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Operation Bluestar March 30, 2008

Posted by chitranshu in History, Personal.

Two years ago, in my final year at IITB, when we were brainstorming for our hostel’s PAF that year, I came across an idea from a junior, on which he and I researched for some days, and came up with a complete story sans the actual dialogues. The story was of a Sikh general-turned-militant called Shabeg Singh (the story on this link is from a completely pro-Khalistan viewpoint, so we thought of narrating it from the viewpoint of the general who headed Operation Bluestar, and letting the audience interpret it as pro- or anti-). This story was rejected in favour of another script, which turned out to be a disaster. Since then, it has been known as the ‘Golden Temple’ idea.

Last year, after I had passed out, the idea was discussed again, but rejected in favour of a winning script on Vidarbha. Finally, this year, they decided to go ahead with the ‘Golden Temple’ idea, and I decided to go and watch it. The story was very different from what we had discussed two years ago. It was a broader story of whatever happened in Punjab in the run-up to Operation Bluestar, with no central character as such. But the main attraction of the entire PAF was the set of the Golden Temple constructed on the main stage.



Not just the Temple on the main stage, but the side stages and backdrops were also beautifully done, like this sugarcane field and the village fair below it.



And then, the PAF started. The first scene was the village fair, showing how peaceful Punjab was.


I also tried to take a couple of videos, but the quality from my cellphone wasn’t good. There were a few amazing Gatka sequences, and I was pleasantly surprised that students managed to do all that.

And then, the story moved forward. In between scene changes, I captured the main stage with lighting from different angles.



And with UV lights.


And finally, the PAF ended.


And now, for my opinion on it. As I have mentioned before, the story was broader than what was originally thought, with no central character. The acting and voice-overs left a lot to be desired, in comparison to one of the other PAFs, and also, for us oldies, in comparison with what we had seen in our times. The direction was also not good, as there were moments where we felt a scene was totally unnecessary or could have been done better. For example, there was a scene where some guys staged Bhagat Singh’s story in a streetplay, and then drew parallels between that and the problems faced by Sikhs in the 1970s and 80s. If they put that only to sing ‘Soora so pehchaniye’, they should have known that this song is an old Sikh song, not the work of Bhagat Singh or his comrades.

However, the sets and the choreography were excellent, and made up for these glitches. In the end, it won the Best PAF of the year, but I think that was only because there were none better this year. I doubt that this PAF (if done exactly the same way as it was done this year) could have beaten Deja-Vu in 2006.

But for now, congratulations to all my juniors who did this. H5 crax BEST PAF two years in a row. 😀


Gurus of Peace September 2, 2006

Posted by chitranshu in History, Society & Politics.

I finally finished reading ‘Freedom at Midnight’ two days back. I know it’s been a long time since I started reading it; I was able to read it only 10-20 pages at a time, as something or the other always kept cropping up. Anyway, now for some thoughts on the book.

Many of those who have read it before told me they found it a bit biased (pro-Mountbatten maybe), a charge the authors themselves accept. This is primarily because Mountbatten was the only member of the quintet (including Gandhi, Nehru, Patel and Jinnah) that was majorly responsible for the events of that time who was alive when this book was written, so the authors depended a lot on their interviews with him. However, one cannot deny that the book is extremely interesting, and even thought-provoking.

Why is it thought-provoking? Well, it ends with Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination and the public response to it. One of those responses was seen on the editorial page of Hindustan Standard: “Gandhiji has been killed by his own people for whose redemption he lived. This second crucifixion in the history of the world has been enacted on a Friday – the same day Jesus was done to death one thousand nine hundred and fifteen years ago. Father, forgive us.”

Another similar thought came from Mountbatten himself (and I am sure you must have heard/read this before): “Mahatma Gandhi will go down in history on a par with Buddha and Jesus Christ.”

There are a lot of similarities between these three ‘Gurus of Peace’, not least among them the fact that certain events in their respective birthplaces today are completely antithetical to what they preached. However, there is an important difference too. For a few hundred years after his crucifixion, the followers of Christ struggled to keep his message alive in the face of overwhelming persecution, until a Roman Emperor dreamt that his soldiers’ shields should carry the symbol of the Holy Cross. Since then, a lot of violence has been, and continues to be, perpetrated in the name of Christ. I shall not comment much on that here; those interested can check out this post on the importance of separating religious beliefs from religious fundamentalism – I shall just say that I agree with Yohan on this. As for Buddha, we all know of the Emperor who renounced war and became a Buddhist. However, there have also been a lot of warriors and conquerors who have been devout Buddhists, going all the way back to Kanishka.

