Sunday, July 25, 2010

The "Colonialism" Bogeyman Should Be Just About Dead

India was Britain's jewel in the days of Raj. Now it is our partner.
"The India that Cameron is seeing is the New India: the country of 8, 9 or 10% growth rates year after year, of billionaires at the top of the Forbes lists, of globally competitive IT firms hoping to be carbon-neutral soon, of the famous "Indian middle classes" who, it is hoped, will not only power their own country's economic growth in the coming decades but prop up that of ageing western economies as well."
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"Cameron's visit is emphatically not about culture – though an inter-museum exchange agreement will be signed – but cash. Issues such as aid – the UK's £371m aid budget to India is being reassessed – or the Indians' deep concerns about the new western strategy in Afghanistan, which they think will allow their hostile neighbour Pakistan too much influence – are marginal. Climate change and Indian foot-dragging on key international agreements are low on the agenda. It is the businessmen flying in with the prime minister who are key.

Britain and India are each other's fourth-largest investor; trade between them was worth £11.5bn in 2009. "We could do much better," say Delhi-based diplomats. The visiting businessmen are from key fields where it is felt Britain can do deals in India: infrastructure construction, education and security. Then there are the contracts that will head the other way. Many flagship British firms are now owned by Indians. Indian firms are floated on the London stock exchanges. For many Indian technology firms, the UK can act as a portal to Europe..."
Failed states to blame for own misery
"The Afghan-Pakistan border, or the Durand Line drawn by the British towards the end of the 19th century, tells quite a story of colonialism that few are willing to explore.

East of the Durand Line inside Pakistan, anything that barely works — from the poorly administered government to the crumbling infrastructures for health, education, agriculture, railways, road system, etc. — has to do with the colonial legacy. How valid this view is can be assessed by observing the state of affairs west of the Durand Line inside Afghanistan.

Hence, blaming western colonialism will not do. On the contrary, it can be said India’s relative success in the contemporary world in contrast to the Middle East has much to do with the duration of Britain’s presence in the subcontinent.

Nor can the West be blamed for not being supportive of countries that were once under its stewardship. In the past half-century, more than $2 trillion of western aid has been given to the third-world countries as developmental assistance.

Pakistan has been a major recipient of western aid. But Pakistan’s record in every category of the human development index is dismal. The country is a nuclear weapon state that cannot feed, educate, clothe or house its bulging population of nearly 170 million people.

But worse, Pakistan is a terrorist state and the corrupt military-civil elite that has ruled the country since independence is hugely responsible for pushing it to near economic and political bankruptcy.

And, as the crisis deepens, those responsible make safe exit for the West. They wash their hands of the mess they made and reside in Toronto or New York, while displaying little shame or gratitude and endlessly speaking ill of the West.

Failed states, such as Pakistan, are the products of dysfunctional cultures and corrupt elites who will beggar the population and ruin their countries without qualms to steal for themselves and their tribes."
These two countries were once part of a single nation - the crown in the jewel of the British Empire. Look at them now. Anyone with a smattering of historical knowledge should know the key difference between the two and the key reason for their separation in 1949 was conflict between Hindus and the Religion of Peace.

There is more than one meaning to the word "culture", and I'm sure the reference to culture in the first article is about more than Bollywood, museums and the like. We're talking here about a religion of joy and optimism, of values that encourage one to excel and follow ones dreams, a religion that fosters entrepreneurism and creativity, versus a religion of brutality, backwardness and oppression which is constantly looking for excuses. Give me India and the Hindu culture any day.

Now, if we could just get the North American Indians to stop using colonialism as a never ending excuse for their failures.  The North American Indian Movement began in the 1960s, with its eye on the decolonization that had taken place in the Third World.  I suspect the realization that the movement is bankrupt will follow upon the observation of what has actually happened in the Third World in the interim.

So many Third World countries went through spasms of coups, counter-coups and coups to counter the counter-coups, and on and on, all the while holding fast to the myth that the colonial era was still the cause of all their dysfunction. Pakistan is only one of a multitude of poster children that illustrate the fruits of that game. I suspect the game is up, not just in the Third World, but in the so-called Fourth World as well.  Perhaps some big changes are coming.

"There's a political twist to any hint that reserves are emptying. The federal Conservatives have increased the focus on off-reserve needs, most visibly by aligning themselves politically with the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples.

The congress says it represents off-reserve people across Canada, but its membership is disputed by rival groups like the Assembly of First Nations that are more closely identified with reserves."

"Conservative reaction to the census was predictable, said Wilson of the AFN. He cited newspaper comments by Tory MP Rod Bruinooge that public funds are too skewed toward reserves.

"We're proposing ... what we see as being major systemic reform before massive new investments are made," said Bruinooge, parliamentary secretary to the Indian Affairs minister.

"You need to fix the broken system or you're going to simply have the same results over and over again."
"Major systemic reform..." Are we talking only the way stats are collected, or are we talking something much greater?

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