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Sunday, 17 September 2017

Comics Explained: Hellboy

Hellboy is perhaps one of the most underrated comic book characters of all time. A big part of this is because he is not from the two big comic books companies, (DC and Marvel), but instead from Dark Horse. From the mind of Mark Mignola Hellboy is a well-meaning, half-demon brought to Earth to destroy reality but is instead the world's greatest paranormal detective. Blending Lovecraftian ideas, pulp fiction, horror and folklore Hellboy is a thrilling read. He has made several appearances outside of print, most famously in Guillermo del Toro's Hellboy and Hellboy 2. Recently he has been announced as a downloadable character for the DC fighting game Injustice 2 and in 2019 there will be a reboot which just this week, (as of writing), the new actor playing Hellboy was revealed in costume.
The new Hellboy
There have been many Hellboy stories so we're mainly going over the main ones. First, let's look at his real world origins.

Real World Origins
The first appearance
Hellboy first appeared in a convention program book in 1991 as a huge hulking monster which Mike Mignola added the name 'Hellboy' last minute. The name made him laugh and became the name of the character. Two years later a version of Hellboy resembling the form which we know now appeared on the cover of Italian comic Dime Press #4. Later Mignola wanted to make Hellboy into a comic and he started to resemble his present incarnation more. He originally wanted Hellboy to be in a team and the concept art shows several members of this team resembling future Hellboy characters. Their team logo was the same as the logo for the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense (BPRD) which Hellboy is a key agent for. This team idea was abandoned when Mignola couldn't think of a good name to fit them. Then in August 1993 Hellboy got his own comic story in San Diego Comics Con Comics #2
Hellboy's First Story
Mignola was less interested in the plot and it is wild, paranormal, and sets up the future of the Hellboy comics. Hellboy goes to a town where all the inhabitants have suddenly vanished. The only thing that is there is a 'mangy little mutt' which turns out to be the Egyptian god Anubis. In a few panels Hellboy defeats the dog/god by slamming a gas station sign into Anubis' shoulder who then falls onto a gas pump which then explodes. 

Birth of the Demon
Hellboy's father
Hellboy's early origins were explained in The Chained Coffin. We have to go all the way back to 1617. Hellboy's mother was a witch in East Bromwich, England called Sarah Hughes. Sarah was married to a Hell lord named Azzael, (pictured above), but on her deathbed wished to repent. To repent this required her children to chain her to a coffin in the church of East Bromwich and keep her protected from Azzael for three nights. Naturally Azzael being a Hell lord he easily slaughtered Sarah's children on the first night, dragged her to Hell and told her that she was carrying 'a son, my favorite son'. Sarah was burnt in the fires of Hell and thanks to this Hellboy was born. He was given the name Anung Un Rama and his father cut off his right hand to replace it with the Right Hand of Doom. The Right Hand of Doom was a relic of the Ogdru Jahad, (which we'll discuss soon). As Azzael had done this the other Hell lords punished him by stripping him of his powers and then freezing him in ice. Those who have read Dante's Divine Comedy will recognize that Lucifer had the same thing done to him.

Ogdru Jahad
The Ogdru Jahad
The Ogdru Jahad perfectly shows the creativity of the Hellboy universe with it blending Christian myths with Lovecraftian themes. At the start of creation God created several great spirits and one named Anum stole some of God's power to create the Ogdru Jahad. Darkness had helped waken the Ogdru Jahad so they set out to destroy reality by creating the 369 Ogdru Hem. A war broke out between the Ogdru Hem and the spirits with the spirits winning. The Ogdru Jahad were sealed away and the spirits destroyed Anum, except for his right hand. Anum's right hand, renamed the 'Right Hand of Doom', is the only thing that can now reawaken the Ogdru Jahad. In punishment for allowing the Ogdru Jahad to be created God cast the spirits to either the pit or Earth. Those on Earth were granted physical forms and became the first people to inhabit the planet, called Hyperboreans. The Ogdru Hem barely survived through the eons and cults emerged serving the Ogdru Jahad which caused the decline of the Hyperboreans. When the Hyperboreans collapsed during the Ice Age their legacy continued through humanity, and with it the cults of the Ogdru Jahad.

Hellboy on Earth
Hellboy first arriving on Earth
Hellboy's arrival on Earth was first shown in Seed of Destruction. When Russian mystic and monk Grigori Rasputin was assassinated in 1916 he was revived by the Ogdru Jahad to act as their agent on Earth. When Hitler came to power he was contacted by the Nazis and started working for them. It is common knowledge that Hitler was fascinated by the paranormal so he wanted Rasputin to use supernatural forces to defeat the Allies. Rasputin agreed but his intention was never to fight the Allies. Instead his goal was to use the resources of the Nazis to trigger the Apocalypse by summoning the Ogdru Jahad. On December 23, 1944 Rasputin and a group of Nazi commandos arrived on a Scottish island to summon Amun's Right Hand in Project Ragna Rok. However, Britain's leading psychic Lady Cynthia Eden-Jones detected Rasputin's actions someday's prior. With a group of American commandos, Professor Malcolm Frost, paranormal expert Trevor Bruttenholm, and the Hellboy universe's version of Captain America Torch of Liberty went instead to the church of East Bromwich. Rasputin summoning went wrong and instead of being summoned to Scotland Anung Un Rama was summoned to East Bromwich. The soldiers nicknamed the summoned demon 'Hellboy' and the name stuck. Trevor Bruttenholm adopted Hellboy and raised him. 

Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense
The BPRD logo
After adopting Hellboy Trevor Bruttenholm had the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense (BPRD) formed. Unlike the movies in the world of Hellboy people are fully aware of the paranormal. The BPRD as a result is funded by several countries, mainly the USA and UK, and keeps good contacts with most governments and institutions, (China and the CIA being exceptions). Thanks to his membership of the BPRD in 1952 the United Nations granted him the status of 'honorary human'. Hellboy isn't the only 'enhanced' being to be a member of the BPRD. Other members have included a firestarter called Liz Sherman (changed to Hellboy's love interest for the movies), Ben Daimio a 'werejaguar', Roger the Homunculus, and an ectoplasmic spirit called Johann Kraus. My personal favorite is Abe Sapien. The best way to describe Abe is that he is a Gill-Man from Creature from the Black Lagoon. Abe was discovered sealed in a tube of water in Washington D.C. in 1978 and, was named 'Abe' as the paper attached to the tube was the same date as Lincoln's assassination and 'Sapien' as the tube read 'Ichtyo sapien'

I would highly recommend reading the Hellboy comics. I've avoided talking about the storylines as they are best read first hand with no spoilers. I hope you have enjoyed this post. For future posts please see our Facebook or get me on Twitter @LewisTwiby.

Sunday, 10 September 2017

World History: Colonialism

A depiction of Columbus
In 1492 Christopher Columbus arrived in the Americas. Hardly two years later on June 7 1494 Pope Alexander VI divided this 'New World' along a line 370 leagues west of the Portuguese held Cape Verde islands with the Treaty of Tordesillas. Portugal would hold everything east of this line while Castille-Aragon (Spain) would hold everything to the west. Although the rest of Europe would ignore this treaty it would nevertheless begin around six centuries of European domination and exploitation of the rest of the world. We touched briefly on colonialism when we looked at the Age of Exploration as well as the empires of the Aztec and the Inca. This post will look mainly at the empires of Spain and Portugal but we shall also look at the French, English/British and the Dutch. As a side note slavery will be touched on briefly in this post as I plan to look more closely at slavery in the next World History post. First we shall look at the origins of the European empires.

The Start of Empire
Henry the Navigator
Those who read the post on the Age of Discovery will know that European conquest of the non-European world started long before Columbus. As early as 1415 a Portuguese prince nicknamed Henry the Navigator would capture Ceuta in Morocco and would fund over fifty voyages as well as cartographers, mathematicians and astronomers in order to map the non-European world. Henry and many other Portuguese/Spanish nobles became obsessed with finding the mythical kingdom of Prester John, (and gold). Prester John was a mythical Christian ruler and the rulers of Aragon, Castille and Portugal hoped to find this kingdom and recruit it into a crusade against non-Christians. It is important to remember that the Muslim Emirate of Granada was not conquered by Christian Spanish forces until 1492 so the crusading spirit lasted much longer in the Iberian peninsula compared to the rest of Europe. Both Portugal and Spain had created colonies in the Azores, Madeira, the Canary Islands, and Sao Tome. In 1488 Bartolomeu Dias rounded what is now referred to as the Cape of Good Hope. In 1453 the Ottoman Empire conquered Constantinople so European powers did not wish to access, or could not access, the lucrative spice market via a Muslim power. As a result the Spanish throne somewhat reluctantly sponsored Columbus' voyage to find an alternate route to the Indies. Instead he arrived in the Americas. Edmundo O'Gorman wrote that when Columbus arrived there was an 'invention of America'. Columbus had expected cannibals, Amazons, and mountains of gold but was repeatedly told by the people he encountered that there were none and if there were they would be on the next island. Many of the sources which we have of the European-American interactions were shaped by European preconceptions. Edward Said's Orientalist theory fits very well here. Said wrote that Europeans arrived in the colonized regions with their own ideas of what culture/civilization was and because it clashed with the local culture they in turn saw it as 'backward' or 'decadent'. 

In Columbus' first letters which were widely distributed upon his return in 1493 we clearly see this. In reference to possibly the Arawak people he wrote: 'They are naturally timid and fearful. As soon as they see they are safe, however, they are very simple and honest, and exceedingly liberal with all they have...' Here we see Columbus portray them as almost childlike in their actions. He goes on to write: 'I did not find, as some of had expected, any cannibals among them...' showing that he still had his preconceptions about the people. In his diary we see the horrific side of what would come in European colonialism. He wrote: 'These people are very unskilled in arms... with 50 men they could all be subjected and made to do all that one wished' and '[that upon his arrival the indigenous people cried] with a loud voice to the other Indians "Come, come and look upon beings of a celestial race"'. Here we see that Columbus clearly wished to conquer and enslave the local peoples, (which he did, by the end of the decade he sold over 1,400 to Spanish slave markets), as well as viewing himself as being superior. This would be a common theme in not only the Spanish empire but also that of Portugal, Britain, the Dutch and French.

The Great Dying
A Depiction of the Great Dying
The Great Dying is a term coined by historians to describe the genocide of Native Americans. When Europeans arrived in the Americas they not only brought with them weapons, animals, and vegetables but also diseases. As we saw when we looked at the Aztecs and Inca these empires were devastated by epidemics which allowed Spanish conquest under Hernan Cortes and Francisco Pizarro to happen far more easily. When Columbus arrived on Santo Domingo, (Espanola), in 1492 there was around a million inhabitants but by the end of the 1520s when the conquistadors were conquering the mainland hardly any were left. Principally measles and smallpox, whom the Native Americans had virtually no immunity against, complicated by respiratory ailments devastated populations. Fourteen major epidemics in Mesoamerica and seventeen in the Andes wiped out whole populations between 1520 and 1600. In Mesoamerica local outbreaks of malaria, possibly introduced by Italian soldiers and Spanish merchants, added to this. It has been estimated that between 50% to 90% of the Native American population was wiped out. The later European states like France and the Netherlands also contributed to this in North America. This is especially prominent prior to and during the American Revolution. During Pontiac's Uprising in the early 1760s the British General Jeffrey Amherst even resorted to handing out blankets from smallpox hospitals to negotiating chiefs. Although this was rare it did happen. Although disease was not only part of the Great Dying. 

