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BOOK TWO – INDIA BOUND


TOPSY-TURVY


The Irony of It All


Markand Thakar


A Skunk Publication


Book Two of India Bound


TOPSY-TURVYThe Irony of It All


by


Markand Thakar


A Skunk Publication


The entire contents of

TOPSY-TURVY -- The Irony of It All

writing and artwork, are the sole creation

and authorship of Markand Thakar


ALL RIGHTS RESERVED


No part of

TOPSY-TURVY –The Irony of It All

may be

reproduced, stored in a retrieving system, or transmitted in any form

by an electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recordings means, or otherwise,

without the prior written consent of the author.


Except for historical and explicitly documented happenings and individuals:

any similarity between the characters in

TOPSY-TURVY – The Irony of It All

and any persons living or dead is purely coincidental.


Printed and published in India under

Indian Copyright Registration # L – 18229/99

Updated Copyright 2006 by Markand Thakar

Printed in the U.S.A.


Though likelihood for war and peace,

Is often ever present,

And peace on earth acclaimed in song --

It’s war that gives us glory.


TOPSY-TURVY


India Bound – Book Two


Preamble




Upon arriving at the airport, the economy-class passenger joins a slow-moving queue at the airline’s check-in counter, deposits his luggage and obtains a boarding pass. Then, after a lengthy and boring wait in a mammoth, ever-expanding, somewhat-sterile terminal: one devoid of any definable personality, he, with an over-stuffed tote-bag in hand, boards a gigantic Boeing jet (Air Bus’s planes, until recently were limited to smaller, copy-cat versions).


In addition, when traveling abroad the traveler is accompanied by a weightless item of an uncertain size: his cultural baggage. It passes undetected through the airport’s most advanced and powerful X-ray machines: with scarcely a voyager aware of its very existence. But, like his shadow, it tags along wherever he goes – becoming visible only when stimulated by external forces.


*


For some years prior to my initial visit to India, I busied myself by attempting to take inventory of my own cultural baggage: that repository of events one accrues during a lifetime of living. By now, we’re all very-much aware of the Freudian conceit, whereby a client, by reclining on a couch in the presence of an all-knowing professional auditor (for some hundreds of hours at a cost of twenty to fifty times the minimum wage for hoi polloi), bares his thoughts and emotions, with supposedly-cathartic results – as he scrolls through the near-forgotten vignettes stored in the recesses of his mind. Having my own conceits, and an unwavering belief in my own sanity, I refrain from utilizing the professional services of the shrink: that all-knowing, middle-class practitioner of the occult science of psycho-blather who learned everything he knows about life from his own middle-class upbringing and from books and lectures by professors who, in turn, learned everything they knew from their own middle-class upbringing and the books and lectures by their professors.


As a do-it-yourself person I believed that somehow or other I could, propped up on a rickety stool, or seated in a corner of an offbeat bar, muddle through my own recollections of those minor mental traumas that clutter up one’s psyche, and that are considered to affect our thoughts and how we live our lives. Perhaps as proof of my ignorance, I feel satisfied that I’ve accomplished the same or better results than had I reclined on a sofa and prattled to one of those learned lay-confessors who, in New York, assist the run-of-the-mill, extremely-ambitious, under-endowed over-achievers to rummage through their cultural baggage in an effort to find the root cause of their anxieties


The attempts by those reclining in a shrink’s office to locate the source of their real or imagined emotional problems may not vary by any appreciable degree from my efforts to identify the inputs that led to my then, Euro-centric view of world events. It was a concept instilled from infancy and formalized in public school. It was indoctrination into a world view that was narrowly limited to that part of humanity's communal past that manufactured the conception of a benevolent, modern-day Northern Europe, along with its New World spin-offs.


*


The Lord’s Prayer: Give us this day... was mumbled by one and all once a week at assembly. This was at a junior high school on Manhattan’s West side -- located just below Columbia University; and it took place during the very early, WWII war years. This was when everyone was supposed to be God-fearing, although, even then, I couldn’t figure out why I should be afraid of our “Father” Who art in Heaven. That all students, as good, American, generic-type near-Protestants, were required to recite that supposedly non-denominational Christian prayer, brought not a word of protest from those thought to be ethnic Catholics (at the time poor children deemed uneducable by the nuns were denied admission to parochial school – so they tended to fill the classes for the duller students) or ethnic Jews (coming from highly-motivated, well-to-do, middle-class families but denied access to private schools -- they made up the majority in those classes for brighter children).


