Tuesday, November 12, 2013


What is Decolonisation?
The movement from the colonial period of British rule to self-administration and expression. In the case of South Africa this is more complicated as South Africa was technically an independent sovereign state from 1920, but the apartheid system which was formally institutionalised in 1948, resulting in the majority population being governed by a minority. The 'people' only took control of the government in 1994 with the fall of the apartheid system and the white minority government with it. It was not until 1986 that the Australia Act eliminated the remaining ties between the legislature and judiciary of Australia and their counterparts in the United Kingdom. The Queen of England however remains the technical Head of State for Australia and is represented in Australia by the Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia. Indian independence from Britain occurred at the stroke of midnight, on 15 August 1947.
Acts of decolonisation (an army leaving, a handing back of territory) are just the sign posts along the way to decolonisation. Once an occupying force leaves a newly independent nation a large number of processes begin. In a sense decolonisation never really ends, as the colonisation period is always a part of a country’s history and explains (as I try to convey in this course) so much of why a country’s culture and society is the way it is today. 

World War One

The First World War (1914-1918) was a turning point for the British Empire and its colonies. Hundreds of thousands of men and women from the former or present colonies rushed to defend England from Germany. The conditions on the battle fields of France and the Middle East were appalling and the mistakes made by British officers when leading colonial soldiers were not forgotten. One Australian soldier in a documentary said quite plainly "We despised the British officers". Following the war hopeful independence organisations in India felt they had earned a reward, but none came. In India, South Africa and Australia unionism and nationalism flourished during and after the First World War as the problems of Europe no longer seemed to concern them.

''World War One 1914-1918'''
A major shift in world power and how colonial citizens felt about being part of the Empire occurred as a result of World War One (1914-1918). Hundreds of thousands of Empire citizens fought and died in the battles of the First World War. Around 800,000 soldiers from the British Empire were on the Western Front at any one time. In Britain, rationing was finally imposed in early 1918, limited to meat, sugar, and fats (butter and oleo), but not bread. The new system worked smoothly. In Britain from 1914 to 1918 trade union membership doubled, from a little over four million to a little over eight million. Work stoppages and strikes became frequent in 1917–18 as the unions expressed grievances regarding prices, alcohol control, pay disputes, fatigue from overtime and working on Sundays and inadequate housing. Conscription put into uniform nearly every physically fit man, six of ten million eligible. Of these, about 750,000 lost their lives and 1,700,000 were wounded. Most deaths were to young unmarried men; however, 160,000 wives lost husbands and 300,000 children lost fathers. Britain turned to her colonies for help in obtaining essential war materials whose supply had become difficult from traditional sources. Geologists, such as Albert Ernest Kitson, were called upon to find new resources of precious minerals in the African colonies. Kitson discovered important new deposits of manganese, used in munitions production, in the Gold Coast.

India and World War One
The war began with an unprecedented outpouring of loyalty and goodwill towards the United Kingdom from within the mainstream political leadership, contrary to initial British fears of an Indian revolt. India under British rule contributed massively to the British war effort by providing men and resources. The Indian Congress in hope of achieving self-government did this, as India was very much in the control of the British. The United Kingdom disappointed the Indians by not providing self-governance and this led to the Gandhi Era in Indian History. About 1.3 million Indian soldiers and labourers served in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East, while both the Indian government and the princes sent large supplies of food, money, and ammunition. In all 140,000 men served on the Western Front and nearly 700,000 in the Middle East. 47,746 Indian soldiers were killed and 65,126 wounded during World War I. The Indian support given to Britain’s cause surprised the establishment in Britain. ‘The Times’ wrote: “The Indian empire has overwhelmed the British nation by the completeness and unanimity of its enthusiastic aid.”

The First World War created an enormous change in the way many colonial subjects regarded the dominance of England and their place in the British Empire. The First World War bankrupt many of the European nations, including Britain, that kept empires. It threw together rulers and the ruled in situations where their lives depended on each other in battles that often seemed more like slaughters. It was understood in many colonial possessions that by assisting 'the mother country' (i.e. England) they would be treated better when the war was won and self-recognition and independence became an issue. India was profoundly effected by the First World War losing 56 000 of its' citizens and spending a vast fortune on the war effort.

Australian News Reels
Despite the colonial pride in the virtues of the 'native-born', Australian movements in art and literature and the very fact of Federation in 1901, Australians early in the 20th century remained ambivalent toward ideas of Australian nationhood. Most thought of themselves as 'Australasian Britons', bound to Britain by 'the crimson thread of kinship' and a proud junior partner in the empire. The service of over 320,000 Australians in the Great War would offer the first substantial challenge to that view and would stimulate the growth of a self-conscious Australian nationalism. (BBC).

Australians in World War One
More than 330,000 Australians served overseas in World War I. Of these, nearly 60,000 died, 152,000 were wounded, and over 4000 were taken prisoner, of whom 395 died in captivity. (National Archives)

''Gallipoli 1915''
The Battle of Gallipoli took place at Gallipoli from April 1915 to December 1915 during the First World War. A joint Imperial British and French operation was mounted to capture the Ottoman capital of Istanbul and provide a secure sea route for military and agricultural trade with the Russians. The attempt failed, with heavy casualties on both sides. In Turkey, the campaign is known as the Çanakkale Savaşları, after the province of Çanakkale. In the United Kingdom, it is called the Dardanelles Campaign or Gallipoli. In France it is called Les Dardanelles. In Australia, New Zealand and Newfoundland it is known as the Gallipoli Campaign or simply as Gallipoli. The Battle of Gallipoli resonated profoundly among all nations involved. To this day, ANZAC (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) Day is commemorated in Australia and New Zealand, the battle often considered to mark the birth of the national consciousness of each nation, replacing their former collectivized identity under the British Empire.