The European empires enslaved thousands of Native Americans. Although both the Spanish and Portuguese empires made the enslavement of Native Americans illegal, King Sebastiao of Portugal made it illegal in 1570 except for those taken during war, many thousands were enslaved before then. In what is now Nicaragua between 1500 and 1550 an estimated 200,000 were taken by slave raiders and by the 1560s there were 40,000 were slave labors in north Brazil. Conditions for slaves were awful with many thousands dying in mines looking for gold, silver and mercury. As early as 1515 this was criticized by Bartolome de las Casas. In Protestant countries this gave rise to the 'Black Legend' which then was used to justify their colonialism. In the English, and later British, colonies Native Americans were taken from North America and taken to the Caribbean where they were forced to work on sugar plantations. Brutal conditions, disease, and the climate created an extremely high mortality rate. For the Native Americans regardless of whether the conqueror was Catholic or Protestant colonialism only brought destruction.

Columbian Exchange
Some of what was exchanged
The Columbian Exchange is a term used to describe the movement of plants, animals and diseases from the Americas to Europe, Asia and Africa, and vice versa. As we mentioned above many diseases like measles, smallpox and influenza was spread from the 'Old World' to the 'New World'. It was believed that syphilis originated in the Americas but was spread to Europe via Columbus, (who had syphilis himself), although this is now disputed. Alfred Crosby has presented evidence suggesting that there is little evidence of syphilis before 1492 in the Americas, but equally he presents evidence that cultures across Europe, North Africa and Asia saw it as something new. Italians called it the French disease, the French the Naples disease, English the French, Spanish or Bordeaux disease, Russians the Polish disease, Poles the German disease, Indians the Frankish disease, Middle Easterners the European pustules, Chinese the ulcer of Canton, and Japan the Tang sore. With the exception of llamas in the Andes all large mammals that were able to be domesticated in the Americas had gone extinct during the last Ice Age so Europeans introducing cattle, pigs, sheep etc. changed the American landscape. North American Plains Native Americans domesticated horses from Europe and they became integral to their culture. Although it took generations for the landscape to be shaped by Europeans to let European livestock to live. English colonizers initially complained that they couldn't eat beef as the cows couldn't survive so they had to eat lobster instead. Plants were a key part of the exchange. Bananas, coffee and sugar were taken from Africa and became integral crops in the American economy, (especially sugar in the Caribbean and coffee in Brazil). Likewise potatoes, corn and tomatoes were introduced to Europe. Potatoes soon became a staple crop in the diet of many peoples, the Irish being possibly the most famous one. Cocoa and tobacco were also introduced with tobacco becoming so widespread that King James VI and I of Scotland and England even banned it. Even words were spread. In Brazil the colonizers adopted the local hammock with one arrival saying: 'Would you believe that a man could sleep suspended in a net in the air like a bunch of hanging grapes?...I tried it and I will never again be able to sleep in a bed...' Tobacco, tapioca and manioc are just some of the words whose origins were in the Americas.

This is also a good time to talk about silver. Particularly the Spanish crown were eager to see the profits from silver mines in South America. 80% of the world's silver was produced during the three centuries of Spanish rule in the Americas and two-thirds of it went to Europe via Spain. Soon the Spanish currency became the most powerful currency in perhaps the world, (as the British pound was during the 1800s or the American dollar after 1945). Thanks to American silver Spain managed to fund, or directly fight, wars across Europe. Of course this also made Spanish galleons perfect for raiding by English, Dutch and even at times French licensed pirates, like Sir Francis Drake. Unfortunately for the Spanish such an influx in silver caused skyrocketing inflation and fighting so many wars proved to be a drain on the Spanish treasury. This allowed France, England and the Netherlands to also rise as regional or colonial powers.

Colonial Society in the Americas
The Spanish Colonial System
Society varied over geography, colony and time so we can't talk about every system. In Peru the Spanish Empire continued the old mitmaq system of the Inka having the indigenous peoples upkeep roads, buildings and mines, often through force. In the Spanish Empire the encomienda system was established for the conquerors; Hernan Cortes, the conqueror of the Aztec Empire, had one of the largest encomiendas. The Native Americans, and later Filipinos, in an encomienda were considered vassals of the encomendaro, i.e. slaves. It was this system which Bartolom√© de las Casas heavily criticized. When the genocide of Native Americans had devastated the population the encomienda was replaced by the haciendas which were smaller scale ranches and mines. Like Spain, and the Inkan/Mesoamerican empires, the colonies were incredibly hierarchical. At the top were the peninsulares, reinois in Brazil, who were from the mainland of which the highest ranking were the viceroys. Below them were creoles who were Europeans born in the Americas. Below them were the mestizos and mulattos who were descended from the marriage, or rape, of Europeans with Native Americans or slaves. At the bottom were slaves from Africa or Native Americans. As generations passed this system became more complex until there were over thirty different distinctions made by the Spanish. In the colonies slavery was widespread, (which we'll talk about next time), and there were many in Brazil. From the sixteenth century to the nineteenth century 3.5 million slaves were taken from across Africa. In Brazil escapee slaves formed small communities called quilombos, often with Native Americans, which later offered refuge to religious minorities and political dissenters.

The British colonial system in North America differed from this but at the same time was very similar. In the Caribbean it was very similar to Latin America. This is also a perfect time to talk about religion. Colonialism coincided with the Reformation and colonizers brought their religious conviction to the colonies. The English colonies in New England were formed through religious dissenters, often called Puritans but the ones to arrive at Plymouth were Pilgrims, and Massachusetts had a population of 21,000 by 1642. Here there was greater tolerance to the Native Americans as they showed the colonizers how to farm the land. However, as the population expanded this alliance soon came to resemble the Black Legend of their Iberian counterparts. In many areas of the English colonies, especially in Carolina, a social hierarchy was established. Rich colonizers could sponsor poor English, Welsh, Irish and Scottish in something called indentured servitude, (something later replicated in British India). It was expensive to buy African slaves and Native American slaves could easily escape so they resorted to enslaving poor Irish and Brits under the illusion that it was freeing them. For five years an indentured person would be the owner's slave in everything but name. If they got pregnant or married more years were added to their contract. Thanks to poor conditions many died before their contract ended. Only when conditions improved and more lived than died did slavery come into full force in British North America.