Just about everything taught in grade school was consistent with, or avoided refuting the facts as presented in the Bible’s Judeo-Christian mythology (causing Bible-thumping fundamentalists to find no fault with that era’s teaching agendas). No mention of anything of an historical, archaeological, political, social, scientific, economic, theological, philosophical, linguistic or aesthetic nature was made (even in their simplest terms) unless supportive of a Euro-centric, Judeo-Christian, materialistic concept of right and wrong. Colonialism was considered morally fitting and proper – and praised for conveying civilization to the ignorant Heathens. The exception to the rule was when Europeans attempted to colonize the Western hemisphere – in which case the Monroe Doctrine declared colonization (at least by the Europeans) evil.


*


Those deliberate distortions of history were done to rationalize the status quo of the time, which included the continuing subjugation of those peoples whose histories were being deleted from the archives of humanity's progression into the twentieth century. By making the citizens of their colonies historyless, landless, moneyless and often-prideless -- the colonizing powers, with their superior armament, could continue draining the wealth from the economies of their “possessions”, while at the same time bemoaning the need for their having to maintain the “white-man's” burden.


*


The entire conception of race, so imbedded in the European psyche, is quite selective. In just about any popular book involving the races of man, when an illustration of a Euro-Caucasian appears, he is blond, fair-complexioned and blue-eyed, yet, in viewing paintings and photographs taken from life of those Euro-Caucasians who have excelled in science, art, music, philosophy, literature and in just about any other field you can think of, as often as not they’re seen to be dark-eyed, dark-haired and far from white-skinned. And, although the physical characteristics displayed by Indo-Caucasians and Mediterranean Euro-Caucasians have far more in common with each other than do North Europeans with their Southern counterparts, Europe’s Mediterranean peoples seem only too keen to disassociate themselves from their Indian cousins and accept the idealized version of the Nordic European as being representative of themselves. Colonialism, with its handmaiden bigotry, had relied on a healthy dose of racism to rationalize its existence – and the world is still very-much affected by it.


*


All peoples manufacture histories that work to the advantage of the dominant segment of their nation’s population. History in American schools was taught as if the makings of our modern world came into being miraculously in the then-intellectually-barren Medieval Europe (a kind of Immaculate Conception that allowed Europe, with its unlettered masses, to give birth to all worldly knowledge). All other peoples, those belonging to cultures refusing to adopt the mythological history of the Old Testament’s Hebrews as their own, or those folks not enumerated in the Book’s listings of the ancestors of Adam and Eve, were given short shrift. Being considered either God-forsaken or subhuman, they were considered fair game by the rationalizing, God-fearing followers of the Judeo-Christian and Catholic religions. Even today, the greed-motivated, Euro-Caucasian wielders of superior weapons-technology use a similar rationalization to justify the neutralization of the abilities of any recalcitrant native populations that attempt to remain free of the West’s greed motivated domination.


One might contrast the earlier attempted economic ruination of the Soviet Union, North Korea, Cuba and Hussein’s Iraq with the economic and moral support given to such supposedly-democratic nations whose governments have, at least in the recent past, been suppressors of their minorities and often of their own poor, such as Rhee’s South Korea, Fujimori’s Peru, Taiwan, Israel, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia -- amongst others.


WHY GO?


Over the years, I had read enough about India and its culture to become aware of the numerous self-serving, subjective distortions implicit in the various works that Americans were being exposed to (with Herman Hess's "Siddhartha" being the one exception that comes to mind). The books I cracked were English translations of the philosophical ponderings by Teutonic advocates of the not-totally-illogical proposition that the Germanic tribes were related to the Sanskrit-speaking peoples described in India's ancient texts. Their assumptions were based on the realization that Sanskrit is the oldest known, if not the root tongue of the entire Indo-European language group, which includes not only those of Germanic origins (English being the most notable), but also every other major language spoken by the vast majority of folks from Bangladesh on west to Europe and then on to the Americas.


