Raghoji Bhosle, Nagpur and Alivardi Khan

Chhele ghumalo, paada judaalo bargi elo deshe

Bulbulite dhaan kheyechhe, khaajnaa debo kishe?

Dhaan phurolo, paan phurolo, khaajnaar opay ki?

Aar kotaa din shobur koro, roshoon boonechhi

-A Bengali lullaby

 Bengali historians (mostly leftists from JNU) have always tried to undermine role of Marathas in history of India. Marathas are portrayed as bunch of opportunists who don’t miss any opportunity to loot prosperous regions like Gujarat and Bengal esp. Marathas from Nagpur are shown as bunch of thugs who looted the great land of Alivardi Khan.

alivardi

Let us get the facts right. Alivardi Khan was an Arab opportunist who usurped throne of his master and became Nawab of Bengal.

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During same period Raghoji Bhosle took advantage of infighting in Gond Kingdom of Nagpur. Nagpur was founded by Gond King Bakht Bulund Shah. Raghoji Bhosle was keen to acquire Nagpur. He captured kingdom from Gonds and Nagpur became part of Maratha Empire. Nagpur became capital of Bhosle Kingdom.

So Alivardi Khan got Bengal and Raghoji Bhosle got Nagpur at same time. Raghoji Bhosle was ambitious; his next target was East India consisting of Bengal, Bihar and Orrisa. He attacked Bengal, but was not interested in ruling that area. He allowed Alivardi to rule Bengal, but Alivardi had to pay in tribute in return. Alivardi tried many tricks to defeat Nagpurians, which included killing their noble Bhaskar Pandit by treachery. But he was no match to Nagpurians. Finally he brought peace by paying tribute and ceding province of Orissa.

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Instead of admitting superiority of Nagpurians in military expeditions, Bengali historians tried to defame Nagpurians by calling them rapist and thugs. Shivaji Maharaj was known for his high standard of morality, so claim of Nagpurians raping thousands of Bengali women is disgusting attempt by leftist historians to deny Nagpurians their place in history. Secondly making Bengalis pay tribute was evidence of military superiority of Nagpurians, it cannot be called as loot.

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Fact is Bengalis were so afraid of Nagpurians that even their lullaby refers to Nagpurians (in beginning of article).

 

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Toxic Triangle and Bad Leaders

“Ideas are more powerful than guns. We would not let our enemies have guns, why should we let them have ideas.”

-Stalin

triangle

What gives rise to leaders like Hitler, Mao, Stalin and Fidel Castro? It is the toxic triangle. There are three elements which help in rise of such leaders.

First is the personality of leader himself, they are charismatic and narcissistic. They love themselves and don’t lose any chance to tell world that there is no alternative to them. They believe in ideology of hate ex. Hitler hated Jews, while Mao, Stalin and Castro hated so called “rightists”.

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“All propaganda has to be popular and has to accommodate itself to the comprehension of the least intelligent of those whom it seeks to reach.”

-Hitler

Second is the quality of followers, they fit into two categories- conformers are passive followers; they don’t oppose injustice, while colluders directly support agenda of leaders. Hitler rise was result of attitude of majority of Germans, most of them kept quiet when Jews were being persecuted, while some actively supported Hitler in eliminating them. Active support resulted in high positions and financial benefits.

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“I think that a man should not live beyond the age when he begins to deteriorate, when the flame that lighted the brightest moment of his life has weakened.”

-Castro

Lastly the environment should be conductive for rise of leader. Political and financial instability, perceived threat and ineffective institutions help in rise of leaders. Countries like China, Russia and Germany lacked strong democratic institutions, so instability and hardship following World Wars helped in rise of Nazis and Communists. They created targets for hatred like Jews, Rightists, liberal intellectuals etc.

trump

All three have to come together to give rise to a bad leaders. Donald Trump may have personality of bad leader and sizable number of followers, but he unlikely to become next Hitler, as US has very strong democratic institutions.

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Gulags and Stalin

“The little daughter’s on the mattress,

Dead. How many have been on it

A platoon, a company perhaps?

A girl’s been turned into a woman,

A woman turned into a corpse.

