I already know the East India Trading Co, followed by The British Empire in India, was an absolutely terrorising period that, in short, raped India of its money, livelihood, land, crops etc and turned some of its rulers against it with bribes. However, the gritty detail was laid bare yesterday, when we visited the Gandhi Museum in Madurai.
Documented across the walls throughout the building is a complete historical recount from before the French, Dutch, Portuguese or British arrived, right through until independence in 1947, and the modern day. Quite a harrowing and shameful yet fascinating read I have to say. Needless to say the Indian people suffered all kinds of unimaginable wrong at the hands of the western colonials, and far to many wars all for the trade and money. There are many books you can read that explain the detail, I for one will certainly be looking for good suggestions.
A couple of nice ladies approached me in the museum (i think they were with a class of kids who had come to learn), to ask my thoughts on the British rule in india, i said “I thought it was a shameful blot in the history books, just reading the walls of the museum does not make me proud to be british” she said “yes we agree”, she was of course smiling. this was the end of our brief chat.
A couple of relevant takeaways. One in particular that I see as quite a poignant connection to the current political climate, yet was written many years ago was a plaque that read as follows.
This, in my view, is absolutely relevant today, and we should be looking to the past to enable a better future rather than embroiling ourselves in petty nationalistic tripe, and building walls against the unknown.
In the words of comedian Doug Stanhope “Nationalism is just dead people’s baggage” if you don’t know who he is, only look him up if you can take dark comedy.
The other piece, was this sign and not the first time i have seen similar, I can totally understand why it is so. We kind of owe them.
Just because no matter what (except for when the kids really piss me off) i like to retain a modicum of humour…
#Gandhi #Madurai #Museum