Hume's Congress, 1857 & UP Politics

Between 1857 and 2007 countless events have crossed river Yamuna. It is inconvenient to look back from 21st century to fathom the flow of its past. Sumit Pande's piece ( on the association of A O Hume with Etawah is quite useful in subtly suggesting that treating 1857 as the reference point in our political engagements would more valuable than 1947. Surely, as a district collector, Hume must have read the documentations of the 1857 War of Independence and British repression.

The Torture Commission in its first report that was presented to the British House of Commons in 1856, admitted the practice of torture. Lord Dalhousie confirmed to the Court of Directors of the East India Company in September, 1855 that the practice of torture was in use in every British province.

Armed revolts broke out only to be brutally suppressed by the British. Three sons of Bahadur Shah Zafar were publicly executed at "Khooni Darwaaza" in Delhi and Bahadur Shah himself was blinded and exiled to Rangoon where he died in 1862.

After the defeat of the 1857 national revolt due to Britishers ability to have fresh Indian recruits- the British embarked on a furious policy of "Divide and Rule". Even in the moment of crisis although a broad unity among Hindus and Muslims emerged during 1857 but the unity did not extend to the "unclean" or "impure" castes.

The National Planning Committee (NPC) that was constituted by the Congress President, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose in 1938 under the chairmanship of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. The 15 members of NPC included: five scientists, four leading merchants and industrialists, three economists and three with political credentials: Gandhian, labour leader and Nehru himself.

Even this committee referred to the untouchables as "wrong sorts" in the report it submitted in 1940. It is these wrongs rooted in the acts of Congress that provided the fertile ground for likes of Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party and Jan Morcha to reap the electoral harvest.


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