*


The concept of an Indo-Aryan peoples has been totally discredited as a result of Germany’s willing acceptance of Hitler’s claim that her people were pure blooded Aryans -- as his rationalization for the barbarisms committed by the Master Race against the “mongrel” Jews, Gypsies, Slavs and other folk deemed undesirable and therefore were guilty of contaminating their homeland: that Central-European expanse with a people having Alpine, Nordic, Mediterranean, Slavic, Semitic, Indo-Caucasian, Lithuanian, Mongolian, plus who-knows-whose-others, genetic origins.


*


Everything I had read about India worked far more to confuse than to elucidate. Despite this, I had concluded that India’s firmly-imbedded, indigenous prehistoric civilization must be the uniting element behind her modern-day, Indo-Dravidian, Indo-Aryan culture. And, when that was subjected to the overlay of a diversity of genetic and cultural inputs, the result of over three thousand years of successive invasions, immigrations and occupations, it was to give the wide range of peoples indigenous to the Subcontinent as varied a gene pool, and then some, as the equivalent-in-size modern-day Europe.


Between the scholarly tomes that tended to confuse more than enlighten, and the agenda-driven newspapers and periodicals, along with the condescending, Anglo-centric, well-written pot-boilers like A Passage to India and Kim (with their caricatures of Indians much like those of Jews in Ivanhoe and The Merchant of Venice and Italians in The Godfather and Romeo and Juliet), I realized that if I really wanted to get a true picture of what that country and her people were all about, I could no longer put off going to India.


It had become impossible to accept the preposterous premise espoused in both the politically-correct and the rationalizing-of-the-status quo, agenda-driven publications that infer that for the past fifty thousand years, or so, the entire population of the world was in a state of intellectual, evolutionary suspension -- hanging around in the far-off corners of a flat Earth, waiting patiently for the progeny of a North-European olio of sundry, invading, Eurasian, barbarian hordes to become enlightened, so they might, by doing their God’s bidding, murderously enslave the heathens in order to lead them out of their abysmal ignorance of the One-and-Only-God's Grace.


And, so I went!


*


Flight to India -- New York to New Delhi


It was in the latter part of October, 1991 that I boarded a United Airlines flight (coach-economy) at New York's JFK bound for New Delhi – by way of London's Heathrow airport, over which the plane kept circling and circling. In looking down, nothing other than a fluffy blanket of cottony-looking gray stuff could be seen. Eventually the plane broke through and then, as if a miracle, a landing strip loomed up but a few hundred feet away. Within a matter of seconds the plane landed and was taxiing to its assigned gate.


London’s much joked-about, eternal cloud cover caused a delay in landing of close to two hours, which damn near caused me to miss my connecting flight on Gulf Airlines. But, by running a country mile through Heathrow's labyrinthine corridors, while carrying a good-sized, carry-on bag, winded, and with all of ten minutes to spare, I managed to make the flight (an impossible post-9/11 accomplishment due to all the new security checks).



I was assigned an aisle seat next to an attractive young woman. In the course of making small talk, she mentioned she was involved in funding for a British art academy. Since I was vaguely aware of its mythology, if not its history, it led to our having a pleasant conversation. Between that, and the seemingly endless serving of meals, snacks and drinks, plus my many intermittent cat naps – the many hours of the first lap of the circuitous leg of the journey from London to New Delhi passed quickly.


En route, while making the scheduled stop in Bahrain, an unanticipated change of Boeing jets was made. The plane then proceeded to Muscat to pick up additional passengers. The majority of those travelers from London had appeared to be Western-garbed Arabs; they were now being replaced by a diversity of polyglot, exotically-attired, Indian laborers and technicians – apparently returning home after fulfilling their contractual terms of employment.


Despite their obvious expressions of pride and individualism in the way they dressed, the new Indian passengers seemed a subdued lot. At first I assumed that it was merely the manifestation of an aloof nature – or, perhaps, a sign of a contemplative anticipation of their return home. In addition, since on other occasions I had noticed that passengers who fly infrequently often had doubts about the air-worthiness of the plane, which resulted in their exhibiting a similar demeanor: one of introversion and of a resignation to their fate, I assumed that this too could be the cause of their withdrawn and submissive appearance.


