India has been the Jewel in the Crown of many empires. China until recently has stayed a Hidden Jewel beyond the mountains, over the sea. Assaults on India could always sweep in from the west, through and around the mountains. It was always a sweep up and around Afghanistan where the mountains came down enough that the horses could find routes that would not have them all falling into the vast canyons of the Himalaya mountains.
India, and China have been two very isolated and protected regions on earth that have survived many deadly plagues that killed hundreds of millions in Europe, to the point that ancient Europe now has four hundred million people, and India has one billion people and China has one billion three hundred million.
Both of these poor Asian nations are trying to slow their population growth, while aging Europe begins a decline in population unless it allows in immigrants that it really does not want as with Japan off shore, indicating huge future problems when there are not enough young to support a huge base of needy elderly. A worrisome prospect that we will be discussing with more urgency as the decades roll by.
As it happened, though, when Alexander and his army stood at the Indus River, their reputation well preceding them, they found an organized overwhelming force that one hundred million people fearful of these Greek barbarians, assembled an army to overwhelm any force any army on earth could have gathered. So, about 332 B. C. E. the barbarians retreated. Many came back and swept across India over the centuries, and all were in charge and absorbed by vast India.
Until first the ships of Portugal, then Spain, and then Britain. And while some nations of Europe long held small enclaves for trading and re supply, it was the charming traders of Britain who worked their way into the system. Portugal placed a trading fort still named Goa, now a part of India, built in early 1510. Later, English men who went out to sea as trade pioneers were the first English traders with names like Francis and Samuel, who were trading into the South China seas by 1680.
In fact, they both became major share holders in the mighty and fabled East India Company, allowing Sir Francis, by then Lord Mayor of London, to pay one hundred thousand pounds to provide the new king with an army and walk arm and arm into London on his return after Cromwell. Thank you, silk and spice merchants of Madras and Bombay and Calcutta, Hong Kong and Shanghai.
The English traders and their more powerful British navy and soldiers in the 1680 and later was a much richer and more dynamic puny sickly weakling as in 1500. And while in the process of losing their proudest colony America, the English therefore threw themselves into this rich pudding that was all the India they could see: all were different affiliations and languages.
Soon, the old Roman model of divide and conquer was working very well, as lads of one village were sent to an exclusive English boarding school hundreds of miles away, and never sent back home again, for his new posts in the civil service.
This top heavy reliance of the system to make things work out for the better has created a bloated bureaucracy that can cause, as the Economist noted, the maker of bicycles may need to fill in permits and attend meetings at up to a dozen government departments before India dare leap forward with these new popular bicycle handles, popular elsewhere.
The worst of British customs, also the best of British Democracy. All not by warriors with sixteen foot sharpened pikes, but with merchants willing to trade, too much free trade which included opium but not lead paint. We are more connected now,
The Democracy of Alexander, up through Britain and forced by America, has done rather better in India, but the Capitalism of those British, who stuck Hong Kong under the nose of the Panda for ninety nine years. Some thing took. The Capitalist Tail of Hong Kong has led the Running Dog of Communism into a new world Orwell was far too pessimistic than I thought we had in our hearts, and our minds. And we may make peace and harmony and golden rules for all, yet. That speaks of many good things.
The legacy is the most populous democracy on earth that is finally following the more capitalist tenants of those centuries of British rule. The English traders had been quick to turn India over to Britain as event unfolded. There were so many peoples of India, and only so many English in India with names like Francis and Samuel. Any nation that has been insular with only only one ethic group, or from the outside world, is now finding itself at a disadvantage.
Compared to those, such as America and Canada and Australia and even Britain, who welcome brilliant new minds of any ethnic group, with complaints aplenty, yet this new vitality continues to have America create by far the most patents for new inventions or adaptations of established systems, as humanity evolves.
China, as one, and Japan, find their highly structured class mind set makes difficult for those under so many regulations and control to be able to feel free to express their full mind and soul and find themselves looking into the sky, or a microscope, or the words of a genius in a book, and find oneself so excited with some amazing revelation that we jump from our bath.
Perhaps, unlike Archimedes, you may put a robe on, so you do not run naked through the streets shouting Eureka I have found it. Before you report to the King, or the Mayor, or the Man with the Butterfly Net, you might ask for a robe, and then you will explain your discovery, if there is a calm, intelligent person in the room. Mom?
Derek Dashwood is fascinated at the expansion of capitalism and democracy that has east meet west at last, even if the meetings are explosive at times: we are more often reaching out to each other and that offers so much hope for the future. Some hot spots, huge work to be done. But the ideals of Socrates to Aristotle to Alexander to Jefferson to Lincoln shall prevail. And we shall trade, and to our advantage, of course. They need our modern steel and nails, we desire their gems and diamonds, gold in exchange
Her Very Own Golden Necklace
Diamonds and Gemstones
Alexander saw elephants gilded with gold and armor. He never met Chinese gunpowder. Lucky, that. He might have lost the Family Jewels in one Great last blast