Mangalorean Recipes

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Then and Now

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British ruled India till 1947 when they relinquished their power and handed it over to Indians.   Before this, back in England, there were many upheavals, due to the two major World Wars, and their exchequer was greatly strained, and after the war, the Tories, lost their grip and the government went to Labour and the new Prime Minister was Clement Atlee.   Many citizens of England had died in the World Wars, and to rebuild the nation they needed man-power, which they got from their colonies, and that is how many people from the sub-continent became citizens of England.


Though no one has mentioned it, the British were good at dividing and ruling their subjects.   Up till that time, their assets in the Arabian peninsula were managed by the Vice Roy from Delhi, and the currency printed in India, was being used in trade and commerce, until 1964, with red color paper currency when I was in Doha Qatar, it was changed to Saudi Riyals, at the beginning, and then a Bank of Qatar was formed, and the Qatar-Dubai Riyal was introduced.


One is led to wonder, why the British divided this country, though through various ways, the inherent antipathy of Hindus and Muslims was highlighted, and it ended up, in dividing the country, but the choice of lands was not given to the Indians, but the strategy used by the British, was strange.  They sent Cyril Radcliffe a civil servant, - who had no previous connection with the sub-continent, - to provide maps of the division prepared in England, for which he spent 35 days in India, just before August 1947 and when Mountbatten decided to hand over power on August 14 to Pakistan, and August 15 to India,   the map of division of the boundaries of the two was given on August 17 !    The question arises, why Bolan and Kyber passes leading to Afghanistan were cleverly in the northern country, and with a vast gap between West and East Pakistan, the eastern part had access to Bay of Bengal, and the Western part had to Arabian Sea, was it to benefit the maritime power of a country that was relinquishing its rights to these lands ?    When Indians are bickering with their northern counterpart, no one raises a voice against the British, as if they were innocent party to the division !   I leave it to you to ponder.


India was a feudal place under the Moguls and the British, and the Indian State wanted it to be egalitarian and democratic.   I was 13 years old in 1947, and soon after that proprietary rights from landlords was removed, and their fields were given to the tiller, and I remember this vividly, as many of my uncles were land lords and they were bereft of the income they used to get from their lands.   None of them were cruel land lords, and I can vouch for that but perhaps there were many who used to fleece their tenants, and that is why the reform was justified.   It was known as "Land to the Tiller" reform.


But today, the farmers who used to wear a loin cloth and live in thatched huts are much better off, and their children have been educated, and they are the majority, and the families of land lords, is in the minority, and we see the result in how we get governed and the chaos they foment is visible to all.   The quiet days of the early years of Independent India,  have vanished, and replaced by turbulent societies, and crime is rampant, sustained by unequal distribution of wealth.


As I am in the twilight of my life, I hope the younger generation takes an active role in redressing the imbalance, for the good of the Nation, for their own good and that of that of their grand children.

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