Nevertheless, after having traveled extensively throughout a good part of India (some three-and-a-half years over the course of twelve years) I realized that none of those reasons could have accounted for their display of such an overly deferential manner. It was an attitude that, after coming into contact with any number of middle- to lower-income, middle-class Indians (those most apt to seek employment in the Persian Gulf), could only be ascribed to the effects of something almost sinister; which I attributed to their forced submission to the strict laws of Islam -- all in accordance with the self-serving interpretations of Islamic law made by one or another of the West’s tolerated, if not hand-picked, rulers of the water-poor, oil-rich nations of the Persian Gulf.


*


Culture Bias


As I recall (this was before the post-WWII breakup of the British Empire) it was only in geography classes that the cultures of the Heathen inhabitants of lands militarily- and economically-controlled by the West, were discussed. At the time we students were taught, as fact or by inference, that none of the peoples of those colonized lands, or their cultures, were consequential in bringing about the intellectual and material advances of the modern world. At best, their sole worth was implied to be in their ability to supply the raw material enabling those European quoters of Chapter and Verse to give it value. Never was the fact mentioned that the industries of the pre-colonized Subcontinent had been deliberately destroyed: this, in a successful effort to monopolize the value-increasing process of manufacturing and marketing the final finished products.


Despite the inequitable results of mercantilism (a system that prevented the development and often brought about the destruction of indigenously-owned manufacturing industries – which was applied to the peoples of Europe’s pre-WWII colonies), that system was accepted when not lauded, as a good thing in American classrooms. This was the same mercantile system that was damned by America’s founding fathers for its intended economic enslavement of the citizens of the original thirteen colonies – and was a major cause, perhaps more so than that of taxation and lack of representation, for America’s revolution against England’s wealthy bourgeoisie and their puppet German King.


*


By the late nineteenth century the military supremacy of Europe’s colonizing nations, unrestrained by any moral considerations, was so powerful, that in China’s case, despite her having a strong central government, a somewhat common language and a unifying racial makeup, she couldn’t prevent the loss of her sovereign rights over her vast domain (until the first decades of the twentieth century no European in China was subject to her laws). Moreover, China was forced to cede her major port cities to foreign powers; and, it was not until the last year of the twentieth century that the Chinese were to retake complete control of Macao from the Portuguese (in July of 1997 the Chinese had allowed the Brits to withdraw peacefully from Hong Kong before retaking control of it).


To maintain their domination over the colonies, Britain, along with her satellite, fellow-colonizing nations, resorted to the use of propagandistic tactics considered despicable when employed by Germany during WWII, which, of course, they were. The Brits, with intentions no more benign than those of the Nazis, relied on a combination of cunning and well-placed barbarity to gain and maintain control of the wealth and destinies of alien peoples. And to maintain a moral stance while doing so, the people in the colonies had to be denigrated.


Since India was the “Jewel in the Crown of the British Empire” (if not its essence) everything connecting India’s glorious past to her contemporary inhabitants was either ignored or denied. And, so, never mentioned was the long and extensive penetration into what was known as Greater India, by Hindu merchants -- who, in doing so, spread the Subcontinent’s ancient Indian culture throughout much of Southeast Asia. That area of Indian influence (that of both Hinduism and Buddhism) included the entire Indian subcontinent, which besides India included what is now Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Myanmar; Java, Bali and Sumatra the major part of what was the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia); and much of what was French Indo-China (namely Cambodia). Nepal, numerous princely states of India and Thailand, of Anna and the King of Siam fame, were the only South or Southeast Asian political entities that had been directly influenced by Indian culture that managed to remain more or less free of direct foreign domination.


There’s an obvious parallel between the peaceful dissemination of India’s culture throughout South and Southeast Asia and the way early Christianity and the Mediterranean culture was spread throughout much of Europe. In both instances the religion, music, art, literature and ethics (plus dance and theater in India’s case), were all disseminated without the use of armed aggression. In both instances, their civilizing effects were great – perhaps too great, because both were made vulnerable to the greed-motivated incursions from within and without by barbaric hordes of one stripe or another.