Australia soldiers had been led by British officers into slaughter repeatedly in the Gallipoli Campaign of 1915 and then again on the Western Front in France. Conscription was debated in Australia in a desperate sense (see video) with the only act of political violence against a serving Prime Minister (William Hughes) recorded in relation to the event (the throwing of an egg). The mood against conscription was a major step away from the wishes of the British Government in London.
Over 8,000 Australian soldiers died in the Gallipoli campaign, and even though the campaign was a military failure, the ANZAC legend was formed. Australia was a young nation and the courage and character shown by Australians at Gallipoli was quickly recognised and honoured back home.

The Battle of Gallipoli took place at Gallipoli from April 1915 to December 1915 during the First World War. A joint Imperial British and French operation was mounted to capture the Ottoman capital of Istanbul and provide a secure sea route for military and agricultural trade with the Russians. The attempt failed, with heavy casualties on both sides.

The Battle of Gallipoli resonated profoundly among all nations involved. To this day, ANZAC (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) Day is commemorated in Australia and New Zealand (2,721 New Zealand soldiers died at Gallipoli), the battle often considered to mark the birth of the national consciousness of each nation, replacing their former collectivised identity under the British Empire.

In Turkey, the battle is perceived as a defining moment in the history of the Turkish people - a final surge in the defence of the motherland as the centuries-old Ottoman Empire was crumbling. The struggle laid the grounds for the Turkish War of Independence and the foundation of the Turkish Republic eight years later.

Africa and World War One
Southern Africa was divided as well by the First World War, not least because of the German colonies in South West Africa (Namibia). German South West Africa was brought under allied control in the first few months. Cameroon took longer to capture. The East Africa campaign took even longer, with the Germans led by brilliant German General von Lettow-Vorbeck.
The First World War gave rise to a crucial change in the relationship between Europe and Africa. Over two million people in Africa made huge sacrifices for the European Allies. 100,000 men died in East Africa and 65,000 men from French North Africa and French West Africa lost their lives. African troops from French West Africa saw action in Western Europe, but the British never took African soldiers out of the continent. Following the war the need for raw materials from Africa and other continental enclaves was great and the aspirations of such colonial possessions as India, the leaders of which believed supporting the war would gain them bargaining power after it was over, were disappointed when it was business as usual in the now shaky and less certain British Empire.

World War Two
'''World War Two'''
What was left of the British Empire disintegrated following World War Two (1939-1945). England had been ravaged financially and as a population by the war (including 450,000 war dead) and could no longer maintain the colonial possessions it had. The forces for independence had gained considerable ground in India and Australia had turned to the USA in its hour of need following the threat from Imperial Japan in 1941. South Africa was assembling the legal, political and social framework for Apartheid. The Commonwealth of Nations had emerged as a functioning international body by 1947, the same year India gained self government.
In this film, made during the Second World War by the Ministry of Information, a group of West Indians, led by Una Marson and Learie Constantine, assemble at Broadcasting House in London. They describe to listeners of a popular BBC radio series, 'Calling the West Indies', how people from the Caribbean are supporting the war effort. Constantine speaks about factory workers, and introduces some war-workers, including Ulric Cross, a bomber navigator from Trinidad. Cross tells of his work in the RAF and Carlton Fairweather introduces a film about lumbermen from British Honduras. The film ends with a dance in the BBC studio. (Stephen Bourne).

World War Two and India
The Second World War had a profound influence on the British policy towards India. Britain needed India's manpower to fight the war and, to secure Indian support, was willing to offer to hand over its political power after it won the war. In 1942, Sir Stafford Cripps on his first mission to India made on behalf of the British Government his offer of independence after the war in exchange for cooperation, but the Indian political parties rejected his proposals. The Indian National Congress launched the "Quit India" movement. The Indian National Army led by Subhas Chandra Bose joined the Japanese to fight against the British.

There were over two and a half million Indian citizens in uniform during the war. The Fifth Indian Division, for example, fought in the Sudan against the Italians, and then in Libya against the Germans. From North Africa the Division was moved to Iraq to protect the oilfields. (BBC

