Fri Aug 11 02:22:59 UTC 2000

> > Raja wrote:
> > > While the British were able to maintain a
> > > "stiff upper lip" regarding the atrociously
> > > high death rate in India, it dropped sharply
> > > after the natives took charge.

There was also a correspondingly high mortality rate among British
colonial administrators and others at least up until the end of the
C19th.  I wonder if there are any estimates for pre-colonial death
rates.  Was the Moghul government any more benign in its
administration than the British were ?   Besides, India seems to have
been a dangerous place for one's health for centuries -- if you read
I-xing, the C7th CE Chinese Buddhist pilgrim, he states that 50 of the
54 Chinese monks he knew residing in India died there of disease and
other unnatural causes.

>    So, the amazingly high death rate in India, and its
>    rapid fall after 1950, can't simply be "new medication
>    developed after the war", can it?

Yes, but obviously the world of technology and medicine in 1950 was
very different to 1900.  Most health improvements -- sanitation etc --
in Western Europe date from the last decade or so of the C19th and
required heavy capital investment.   I do not intend to excuse the
actions or lack of action by British colonial administrators but it
seems to me that governments in Europe were fairly busy killing their
own populations during that time in two world wars -- over 20% of the
50 years was wasted in this way, which coupled with the depression in
the late 20s/30s might explain things a bit.   Also, health care in
the UK is actually deteriorating at present -- despite all its
promises Blair's Labour government have not done much in the past 4
years to improve the disastrous situation they inherited from the
earlier Tories.  It all boils down to funding priorities.

> But it would be nice if foreigners can at least be aware
> that these bad things happened while the British
> were in India.

I guess "bad things" have sadly always happen when one people get
subjugated by another.  I wonder what the Neanderthals would have to
say about Homo sapiens sapiens -- pity there aren't any Neanderthals
around to tell us.  If you accept the "out-of-Africa" theory, then
since we are all descended from the first Homo sapiens sapiens who
moved out of Africa, the ancestors of all of us would have been
involved to a degree in atrocities of one kind or another.  Also, some
of the points you have raised have been aired in documentaries on TV
here in the UK so those who wish to know should be aware of them.
Actually, it seems to be quite fashionable to "have a go" at the
British [ = English] these days if we look at the one-sided, distorted
or anachronistic versions of history emanating from Hollywood

Best wishes,
Stephen Hodge

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