People can argue that it is just not possible for anyone to associate Gandhi’s name with a violent cause, but we never know what will happen two or three centuries from now (if at all this planet survives until then). Anyway, I’ll end this discussion here and move to a more important point.

In a recent post, I mentioned that Gandhiji was able to accomplish with his death what he could not achieve in his lifetime – an end to the post-Partition violence. In fact, even when alive, he did manage to stem the tide of violence in Noakhali, Calcutta, Delhi, etc., but these miracles were temporary and localized. All this is well-known because it actually happened; what is not so well-known is that after working these small miracles, he had an even more grandiose plan.

He actually wanted to begin, in February 1948, a journey to Pakistan on foot, going from Delhi to Karachi via the Punjab. The goodwill for him in Pakistan was then at a peak, as he had convinced the Indian Government to give Pakistan the money that was due as a part of the Partition Agreement. He dreamt of a column of thousands of Hindu and Sikh refugees following him to the lands from which they had been displaced, and a similar column of Muslims on the way back to India. All this might seem, especially to those who do not admire him, like an old man’s crazy dream, but it is nevertheless interesting to imagine what would have happened if Gandhi had outlived Jinnah by a few years. Even though the two new-born nations had already begun fighting over Kashmir, it is highly doubtful whether any of Jinnah’s successors would have been able to counter the reconciliatory moves of ‘the wily old Gandhi’.

Mahatma Gandhi was a devout Hindu. He had maintained for a long time that Partition would only take place over his dead body. He dreamt of an ‘Akhand Bharat’ as much as his assassin did. In fact, Nathuram Godse had also sworn celibacy and lived an unusually austere life. However, their similarities ended there. The most important difference was Gandhi’s refusal to believe in the Machiavellian tenet that ‘the end justifies the means’. For him, violence (even if it was in self-defence) was in no way justifiable.

I shall not go on to a general discussion on Gandhiism, but before I leave, here are a few things to ponder upon:

An Italian telecom ad featuring Gandhi

Nathuram Godse’s defence speech (However impressive his arguments might seem, there is an answer to each and every one of them – one only needs to think)

For The Love Of The ‘Beautiful’ Game July 9, 2006

Posted by chitranshu in History, Sports.
1 comment so far

The FIFA World Cup 2006 is drawing to a close. All the teams that I supported, at some stage or the other, (like Brazil, Germany, Portugal, Argentina, Spain) have bowed out. Few would have predicted at the beginning of this tournament that France and Italy would face off for this year’s title. Yet, stranger things have happened in this festival of ‘the beautiful game’. Before the curtains fall on this year’s World Cup extravaganza, let’s have a look at the way this tournament has shaped up over the years.

Prologue: Until 1928, the Summer Olympics used to be the biggest stage for the world’s footballing nations. After that year’s edition, FIFA realized that the Americans (who have always been crazy about weird games that no one else in the world plays) might decide not to include football in the 1932 Olympics in Los Angeles. An alternative tournament, a World Cup of football, was therefore proposed.

1930 – Uruguay: This little South American nation had won the 1924 and 1928 Olympic gold medals for football, and they were also about to celebrate the centenary of their independence in 1930. Quite naturally, they were awarded the privilege to host the first World Cup. The Europeans protested, since it was too much trouble for them to come down all the way across the Atlantic (after all, the Great Depression had taken a toll on their economies). However, FIFA persisted, and in the end, 13 nations participated in the First World Cup in Uruguay. The home nation managed to beat neighbours Argentina in the final, to win the first World Cup. The Americans proved that they did play football (or soccer) after all, finishing third, while Yugoslavia finished fourth.

1934 – Italy: To pacify the Europeans, FIFA decided to hold the second tournament in Italy. Now, the South Americans protested, with the same excuses. They were not united, though, as Brazil decided that their love for football was above all else (Brazil are the only nation to have participated in every World Cup tournament so far), and came all the way to take part. However, the tournament was dominated by European teams, and hosts Italy beat Czechoslovakia in the final. Another notable moment of this tournament was the ‘blitzkrieg’, where German Ernst Lehner found the Austrian net within 24 seconds from kickoff, prophesying the speed with which Hitler was about to eat up Austria, in a few years’ time. It was the first time Germany was participating, as they had been too broke to go to Uruguay in 1930.