Australia and World War Two
Uploaded Image   

Britain and Australia ally to fight Japan: This piece of Allied propaganda, which emphasizes a cooperative effort against Japan by Australian and British forces, is not entirely accurate. Australia entered the war against Germany in 1939, sending troops to the Middle East in accordance with British strategy. Volunteer Australian soldiers proved to be top-notch, despite the impact of prewar monetary cuts on military preparedness. However, Australian strategy changed with Japan's entry into the war in 1941 and the potential invasion of Australia itself. Preoccupied with the German threat, Britain was not able to guarantee support, and Australia turned to the United States instead.
With the fall of Singapore to the Japanese Imperial Army on February 15th 1942 the so-called 'Malay Barrier' was breeched and there was no significant defense between the japanese army and Australia. On 19 February 1942, 188 Japanese planes were launched against Darwin, (the northern most city on the Australian mainland), whose harbour was full of Allied ships. It was the largest Japanese attack since Pearl Harbour, 7 December 1941, and followed a reconnaissance flight on 10 February 1942. On that day there were 27 Allied ships in the harbour and approximately 30 aircraft at the Darwin Civil and RAAF airfields. The two raids killed at least 243 Australians and allies. Almost 400 were wounded. Twenty military aircraft were destroyed, eight ships at anchor in the harbour were sunk and most civil and military facilities in Darwin were destroyed. Australian Government Source
With the attack on the Australia the government moved to mobilize the population, with propaganda and the famous Brisbane line. John Curtin became Australian Prime Minister in October, 1941. Many Australian troops were fighting in the Middle East and north Africa, and the others were based in Singapore. In February 1942 the Japanese took Singapore, with 30,000 Australian troops becoming prisoner. Australia seemed vulnerable to attack and even invasion. Curtin now moved to bring the Australian troops home from overseas, but British Prime Minister Churchill wanted to deploy them to Burma. Curtin fought against this, and won — but had to endure the anguish of knowing thousands of Australians were virtually without protection against a strong Japanese fleet as they made the return trip to Australia. And at the same time he had to stop Australians on the home front from panicking — and that meant controlling the news. On 20 July 1942, General Douglas MacArthur, commander of United States Armed Forces in the Far East, who had fled from the Japanese invasion of the Philippines in March, moved his Headquarters to Brisbane in north eastern Australia. The action marks a shift from Australia's alliance with its former colonial ruler England to its present military and economic ally the United States of America. Prime Minister Curtin stated ‘Without any inhibitions of any kind, I make it quite clear that Australia looks to America free of any pangs as to our traditional links or kinship with the United Kingdom’ (Curtin 1941).
The capture of Singapore by the Japanese army was the greatest defeat every inflicted on the British Empire. More than 100,000 troops became prisoners of war together with hundreds of European civilians who were interned. The idea that an Asian army could defeat a British imperial army was not really considered possible before the Japanese army captured the Malay Peninsular and the island of Singapore. One British officer was recorded as saying "I do hope we are not getting too strong in Malaya because if so the Japanese may never attempt a landing." I myself remember hearing an Australian veteran of the Battle for Malaya saying that he was surprised when the Japanese soldiers he was fighting were not all buck-toothed dwarves with glasses (as they had been depicted in Australian war propaganda) but rather where tall, strong and good soldiers. When the Japanese did land at Kota Bharu aerodrome, in Malaya, Singapore’s governor, Sir Shenton Thomas is alleged to have said "Well, I suppose you’ll (the army) shove the little men off." Winston Churchill, the British Prime Minister in 1942 said of Singapore when it was threatened by the Japanese army "There must be no thought of sparing the troops or population; commanders and senior officers should die with their troops. The honour of the British Empire and the British Army is at stake." The fall of Singapore marked the end of the British empire in Asia.

The Indian National Army
The Indian National Army (INA) or Azad Hind Fauj (Hindi: आज़ाद हिन्द फ़ौज) was an armed force formed by Indian nationalists in 1942 in South east Asia during World War II. The aim of the army was to overthrow the British Raj in colonial India, with Japanese assistance. Initially composed of Indian prisoners of war captured by Japan in her Malayan campaign and at Singapore, it later drew large numbers of volunteers from Indian expatriate population in Malaya and Burma. Initially formed in 1942 immediately after the fall of Singapore under Mohan Singh, the first INA collapsed in December that year before it was revived under the leadership of Subhas Chandra Bose in 1943 and proclaimed the army of Bose's Arzi Hukumat-e-Azad Hind (The Provisional Government of Free India). This second INA fought along with the Imperial Japanese Army against the British and commonwealth forces in the campaigns in Burma, Imphal and Kohima, and later, against the successful Burma Campaign of the allies. The end of the war saw a large number of the troops repatriated to India where some faced trial for treason and became a galvanising point of the Indian Independence movement. After Indian independence, the ex-INA members, with some exceptions, were refused service in the Indian Army. However, a number of notable members later became involved in public life in India and in South East Asia. The legacy of the INA is controversial given its associations with Imperial Japan, the course of Japanese occupations in Burma, Indonesia and other parts of South east Asia, her alliance with Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy, as well as Japanese war crimes and alleged complicity of the troops of the INA in these. Also, its relative insignificance in military terms, its obvious propaganda value to the Japanese, as well as war time British Intelligence propaganda of cowardice and stories that associated INA soldiers in mistreatment of captured allied troops, to a large extent mires the history of the army. However, after the war, the trials of captured INA officers in India provoked massive public outcries in support of their efforts to fight the Raj, eventually triggering mutinies in the British Indian forces. These events in the twilight of the Raj are accepted to have played a crucial role in its hasty end. 

South Africa and World War Two
The Second World War saw dramatic changes in the Union of South Africa, which was already a ethnically segregated society by the outbreak of the war, although the official legal system of aparthied was not institutionalised in law until 1949. The outbreak of World War II in 1939 proved a divisive factor in the white community. Deputy Prime Minister Jan Smuts favored entry into the war on the side of the British. Prime Minister J. B. M. Hertzog supported neutrality. Many of Malan's supporters wanted to enter the war on Germany's side. German National Socialism, with its emphasis on the racial superiority of Germanic peoples, its anti-Semitism, and its use of state socialism to benefit the "master race," had garnered many Afrikaner admirers in the 1930s. A neo-Nazi Greyshirt organization had been formed in 1933 that drew increasing support, especially among rural Afrikaners, in the late 1930s. In 1938 Afrikaners participating in the commemoration of the Great Trek had established the Ossewabrandwag (Oxwagon Sentinel) as a paramilitary organization aimed at inculcating a "love for fatherland" and at instituting, by armed force if necessary, an Afrikaner-controlled republic in South Africa. By the end of the decade, the Ossewabrandwag claimed a membership of 250,000 out of a total Afrikaner population of a little more than 1 million. Oswald Pirow, Hertzog's minister of defense until the end of 1939, formed a movement within the National Party called the New Order, a fascist program for remaking South African society along Nazi lines. Smuts prevailed, however, winning the support of a majority of the cabinet and becoming prime minister. Hertzog resigned and joined with Malan in forming the Herenigde (Reunited) National Party (HNP). South Africa sent troops to fight on the British side in North Africa and in Europe. In South Africa, several thousand members of the Ossewabrandwag, including a future prime minister, John Vorster, were interned for antiwar activities.

