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Just Shoot Me

Bala, 28, Gordon Gekko in the making, pseudo-intellectual, cynic, bibliophile, obsessive compulsive ranter...

War to the knife

February 23, 2008

The only way any indigenous resistance movement could have won against the East India Company / British crown was by waging a "War to the knife". A War to the knife refers to a fight to the finish,mortal combat, final solution etc etc. They should have gone for the throat and made the cost of colonizing impossibly high for the Englishmen - both in blood and in gold. There was a lame attempt in 1857 to do something similar, but despite having the necessary religious fervour, it failed because the company could draw upon reserves the rebels could only dream of.

60 years before the sepoy mutiny, a local strategic genius tried to wage a similar war against the company. Chinna Marudhu was a guy who understood what it took to get rid of the red coats - ethnic cleansing. Nothing sort of total war could succeed against the company. In a pamphlet that appeared in Tiruchy and Srirangam in June 1801 (it came to be known as the Trichy proclamation) he lays out how to get rid of the company

...It is therefore recommended, that every person in his place and pollam fly to arms and unite together, in order to make even the name of the low wretches to cease.....wherever they find any of the low wretches, destroy them... But should there be any who like dogs enjoy their ease and obey the commands of the low wretches, such should be cut of to the foetus in the womb...

The entire text of the Jambu Dweepa proclamation, was mentioned in the revenue dispatches of the company. The original text has been lost, but the translation that appeared in the dispatches can be found in a book by a certain J. Gourlay. It is available in google books here. The text of the proclamation appears in the 18th page. A recent tamil translation is here

Read through the text and you will find the scope of the war Marudu hoped to wage. (and the colourful language he uses to harangue his audience).

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posted by Bala, 1:29 AM

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