*


Apparently, prior to the end of the Victorian era, a gentlemen’s agreement appears to have existed between England’s supported- by-colonialism’s-profits, recently-created intelligencia and the economic and political powers that be, whereby virtually all information would be withheld from widespread publication, if it could possibly negate the concept that North Europeans had an intellectual and moral superiority over the native populations of their colonies. In an effort to enforce that policy, as a means of maintaining her rule in India, by the latter part of the nineteenth century the Brits had set up a secret police force and propaganda machine that could have rivaled that of Adolf Hitler.


Nevertheless, it must be conceded that colonized peoples were given some credit: China, with having built the Great Wall and inventing the firecracker (which was then adapted by the West as an effective means of murdering one another); India was acknowledged for her being the home of the “Mogul-built” Taj Mahal and for her supplying the world with the black pepper berry (which was then so effectively used in the manufacture of salami); Persia (Iran) was credited with having acted as Alexander’s gateway to the borders of India; Mesopotamia (Sumer, Babylon, Iraq) with having been the captors of the Biblical Hebrews; and Egypt, with having built the pyramids, for supplying Marc Antony with a royal lover, and for being the land where Moses was found in a reed basket.


*


Whether the demeaning distortions of reality taught in American schools (the results of both commission and omission) were due to teachers' blindly-following text, their own ignorance or their deliberate, albeit possibly believed-to- be-benign, teaching of what they knew to be untrue, the end result was the glorification and rationalization of colonialism -- which acted to justify the continuing exploitation of subject alien peoples, one based on the concept of a Euro-Caucasian, superiority – with all of its racist overtones.


This added to the problems of those people whose lands were being occupied against their will by our future WWII allies. It was next to impossible for the colonized peoples to defend themselves against the racist propaganda issued clandestinely by British undercover channels. The propaganda campaign was intended to rationalize the commonplace use of the most-advanced weaponry of its time to stifle the attempts by the colonized folks to free themselves from the plight of being the “white-man’s burden”. It was due to the genius of Gandhi that he could see through England’s attempts to dehumanize the colonized peoples as a tool of governance – and, then, single-handedly managing to turn world opinion against the Brits by unmasking colonialism’s innate evil.


*


When still in high school it was difficult, if not impossible for a student to imagine that deliberate distortions of facts were being taught, let alone the motivations for their having been made. But, in retrospect, it’s obvious that we were lied to, or perhaps brain-washed would be a more accurate term. In no way can a young student even consider that any part of the curriculum being taught (no matter how insignificant it might have seemed at the time) was calculated to validate the virtual, world-wide enslavement and character assassination of alien peoples (as well as the rationalization of various forms of bigotry-based practices in our own country). But why was it done? The only possible answer seems to be – to enhance and protect the wealth of a small clique of the West’s most affluent and influential citizens.


Though the motivation behind the deliberate distortions of fact, as taught in the classroom, was way beyond my comprehension, I began to doubt the objectivity of our teachers and textbooks – especially with regard to India (and by extension, to all currently- and formerly-subject nations). I recall seeing a picture in a grade school geography book that related to India. It depicted a huddled mass of impoverished, sullen, unkempt, scrawny, dust-covered, dark- skinned humanity (so-called-liberal publications continue in this practice to this day, but with an updated agenda in support of a new breed of colonizers). Since I grew up in that children-are-to-be-seen-and-not-heard era, I accepted the veracity of our school texts and teacher's word without question. But, I was well aware that neither my Indian father (a relatively-fair-skinned, high-caste Hindu, a writer and linguist who arrived in America during the first years of the last century), nor any of the few Indians I had met, resembled in any way those pitiful and down-trodden peoples depicted in the school's textbooks.

As the years passed, I became aware that there were, indeed, many dark-skinned Indians (many of whom lived in poverty) – though I failed to see that that made them different, let alone inferior.


*


The exercising of every possible kind of bigotry, whether based on ethnicity, religion, race, or you name it, was not only legal in America until the latter part of the twentieth century, but was the norm throughout much of America. (In New York, co-op boards have been established that routinely, and legally, continue to circumvent the anti-bias laws, as they go about promoting and protecting the bigotry-based valuations of residential real-estate.) During the earlier part of the twentieth century only the well-to-do and wealthy could avoid being subjected to the crueler effects of one form or another of bigotry, although, neither fame nor fortune would have served as a total deterrent if you had a dark skin or were a woman.