Economically and socially, the war had a profound effect on South Africa. While gold continued to be the most important industry, providing two-thirds of South Africa's revenues and three-quarters of its export earnings, manufacturing grew enormously to meet wartime demands. Between 1939 and 1945, the number of people employed in manufacturing, many of them African women, rose 60 percent. Urbanization increased rapidly: the number of African town dwellers almost doubled. By 1946 there were more Africans in South Africa's towns and cities than there were whites. Many of these blacks lived in squatter communities established on the outskirts of major cities such as Cape Town and Johannesburg. Such developments, although necessary for war production, contradicted the segregationist ideology that blacks should live in their rural locations and not become permanent urban residents.
More unsettling still to the segregationists was the development of new black organizations that demanded official recognition of their existence and better treatment of their members. In Johannesburg, for example, James Mpanza proclaimed himself king of his Orlando squatter encampment, set up his own system of local government and taxation, and established the Sofasonke ("We shall all die together") Party. Urban black workers, demanding higher wages and better working conditions, also formed their own trade unions and engaged in a rash of strikes throughout the early 1940s. By 1946 the Council of Non-European Trade Unions (CNETU), formed in 1941, claimed 158,000 members organized in 119 unions. The most important of these new trade unions was the African Mineworkers Union (AMWU), which by 1944 claimed a membership of 25,000. In 1946 the AMWU struck for higher wages in the gold mines and succeeded in getting 60,000 men to stop work. The strike was crushed by police actions that left twelve dead, but it demonstrated the potential strength of organized black workers in challenging the cheap labor system. 

The British Empire and Commonwealth in World War II: Selection and Omission in English History Textbooks by Stuart Foster
On a scale unprecedented in human history the Second World War was a truly global event. More than 60 nations representing 1.7 billion people or three quarters of the world’s population were consumed by the conflict. Military actions raged in Asia, Africa, Europe, and on the world’s major oceans. The war engaged citizens from Argentina to India, Australia to Iran, and Thailand to Kenya. Understandably, therefore, the war typically stands an as landmark episode in history education throughout the world. In England its inclusion in the history curriculum is assured and the presence of the Second World War in history textbooks guaranteed. For the most part history textbooks ignore the contributions and experiences of peoples from the Empire and Commonwealth during the Second World War. Despite the fact that Britain drew on the resources and support from all reaches of the Empire, typically reference is made solely to “British forces”, “British victories”, and “British troops”. 

Britain and Immigration
Immigration to England after World War Two
A Short History of Immigration to England
Between 1948 and 1970 nearly half a million people left their homes in the West Indies and came to Britain. Their arrival changed the face of modern Britain. They were all British citizens and although they had never lived in Britain before, they had the right to enter, work and settle here if they wanted to. West Indians came to Britain for many different reasons. Some were seeking better opportunities for themselves and their children. Some came to work for a while, save money and return home. Some had been recruited because Britain was short of workers to run the transport system, postal service and hospitals. Other West Indians were returning soldiers who had fought for Britain during the Second World War (1939-1945). The National Archives

LORD KITCHENER - London Is the Place for Me. Trinidadian Calypso In London, 1950-1956.

1971: UK restricts Commonwealth migrants
Commonwealth citizens will lose their automatic right to remain in the UK under the government's new Immigration Bill announced by Home Secretary Reginald Maudling. The Bill, came into operation on 1 January 1972, and meant Commonwealth immigrants now faced the same restrictions as any other person applying to live and work in Britain. Immigrants from Commonwealth countries like the West Indies and Pakistan were welcomed into Britain during the post-war labour shortage of the 1950s. But race riots in Nottingham and London led the Conservative government under Harold Macmillan to introduce the Commonwealth Immigrants Act in 1962. When Labour came to power in 1964 it did not repeal the act but did pass the Race Relations Act in 1965 to protect blacks and Asians from discrimination. Public anxiety about a large influx of immigrants was further fuelled by an infamous speech made in 1968 by Conservative MP Enoch Powell who warned of "rivers of blood" if the tide of immigrants into Britain was not stemmed. Immigration law was tightened further in 1968 (restricting the number of Kenyan Asians), 1971, 1981 and 1997 (restricting the number of Hong Kong Chinese after Hong Kong reverted to Chinese rule). 

The word Commonwealth (noun) dates from the fifteenth century. The original phrase "common-wealth" or "the common weal" comes from the old meaning of "wealth," which is "well-being". The term literally meant "common well-being". Thus commonwealth originally meant a state or nation-state governed for the common good as opposed to an authoritarian state governed for the benefit of a given class of owners. The word relates to the Latin phrase res publica meaning "public affairs" or "the state", from which the English word republic arises. (Wikipedia)
Conferences of British and colonial Prime Ministers had occurred periodically since 1887, leading to the creation of the Imperial Conferences in the late 1920s. The formal organisation of the Commonwealth developed from the Imperial Conferences, where the independence of the self-governing colonies and especially of dominions was recognised. The Irish Oath of Allegiance, agreed in 1921, included the Irish Free State's adherence to and membership of the group of nations forming the British Commonwealth of Nations. In the Balfour Declaration at the Imperial Conference in 1926, Britain and its dominions agreed they were equal in status, in no way subordinate one to another in any aspect of their domestic or external affairs, though united by common allegiance to the Crown, and freely associated as members of the British Commonwealth of Nations. This relationship was eventually formalised by the Statute of Westminster in 1931. Several ongoing conflicts and disputes around the world can trace their origins to borders inherited by countries from the British Empire: the Guatemalan claim to Belize, the Kashmir conflict, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and within Africa, where political boundaries did not reflect homogeneous ethnicities or religions. The British Empire was also responsible for large migrations of peoples. Millions left the British Isles, with the founding settler populations of the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand coming mainly from Britain and Ireland. Tensions remain between the mainly British-descended populations of Canada, Australia and New Zealand and the indigenous minorities in those countries, and between settler minorities and indigenous majorities in South Africa and Zimbabwe. British settlement of Ireland continues to leave its mark in the form of a divided Catholic and Protestant community. Millions of people also moved between British colonies, for example from India to the Caribbean and Africa, creating the conditions for the expulsion of Indians in Uganda in 1972. The makeup of Britain itself was irreversibly changed after the Second World War with immigration to the United Kingdom from the colonies to which it was granting independence.
Most former British colonies (and one former Portuguese colony) are members of the Commonwealth of Nations, a non-political, voluntary association of equal members, in which the United Kingdom has no privileged status. The head of the Commonwealth is currently Queen Elizabeth II. Fifteen members of the Commonwealth continue to share their head of state with the United Kingdom, as Commonwealth realms.
Many former British colonies share or shared certain characteristics:

  • The English language as either the main or secondary language.
  • A democratic parliamentary system of government modelled on the Westminster system.
  • A legal system based upon English law. The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, one of the United Kingdom's highest courts of appeal, still serves as the highest court of appeal for several former colonies.
  • A military, police and civil service based upon British models.
  • The English and later the imperial systems of measurement. The United States, which uses the older English system, Cyprus and Burma are the only former British colonies not to have officially adopted the metric system. However, the imperial system is still very much used in many "officially metric" countries, such as Canada, Belize, Sierra Leon, and Ireland.
  • Educational institutions such as boarding schools and universities modelled on Oxford and Cambridge.
  • Driving on the left hand side of the road, with some exceptions mainly in North America and North Africa.
  • Popularity of cricket and/or rugby union, as well as related sports.
Uploaded Image

The Commonwealth of Nations (2007) minus Zimbabwe and Burma, both of which are currently suspended. South Africa was readmitted to the Commonwealth in 1995. 

The Commonwealth of Nations, usually known as the Commonwealth, is a voluntary association of 53 independent sovereign states, most of which are former British colonies, or dependencies of these colonies (the exceptions being the United Kingdom itself and Mozambique).
No one government in the Commonwealth, British or otherwise, exercises power over the others, as in a political union. Rather, the relationship is one of an international organisation through which countries with diverse social, political, and economic backgrounds are regarded as equal in status, and co-operate within a framework of common values and goals, as outlined in the Singapore Declaration. These include the promotion of democracy, human rights, good governance, the rule of law, individual liberty, egalitarianism, free trade, multilateralism, and world peace and are carried out through multilateral projects and meetings, as well as the quadrennial Commonwealth Games. The symbol of this free association is Queen Elizabeth II, known for this purpose as Head of the Commonwealth. This position, however, does not imbue her with any political or executive power over any Commonwealth member states; the position is purely symbolic, and it is the Commonwealth Secretary-General who is the chief executive of the organization.

Elizabeth II is also the Head of State, separately, of sixteen members of the Commonwealth, collectively called the Commonwealth realms. As each realm is an independent kingdom, Elizabeth II, as monarch, holds a distinct title for each, though, by a Prime Ministers' Conference in 1952, all include the style Head of the Commonwealth at the end; for example: Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God, Queen of Australia and of Her other Realms and Territories, Head of the Commonwealth. Beyond the realms, the majority of the members of the Commonwealth have their own, separate heads of state: thirty-two members are republics, and five members have distinct monarchs: the Sultan of Brunei; the King of Lesotho; the Yang di-Pertuan Agong of Malaysia; the King of Swaziland; and the King of Tonga.

The Haka is an important marker of tradition in New Zealand and in the game of rugby union. Here the All Blacks, the New Zealand national team perform the Haka before a match.

Indian Independence Movement
On 3 June 1947, Viscount Louis Mountbatten, the last British Governor-General of India, announced the partitioning of the British Indian Empire into a secular India and a Muslim Pakistan. On 14 August 1947, Pakistan was declared a separate nation from them. At midnight, on 15 August 1947, India became an independent nation. Violent clashes between Hindus, Muslims, and Sikhs followed. Prime Minister Nehru and Deputy Prime Minister Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel invited Mountbatten to continue as Governor General of India. He was replaced in June 1948 by Chakravarti Rajagopalachari. Patel took on the responsibility of unifying 565 princely states, steering efforts by his “iron fist in a velvet glove” policies, exemplified by the use of military force to integrate Junagadh, Jammu and Kashmir, and Hyderabad state (Operation Polo) into India.

The Constituent Assembly completed the work of drafting the constitution on 26 November 1949; on 26 January 1950 the Republic of India was officially proclaimed. The Constituent Assembly elected Dr. Rajendra Prasad as the first President of India, taking over from Governor General Rajgopalachari. Subsequently, a free and sovereign India absorbed two other territories: Goa (from Portuguese control in 1961) and Pondicherry (which the French ceded in 1953–1954). In 1952, India held its first general elections, with a voter turnout exceeding 62%; this made it the world’s largest democracy.

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi often referred to an Gandhi-ji as a mark of deep respect, (October 2, 1869 – January 30, 1948) was a major political and spiritual leader of India and the Indian independence movement. He was the pioneer of Satyagraha—resistance to tyranny through mass civil disobedience, firmly founded upon ahimsa or total non-violence—which led India to independence and inspired movements for civil rights and freedom across the world. He is commonly known around the world as Mahatma Gandhi (Sanskrit: महात्मा mahātmā or "Great Soul", an honorific first applied to him by Rabindranath Tagore) and in India also as Bapu (Gujarati: બાપુ bāpu or "Father"). He is officially honoured in India as the Father of the Nation; his birthday, 2 October, is commemorated there as Gandhi Jayanti, a national holiday, and world-wide as the International Day of Non-Violence. 