It’s all come down to simple phrases:

Do not forget! Do not forgive!

Blood for blood! A tooth for a tooth!”

-Prussian Nights by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

Aleksandr_Solzhenitsyn_1974crop

Aleksandr was Russian novelist, who also served in army. He was outspoken critic of Stalin and Communist Russia.

During Second World War he witnessed atrocities committed by Russian army on Germans esp. rape and killing of German women. He has expressed atrocities in his poem “Prussian Nights”.

Post war he was critical of Stalin esp. the so called Gulag system- using prisoners as forced labour. He has described condition of Gulag in his books “One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich” and “The Gulag Archipelago”.

gulagone day

Communist Russia was not amused by views of Aleksandr, he was imprisoned for his views, later he was diagnosed with cancer, and he got admitted in a hospital. He has written about his experiences in novel “Cancer Ward”.  Inspite of bad treatment, he continued to stay in Russia, but he was finally expelled from Russia. He felt that after living in Stalinist Russia he had no desire to be free.

cancer

“The most confusing thing about the imprisoned animals was that even supposing Oleg took their side and had the power, he would still not want to break into the cages and liberate them. This was because, deprived of their home surroundings, they had lost the idea of rational freedom. It would only make things harder for them, suddenly to set them free.”

-Aleksander in Cancer Ward

Aleksander won Noble Prize for Literature in 1970. He finally managed to return to Russia in 1994 after Soviet Union was dissolved.

Zhang Hongbing, Mao Zedong and Cultural Revolution

“I wrote a big character poster about him; I just wanted to follow Chairman Mao, for a child to criticise their parents wasn’t just our household. The whole country was doing it.”

-Zhang Hongbing

Mao wanted to bring about rapid change in China both on agricultural and industry front. He wanted to raise agriculture and steel production. But methods used for raising productivity were faulty, resulting in low production of both agriculture and steel. This resulted in famine, in which thousands of people died.

To hide his failure he started blaming his critics for sabotaging the communist revolution. They were labelled as capitalist and rightists. Mao asked people to expose such people. It was called Cultural Revolution, and army of students calling themselves “Red Army” became custodian of revolution.

The so called rightists were arrested, tortured, publicly shamed or shot dead.

“My mother, father and I were all devoured by the Cultural Revolution… a catastrophe suffered by the Chinese nation. We must remember this painful historical lesson and never let it happen again.”

-Zhang Hongbing

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One such revolutionary was 15 years old Zhang Hongbing, a strong supporter of Mao. His mother had suffered enough under Mao regime; she was depressed and ended up criticising Mao. Zhang thought that it was his duty to expose his mother. He reported her “deviant behaviour” to red guards. The guards caught her and after torture she was shot dead. Zhang was not alone, whole of China was busy exposing rightists, who in most cases were their parents, brothers and sisters.

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After death of Mao, the Cultural Revolution ended, entire blame of murders committed during revolution fell on his associates, while holding Mao innocent. This enabled communists all over world to continue worshipping Mao. His strongest supporters were Indian communists. They were so fond of Mao that during Indo China war, they strongly supported China! While communists kept winning elections even after war, the Chinese community in India, which remained loyal to India, faced persecution.

“Her father’s death, her husband’s persecution, her daughter’s death – everything that happened made her suspicious of the Cultural Revolution … She was sick of it”

– Zhang Hongbing

It was years later Zhang realised that he had done something foolish and was responsible for death of his mother.

Today he regrets death of his mother and cannot forgive himself.

 

 

Rat Race, Suicides and Availability Heuristics

‘Shut coaching centres, they suck”

-A Kota Classes student in her suicide note

There was advertisement in newspaper which encouraged students to join IIT coaching classes from standard 6th onwards. They want to groom 10 years old kids for IIT! If you think this is insane, then reaction of parents was even worse; many were ready to train their children from class 6th onwards to that they get a “competitive edge”. Rat race can’t get worse than this.