Europe and Africa
A Crucifix from the Kongo
European-African relations were far less one sided compared to European-American relations. Most of the relations in this section of the world has been dominated by the slave trade so we shall discuss that more in the next World History post. Diseases such as yellow fever and malaria, which Europeans had little resistance to, limited Portuguese presence as well as the strength of the coastal African kingdoms. When the Spanish arrived in Mesoamerica and the Andes the Aztec and Inka were facing major domestic disturbances. For years Iberia had been enraptured by Africa. The wealth of Mali and the existence of one of the oldest Christian kingdoms with Ethiopia convinced many, including Henry the Navigator, wanted gold and the kingdom of Prester John. Instead of conquest trade happened. Benin, Oyo and Kongo would trade gold, ivory, sugar and slaves in return for wool, silk, tools and weapons. The sugar trade, made profitable by slavery, allowed the Caribbean islands to become very lucrative. Today Cuba is still famed for its sugar. In the Kingdom of the Kongo we see a unique amalgamation of Africa and Europe. Prosperous through both trade with Portugal and an internal African trade Kongo was a very powerful state. Jesuit and Capuchin missionaries hoped to make this kingdom Christian. The manikongo, (king), Nzinga Nkuwu accepted the missionaries hoping that this would open more doors for trade with Europe. He converted to Christianity adopting the name Jaoa, and his son adopted the name Afonso. Here African and Christian cultures combined forming an entirely new culture; something fairly easy as many Christian ideas were already present in the local culture. 

Asia- Similarities and Differences
Matteo Ricci and Xu Guangqi
In Asia the European empires differed greatly in their approach. In specific we shall look at China and Japan, and then India. China under the Ming held considerable sway in East Asia with merchants settling in Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia and the Philippines, although there was also an illegal trade with Japan as well. The Portuguese were the first to arrive in China and Japan, (1520s and 1540s), and the relationship was based on trade. Later the Spanish formed the city of Manila in 1571. Silver from South America, around a third of all silver, went to East Asia. In 1597 307 tons of silver passed through Manila to China and Japan. The Ming changed their tax system and currency in the late sixteenth-century. Instead of being taxed with goods people were taxed via currency which went from paper to silver coins. Silver from Japan and the Americas became very much in demand in China. Initially, like in India, Europeans remained very respectful of China and Japan. China viewed itself as the center of the world so European homage remained part of their world view. As the picture above shows Matteo Ricci adopted Chinese clothing and Europeans did the same in Japan as well. Japanese daimyo Oda Nobunaga was in particular eager to get hold of firearms. Christianity spread as both states tolerated missionaries. The worship of Christ became one of many religions and philosophies to exist within the Chinese empire alongside Confucianism, Islam, Taoism and Buddhism. However, things changed. Like in Spain the influx in silver caused issues for both China and Japan. Inflation added to the Ming's many issues and helped their collapse. Meanwhile, missionaries, particularly Jesuit missionaries, in Japan were seen as taking too many liberties with their growing influence. The rising power of Christianity and the addition of inflation caused Japan in the early 1600s to isolate itself from Europe excluding the new colonial power of the Netherlands who had access to Japan via Nagasaki.

India was different. Vasco da Gama had arrived in Calicut in 1488 to bring Portuguese influence to the Indian Ocean. Just over twenty years later in 1510 they captured Goa. Here Portugal formed factories. These were not like modern factories; instead they were trading posts to tap into the lucrative spice trade from the Indies. Here there was a cultural clash. Largely Indian states believed that their sovereignty stopped at the coast, something very different to European views, and piracy often was seen less negatively. Seasonal fishermen would turn pirate, raid coastal towns or ships, and then return home, (giving some of the profit to the local temple). When the Portuguese moved in they introduced the cartaz or licence. This meant one required a licence to trade or engage in piracy. This allowed Portugal to hold a trade monopoly as one had to pay for a cartaz which many Indians couldn't afford. Later the Dutch East India Company, Vereenigte Oost-Indische Compagnie (VOC), moved in. The VOC was a private company designed to profit from the spice trade through direct political power and to do that they waged war against Portugal and local rulers. This more direct action meant that no profits could be made. All profit was spent on war and defending themselves, and when the VOC finally got a monopoly on the spice trade the appeal of spices soon dissipated. England too tried to muscle into South Asia. While the Portuguese came as religious crusaders and the VOC in search of political power the English East Indian Company just wanted profit. Establishing themselves at Surat and Madras they traded at the bequest of the Mughal emperors. As England became more powerful, and local rulers made alliances with the Mughals, they used this to slowly extend their own political power. Over years this allowed direct English control over India.

Colonialism is one of the darkest parts of world history. Driven by greed and religious zealotry many hundreds of thousands to millions were killed or enslaved. This post has not even touched one of the darkest parts of colonialism, that of slavery. Colonialism would later shape the world that we live in today. It brought Christianity to central Africa via Kongo, caused the demographic makeup of Latin America to be changed, brought plants to Europe which would shape the region, and allowed empires to rise and fall. The position of the viceroyalties in Latin America even shaped what countries would form in the region centuries later. Next time we will look at a major side of colonialism: the Atlantic Slave Trade.