1938 – France: FIFA had promised that the tournament would be held alternately in Europe and South America. However, in 1938, they decided not to cross the Atlantic, and instead, just crossed the Alps and went to France. The South Americans continued their boycott, while Italy maintained their dominance, beating Hungary in the final this time. Coach Vittorio Pozzo of Italy became (and remains to this day, as Perreira and Scolari have seen their teams exit this time) the only coach to win two World Cup tournaments.

1942 & 1946: Nazi Germany had laid a claim to host the next World Cup, but World War II intervened. In any case, FIFA were looking to fulfill their promise by awarding the right to host the next World Cup to Brazil, so Hitler would have been disappointed anyway. Meanwhile, Ottorino Barassi, the vice-president of FIFA and the president of the Italian football federation, hid the trophy from the Germans in a shoe-box under his bed. After the war was over, the trophy was taken out and given a new name, the Jules Rimet trophy, in honour of the legendary president of FIFA who completed 25 years in office in 1946.

1950 – Brazil: Germany, which had broken up into two countries and was under Allied occupation, was not allowed to participate this time. FIFA compensated the loss by mending fences with the Football Association, enabling England, the birthplace of modern football, to participate in the World Cup for the first time. However, Europe was in a mess after the war, and so, Brazil got the opportunity to host this tournament without much ado. Incidentally, they were also the favourites, as they won all their matches convincingly, to book a place in the final against Uruguay, who were only a shade of the great team from the 1920s. The final showdown took place at the great Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro, with an attendance of about 174,000 (still a record). The crowd was to be disappointed, however, as Uruguay pulled off a surprise 2-1 win.

1954 – Switzerland: The World Cup moved back to Europe, and to this little nation that had been unaffected by the World War. This tournament turned out to be among the most eventful in history, seeing a record 5.38 goals scored per match. Some samples: Hungary beat debutants South Korea 9-0 (still a record for the largest victory margin) and hosts Switzerland were beaten by neighbours Austria 7-5 (highest goals scored in a World Cup match). This tournament also featured the infamous ‘Battle of Bern’ between Brazil and Hungary. However, it reached a fitting climax when West Germany, still recovering from the War, beat favourites Hungary in the final, in what came to be called the ‘Miracle at Bern’.

1958 – Sweden: The tournament stayed in Europe, contrary to South American expectations. The host nation performed well as usual, as did many other European teams, especially France with Just Fontaine in their ranks. Fontaine finished as top scorer in the tournament with 13 goals, still a record, and one which seems most unlikely to be broken. However, France were beaten in the semi-final by Brazil, who went on to beat Sweden 5-2 in the most high-scoring final ever, with a 17-year old Pele scoring two goals. This was the only time that Brazil managed to beat France in the World Cup, and also the only occasion when a South American team won the Cup in Europe.

1962 – Chile: Finally, the tournament returned to South America, and Brazil continued their dominance. However, Pele’s role was severely restricted in this tournament, because of injuries inflicted by opposition players, and he finished with just one goal. Meanwhile, Czechoslovakia’s Vaclav Masek set a new record for the fastest goal, scoring within 15 seconds from the kick-off against Mexico. His team went on to face Brazil in the final, and eventually lost 3-1. Brazil became the second team after Italy to win two consecutive World Cup titles.

1966 – England: Finally, the tournament came to the birthplace of modern football. It is often said that the English invented football, but the Brazilians perfected it. This time, however, the Brazilians were not in top form, and Pele again managed just one goal in the tournament. Other biggies also faltered, like Italy, who lost ignominiously to debutants North Korea and exited after the first round itself. The Koreans attempted to shock another debutant team, Portugal, with a goal by Park Soong-Jin within 23 seconds from kick-off, but the Portuguese recovered. In fact, they proved to be the real discovery of this World Cup, going all the way to the semi-finals, and the legendary Eusebio finishing as top-scorer with nine goals. The final showdown took place between England and West Germany at the Wembley, and the hosts won 4-2 with one of the most controversial goals ever giving them the lead in a closely fought match (The goal/save in the new Adidas ‘Jose+10’ ad is said to be inspired from this goal). The hosts were also involved in another controversy when, after their match with Argentina, their coach ran onto the pitch and stopped his players from exchanging jerseys with their bitter opponents. This tournament is also remembered for the disappearance of the World Cup trophy with just a few days to go for the matches to begin. Luckily, the trophy was discovered by a dog, ‘Pickles’, wrapped in a newspaper and hidden in a garbage bin.

