Lots of very concerned columns in American newspapers in 1900 re: Britain potentially losing India in light of the Boer War
"The Sepoy massacre taught us something, and we are now able to control our native troops through their religious prejudices... I verily believe that this is our only safety. If there were no castes in India, there would be no English here"
"The majority of Indian natives are taxed to death"
"In the opium districts about Patna I was told that it was a common thing for parents in time of scarcity to give bits of opium to their children to take away their hunger... This is done in a region from which England collects tens of millions of dollars' worth of revenue"
"The British troops are largely made up of Sikkhs. These Indians are born fighters. I saw them everywhere I traveled through Hindostan"
"What an act of retributive justice we should have if the English should lose India through China. It might be looked upon as a judgment upon the English for forcing opium upon China... Its acts during that war were the most disgraceful of history"
"Opium smugglers were seized and tortured, and the Chinese native dealers were executed. The English, however, demanded the right to sell the drug..."
"Dr. Harper, who was for forty-seven years a missionary at Canto, says that nearly every well-furnished house in that city has its opium couch, and that not only China, but also India, is full of opium drunkards"

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More from @vjgtweets

16 Jan
Quick thread on the Cisco case and @HinduAmerican's response. According to the HAF blog:

"The State of California has asserted that the caste system is 'a strict Hindu social and religious hierarchy,' and therefore an integral part of Hindu teachings and practices." 1/n
Now step back for a moment and consider what's actually happening here: A state government agency in AMERICA is making an assertion in a court of law regarding what constitutes an "integral part of Hindu teachings and practices" 2/n
Put differently: the State of California is insisting that it has the authority to DEFINE the religious beliefs of a billion+ Hindus independent of the views of actual practicing Hindus themselves. The latter are evidently immaterial. 3/n
Read 9 tweets
14 Jan
Excerpt from Fanon's WOTE:
"Instead of being the coordinated crystallization of the people's innermost aspirations, instead of being the most tangible, immediate product of popular mobilization, national consciousness is nothing but a crude, empty, fragile shell" 1/n
"The cracks in it explain how easy it is for young independent countries to switch back from nation to ethnic group and from state to tribe-- a regression which is so terribly detrimental and prejudicial to the development of the nation and national unity" 2/n
"As we shall see, such shortcomings and dangers derive historically from the incapacity of the national bourgeoisie in underdeveloped countries to rationalize popular praxis, in other words their incapacity to attribute it any reason" 3/n
Read 5 tweets
4 Jan
Love reading Aurobindo's old newspaper clips. The excerpt below is from a 1907 column titled "Nationalism, not Extremism" that he wrote in response to a speech delivered by noted Moderate Rash Behari Ghosh regarding the "Extremists" of the Congress:
"The new movement is not primarily a protest against bad Government, — it is a protest against the continuance of British control; whether that control is used well or ill, justly or unjustly, is a minor and unessential consideration."
It is not born of a disappointed expectation of admission to British citizenship, —it is born of a conviction that the time has come when India can, should and will become a great, free and united nation.
Read 16 tweets
4 Jan
The emergent Ghanaian commercial and intellectual elite formed the United Gold Coast Council (UGCG) in 1947 with the goal of independence as soon as possible. Still there were disagreements regarding approach.
Nkrumah wanted independence and also saw the need to democratize the independence movement. The UCGC paid lip service to “independence now” but ultimately favored a more gradual approach.
Nkrumah tried to win over the UCGC but his approach was deemed too radical, so Nkrumah left and formed the Convention People’s Party (CPP) in 1949, drawing support from farmers, petty traders, and low level civil servants, among others.
Read 4 tweets
4 Dec 20
Interesting piece on the geography of farmer suicides in India. Looks like Punjab and Mizoram are the two states where farmer suicides in 2018 surpassed the overall suicide rate. What's driving this?

"In the analysis of farmer suicides between 1997 and 2012, the researchers argue that farmer suicides are a result of three broad factors, including existing vulnerability in a region, agrarian crisis, and lack of alternative opportunities."
Looks like farmer suicides in Punjab are concentrated in the Malwa region, where land is primarily is leased by "small and marginal farmers" (i.e. holdings of 1-5 acres)

Read 14 tweets
3 Dec 20
This is a super interesting conversation, between @srajagopalan and @adam_m_auerbach about slum politics in India
"Interestingly, statistically speaking, in terms of an association, I find a positive association between ethnic diversity and public-goods provision. I think the mechanism through which this happens is that ethnic diversity tends to fragment leadership,
particularly in the beginning stages of a settlement. There are simply more nodes of informal authority with which parties can then extend positions. It intensifies this competition among the slum leaders themselves."
Read 5 tweets

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