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  • Quote of the Day

    Posted by Chicago Boyz Archive on December 19th, 2007 (All posts by )

    Currently reading Ramachandra Guha, India After Gandhi, which is excellent, and which I highly recommend. I saw a review of it, by A.G. Noorani, which had this to say:

    British rule in India was doomed when the rulers introduced their
    language in India. You cannot talk a people into slavery in the
    English language. “An Englishman is the unfittest person on earth to
    argue another Englishman into slavery,” Burke reminded the House of
    Commons on March 22, 1775. The effect is the same if “the natives” are
    taught English. It brings in its train British history – the Magna
    Carta, the Bill of Rights, Parliament versus the Crown, habeas corpus
    and the rest, as also concepts like the rule of law. Those who framed
    our Constitution were familiar with all this.

    This come through very clearly in Guha’s book. The founders of modern India wanted to do at least two things: (1) Get the British out of their country, and (2) preserve what they had learned from the British, including things the British had denied them, like democratic elections.

    Forward the Indo-Anglosphere!


    3 Responses to “Quote of the Day”

    1. Shannon Love Says:

      You can see a parallel development in America’s management of the “colonies” like the Philippines captured during the Spanish-American war. We found ourselves culturally impelled to try to create democratic institutions in the colonies even though doing so did not serve our short-term interest.

      It’s to bad that India gain independence during the high point of socialism in the West and chose to adopt that model instead of the early entrepreneurial model that actually created the wealth and power of the Anglo-sphere. If they had done so, India’s already impressive achievements in political stability and democracy would have been matched by 60 years of massive economic growth.

    2. Ginny Says:

      Thank you so much Lex for this.

    3. Lexington Green Says:

      The Guha book is really worth reading. The impact of the British is clearly a mixed bag, resented yet irreplaceable. Shannon is right that the intellectual consensus was for socialism in that era. Unfortunate indeed. But, as Guha shows, there was always a faction which pushed for more liberal economics.