Gandhi first employed non-violent civil disobedience as an expatriate lawyer in South Africa, in the resident Indian community's struggle for civil rights. After his return to India in 1915, he set about organising peasants, farmers, and urban labourers in protesting excessive land-tax and discrimination. Assuming leadership of the Indian National Congress in 1921, Gandhi led nationwide campaigns for easing poverty, for expanding women's rights, for building religious and ethnic amity, for ending untouchability, for increasing economic self-reliance, but above all for achieving Swaraj—the independence of India from foreign domination. Gandhi famously led Indians in protesting the British-imposed salt tax with the 400 km (249 mi) Dandi Salt March in 1930, and later in calling for the British to Quit India in 1942. He was imprisoned for many years, on numerous occasions, in both South Africa and India.

Gandhi was a practitioner of non-violence and truth, and advocated that others do the same. He lived modestly in a self-sufficient residential community and wore the traditional Indian dhoti and shawl, woven with yarn he had hand spun on a charkha. He ate simple vegetarian food, and also undertook long fasts as means of both self-purification and social protest. Modern India and Gandhi's Legacy

The Indian National Congress (Congress I)
From its foundation on 28 December 1885 until the time of independence of on August 15, 1947, the Indian National Congress was the largest and most prominent Indian public organization, and central and defining influence of the Indian Independence Movement.
Although initially and primarily a political body, the Congress transformed itself into a national vehicle for social reform and human upliftment. The Congress was the strongest foundation and defining influence of modern Indian nationalism.

The Great Partition

"The Partition of India'''
The 14th August, 1947, saw the birth of the new Islamic Republic of Pakistan. At midnight the next day India won its freedom from colonial rule, ending nearly 350 years of British presence in India. During the struggle for freedom, Gandhi had written an appeal "To Every Briton" to free their possessions in Asia and Africa, especially India (Philips and Wainwright, 567). The British left India divided in two. The two countries were founded on the basis of religion, with Pakistan as an Islamic state and India as a secular one. The partition of India left both India and Pakistan devastated. The process of partition had claimed many lives in the riots. Many others were raped and looted. Women, especially, were used as instruments of power by the Hindus and the Muslims; "ghost trains" full of severed breasts of women would arrive in each of the newly-born countries from across the borders. 15 million refugees poured across the borders to regions completely foreign to them, for though they were Hindu or Muslim, their identity had been embedded in the regions where there ancestors were from. Not only was the country divided, but so were the provinces of Punjab and Bengal, divisions which caused catastrophic riots and claimed the lives of Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs alike.

The Radcliffe Award The Radcliffe Line became the border between India and Pakistan on 17 August 1947 after the Partition of India. The line was decided by the Border Commissions chaired by Sir Cyril Radcliffe, who was to equably divide 175,000 square miles (450,000 km²) of territory with 88 million people.

Radcliffe himself had never been in India and was a London lawyer who worked for the Foreign Office. Radcliffe's assignment was an impossible one and he felt that he was bullied by the last Viceroy of India Mountbatten.

Unbiased at least he was when he arrived on his mission,
Having never set eyes on the land he was called to partition
Between two peoples fanatically at odds,
With their different diets and incompatible gods.
"Time," they had briefed him in London, "is short. It's too late
For mutual reconciliation or rational debate:
The only solution now lies in separation.
The Viceroy thinks, as you will see from his letter,
That the less you are seen in his company the better,
So we've arranged to provide you with other accommodation.
We can give you four judges, two Moslem and two Hindu,
To consult with, but the final decision must rest with you."

Shut up in a lonely mansion, with police night and day
Patrolling the gardens to keep the assassins away,
He got down to work, to the task of settling the fate
Of millions. The maps at his disposal were out of date
And the Census Returns almost certainly incorrect,
But there was no time to check them, no time to inspect
Contested areas. The weather was frightfully hot,
And a bout of dysentery kept him constantly on the trot,
But in seven weeks it was done, the frontiers decided,
A continent for better or worse divided.

The next day he sailed for England, where he could quickly forget
The case, as a good lawyer must. Return he would not,
Afraid, as he told his Club, that he might get shot.

-- W. H. Auden. 

Sixty years ago, India and Pakistan became two separate independent nations, shedding British colonial rule. But independence brought violence and tragedy, because Pakistan was carved out of what had once been a single country, to create a Muslim homeland. Ten million people in the subcontinent were uprooted from their homes and hundreds of thousands died in the upheaval. But there are still lingering problems resulting from Partition. Sixty years on that work is not over. Hundreds of millions in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh are impoverished. And the memories of the violence that accompanied independence remain painful. Many leaders hoped that all could live peacefully together in the new nations -- one predominately Hindu and the other largely Muslim. The father of Pakistan, Muhammed Ali Jinnah, believed there was no choice but to partition the subcontinent, otherwise, the Muslim minority would have been marginalized. "We must remember that we have to take momentous decisions and handle grave issues facing us in the solution of the complex political problems of this great subcontinent inhabited by 400 million people." Partition led to Hindus and Sikhs streaming out of West and East Pakistan while millions of Muslims sought haven in Pakistan. In sectarian fighting, hundreds of thousands of people died. That bloody history has haunted relations. India and Pakistan have fought three times and the territory that prompted two wars, Kashmir, remains disputed. The third war, in 1971, saw East Pakistan become independent Bangladesh. The two nuclear powers came close to war again in 2002. There have been signs of reconciliation. In the past three years, the two governments have taken steps to improve relations. While many historians think partition was inevitable, they acknowledge it did not become the envisioned path to peace and prosperity. Both India and Pakistan still suffer from domestic sectarian conflict, and they have struggled to end poverty. But both countries have seen strong economic gains in the past several years and they have taken larger roles in world affairs. Citizens of the two countries still hope that means their governments will continue to move closer to the ideals of those who led the drive toward independence. 