Laws enacted, in the last half of the twentieth century, making bigotry-based actions illegal (unless practiced in a private club or protected as a religious practice) have accomplished their goal, at least to some degree, though in many instances they’re taking a long time to have a meaningful effect. Moreover, the practice of bigotry, though considerably diminished, remains ubiquitous: it’s still very much alive, well and living in America – but, for the most part, with a change of players: as the members of each once-despised group are superficially accepted by the dominant society, they tend to become even more abusive towards the most recently denigrated group than were their former oppressors. Albeit, with one major difference, their actions are now without the force of law – except, that is, when bigots themselves become the enforcers of the law.


There was, still is, and probably will always be a social and economic underclass that’s made up of a majority of all Americans: those with every conceivable ancestral background. They’re being deprived of a total equality of opportunity due to the effects of money-talks politics. Yet, there are those amongst them with North European origins (the likes of a Liddy or Ollie North), who, while in many ways being as poorly used as the latest groups of much-despised immigrants and minorities, are, nevertheless, convinced that their having been shortchanged was due to the influx of those “inferior” foreign and domestic elements into American society. Their belief that they, and only they, are “Real” Americans – has them willingly give their lives to serve those they believe to be fellow “Real” Americans, such as Reagan and Nixon. (The unjustifiable, irresponsible, post-9/11 invasion of Iraq has allowed a new generations of underemployed youths to willingly die while serving the needs of Bush-little and his super-wealthy supporters – because they believe them to be fellow “Real” Americas).


*


In retrospect, it now seems obvious that pre-WWII textbooks were, and may very well still be being used to further the interests of the reigning, politically-powerful, self-serving determiners of what America's national interests are. Since their interests coincided with those of the colonizing nations, they were best served by adopting a school curriculum that would rationalize the subjugation of militarily-weaker, alien peoples, and the destruction of their competitive industries. (Americans dabbled in colonialism for a time, but to our credit, we didn’t have our hearts in it – although, economically we did attempt, with much success, to dominate Latin America.)


A variation on that theme is being applied by America's current super-rich (foreign and domestic) to suborn our own citizens, whether or not Euro-Caucasians, but almost always those from the lowest eighty percent of America’s income earners. By the late 1990’s; sixty-five percent of the tax reductions accrued to the benefit of one percent of all Americans. Neo-colonizers, both physical and economic continue to claim it’s necessary to subjugate peoples of alien cultures in order to advance and protect their own national interests, i.e., those dominant within its dominant society.


*


In respect to the first invasion of Iraq in 1991, although it’s quite possible that Saddam Hussein would have proven intransigent and that the massacre of those Iraqi troops would still have been necessitated, that Papa Bush (definitely no Jimmy Carter), acting with the rubber-stamp authority of the UN, made no attempt to talk to him before authorizing the massacre in the desert, does make one wonder whether or not both religious and racial bigotry didn’t play at least some part in his otherwise money- oil and politically-based (disingenuously-labeled-moral) decision. To understand why Moslems feel they’re under siege, one need only consider that when the Israelis invaded Lebanon, with heavy casualties inflicted on that nation’s Moslem population, Reagan looked the other way; and nearly twenty years later, a part of Lebanon was still in the hands of the Israelis – all in defiance of the UN. (Papa Bush, unlike his son, realized that any attempt to occupy Iraq would be foolhardy. Nevertheless, a fool attempted it.)


*


While adding hypocrisy to the felony of theft, the colonizing powers, prior to, and during WWII, claimed those occupied- against-their-will lands offered them little, if any, financial benefit. Though the despicable lies voiced by Nazi Germany's wartime propaganda-making machine were obvious, a more subtle form of propaganda was being voiced by America’s honorable Allies: those nations whose colonies the Axis powers had had the audacity to steal. The kicker was that the West’s colonizers contrasted the land-grabbing attempts of the Axis powers by claiming they were evil, as against theirs, our Allies, who were merely doing God's work by taking on this unprofitable responsibility of the white-man's burden – which they would gladly relinquish once the war was over.


As promised, America, in the case of the Philippines, did just that; in the aftermath of WWII we unequivocally ceded control of that nation to the Filipino people – whereas, unless the colonies of our WWII allies proved too costly to retain, they never relinquished control over them. The Dutch did, however, give up their murderous efforts to regain control of Indonesia, but only after America advised them that if they didn’t, they wouldn’t get Marshall-plan aid.