The sources I have used are as follows:
-Dennis O. Flynn and Arturo Giraldez, 'Born with a "Silver Spoon": The Origin of World Trade in 1571', Journal of World History, 6/2
-Europe and the People Without History by Eric R. Wolf
-Early Modern Europe, 1450-1789 by Merry Wiesner-Hanks
-Give Me Liberty! An American History by Eric Foner
-The Columbian Exchange by Alfred Crosby
-A History of Brazil by E. Bradford Burns
-Spain in America by Charles Gibson
-J.D. Fage, 'Upper and Lower Guinea' in The Cambridge History of Africa. Vol. 3, c.1050-c.1600 edited by Roland Oliver
-A History of Colonial Brazil by Bailey W. Diffle
-Atlantic History: A Critical Appraisal edited by Jack P. Greene and Philip D. Morgan

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed it. For other World History posts please see here. For other blog posts we have a Facebook page or see me on Twitter @LewisTwiby. 

Friday, 1 September 2017

The Future of Game of Thrones

The above, (probably), fan video was released a few days ago it has had me wondering what the future holds for those living in Westeros and Essos when the War of the Five Kings has ended and the Night's King has been vanquished. I found this idea so compelling that I just had to talk about my thoughts about what Planetos (as Reddit has dubbed the world from A Song of Ice and Fire) would be like in a world not too dissimilar to the modern world. Luckily for us George R.R. Martin is a history fan so we can guess a few things through our own history. We do have a bit of a predicament though. Other than neither being finished as of writing the books and show share several plot points and ending but they diverge in several other key areas. Hence this post will merge the two together. However, be warned: this contains spoilers! Let's now look at Planetos in the aftermath of the War of the Five Kings and the Night's King being defeated.

Immediate Aftermath
The Wall where the Dead shall Fight
Mixing the show, the books and my own theories together Aegon Targaryen will be defeated by either Westerosi defenders or Daenerys, after ousting the Boltons Jon Snow becomes King in the North  and later Daenerys' consort, the living form a truce, defeat the Night's King, and Jamie kills Cersei as he tries to destroy King's Landing to prevent it falling into Targaryen hands. When the dust has settled Jon (Aegon) and Daenerys rule on the Iron Throne but over a fractured Seven Kingdoms. Under the leadership of Asha (Yara) Greyjoy a new Kingdom of the Iron Isles emerges, Dorne regains its independence under Arianne Martell and the North has considerable autonomy (if not full independence) under Sansa Stark. The remaining kingdoms under the sway of the Iron Throne, (with the exception of the Vale), would be impoverished through years of murder, war and winter. With Jon and Daenerys ruling the smallfolk would be better taken care of; Jon's treatment of the Free Folk and Dany's emancipation of the slaves in Slaver's Bay is evidence of this. Unlike their ancestor of Aegon V whose attempts to aid the smallfolk resulted in opposition from the lords they should have an easier time helping the smallfolk. Winning a major war would have enforced their rule over the higborn and the war wiped out many major houses. The Tullys, Freys, Tarlys, Tyrells, and Arryns (Sweetrobin's health means he is not long for the world), are just some of the notable houses to be eradicated. This relief program would also be organized by the Hand. I would imagine that Jon and Dany would hold equal sway possibly leading to two Hands, (possibly Tyrion and Davos). 

What of the Dothraki which Dany brought with her to Westeros? I can imagine them diverging into two paths. The first become Westerosized abandoning pillaging and nomadism in favor of permanent lands. The others instead remaining loyal to their queen but not abandoning the Dothraki way; that is until Dany's death. With Dany dead the nomadic Dothraki would revert to their original ways forcing Jon, (and possibly Dany's child), and the non-nomadic Dothraki to be forced to wipe the nomadic ones out, or force them to submit. In the most recent season Tyrion hinted at the possibility of a democracy in Westeros. Unlike today's democracies I would imagine it being like Simon de Montford's parliament, (judging by Martin's interest in English/British history this could be something likely). Instead of everyone voting lords, landed knights and important maesters would sit in the King's Landing parliament. This would not be the first parliament in Westerosi history: in 101 the Great Council was called. This permanent Great Council would be established first in Harrenhal until a new building could be constructed in King's Landing. The monarchy would hold the most power though. Finally, the Free Folk would settle in parts of the North for their role in the war but they would face intense discrimination and would often rebel as they refused to kneel for Winterfell. Under Sansa's and Jon's rule, (as well as the rule of their children), I would imagine that there would be peace between Free Folk and kneelers. 

Slaver's Bay may resort to warfare and autocracy once more. I cannot imagine Daario being a benevolent ruler and as soon as the Harpy's rear their ugly heads again those heads would role. A cult of personality could even surround Daario as he wages continuous wars against recalcitrant Ghiscari cities trying to reimpose slavery. With delusions of grandeur he may even declare himself emperor of the New Ghiscari Empire. The freed slaves, meanwhile, would continue honoring Daenerys as 'Mhysa' and in turn honor Daario as her anointed successor. 

Westerosi Colonization of Planetos
One thing we have yet to mention is magic. Alchemists and maesters mention in the books how certain arts seemed stronger suddenly; the reader knows this to be the work of magic returning. With dragons flying over Westeros' skies and the dead walking the maesters would take more notice of magic. Originally the maesters had even conspired to kill the dragons as they believed magic to be obsolete/backwards under the new Targaryens, and in the light of new events, they would have to accept magic. With that we may see a 'Scientific Revolution' in Westeros and, in my opinion, the absence of magic may have caused the stunting of technological development. After a few generations gunpowder may be discovered and an explorer from the Iron Islands or Oldtown may travel west to find a new route to Qarth and Asshai...and discover a new continent. So far we only know of three continents on Planetos: Westeros, Essos and Sothoryos. Even then we know of northern Sothoryos, and another place named Ulthos could be a fourth continent. Whoever travels west I would imagine discovering a new continent with analogues to the Native American societies which existed before European colonialism and genocide. With the advent of the compass other explorers would travel and map Sothoryos. Then the exploitation of the new regions would begin.