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“It teaches them how to tackle competitive examinations — NTSE maths and science Olympiads. By the time they reach class XII, they would have written so many tests that they will be able to tackle entrance exams with ease,”

-Teacher of coaching class on why students should start preparing for IIT from Std. VI onwards…

A small town in Rajasthan called Kota has many such coaching classes. Hundreds of students pay thousands of rupees to join these coaching classes in hope of getting admission in IIT. Few get admission but most don’t. For those who don’t make it life becomes miserable. They are labelled as failures, constantly reminded of wasting thousands of rupees of their parents and made to feel like pariah. Parents are not interested in knowing what interests their child.

suicides

“You manipulated me as a kid to like science… I took science to make you happy…I had interest in astrophysics and quantum physics and would have done a BSc… I still love writing; english, history … and they are capable of exciting me in the darkest times…”

-Suicide note by IIT aspirant to her mother

Not all students can bear this humiliation, some end up committing suicide.

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In psychology there is term called availability heuristic. In case of availability heuristics people make judgments about the likelihood of an event based on how easily an example, instance, or case comes to mind.

ava heuristics

Marketing departments of coaching classes spends lakhs of rupees on advertisements, this creates an impression that anyone can clear IIT entrance exam. Availability heuristics forces parents to conclude that their child can get admission in IIT, forcing child to join the rat race. Advertisement talks about few who make it, but don’t talk of thousands who don’t make it and few who commit suicide.

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After all what is so attractive about IIT? Availability heuristic tells parents that if child goes to IIT, then he will get job offer of lakhs of rupees and chance to settle down in US.

If ultimate objective is to earn lakhs and settle down in US, than even non engineers can do it. Why sacrifice life just to settle in US?

 

 

 

Mao Zedong, Freedom of Speech and Re-education

“Communism is not love. Communism is a hammer which we use to crush the enemy.”

-Mao Zedong

Chinese propaganda poster showing Mao Tse-Tung (Mao Zedong), Chinese Communist leader, with peasants during the Cultural Revolution of 1966.

Mao Zedong was Chairman of Chinese Communist Party. China always had single party system, so chairman of party was as good as supreme ruler. Any criticism of party or its chairman was not tolerated; it was treated at par with blasphemy. Mao’s influence was not confined to China; even Indian communist leaders loved Mao more than Nehru!

“Let a hundred flowers bloom; let a hundred schools of thought contend”

-Mao Zedong

 

One day Mao thought that he should give people freedom to speak. He started what is called as “Hundred Flowers Movement”. He told people to express their thoughts freely. Some people believed him and started expressing their views; they started criticising incompetence of leaders which had resulted in famine, hunger and deaths due to inadequate food production. People were also wasting time and fuel in making tons of useless steel. Both agricultural productivity and industrial productivity was low.

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One writer Wu Han wrote play on Hai Rui, an honest bureaucrat of 16th century, called “Hai Rui Dismissed from Office”. Play was about how irresponsible emperor of China dismissed an honest bureaucrat.

Communist leaders did not like the play at all. They thought Wu was using play to attack Mao. They started persecuting Wu, which resulted in his death.

“Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun”

-Mao Zedong

Mao thought people were misusing freedom, so those who criticised him or leaders of party were labelled as rightists. They were harassed by “Red Army”, a collection of so called custodians of communism. Some were humiliated publicly; while some were send to rural areas to work as farm labours. Sending “rightists” to rural farms was called re-education.

red book

Sycophants published a book on sayings of Mao called as Red Book, every Chinese had to read it. They were not very different from their Indian counterparts. In India sycophants are more enthusiastic, they write poems, build temples, and touch feet of their leaders.

“If I had stayed in China, I would be dead…”

-Anchee Min, author of ‘Red Azalea’

Some “rightists” who underwent “re-education” program were writers like Anchee Min and Dai Sijie.

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Anchee Min wrote book on her “re-education” days called “Red Azalea”. The title of book is taken from film in which Anchee was supposed to play a leading role, but film was never completed because her mentor, Mao’s wife died.

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Dai Sijie was sent to rural Sichuan for re-education, he wrote a book on that period called “Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress”.

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But worst treatment was reserved for beautiful actress Xu Lai.  A small time actress called Jiang Qing decided to join communist party, and later ended up marrying Mao. Jiang hated Xu, and used her political influence to declare Xu as rightist. Xu and her husband were arrested and were tortured, resulting in death of Xu.