Progress at its Finest

Even though India is a nation of many traditions and customs, citizens have worked hard to progress as a society, and to have experiences that were originally unimaginable.

This principle of progression was the main focus of Bachi Karkari, a columnist for the Times of India. She spoke of her life in India with enthusiasm because she has lived long enough to see how far the country has come.

Karkari began her lecture with an explanation of what India was like back when she was a little girl. During that time, she commonly watched as her parents would pay for various items with cash. To her and every other Indian citizen, paying for just what was necessary was the norm.

But, as time went on, Karkari observed that the average Indian consumer was changing along with the nation’s economy. By 1992, India was ready to set forth new laws that would help it integrate itself into the global market. These laws included a reduction in import tariffs, decreased taxes, and an increase in foreign investment.

Now, Indians were spending in a manner that totally went against tradition. Instead of only purchasing necessities, consumers now bought items that interested them. This can also be attributed to the introduction of credit cards. Consumers could spend without having to dish out cash immediately. An instant effect of the new way of spending was that Indians now made time for leisure as well.

A long term result of the liberalization of India’s economy was that the strict patriarchal society had become less important. Women were able to make huge gains with the capitalistic economy. They were obtaining jobs that only men held before, and making their mark on society.

Towards the end of the lecture however, Karkari said that although much progress has been made, total equality is not in near sight. India still remains patriarchal and men are unwilling to give up some traditions. For example, although women are now working in businesses and other sectors of the economy, men have maintained dominance by holding the highest positions.

Like most Indians, Karkari was very proud of how far her homeland has come. She went from living in a society run by men, to seeing her nation liberalize and women accomplish so much. Karkari believes that although India has made great strides in progressing as a country, there is a lot of work to do before true equality can be achieved.


Remembering Partition Response Paper

In a time of uncertainty, Hindus, Muslims, and Sikhs alike agreed on one issue: the Indian Peninsula needed to be divided.  Professor Gyanendra Pandey writes of this division, or Partition, in his book Remembering Partition and analyzes the various aspects that comprised it.  He seeks to investigate the violence and nationalization of large populations, as well as contrast how events were remembered or recorded.  Pandey successfully informs the reader of the events that led up to and occurred during Partition.  Additionally, the Anthropology and History professor effectively interprets varying accounts of what happened throughout this historical time.

Initially, Professor Pandey attempts to explain terms that are essential to know before understanding the violence and divisive, yet unifying anger that characterized the Partition.  The professor assumes that the reader already has knowledge of the Hindus, Muslims, and Sikhs frequently mentioned throughout his investigation; this is necessary to understand why Partition was imminent.  Also, to help provide a better understanding of this event, Pandey talks about how outsiders, Indians, and Pakistanis each “remember” what happened.  Although he clearly states that some accounts are factual history, others are simply “memories.”  While this distinction is crucial, the author drags his explanation out; this tangent effectively takes the focus away from the Partition altogether.  Similarly, his comparison of European and Asian histories does aid in providing background information, but has little importance when trying to understand the formation of the two nations.  In his attempt to introduce Partition, Pandey does successfully provide initial explanations of the event, but draws away from his main idea by explaining too many insignificant or unrelated details.

Pandey then dives into recalling the events that came together to form what we know as Partition.  By separating the split of the peninsula into three separate parts, he makes understanding the history so much more simple.  With no prior knowledge of this subject, I gained not only a basic understanding of the event, but insight into details that allowed me to form my own opinions about the turning point.  I now understand why several of my Indian friends have strong feelings about Pakistan, since Partition is as divisive as it sounds.  While reading this book, it seemed to me that the Muslims pushed for the division much more so than Hindus and Sikhs.  Throughout the second chapter, Pandey provides accounts of massacres all over the peninsula, usually due to the Muslims’ fierce desire for their own nation, Pakistan.  Their desire was heavily emphasized, which makes me believe that Pandey favors the Hindus’ and Sikhs’ efforts.  Although he effectively explains Partition, the professor’s opinion does shape how the history is recalled; which means he may have left certain events out.

Professor Pandey explains what happened during the time of the Partition of the British Raj and discusses several events that occurred as well.  In his explanation of background information, he gives the reader an initial understanding of the topic, but draws away from his focus.  He then summarizes the division, however is biased in his attempt.  While the Partition did its job in creating two nations, it failed in creating a truly peaceful and unified Indian Peninsula.

Short Essay Question

Whether they’re in the Mughal Empire or even the United States Government, scandals inevitably occur with high-ranking officials. In the Mughal Empire’s case, scandals were common, and eventually led to its fall and the rise of the British Raj. Unfortunately for the kingdom, the British were in the middle of imperialism and looked for any way to claim India for themselves.

In the late seventeenth century, England began to gain influence in India through trade.  One of the most important English companies at the time, the East India Company, had a major maritime presence and sought to do business with the Mughals.  The two entered into mutual trades for a years, to the point where the East India Company was one of the most popular stocks traded in the newly-founded English stock market.  Therefore, when the company’s charter failed, it used stock shares to bribe members of Parliament to renew it instead.  Additionally in the eighteenth century, Englishmen who had become rich in India and returned to England (called “nabobs”) were seen as ruining the country by marrying into powerful families and buying their way into government.  For example, one nabob, Robert Clive, took a land grant from a prince in Bengal and even received profit from the land for the rest of his life.  Similar situations reoccured many times and eventually the British saw an opportunity for large profits in the peninsula.  Over time, the company engaged in naval battles and trade, but fell into bankruptcy.  Instead of dissolving, the company was able to be revived by nabob’s insistence in Parliament.  After that, the English saw the importance in keeping close ties with India and began to claim parts of it for itself.

Due to the proliferation of trade between England and India in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, scandals were bound to occur.  Englishmen in the peninsula saw the economic opportunity and capitalized on troubling times in order to gain control.  In a time of imperialism and economic turmoil, these men saw that the time was right, and thus established the British Raj.