Westerosi would colonize the new continent and take over areas of Sothoryos along the coast. We may even see a version of the Atlantic Slave trade emerge. Due to Daenerys waging a war against slavery Westerosi in the future would likely create a coded language to justify their enslavement of the new continent and Sothoyosi. After Britain abolished slavery 'indentured servitude' was introduced which was slavery by another name. Meanwhile, Westeros would start to conquer areas of Essos, namely the Dothraki Sea and Slaver's Bay. Quite possibly the Free Folk living in Westeros could be forced into indenture as were the poor of the British Isles in the seventeenth-century as Andals push them off of their land. Trading colonies would start which would later need protecting, (in the Dothraki Sea we would see farmers), and Westerosi trading companies would start establishing formal rule over areas. The Summer Isles may even be directly conquered. 

Then the Industrial Revolution would come. The Westerlands are noted for their mining while the Iron Islands for their iron so I would imagine these two could be a center for industrial beginnings. The North is partially based off of northern England, (where I am from), and Scotland which were areas of Britain's industry; the North could also be a center of industry. Thanks to that research into disease could allow Westerosi advancement into Sothoryos as treatment for yellow fever and other diseases allowed European advancement into Africa. If one reads The World of Ice and Fire you get the image that outside Westeros the world is strange, mystical, one-dimensional and mysterious. This is likely intentional. Edward Said wrote Orientalism in 1978 which explains this. Europeans went to colonized regions, (he was writing solely about the Middle East but it can be applied to anywhere where Europeans exploited), applying their own ideas of culture and decided that it was 'backward' or 'uncivilized' as it differed to their view. (This explanation is of course simplified). The novels are from a Westerosi point of view and World is supposed to be written by a Westerosi maester: Martin has cleverly implemented this in his worldbuilding. As Westeros expands out Orientalist texts go from purely mystical to more informed and more insulting to the conquered peoples of Planetos.

Present Day Planetos
From the trailer
Here we come to the trailer which started the post. Let's start off with the rest of the world. In the regions conquered by Westeros like in our world the retreat from empire would leave artificial states in Essos, Sothoryos etc. Slaver's Bay would see only one state as the old city states would be put into one state called Ghis. Areas conquered around the Free Cities would be put into a new state named Valyria. Several modern states are named after pre-colonial states, like Mali, so it would not be unusual to see a Ghis or North and South Valyria. As stated earlier we only have a Westerosi point of view so we know very little outside of Westeros so this part shall be short. What we can guess though is that Sothoryos and beyond the Grey Waste the states would be a mismatch of different groups. One thing from the trailer is Braavos having many wind turbines: whoever thought of that is a genius. Braavos is very much like Venice, rich in trade but not in resources, so it would make sense for Braavos to be a pioneer in green energy.

Then we come to Westeros. I can imagine Westeros being largely made of four states: the North, Dorne, the Iron Islands, and the Dragon Kingdoms. Dorne and the Iron Islands would be republics compared to the others which would be constitutional monarchies. The Free folk in the North and Vale would still face intense discrimination and may even call for their own states. The treatment of the Irish by the British, Highlanders by Lowland Scots and English, and the Ainu in Japan would be the best parallel. These states would be united in a 'Westerosi Union' which Dorne might consider leaving in 'Dorxit'. Unlike the trailer I doubt we would have a prime minister in the Westerosi states. The term prime minister, in the sense we use today, was a pejorative used to lambaste Sir Robert Walpole and it evolved into the official position we know today. Instead 'Hand' would be used. The Dragon Kingdoms would be a federal system with the Crownlands, Westerlands, Reach, Riverlands and Vale having increased autonomy. Some, namely the Riverlands, may even have independence movements. Mentioned earlier were the Dothraki. I would imagine that modern Westerosi would have borrowed much from the Dothraki with many words being borrowed from them, as modern English contains many words from Danish. Thanks to the Night's King I would imagine that cremation would be the primary form of corpse disposal which becomes part of Westerosi culture. The places that we've come to love would be turned into historical sites: daily tours of Winterfell, battlefield tours of the Whispering Woods, and the Red Keep turned into a museum like the Hagia Sophia today. The Iron Throne behind a barricade for visitors to take photos and Drogon's skull occupying the entrance hall of the Westerosi Museum of Natural History. Which comes to the dragons...
The last dragons
By 1300 AC dragons would be exceedingly rare if not extinct. Unless if more dragon eggs could be found to be hatched with Targaryen children I believe that Dany's dragons could be the last. There could be new dragons discovered in Sothoryos or other continents but Valyrian dragons would be represented by only Dany's. Here comes in my theory. Dragons are like the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park: they are CGI reptilian monsters and can change their sex in a same-sex environment. This allows more dragon eggs but also could lead to what happened to them originally; the dragons could grow small and deformed through incest. The last ones would be relegated to zoos or to the Targaryens, (if there are any left), if they aren't extinct. The giants I would imagine would be extinct. They were almost gone by the events of Song so I can't imagine them lasting too long after, (along with mammoths). Meanwhile, the Night's Watch would have gone through a shift. As the new millennia approached I can imagine them dropping the no-wife/lands/children policy into a more flexible system, which involves women serving. Across Westeros it'll remain more as a form of military service which negotiates with Freefolk across the Wall. The North instead would have a form a compulsory conscription where everyone would have to serve for up to five years. Although I can also imagine that the Wall and the lands beyond it would come into trouble as global warming starts melting the world around them. That is until a blue-eyed corpse is found...

Thank you for reading. What do you imagine a modern-day Planetos looking like? Do you agree with me or think I've got it entirely wrong? I would love to hear your ideas. For future blog posts we have a Facebook page or you can find me on Twitter @LewisTwiby.