1970 – Mexico: The World Cup moved to a new continent, and Brazil returned to winning ways. They were coached this time by Mario Zagallo, a member of the 1958 and 1962 Cup-winning teams, who thus became the first man to win the Cup as a player and as a coach. After two lacklustre tournaments, Pele was in top form, scoring four goals in this tournament and ending his World Cup career with 12 goals, coming within a whisker of Just Fontaine’s record. Pele was assisted by a host of other great players such as Rivelino, Jairzinho, Gérson and Tostão, and the 1970 Brazilian team is widely regarded as the best ever. The tournament’s top scorer, however, was West Germany’s Gerd Muller, who finished with ten goals. The final was between Brazil and Italy, both looking to win their third title, and Brazil eventually prevailed 4-1.

1974 – West Germany: After exorcising the ghosts of the War, West Germany finally had a chance to host the World Cup. The rejuvenation of the host nation also manifested itself in a new trophy (the current FIFA World Cup trophy), which replaced the old Jules Rimet Cup, which was given to 1970 winners Brazil to keep for posterity. In the group stages of this tournament, Yugoslavia beat debutants Zaire 9-0 to equal the record for the worst drubbing. Meanwhile, Gerd Muller added four more goals to his tally, beating Fontaine’s record for most World Cup goals. The top scorer, however, was Poland’s Grzegorz Lato, who finished with seven goals as Poland finished third. The West Germans, coached by Helmut Schon (who still holds the record for most matches and most victories as coach in the World Cup) and captained by the legendary ‘Kaiser’ Franz Beckenbauer, faced their Dutch neighbours in the final, and managed to win the World Cup for the second time.

1978 – Argentina: After losing bids previously to the likes of Mexico and Chile, the Argentineans finally got to host their first World Cup. At home, they proved to be more than a match for their opponents, reaching the final for the first time since 1930, and eventually beating Netherlands in the final to win their first ever title. The Dutch, unfortunately, became the first team ever to lose in two consecutive finals. Meanwhile, the hosts were aided by a string of superlative performances from Mario Kempes, who finished the tournament as top scorer with six goals.

1982 – Spain: There are many things to be remembered about this tournament. Firstly, very much like 2006, the Brazilians were hugely favoured to win this time. In fact, the 1982 Brazilian team is generally regarded as the best ever not to win the World Cup. They thrashed all their opponents in the group stages, and all seemed to be going well, when the Italians, recovering from a domestic scandal similar to the recent one, beat them 3-2 in the second stage. Paolo Rossi, whose suspension had been cut short so that he could participate in this World Cup, scored a hat-trick in this match to pack the Brazilians off. He finished the tournament as top scorer with six goals. Meanwhile, in the group stages, Hungary beat El Salvador 10-1 to equal their own record for the biggest victory margin. Another ignominious record was set by Italy’s Giampiero Marini in the semi-final against Poland; he managed to anger the referee within one second of kick-off and earned a yellow card for his efforts. Also, Pele’s record for being the youngest player at the World Cup was broken by Norman Whiteside of Northern Ireland, who did not manage to break, however, his records for also being the youngest goal-scorer and the youngest in a World Cup final. On the other hand, Italy’s legendary goalkeeper-captain Dino Zoff became the oldest player to play in a World Cup final, aged over 40 when his team beat West Germany, winning their third World Cup while denying the West Germans a similar achievement.

1986 – Mexico: For the first time ever, a country was given a second opportunity to host the World Cup. This time, the hosts were coached by Bora Milutinovic, who was to go on to coach four other teams at the World Cup, to create a unique record. However, this made little difference to the Mexicans’ performance. The tournament is actually remembered for Diego Maradona and his Argentinean side, who won their second World Cup title in a span of eight years. En route to the final, though, they created much controversy, especially in the match against bitter rivals England, where Maradona scored his infamous ‘Hand of God’ goal. The match is also remembered for what is widely regarded as the best ever World Cup goal, as Maradona beautifully tackled five English players before finally netting the ball. England had some consolation, though, as Gary Lineker finished as top scorer with six goals. Meanwhile, the West Germans became the second team after the Netherlands to lose in two consecutive finals.

1990 – Italy: The tournament returned to its original European hosts after a gap of 56 years. This tournament turned out to be the most low-scoring ever, with an average of only 2.21 goals scored per match. Even the final was decided by just one goal, as West Germany, led by Lothar Matthaus, beat Argentina 1-0 and avenged their defeat in the 1986 final. The Germans were coached by Franz Beckenbauer, who became only the second man after Mario Zagallo to win the Cup as a player and then as a coach. Meanwhile, the hosts finished third, with Toto Schillaci finishing as top scorer with six goals. Another team from this tournament to be still remembered is the ‘Indomitable Lions’ from Cameroon, who shocked Argentina in the opening match and signaled the arrival of African football on the world stage.