The Day India Burned
The Partition of India
led to the creation on August 14, 1947 and August 15, 1947, respectively, of two sovereign states, upon the granting of independence to British India by the United Kingdom: the Dominion of Pakistan (later Islamic Republic of Pakistan); and the Union of India (later Republic of India). 'Partition' here refers also to the division of the Bengal province of British India into the Pakistani state of East Bengal (later East Pakistan, now Bangladesh) and the Indian state of West Bengal, as well as the similar partition of the Punjab region of British India into the Punjab province of West Pakistan and the Indian state of Punjab, in addition to the division of the British Indian Army, the Indian Civil Service and other administrative services, the railways, and the central treasury, and other assets.
The secession of Bangladesh from Pakistan in the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War is not covered by the term Partition of India, nor are the earlier separations of Ceylon (Sri Lanka) and Burma (Myanmar) from the administration of British India. Ceylon, part of the Madras Presidency of British India from 1795 until 1798, became a separate Crown Colony in 1798. Burma, gradually annexed by the British during 1826 – 86 and governed as a part of the British Indian administration until 1937, was directly administered thereafter. Burma was granted independence on January 4, 1948 and Ceylon on February 4, 1948.

The remaining countries of present-day South Asia include: Nepal; Bhutan; and the Maldives. The first two, Nepal and Bhutan, having signed treaties with the British designating them as independent states, were never a part of British India, and therefore their borders were not affected by the partition. The Maldives, which became a protectorate of the British crown in 1887 and gained its independence in 1965, was also unaffected by the partition.

The Cabinet Mission to India of 1946, where Lord Pethick-Lawrence, the Secretary of State for India, Sir Stafford Cripps, President of the Board of Trade, and A. V. Alexander, the First Lord of the Admiralty travelled to India and led a series of meetings with Indian political and independence groups to

  1. Hold preparatory discussions with elected representatives of British India and the Indian states in order to secure agreement as to the method of framing the constitution.
  2. Setting up of a constitution body.
  3. Setting up an Executive Council with the support of the main Indian parties
The success of the mission would have resulted in a federal India and not a partitioned one. But the mission failed and British India was divided with a centralist system of government.

South African decolonisation was prolonged by the legal and social enforcement of Apartheid. Apartheid (meaning separateness in Afrikaans, cognate to English apart and -hood) was a system of legal racial segregation enforced by the National Party government of South Africa between 1948 and 1990. Apartheid had its roots in the history of colonisation and settlement of southern Africa, with the development of practices and policies of separation along racial lines and domination by European settlers and their descendants. Following the general election of 1948, the National Party set in place its programme of Apartheid, with the formalisation and expansion of existing policies and practices into a system of institutionalised racism and white domination. Apartheid was dismantled in a series of negotiations from 1990 to 1993, culminating in elections in 1994, the first in South Africa with universal suffrage. The legacies of apartheid still shape South African politics and society. (Wikipedia)
One of the greatest traumas of colonisation is the drawing of boundaries where there had not been boundaries before. One of the reasons Africa has some divided and troubled societies is that the boarders of many nations are the result of colonial policies being enforced during or after these lands were part of the British Empire. Looking at these two maps of Southern Africa it is clear that the impact of imperial map makers was great in the region and remains so today:

Map of Southern Africa showing the British Colonies and the Boer Republics

Southern Africa Today

Australian Federation

The establishment of the Commonwealth of Australia as a federation of states and territories is commonly taken as the date of Australia's independence from the United Kingdom (from federation on 1 January 1901), but matters are more complicated than that. The 1901 Constitution provided the Commonwealth with all the powers associated with a sovereign state, including the power to engage in foreign affairs and to raise its own army. But the United Kingdom still retained the power to engage in foreign affairs on behalf of Australia, and to make laws for it. In the early years Australia continued to be represented by the United Kingdom as part of the British Empire at international conferences.
Also, the Constitution provided that the British monarch be represented in Australia by a Governor-General, who was originally appointed on the advice of the British, not the Australian, government, and was generally a British aristocrat. Finally, the Constitution provided that any law of the Australian Parliament could be disallowed within a year by the British monarch (acting on the advice of British ministers), though this power was never in fact exercised. In summary, the constitutional position of the Commonwealth as a whole in relation to the United Kingdom was, originally, the same as that of the individual colonies before Federation.
Thus the independence of Australia from the United Kingdom, rather than occurring as a single event, has, in legal terms, been a continuing process. Some of the significant milestones discussed above have been the following:

  • mid-1800s: acquisition of substantial internal self-government by the colonies
  • 1901: establishment of the Commonwealth of Australia
  • 1927: development of the "shared" monarchy
  • 1931: passing of the Statute of Westminster
  • 1986: passing of the Australia Act
Since the Australia Act, the only remaining constitutional link with the United Kingdom (if it is one) is in the person of the monarch (see Queen of Australia). But even that connection may not be automatic. In an important constitutional case (Sue v Hill (1999) 163 ALR 648), three justices of the High Court of Australia (the ultimate court of appeal) expressed the view that if the British Parliament were to alter the law of succession to the throne, such a change could not have any effect on the monarchy in Australia, because of the Australia Act: succession to the throne would continue in Australia according to the existing rule, unless and until that was altered in Australia. None of the other four justices in that case disagreed with this reasoning. (Because it was not strictly necessary to decide the case at hand, this is not strictly a binding judicial determination; but it is almost certainly correct given the precedent of the Abdication Crisis of 1936.)
The same case decided (and on this point the decision is binding) that the United Kingdom is a "foreign power" within the meaning of the Constitution, and therefore that holders of British citizenship are ineligible for election to the Federal Parliament (though a special "grandfathering" arrangement merely phases out the right of British citizens to vote). (A Constitutional History of Australia)

The White Australia Policy

The White Australia Policy
While there was never any specific official policy called the White Australia Policy, this is the term used for a collection of historical legislation and policies which either intentionally or unintentionally restricted non-white immigration to Australia from 1901 to 1973.
The inauguration of White Australia as government policy is generally taken to be the passage of the Immigration Restriction Act in 1901, very soon after Australian federation. The policy was dismantled in stages by successive governments after the conclusion of World War II, with the encouragement of firstly non-British and later non-white immigration. From 1973 onwards, the white Australia policy was for all practical purposes defunct, and in 1975 the Australian government passed the Racial Discrimination Act which made racially-based selection criteria illegal.
Restrictions on immigration had preceded federation, with began with anti-Chinese legislation enacted by individual Australian colonies during the Australian gold rushes of the 1850s. 