Saturday, 26 August 2017

10 Things I Would Like in Jurassic World: Evolution

Jurassic World Evolution
Long time readers will know that I am a huge fan of the Jurassic Park franchise and of dinosaurs as a whole. For years I have played Jurassic Park: Operation Genesis. For those who don't know JPOG is a game where you have to build your own Jurassic Park and open it to the public. Despite being released in 2003 this game still has a massive fanbase and I personally play it with mods. Unfortunately it never got a sequel as the company which made it went bust in 2011. Luckily a group of fans started making a spiritual successor a couple of years ago and just last week they dropped the pre-alpha demo for Prehistoric Kingdom. So far this demo has drastically exceeded expectations and made everyone hopeful for the full game. However, just a few days after Prehistoric Kingdom released its demo we received this trailer:
Yes to coincide with the new Jurassic World: The Fallen Kingdom we'll be getting the long awaited sequel to JPOG. After over a decade of waiting I've got many ideas for what I would want in a sequel. Today we'll look at ten things which I would like in Jurassic World: Evolution (JWE).

10- Creative Exhibit Designs
Above I've linked a video to one of my favorite YouTubers, Best in Slot, to show how creative exhibit design can be. He used one of my all time favorite games, Zoo Tycoon 2, to make that exhibit. Although I love JPOG exhibit design is incredibly limited, especially compared to ZT2. One of the reasons for this is that ZT2 was solely on PC while JPOG was on both. JWE will be for both as well so I am worried that this will hamper creative design. When ZT2 finally got a sequel it was only on X-Box One and although it looked beautiful it was extremely limiting, (you couldn't make your own exhibits only dragging and dropping pre-made ones). I'll give X-Box Zoo Tycoon the benefit of the doubt as it was a launch title for the X-Box One so likely the team were cautious. As both consoles have been released for several years now, and how much more powerful the PS4 and X-Box One are compared to the PS2 we should hopefully see the ability to make unique exhibits.

9- A wide range of Dinosaurs
JPOG could only handle a maximum of 40 species of dinosaurs in the game at one time and base game (without mods) only had 25 dinosaurs. Game engines have phenomenally improved since 2003 so now it is impossible to have so many animals in game. Possibly even an infinite amount judging by the number of modded animals you can have in ZT2 which came out just a year after JPOG. JWE could have lots of animals in the game and not just ones shown in Jurassic World. JPOG had dinosaurs from all three movies as well as many other dinosaurs not shown even in the franchise before. JPOG introduced me to many obscure dinosaurs such as Ouranosaurus and Acrocanthosaurus so JWE could do the same. Bizarre dinosaurs like Therizinosaurus and Oviraptor could fit perfectly in the game. Also, since 2003 many new dinosaur species have been discovered which could be good additions to the roster like the Chinese tyrannosaur ancestor Guanlong or even the feathered tyrannosaurus Yutyrannus.

8- Some Scientifically Accurate Dinosaurs
The actual size of velociraptor
Jurassic Park is full of scientifically inaccurate dinosaurs. They've even mentioned this fact in the novel which started the franchise, by Michael Crichton, and Jurassic World. JWE could change that. Of course dinosaurs which have already appeared in the series like Velociraptor and Tyrannosaurus should remain inaccurate through continuity. However new additions could possibly be accurate. We now know that theropods, (bipedal, carnivorous dinosaurs), were feathered so newly introduced theropods could be feathered. Prehistoric Kingdom has sort of implemented this mechanic. It primarily has accurate models but it has a few, optional, scaly ones. For JWE having some accurate dinosaurs, or alternate accurate skins for dinosaurs like T-Rex, could be a novel gameplay mechanic. 

7- Animals that aren't Dinosaurs 
Mosasaurus in Jurassic World
Jurassic World featured three extinct animals that aren't dinosaurs: Mosasaurus, Pteranodon and Dimorphodon. At the end of JWE's trailer you can see the Mosasaur tank from the movie. Hopefully that means we can have a Mosasaurus in JWE but it would be better if we could have more types of extinct animals in the game. We could have an aviary filled with a wide variety of pterosaurs including the weird looking Dsungaripterus or the giant Quetzalcoatlus, or we could have an aquatic area full of the Loch Ness Monster like Plesiosaurs. We don't have to to just limit it to flying and aquatic life. We could have animals from before the time of the dinosaurs or after the dinosaurs went extinct. During the Triassic, when dinosaurs first appeared, there were many big animals which the young dinosaurs lived in the shadow of. During the Cretaceous, the last period which the dinosaurs lived in, there was a crocodile called Deinosuchus which could eat dinosaurs. A Deinosuchus could be perfect for JWE.

6- Not too many hybrids
Indominus Rex
The main plot point of Jurassic World was the hybrid dinosaur Indominus Rex. Technically every dinosaur in the franchise is a hybrid so when I say 'not too many hybrids' I mean 'not too many Indominus-style hybrids'. The movie emphasizes how important the Indominus is being the first hybrid dinosaur so having too many hybrid dinosaurs will dilute this aspect to it. The series already has a few good hybrids that aren't Indominus, (shown in games and comics etc.). Stegoceratops in particular is my favorite hybrid. Hybrids should be something that you get when you have the best park instead of a principal game mechanic.

5- Better Dinosaur AI
For what JPOG was the dinosaur AI was good. Except that was in 2003. For 2018 we need something far better. The AI for all carnivores largely were the same and the same could be said for the herbivores. If the X-Box 360 and PS3 could handle the intense amount of AI for Skyrim and if their successors can handle the intense AI of Witcher 3 they should be able to handle unique AI for JWE. Each animal could have their own behavior and more intelligent animals could have more complex AI. Velociraptors could test the fences for weaknesses, as mentioned in Jurassic Park, and could be extremely aggressive until tamed by Owen Grady. Furthermore, raptors could form packs and form plans to catch prey. Small dinosaurs like Dryosaurus could hide under the legs of large ones like Stegosaurus where they act as the eyes for the larger dinosaurs. The Parasaurolophus could have different honks for different things: a long one for sighting a predator, a series of short ones for being friendly etc. Dilophosaurs could be shy dinosaurs in contrast to the bolder raptors. Finally the Indominus could set traps and communicate with the raptors as what happened in Jurassic World.

