THAT BRITISH EAST INDIACOMPANY FAR MORE HONORABLE THAN INDIAN STATE , PAKISTANI STATE, BANGLADESH , AFGHANISTAN IRAN , SAUDI ARAB , UAE,USA,UK ETC
Agha H Amin
Dalrymple is not a serious historian but a highly skilled jester who plays to the gallery.
He makes many factual errors in his book and frequently gets carried away by emotions , where he promiscuously starts mixing facts with fiction.
On page 12 there is a small typing error placing third mysore war victory of Cornwallis in 1782 rather than 1792:--
In describing Aurangzeb on page 13 Dalrymple misses the most essential fact that it was the Hindu Mahratta Insurgency that laid foundations of decline and fall of Mughal Empire:--
In this regard Rajputs etc were mickey mouse players and the real hero of Hindu resurgence was Sivaji.
Degradingly describes Mohammad Shah but fails to note that under his tenure Mughals defeated Ahmad Shah Abdali at Sirhind in 1748:--
Battle of Buxar took place in 1764 and not in 1765 as Mr Dalrymple states on page-16:--
On page 60 Dalrymple fallaciously states that Bhonsla was incharge of Orrissa whereas the Bhonsla citadel was many hundred miles from Orrissa to the west in Nagpur :--
Dalrymple is addicted to false fantasies.Thus he projects the Mughals as the height of civilization while these so called civilized Mughals in 1719 publicly tortured Banda Sahibs five year old son gouging out his heart while the child was alive and shoving it in his fathers mouth !
Nadir Shah did not invade Afghanistan in 1739 but in 1738 via Helmand as it was a long way from Delhi but our brilliant and careless writer states he did so in 1739:--
Dalyrmple totally misses the greatest betrayal in Indian history at Karnal where Nadir Shah of Persia on prompting of Nawab of Avadh Saadat Khan decided to pillage and plunder Delhi after an initial agreement to return to Persia after being paid a relatively small fine.
Dalrymple spents great energy on famine of Bengal of 1770 and vilifying the company but fails to reconcile the fact that a far greater famine broke out in Bengal under the British crown.His treatment of events reeks with extreme polemics and subjectivism.
Worst is his treatment of military events like in describing First Anglo Mysore war he glorifies Hyder Ali but fails to note that he lost in various pitched battles to Colonel Smith and won only because of lack of cavalry by the company as well as extreme corruption of companys officials.
Dalrymples treatment of military history is atrocious.Like in discussing Second Anglo Mysore War he only discusses one battle Pollilore whereas totally ignores the fact that Hyder Ali was repeatedly defeated at Porto Novo , Sholingur etc by Sir Eyre Coote.
Dalrymple totally forgets the fact that while the company lost one battle in 1780 the war continued till 1784 and was inconclusive.
Dalyrmples use of historical facts is one sided and extremely biased.
Ahmad Shah Abdali never went to Delhi in 1762 so Dalrymples claim that he ousted Imad ul Mulk in 1762 is incorrect (page-259 ).
By and large the book is a repetition of well known facts of British Indian history .
However Dalrymple has wasted a book in vain as it brings out nothing new .
His whole conclusion about the company and the title of the book “Anarchy” is extremely questionable and debatable :--
Firstly English East India Company did not cause anarchy in India as Dalrymple repeatedly tries to prove.
India was in complete anarchy when the British company became a serious player.
Delhi was sacked more than 40 times between 1737 and 1800 by non British but Dalrymple is blind to this hard fact. All the bad things he sees are only to be found in English East India Company.
His military knowledge is myopic and he constantly distorts military history and uses bits and pieces to prove or disprove as he wills at whim.
As a matter of fact the company restored order in India .First three universities in Indian history were founded at Calcutta ,Madras and Bombay in 1856-57.
Outmoded customs like widow burning , infanticide etc were abolished by the company.
A hereditary class of feudal was created by Lord Cornwallis in 1792 as a result of which political stability was introduced and strengthened in India.
The company had many reformers, philanthropists and utilitarians but Dalrymple in his irrational hatred is blind to all these people.
To Dalrymple all that British East India Company did was bad and he has an extremely jaundiced and twisted vision.
Dalrymple gives no weightage to the fact that British parliament and system prosecuted Clive and Warren Hastings and tried to regulate India.
Above all Dalrymple forgets that without the driving spirit of corporate enterprise of the company the British would never have conquered India.
While personal interest has constantly dominated human conduct in history , whether it was a company or a state , Dalrymple wears coloured glasses and his perception is cloudy as well as confused.
Lastly my most serious issue with Dalrymple is his oversimplistic sweeping judgements.
Mughals were as big opportunists as the company.They were a small group kicked out of central asia and captured India or north India just like the British company because of superior military tactics.
If you look at Mughal contributions you find only Taj Mahal or Shalimar Bagh in Lahore ! Whereas the British company gave India , irrigation , universities, a sound military system , a system of governance and social classes like feudal who made the system more stable.
Another point that Dalrymple totally misses is that the company saved the Indian Muslims from total political extinction . The Muslims were nobodies by 1800.Delhi was Mahratta ruled , Badshahi mosque of Lahore was a horse stable and a powder magazine ! The Mahrattas and Sikhs totally dominated north India ! But a knight in shining armour comes and saves the Indian Muslims.Lake saves Delhi Muslims ! Hugh Goughs saves Lahore and Peshawar Muslims ! But Dalrymple misses out all these things.
Dalrymples most serious failure is that greed and avarice is not a British company failing but a human failing and all Indian rulers were guilty of this .
Dalrymple fails to appreciate that Indians gladly fought against Indians under the company because the company paid salaries in time !
Dalyrmple fails to note that British companys triumphs were triumphs of organization where Lieutenant Flint repeatedly defeated Tipu Sultan with a 100 % Indian force at Wandewash.Dalrymple fails to appreciate that India was conquered by an organizationally superior company using 80 % Indian manpower ! Why Indians followed them if they were so evil as Dalrymple believes or wants us to believe !
And lastly Dalrymple fails to relate to what happened after the British left.
Pakistan where I live is the most corrupt state in the world .Pakistans tax officials of the so called FBR are 1 billion times more corrupt than English East India Company could be in their wildest dreams.
Parochialism is such that in todays Pakistan entire establishment consists of few districts and few castes of North Punjab and small parts of Sindh !
Characters like Dalrymple thrive on emotional manipulation which is why Dalrymple needs to be questioned and refuted !