Aboriginal Land Rights
Australian Aboriginal Peoples and the End of Colonialism
By the 1900s many Aboriginal people were employed as stockman and workers on local farms. Over time Aboriginal workers began to increase their fight for pay and conditions. Often these demands included the right to access or manage the traditional lands on which the farms were built. There were a number of worker strikes in the 1940s and 1950s which gained increasing attention. In 1966 the Gurindji people led by Vincent Lingiari held a strike against poor conditions and pay. What was originally a wage issue became a claim for the return of some of their traditional lands. The Gurindji strike was one of the first to gain widespread support for Indigenous land rights. The Gurindji dispute was a significant turning point and a crucial symbol of the growing Aboriginal land rights struggle. Nine long years later the Gurindji claim was successful. In 1975 the land was handed back to the people by Prime Minister Gough Whitlam, and native title legislation was enacted.

The Gurindji Strike in Song. From Little Things Big Things Grow by Paul Kelly

The 1967 Referendum
''The 1967 Referendum''
The referendum of 27 May 1967 approved two amendments to the Australian constitution relating to Indigenous Australians. Technically it was a vote on the Constitution Alteration (Aboriginals) 1967, which after being approved in the referendum became law on August 10, 1967 The amendment was overwhelmingly endorsed, winning 90.77 per cent of voters and carrying all six states. It was put to the electorate on the same day as a referendum on the composition of parliament, which was rejected.

The referendum amended section 51 from the constitution and removed section 127 from the Constitution.

  • The first was a phrase in Section 51 (xxvi) which stated that the Federal Government had the power to make laws with respect to "the people of any race, other than the Aboriginal race in any State, for whom it is deemed necessary to make special laws." (This is known as the "race power.") The referendum removed the phrase "other than the Aboriginal race in any State," giving the Commonwealth the power to make laws specifically to benefit Aboriginal people.

  • The second was Section 127, which said: "In reckoning the numbers of the people of the Commonwealth, or of a State or other part of the Commonwealth, Aboriginal natives shall not be counted." The referendum deleted this section from the Constitution. This section should be read in conjunction with Section 24 and Section 51(xi). The section related to calculating the population of the states and territories for the purpose of allocating seats in Parliament and per capita Commonwealth grants. The context of its introduction was prevent Queensland and Western Australia using their large Aboriginal populations to gain extra seats or extra funds. The 'statistics' power in Section 51(xi) allowed the Commonwealth to collect information on Aboriginal people.

Reactions to the 1967 Referendum

It is frequently stated that the 1967 referendum gave Aboriginal people Australian citizenship and that it gave them the right to vote in federal elections. Neither of these statements is correct. Aboriginal people became Australian citizens in 1948, when a separate Australian citizenship was created for the first time (before that time all Australians were "British subjects"). Aboriginal people from Queensland and Western Australia gained the vote in Commonwealth territories in 1962. However, the Commonwealth voting right of Aborigines from other states was confirmed by a Commonwealth Act in 1949 (the constitution already gave them that right but it was often interpreted differently prior to 1949). They got the vote in WA state election in 1962 and Queensland state election in 1965

For a detailed history of the Australian Aboriginal nations under colonisation and after, see The First Australians, a series of seven episodes. The final episode,
We Are No Longer Shadows, deals with the land rights movement and the Mabo decision. 

The Stolen Generations

Rabbit Proof Fence (2002): A re-enactment of a taking of children from Aboriginal mothers.

The Stolen Generations (also known as Stolen children) is a term used to describe the children of Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descent who were removed from their families by the Australian Federal and State government agencies and church missions, under acts of their respective parliaments. The removals occurred in the period between approximately 1869 and 1969, although in some places children were still being taken in the 1970s. The extent of the removal of children, and the reasoning behind their removal, are contested. Documentary evidence, such as newspaper articles and reports to parliamentary committees, suggest a range of rationales. Motivations evident include child protection, beliefs that given their catastrophic population decline after white contact that black people would "die out", a fear of miscegenation by full blooded aboriginal people. Terms such as "stolen" were used in the context of taking children from their families – the Hon P. McGarry, a member of the Parliament of New South Wales, objected to the Aborigines Protection Amending Act 1915 which then enabled the Aborigines' Protection Board to remove Aboriginal children from their parents without having to establish that they were in any way neglected or mistreated; McGarry described the policy as "steal[ing] the child away from its parents". In 1924, in the Adelaide Sun an article stated "The word 'stole' may sound a bit far-fetched but by the time we have told the story of the heart-broken Aboriginal mother we are sure the word will not be considered out of place." The Stolen Generations is a trauma in Australian society that is still an issue today. 

At 9:30am on 13 February 2008, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd presented a national apology to Indigenous Australians "For the pain, suffering and hurt of these Stolen Generations, their descendants and for their families left behind," as motion to be voted on by the Parliament.

1 comment:

Aravind ProPlus Logics said...

Thanks for sharing Information to us. If someone wants to know about,I think this is the right place for you!

Color dhoti | Readymade pattu pavadai | Silk pattu pavadai