Week 10 – Regional Focus (South Asia)

From this past week, there was emphasis on South Asian countries, mainly India after WWI- where there were major themes of anti-colonialism and traditionalism. Anti-colonialism, led to many revolts and the dislike of colonial rulers. One of these revolts was the Sepoy Mutiny of 1856, when Indian troops found out that the British were using animal fat for a certain part of their guns that had to be bitten off. It is against Hindu’s religious beliefs to touch, let alone ingest the animal fat that was used in their guns, so this was seen as disrespectful/offensive to their religion. Their dislike grew of the British and they wanted to stop this offense from continuing to happen so this fueled their rebellion. This rebellion led to the failure of liberalism and caused a rule change, where India returned to traditionalism, buttressed by scientific discourse.

Mahatma Gandhi was an anti-colonial nationalist who fueled Indian’s desire to become an independent, religious and anti-modern nation. For India to be a religious nation, they had to have a traditionalism style of rule. Through this traditional style emerged a socialism style that was very similar and focused of the people’s needs and desires.   From the reading,  India at 70 and the Passing of Another Illusion, “Gandhi had intimately experienced how Western imperialists and capitalists blended economic inequalities with racial hierarchies, entrenching, as Du Bois wrote, “a new industrial slavery of black and brown and yellow workers in Africa and Asia.”” Gandhi witnessed these racial hierarchies in India and knew that they were unfair and unequal so he wanted to change them. Similar to the Sepoy Mutiny, Gandhi disliked British rule and instead of a physical rebellion he led many peaceful protests and movements. These movements did not instantly cause change but they helped that change occur and eventually led to an independent Indian nation.


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