*


The lives of some fifty-million people were lost during WWII (the overwhelming majority coming from the poorer citizens of the various countries involved in the conflict – in addition the Brits contributed to the starvation deaths of two to three million Bengali Indians). This was for the primary purpose of allowing the major colonizing nations, our Allies: the English, French and Dutch, to deny the Axis powers the opportunity to relieve them of their awesome burden: one requiring that the wealth of their colonies continue to be funneled into the pockets of their nation’s wealthier citizens.


INTRODUCTION


For those unfamiliar with The Panchatantra, it’s an ancient Indian book of animal fables, the tales from which are commonly misattributed to Aesop and Fontaine. In addition, The Thousand and One Nights, The Decameron and The Canterbury Tales all owe their format to The Panchatantra and, though not a deliberate attempt on my part, so too, at least in some respect, does TOPSY-TURVY.


In no way is the describing of India’s inputs, of which the Panchatantra is but one of many, into what is considered world culture (currently it’s with a very definite Euro-centric, Judeo-Christian bias) intended to highlight India’s culture and contributions at the expense of others. However, due to the contemporary, historical world-view, which focuses almost exclusively on Europe’s achievements (though often of a dubious moral nature), it would be next to impossible to correct the unintentional, when not deliberate, distortions of fact currently promoted by Western apologists for the greed-based materialism of the past, i.e., colonialism, and for its potential replacement: the New World Order, without bringing a whole range of Western hypocrisy to light.


Perhaps it’s a belief in the idealism associated with a Jeffersonian approach to democracy that triggered my focusing in on the concept that all men are created equal. Though, to bring that point home I felt it necessary to attack the smug, self-satisfied and complacent attitude of ethnic and racial superiority that pervades our modern materialist world – and that has the effect of oppressing the most vulnerable of our fellow human beings. Although there are numerous exceptions to the rule that all people are basically decent, those exceptions are not concentrated in any special racial or ethnic grouping. And, so, in order to make available a reasonable opportunity for all folks, the world over, to attain the basic necessities of life, it’s sometimes necessary to puncture the inflated conception of self (based on one’s ethnicity, race, nationality, income, religion, caste, class, ancestry or whatever) that has so many folks believing they have a right to deny the opportunity to partake in the better things in life by others. For those unmoved by an appeal to decency, it must be stressed, that unless there’s at least the glimmer of hope that a modest degree of prosperity can be attained by all people, with a fairly equal chance of success, the world will never be an easy place to live.


*


The ongoing theme of TOPSY-TURVY is: what, if anything, makes Indians different from other folks? As an artist, I might state my reasons for starting a painting, and then go on to discuss the technical problems and happenings during the course of completing it. But, I normally refrain from describing the painting in detail or stating its meaning. If an artist feels the need to tell a viewer what his painting means, he’s admitting that both he and the painting were failures: he didn’t have the ability to commit his intellect and emotions to the canvas. For better or worse, my attitude, as the author of TOPSY-TURVY, is no different than when I do a painting. Perhaps, upon your reading the book from cover to cover, you can determine, to your own satisfaction, whether or not Indians are any different from other folks.


Author’s Note


Racism has been used as an excuse by the West’s colonizing nations to exercise their acquisitive natures; skin pigmentation, though excusable as a means of identification, has been used as a justification to dehumanize alien peoples and thereby allow the “moral” followers of the Judeo-Christian religions to engage in a level of rationalized depravity rarely seen amongst civilized peoples. As a result, it was necessary to debunk a great deal of the very structure of the West’s much-touted moral fiber in order to illustrate the degree of barbarous oppression and hypocrisy that was put into play to maintain the colonial system. In doing so, the reader’s indulgence is requested. Much like the doctor who re-breaks a bone in order to set it straight, to counter the obviously self-serving and erroneous conclusions promulgated in the current Euro-centric approach to world history, I found it necessary to demolish some of the most cherished, yet hardly credible contentions now widely accepted by the overwhelming majority of supposedly well-educated folks, the world over.


M.T.


VOLUME ONE


CHAPTER ONE


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