sudarshan wrote:KLNMurthy wrote:Ok, let me take a shot at “snappy (or snappy-ish) answers to stupid white-man-is-great questions” (as the late MAD magazine might have put it).
“British introduced electoral democracy to India.”
No, what they introduced was patriarchal feudalism with votes overwhelmingly restricted to male feudals. Even those votes were meaningless, as they could be, and were, arbitrarily vetoed by the white rulers.
So Murthyji, your post is just in the right format, as far as I'm concerned. If it is possible, however, to modify your primary rejoinder to be more quantitative, then please go for it. Something like "the British 'democratic' system only allowed X % of the MALE population to have a say in the electoral process, it was independent India which expanded that fraction to 100%, and also allowed FEMALES to vote." This is just a suggestion from my side, and it is not always possible to quantify - the only guideline is - the rejoinder should be as effective as possible.
My info on just who was allowed to vote under the 1909 act and the 1935 act is from memory of a web search I did some years ago for my own curiosity. I was trying to find out the validity of the statement that in the 1946(?) state elections, Muslims voted overwhelmingly for Muslim League which meant they voted for Partition. I wondered how many of the votes came from Ashraf (TFTA) Muslims and how many from Ajlaf (native, SDRE) Muslims. In that context I found out that only college graduates could vote, along with property owners etc. (therefore I concluded that no one actually asked the Ajlafs what they thought about Partition; the electoral choice was almost 100% from ashrafs. Sure, in hindsight we could imagine that they would have voted for the Muslim League, but the fact is that they didn't because they couldn't). But as I said, I couldn't find the exact details. I couldn't get hold of the text of the Acts, but got some info from secondary sources about the eligible voters, which is what I posted above. I believe it to be accurate (I knew going in that it was not Universal Adult Franchise as specified in the Constitution). For the 1935 Act, Dalits (some?) got the right to vote, as we can infer from the fact that Gandhi went on a fast to stop separate Dalit electorates.
I am so pleased that you caught on to the importance of the structure / format of the rejoinder. Even if all my facts turn out to be wrong (unlikely I think), the format (or something like it) is still useful.
-- quick and sharp rejection of the contention. Establish an alternate conceptualization that devalues the original assertion and shifts the ground (it was not democracy, but actually feudalism and patriarchy)
-- Supporting details. Use sparingly. Mainly meant for giving our SDRE mujahids the confidence that there is solid research backing up their rejection and reconceptualization.
-- Return to the original value-based assertion ('democracy' as a value) and seize the territory with a counter-assertion: India gave itself democracy. It was a true "democratic revolution."
-- Reverse the power relationship: India is superior and the west is inferior when it comes to democracy.
-- Throughout, employ civil, but tough and unequivocal language that may border on harsh ("only a fool will believe that brits brought democracy to India") but doesn't quite cross over into an attack. Avoid at all costs servile circumlocutions like, "I am constrained to point out ..." They make the mujahid sound weak and intimidated.
For different issues, the components would need adjustment based on facts, our purpose, nature of the interlocutor etc.
I like your emphasis on reaching the target audience of the BIF. I'll add that our SDRE mujahids can also improve by training themselves with this or some other systematic approach to propaganda and disputation. Currently, as I said in another thread, their energies are getting dissipated in frustration and lashing out in the face of pure lying and gaslighting by the BIF. Sometimes lashing out is appropriate, but the primary emphasis should be in having an absolute unshakeable conviction that we are right as well as righteous. Similar to how Abrahamics see their religions vis-a-vis Hinduism. Since we are not Abrahamics, we will use fact-correction, context-setting and reconceptualization to generate this conviction in ourselves and our mujahids.