading towards protectionism India is still looking towards more foreign investment more open markets and I think so far the direction is very much away from protectionism but in the long term everyone will have to see what's what's best for them driverless cars there will be protectionism if we get driverless cars in India we throw 25 million people out of work the next day that's how many people are drivers whose only profession
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is driving those things we won't do but we love we've got two minutes so I will just ask for a quick question and a quick response thank you very much dr. Arora a very quick one I wanted to go back to an issue that was raised at the introduction which was the treatment of women in India in the greater visibility globally around there unfortunately and your views on the impact of colonial colonialism in terms of how women how gender how sexuality was viewed before
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british india and the consequences of british india gender I'm sorry to say they did not ever India did not have a have a great record there were a number of of discriminatory practices in regard to women though there the great thing about India is the paradoxes there's always been positive stories of women ruler as women warriors women conquerors women leaders of various sorts in various fields but the British by and large chose to leave things alone as they saw it and so some of the negative
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entrench social practices continued except when you asked about sexual relations and gender relations there of course the British imposed Victorian morality on a culture that had never practiced it so India which famously as our ancient texts demonstrate have had a very open attitude towards all sorts of human relationships including homosexual ones suddenly got salla settled in the 19th century with a Victorian year a penal code that criminalize all sexual activity except in the
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missionary position as it were the result I mean it's it's really not funny because the result now is that we have been unable to shake off some of these laws and it's only now that's a legal finding in the Supreme Court suggests there might be a way to get rid of that particular punishment from the statute book but I do want to stress that this paradox that I mentioned continues to the president India has had the world's first women doctors it has had the world's first women lawyers the first
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lawyer a woman to get a legal degree in Oxford University was an Indian woman Connie Lee so Rob G and when she studied law at Oxford no woman ever studied law before and when she graduated they couldn't give her a degree because by tradition women were not allowed at the convocation ceremony she had to wait 30 years to be given a degree after graduating from Oxford in the 1860s we had first women power amongst the first women pilots and one of the first women heads of government so women have had these opportunities but at the same time at many many parts of social ladder
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women are being abused being discriminated against being essentially sold off as chattel having had dowry paid all sorts of other negative things the interesting thing is that Indian women themselves are rising against these things there are women's movements across all faiths against all castes there are women lawyers organizing female construction workers there are women organizing other women for example against against the salaries being given to their husbands or their husbands bank accounts and policies are gradually
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changing to take some of these things into account more and more benefits have been given to women directly in their account so they have some control over how it's spent government funding things like this are changing for the better it's not an unrelieved negative picture as sometimes foreign reporting can suggest yes there is violence against women but the rape statistics in India are actually lower than those of any comparable Western country but the head of course there's some under reporting as well women are often ashamed to go to the police and police are often
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unwilling to record sexual transgressions as crimes the these are things that still need to be fixed but I do believe that consciousness has never been higher right across Indian society and if as long as men and boys begin to understand that there's a problem here that problem will start to disappear [Music] ladies and gentlemen we have run over time so we'll draw this quite extraordinary discussion to a closely traversed a lot of territory from driverless cars to the missionary position we've rewritten Churchill's
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biography and I thought we made some fair headway on Kashmir there for a while so look thank you very much for your participation can I ask you to thank you again dr. Sackler [Applause]

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