1994 – USA: Goodbye Italy, Hello USA. FIFA’s decision to let the World Cup be held in a country largely indifferent to football was generally criticized, but in the end, this tournament turned out to be the most watched ever. Roger Milla came out of retirement to lead his Lions for one last time, and in the process, broke Dino Zoff’s record of being the oldest player at the World Cup. In his last match against Russia, aged over 42 years, he also became the oldest goal-scorer. However, his lone goal was just a consolation for his team, as Russia’s Oleg Salenko netted five goals to break Just Fontaine’s 1958 record of four goals in one match. Russia did not progress beyond the group stages, but Salenko’s six goals in three matches were enough to allow him to share the Golden Boot with Bulgaria’s Hristo Stoichkov, whose team went all the way to the semi-finals. Brazil’s Romario tried hard to catch them but finished with five goals. The final showdown took place at Pasadena between Brazil and Italy (a lot of us must be remembering that), and it became the first final ever to be decided on penalties, with Italy’s Roberto Baggio sending the ball over the crossbar to gift Brazil their fourth World Cup win. Another memorable moment from this tournament is Bebeto’s famous goal celebration, dedicated to his newborn baby.

1998 – France: This tournament saw the switch from the 24-team to the current 32-team format. Brazil were again the favourites, and their road to the final had few obstacles. Netherlands were back in their old form after a gap of two decades, and managed to finish fourth, after losing to debutants Croatia in the third-place playoff. Croatian Davor Suker finished with six goals to win the Golden Boot. The eventual champions, however, were hosts France, who beat favourites Brazil 3-0 in the final to claim their first ever World Cup title, with two of those goals coming off the head of Zinedine Zidane. This was also the first time that the ‘Golden Goal’ rule was tried out, and the first ‘golden goal’ was by France’s Laurent Blanc, which packed Paraguay off in the round of 16. This tournament also saw the last of German greats Lothar Matthaus and Juergen Klinsmann, and some dubious moments involving the ‘young guns’, like the sending off of David Beckham and Ronaldo’s convulsions causing him to miss the final.

2002 – Japan & South Korea: For the first time, the World Cup was hosted outside Europe or Latin America. Both the hosts proved to be quite a force at home, with Japan reaching the second round (after an indifferent performance on debut in 1998), and South Korea going all the way to the semi-finals, dashing Italy’s hopes en route, much like their northern neighbours did 36 years ago. Among other underdogs who did well were debutants Senegal, who shocked France 1-0 in the opening match and dismissed Sweden with a golden goal in the second round, and Turkey, who reached the semi-finals and eventually finished third after Hakan Sukur scored within a record 11 seconds from kick-off against South Korea in the third-place playoff. France’s first-round exit, without winning a match or even scoring a goal, marked the worst-ever defense of a World Cup title. Brazil were back in the final, this time against Germany, and ultimately prevailed 2-0 to win their fifth title. Also, their captain Cafu became the first player to play in three final matches. Ronaldo’s two goals in the final broke the six-goal jinx, taking his tally to eight goals in the tournament and 12 goals in all, tied with Pele in the tally of top World Cup goal-scorers.

2006 – Germany: After the ‘World Cup of the underdogs’ four years earlier, this tournament saw few upsets in the initial stages. Also, after an unusually high-scoring opening game, this tournament has turned out to be quite a low-scoring one. Meanwhile, the Germans have shown uncharacteristic enthusiasm while hosting this World Cup, and while supporting their own team. On the other hand, the refereeing has been quite controversial, with an unusually high number of cards given out. In the later stages, we have seen some unexpected results, and now comes the grand finale. Will it be a last hurrah for Zizou and his ageing warriors, or will the Italians succeed in winning a fourth title?

What If? August 25, 2005

Posted by chitranshu in History.

Today, in our ‘Culture & Media’ class, while the professor was discussing how the modern perception of ‘Indian culture’ was constructed in the late 19th & early 20th centuries through calendars (we had earlier discussed other media like newspapers, novels, etc.), an interesting question was raised by Anirudh; what if India had achieved its independence earlier than it actually did? What would have happened then? What would our history be like?
This immediately woke up all the sleeping souls 😉 & a few opinions were voiced. However, the professor soon brought the discussion back to calendar art, & the currents of imagination that had risen in everyone’s minds were stemmed. These currents might find an outlet in the next lecture, or on the proposed HS 476 e-group, but meanwhile, I would like to present a few scenarios of India that I imagined, while pondering over this question.

