In BurmaAbout Burma
Exploitation of a Nations - The British Empire in Burma
After the recent riots in India, we asked our participant, Mr. E. A. Blair, whose research on "The Plight of the British Worker" has already been published on these pages, to tell us something about the riots that have reigned on the subcontinent for several years and that are looming to extend to the English Indochina.
E.A. Blair, who has been living in Burma for several years, has wrote the following interesting paper  for us, which shows the ways in which the British Empire milks its Asiatic herds. Myanmar is located between India and China. It' s three time larger than England and Wales, with a total of around fourteen million people, about nine million of whom are from Burma.
Most of the remainder consists of innumerable Mongolian peoples who migrated from the steppe of Central Asia at different times, and Indians who have come since the British invasion. Burmese are Buddhists; tribal peoples venerate various heathens. In order to speak to Burmese citizens of such different backgrounds in their own tongue, one would have to speak a hundred and twenty different tongues and idioms.
It is one of the wealthiest countries in the hemisphere, with a density of one in ten that of England. The Irawaddy River valley runs through Burma from northern to southern areas. Burma's qualitatively and quantitatively significant crops allow it to import raw materials into India, Europe and even America.
In addition, the fluctuations in temperatures are less common and strong than in India. When we say that the landscape of Burma is extraordinarily scenic, with wide streams, high hills, evergreen woods, colorful blooms, tropical fruit, the expression "earthly paradise" comes to our forefront. It is not astonishing that the English tried for a long period to get hold of it.
In 1852 this action was re-run, and in 1882 the Union Jack was flying over almost the whole state. Some mountain areas in the northern hemisphere, populated by small wild strains, had until recently eluded the British, but it is increasingly likely that they will suffer the same destiny as the remainder of the land, thanks to the euphemistically called" peace able penetration" trial, which in clearspeare.
I am not trying to commend or accuse this demonstration of the imperialists; let us just say that it is a natural consequence of any imperialistic politics. Investigating the good and evil sides of the UK Government in Burma from an economical and politic point of view will be much more rewarding.
Inevitably, the rule of all India's states under the British Empire's rule is a despotism, for only the menace of violence can subjugate a multi-million people. As an Englishman in leading an Eastern breed, the great motto is: "Never let a European do anything when an Orientale can".
So the supremacy will remain with the UK administrations, but the small officials who have to take over day-to-day management and come into touch with the local population in the performance of their work. For example, in Burma, the lower judges, all police officers up to the status of inspectors, members of the post office, officials, rural elder etc. - Myanmarians.
In order to reassure the general population and to put a stop to the agitated nationalism that was gradually giving cause for alarm, it was even agreed to allow the candidacy of formed locals for several important post. Third, it is to their own benefit to show their allegiance to a regime that makes a living.
In this way, we maintain a peaceful environment by guaranteeing closer cooperation among the formed or semi-educated class, where dissatisfaction could otherwise lead to rebels. Yet the Brits are controlling the area. Burma, of course, like any of India's counties, has a government - always the show of democraty- but in fact its government has very little clout.
The most of the members are marionettes of goverment who do not have them to stifle any bill that seems inappropriate. Furthermore, each provinces has a governor nominated by the English, who has a power of attorney as strong as that of the President of the United States to reject any suggestion he dislikes.
However, although the UK authorities, as we have shown, are basically despotical, they are by no means indifferent. Englishmen build streets and channels - naturally in their own interest, but the people of Burma profit from it - they build clinics, open public buildings and maintain order and order.
After all, the Burmese are only farmers farming the area. The fact that the only UK armed services in the Burmese nation are two UK lunar regiments and about ten lunar regiments of India fleeing on horseback is evidence of this Burmese people's inpathy.
Young men of the formed class are the government's most danger-taking foes. Perhaps if these professions were more diverse and cultured, they could lift the revolutionary flag. First of all, as we have seen, the Burmese are mostly farmers. Second, the UK authorities are trying to give the grass-roots only one blanket directive, which is almost pointless and only enough to create couriers, inferior officials, small paralegals and other employees.
The aim of this regulation, which applies throughout India, is to prevent India from becoming an industrialised nation able to compete with England. It' s fair to say that in general every truly literate Burmese was trained in England and thus belonged to the small and well-to-do. Since there are no formed classrooms, there is no such thing as popular sentiment to push for insurrection against England.
Again, we find the Burmese generally too unaware to have a clear idea of how they are handled and therefore too unaware to show the slightest grudge. It' truely the British have confiscated the landmines and the wells. It' truely the case that they are controlling wood output.
It' truely the case that all kinds of intermediaries, agents, mills, exporter, have made a huge fortune out of it without the producers - that's the farmer who makes it one thing. It' s also the truth that the fast business people who have made their heaps out of travel ingot, fuel, etc. do not contribute to the welfare of the land and that their funds are sent abroad to be exported to England instead of increasing domestic revenue in the shape of tax.
In all honesty, it is the truth that the British are brazenly stealing and ripping off Burma. The Burmese hardly realize it right now. They are so wealthy, their people so dispersed, their needs, like those of all Orientals, so small that they are unaware of being plundered.
However, and this is the important point, the Burmese will begin to feel the pain when much of their country's wealth has diminished. Though Burma has evolved to some degree since the conflict, the farmer there is already less wealthy than twenty years ago. This is because the UK administration has given the real horde of Indians who come from a place where they virtually died of starvation free access to Burma, who work for virtually nothing and are therefore frightening rival to the Burmese.
In addition, there is a sharp surge in demographic change - in the last ten-year survey, the Burmese recorded an influx of ten million people - it is easily seen that the Burmese, as in all overcrowded nations, will be deprived of their land to serve the capitalist system, where they will have to be forced to reduce to a state of semi-slavery and also bear the cost of employment.
You will then find, what you hardly think today, that the sources of crude oils, the mining and mill industries, the sales and growing of paddy are under the control of the Brits. UK policy in Burma is the same as in India. In industrial terms, India was intentionally kept in the dark. For example, the UK factories' produce finds an important market in a land that is unable to produce it itself.
English manufacturers, who have nothing to worry about, have absolute market controls and are reaping enormous gains. We' ve said that the Burmese haven't been suffering too much, but that's because they've largely stayed an farming people. Consequently, the British steal Burma in two ways:
So the Burmese are dragged into the system of the capital industrialism, hoping to become capitalistic industrialist themselves. In addition, the Burmese, like all other Indian nations, stay under the reign of the British Empire for strictly militaristic reasons. They are in fact unable to build vessels, produce rifles or other weapons necessary for contemporary warmongering, and if the English gave up India today, this would only lead to a shift of masters.
It would be occupied and plundered by another state. UK rule in India is based largely on the exchange of defence for a trade-off, but as we have tried to show, the business is to the English' s mercy, whose controls extend to all areas. Conclusion: If Burma has a side effect for the English, they have to foot the bill.
Until now, the English have not suppressed the natives too much because it was not necessary. Burmese are still at the beginning of a transitional phase that will turn them from farmers into processors. Your relation to the British Empire is that of the slaves and masters.
This is not the issue; let us just say that its controls are despotical and, to put it bluntly, selfish. Although the Burmese have not had much to complain about so far, the time will come when their country's wealth will be inadequate for an ever-growing people.
1 ] Raoul Nicole had written on March 22, 1929, when Orwell was still at Cochin Hospital to apologize that Orwell was ill and thanked him for his Burma story.