Echoing Gandhi

P. Sainath in his article, `The Raj and the famines of good governance' (Aug. 16), has echoed Mahatma Gandhi. In his statement at his trial for sedition in Ahmedabad in 1922, the Mahatma told the court, inter alia, that, despite his many attempts to cooperate with the British, "I came reluctantly to the conclusion that the British connection had made India more helpless than she ever was before, politically and economically ... She has become so that she has little power of resisting famines. Little do town dwellers know how the semi-starved masses of India are slowly sinking into lifelessness ... I have no doubt that England and the town dwellers of India will have to answer, if there is a God above, for this crime against humanity which is perhaps unparalleled in history." (Page 256, Mahatma Gandhi — His Life and Times, Louis Fischer, Bhavan's edition). The elite of India should read history written by non-British authors before giving certificates of good governance to Britain.

K. Madhava Sarma, Chennai

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The record in the article of the death of millions of Indians due to the exploitative policies of the British Raj should be an eye-opener to those still grateful to the British.

Suman Saurabh, New Delhi

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The author has detailed the disastrous consequences of the colonial policy in India, which has already been well documented. He, however, does not comment on the professionalism of the Indian Civil Service, the impartiality of the police, the manner in which public works were executed, etc. Everything that comes from the West is not necessarily bad.

Rajiv Balakrishnan, New Delhi