Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Charles Dickens' vicious racist remarks (1857) against Indians

Charles Dickens.  en.wikipedia.org
We have  heard a lot about Charles Dickens (1812-1870), one of the greatest English novelists and his remarkable contribution in English literature. Indian people hardly ever know that he despised Indians  in  the subcontinent and  made  a  scathing racial attack on them during the British occupation in India. What provoked him to make unpalatable, obnoxious racial remarks?

The 'Sepoy Mutiny' of 1857  against the  English company, the worst  revolt in the history of their occupation in India, was the the   outcome of several serious  matters. Poor treatment of  Indian soldiers by the British Sahibs, open blasphemy, grabbing the kingdoms of Maharajahs  and  Nawobs, using various excuses, taking over tribal lands and lands assigned to Zamindars 
(landlords) and peasants and asking Indian traders to pay high taxes. The list goes on.
The Indian Sepoy Mutiny of 1857.www.tumblr.com
The Indian Sepoy Mutiny of 1857. en.wikipedia
the rebellion was triggered by the introduction of new type of Enfield rifles with grease cartridges. The grease, it was rumored, contained the fat of pork and cow. Both Muslim and Hindus consider the fat of pork and cow as taboo. The British higher-ups overlooked the  resentment  expressed   by  the  Indian  soldiers
 It slowly  snowballed  into a  big uncontrollable rebellion. It was a great opportunity for the entire cross section of  people across the country to show their pent-up emotions and hatred for the British and their atrocities against them.  The rebellion  backed by the people lasted  for one  and half  years  plus. During  that period  the  British   mercilessly killed  tens of thousands of soldiers and civilians before putting down the rebellion. However, rumor  mill  in  the English media worked overtime and reported  concocted stories (some may be true) of  British women and children being targeted and killed  by the rebels in India. The British media followed  this unethical method  to  help  the British authorities in India get the sympathy from the British public.This obviously  inflamed the public opinion in England about the  highly tolerant Indians. The British public got the impression that the real culprits were the Indians and not the British.

Without verifying the facts, Charles Dickens, like many  British racial  bigots, proved that he too was a genocidal  racist, bigot and full of hate, as proven from the letter cited below: 

Dickens  in a letter to  Emile de la Rue on 23 October 1857, about the so-called Indian Mutiny of 1857 : “I wish I were Commander
 in Chief over there [ India ]! I would address that Oriental character which must be powerfully spoken to, in something like the following placard, which should be vigorously translated into all native dialects, “I, The Inimitable, holding this office of mine, and firmly believing that I hold it by the permission of Heaven and not by the appointment of Satan, have the honor to inform you Hindoo gentry that it is my intention, with all possible avoidance of unnecessary cruelty and with all merciful swiftness of execution, to exterminate the Race from the face of the earth, which disfigured the earth with the late abominable atrocities [2,000 British killed in the 1857 Indian War of Independence - Indian Mutiny] (see Grace Moore (2004), “Dickens and the Empire. Discourses of class, race, and colonialism in the works of Charles Dickens”
(Ashgate Publishing, Aldershot , UK )

However, British writers in a process of continuing, holocaust denial  put the number of Indians killed at about 100,000. Randeep Ramesh (''India 's secret history'': ... a holocaust, one where millions disappeared..), author says ''British reprisals involved the killing of 10 million Indians spread over 10 years,'' Guardian, 24 August 2007.

Charles Dickens was a plain racist of top order;  not only did he hate some British groups and but also he despised Americans. He was a staunch supporter of slavery.  Besides Indians of India, he hated American Indians, blacks, Italians (on the above subjects he himself wrote, not once but several times)and others. Dickens was anti-Italian, anti-Irish, anti-Zulu, anti-Indian and anti-American Indian and anti- Jewish. To him all nonwhite people are savages just out of jungle and lack  elementary  British manners, social etiquette,etc.

In fact, if he were alive in the 1930s Hitler would have joyfully made this racist a Gestapo and Dickens would have become a political heir to Hitler.
 

A disgusting and obnoxious British literary figure in spite of his distinction in the literary world.

Ref:
www.estherlederberg.com/E Images/Extracurricular/Dickens.html Victorian Studies 48.2 (2005) 331-333

Dickens and Empire: Discourses of Class, Race and Colonialism in the Works of Charles Dickens, by Grace Moore; pp. xii + 210. Aldershot and Burlington: Ash gate, 2004,
 

www.guardian.co.uk/world/2007/aug/24/india.randeepramesh

                 (Re-modified August 01, 2015)

1 comments so far