Case 1: If the Mughals or Marathas had been powerful enough to keep out the British, or if the British had lost the Battle of Plassey, or if the 1857 revolt had succeeded: I am handling all these cases together, because I believe that the end result in all of these would have been the same. Even if the British had not won the Battle of Plassey, the European powers were, in general, gaining ground in India. Almost all the Indian rulers were taking help, at various times, from the French, the Portuguese or the British. If the British had not succeeded outright, then most probably, the country would have been divided into ‘spheres of influence’ of the major European powers. Even if India had managed to retain its independence, it would have been something like China, which was continuously harassed by these Powers. Also, if Germany or Italy had managed to get a foothold later (as they did in Africa), then India could also have been a major battleground during the World Wars (as if providing our ‘sepoys’ to fight for the ‘British Empire’ was not bad enough), which would have been much worse. It could also have meant the breaking up of independent India into more than the two parts that actually happened (examples of this can be seen in Africa). The British stronghold on India allowed them to build up the administrative & other systems that we inherited.
Bottomline: If our princes had not given up completely to the British, they still could not have avoided foreign interference. In fact, their success against the British in the struggles before 1857 would have just resulted in an increase in the divisions within India, which would have been exploited by other European Powers.
(I have made this argument based on the belief that the Indian princes were a declining, & divided, creed. The reasons for this are rooted in the medieval history of India. To say that a strong ruler could have emerged & held the country together, or that India could have become a global power, or that it could have developed without losing its independence, would require a lot of other changes in the history of India.)

Case 2: If the British had listened to the petitions of the Congress in the 1890’s: This would have required some very kind-hearted soul in power in Britain, as there was no other motive for them to do so. The result would most probably have been Dominion status on the lines of Canada, Australia, etc. & the end result (i.e. the present) would have been mostly the same. Not a very interesting case to discuss, so let’s move on.

Case 3: If the revolutionaries had been strong enough: Now this is a very interesting case, & according to me, India would probably have gone the way of many of the Latin American nations (repeated coups). This seems quite difficult to imagine, mainly because of India’s long peaceful history, but there’s another reason, which is precisely the reason why the revolutionaries did not succeed. India is too large a country to be moved by a single line of thought, mainly because of its diversity. The ideology of the revolutionaries was all very good & respectable, but it was not so broad-based as to appeal to all parts of India. If however, they had succeeded in mobilizing the masses in an armed revolt, the result would have been that India would have done very well as long as it was governed by that generation of revolutionaries, but soon after that, there would have been similar armed revolts against the now-indigenous government.
Another major stabilising factor for India today, & probably also the culprit for a lot of inertia, is the administration & the apolitical army. These British legacies would most definitely not exist in this case, & indeed, they would have been the vehicles for many of these coups. An alternative case is the American example, where an armed revolt led to the creation of the USA we know today, but the difference is that by the late 19th & early 20th century, the European countries were too strong not to interfere with a nascent Indian nation. In America’s case, the French Revolution & Napoleon’s apparition kept Europe busy, giving the USA crucial time to establish itself.

Case 4: If the INA had ‘liberated’ India during WW II: This case is very deeply intertwined with the overall history of WW II, but still, if we assume that the INA had ‘liberated’ India & Japan had won the War, it would have meant a new ‘pseudo-colonial’ phase with Japanese, instead of British, influence. If instead, the INA had won, & subsequently, Japan had lost, & further war between the INA & the British avoided by a ceasefire, it could have resulted in a stronger India bargaining for its future, & possibly, an avoidance of Partition. This is a very complicated case to discuss, & I’ll let it be for now.

Case 5: If the Congress had succeeded earlier than it did: This is not very different from the actual case that we all know. One thing that can be argued about is the time of Independence. If it had been before the estrangement of Jinnah, it would probably have meant a weaker Muslim League, & no Partition, though it is difficult to imagine that the British would not have tried to bring up communal questions & create divisions. A more detailed analysis of this case, however, would require a knowledge of the internal politics of the Congress & other parties, beyond what is known to us through common history.

History is much too complex, as it is, for us to make conjectures about ‘alternative histories’. Still, I have presented my opinions. I know that some of these might sound quite objectionable to some. The only thing I would say to that is that while I respect all the people who fought for India’s Independence in any which way, I do not believe that any of them should be put on a pedestal. I am too sleepy to write anything more, so goodbye for now…