4- A First Person View
ZT2 had a very fun and unique game mode where you go into 'Zookeeper Mode' where you walk about in your zoo and do jobs. Primarily people, (including myself), used this to experience their zoo as a guest and so far no other zoo/park builder has managed to capture this mode. A simple guest mode would be fantastic for JWE. With modern graphics a first person view would be fantastic. You could start off in the center of Jurassic World seeing the futuristic and glitz of the park. You could go see the Mosasaur Feeding Show or take a trip in a Gyrosphere. Except when things go wrong. There's a thunderstorm and your Gyrosphere breaks down. You here something breaking. Then a Tyrannosaurus steps out from the trees. Seeing that through a first person mode would make JWE exceptional.

3- Animal Buildings
Concept image from Prehistoric Kingdom
The above image is from a Prehistoric Kingdom concept art. It also exemplifies this idea of animal buildings. Wildlife parks and zoos often have special buildings for smaller or animals with special needs. In the original JPOG they wanted to have the tiny Compsognathus but they thought it would be too small to be shot at from the helicopter. Having a building for smaller dinosaurs could solve this issue. This idea was almost implemented in the movie itself. There was going to be a scene featuring an almost Microceratus petting area. Also, this doesn't have to be limited to dinosaurs. There could be a bug house for the giant bugs of the past. An aviary would work perfectly and was actually shown in the movie. Despite the many flaws Telltale's Jurassic Park: The Game made a very good design for Jurassic Park and had a good idea. It featured an almost underground area for an aquarium for giant creatures like mosasaurs. This could be perfect for JWE.

2- Fix the Guests
Guests in JPOG
In JPOG, and ZT2, the guests drove me to insanity. Always complaining, complaining that there was nothing which my park had an abundance of, and not actually seeing the park the guests accurately represented the real life general public but it's not good for enjoying a game. I was never happier deleting the fences and letting my T-Rex eat the b*******. The only way for guests to explore the entire park was either to build a small guest area and have the rest of the park being a safari, or put in lots of visitor centers. Actually giving the guests AI would make, I think, everyone's lives a whole lot easier. Another point with the guests is the matter of nationality. JPOG stated where your guests were from and it was a neat concept although I never managed to see the practical side of it. Possibly for JWE where your guests are from represents your fame: lower fame only gives you guests from one place but as your fame increases your guests come from a wider area. 

1- Breakouts
The iconic scene
The trailer for JWE shows a T-Rex breakout and the most famous scene in Jurassic Park is when the T-Rex breaks out. In JPOG when your dinosaurs escaped, except when you let them do that, it wasn't overly tense. It was only a matter of having your helicopter tranquilize it. Only when it broke out near guests did it become tense. The trailer gives us an idea that a dinosaur breakout is something extremely stressful and dangerous. This will add another thing for you to manage. You would have to make sure that your fences are up to scratch, (especially if being tested by raptors), and make sure that dinosaurs cannot damage the fences. Have you used the correct fencing to keep a dinosaur in? Can you use the same fencing for a Triceratops as you do a T-Rex? If a dinosaur breaks out what do you do? Do you just have it shot or can you tranquilize it? This level of thought can make JWE truly immersive.

Thank you for reading. For future blog updates please like our Facebook page or follow me on Twitter @LewisTwiby

Saturday, 19 August 2017

History in Focus: The Partition of India

Muslim Refugees Fleeing India
As of writing this week has seen the 70th anniversary of the Partition of the British Raj forming the new states of India and Pakistan. The Partition is the single most important event in the modern history of the Indian subcontinent which still continues to greatly shape the lives of those living there. This divided subcontinent can be clearly seen in the extravagent closing of the border each evening at Wagah:
The Partition was an event of great trauma brought on about the incompetency of British rule and diverging Indian nationalist movements. To understand why the Indian subcontinent was divided into primarily Muslim Pakistan and Hindu India we have to go back to the 1800s.

British Rule and Early Nationalism
Raja Ram Mohan Roy
By the late-nineteenth century Britain had established its rule over the Indian subcontinent. Britain was the first state to establish formal or informal rule over the entire continent. In 1900 what parts of the subcontinent that weren't directly administered by the British were ruled by the so-called 'Princely States'. Princely States were ruled by princes but they had to answer to the British. Other European powers did control some of the subcontinent but they were largely confined to singular cities, like Goa for Portugal and Pondicherry for France. India was ruled from London. A secretary of state for India controlled affairs from the British cabinet, a governor-general ruled in India, and Indians were brought into the British army where they were used to govern the empire. There are photos of the British section of Shanghai where Sikh soldiers are patrolling the streets. Britain had also created a trade surplus in India. Through a mixture of Britain's industrial power and the destruction of large Indian industries, such as the Bengali cotton weaving, so Britain could dominate the Indian economy. Following the Indian Rebellion of 1857 the East Indian Company was dissolved and the British state formally took over. To aid in administration in 1861 they started bringing more Indians into the administration; Indians were increasingly ruling Indians for the British. It was in this context that the seeds of Indian nationalism took root.

To create administrators you needed education but the British looked down on India. As a result they built their own universities and institutions which taught European philosophies and politics, including liberalism. Slowly a European educated elite emerged. One thing to know about the subcontinent is how diverse it is. Today's India contains over 2000 languages not including those in Pakistan and Bangladesh. It is divided by caste and religion with Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists, Christians, Sikhs, Zoroastrians, Pagans, and Jains to name the largest religions in the subcontinent. Making matters worse was Britain's 'divide-and-rule' policy. This was done in all their colonies ranging from Cyprus to Palestine to Malaysia. On the surface this was done to prevent minorities from being dominated by larger populations, however it was a policy used to make the colonized view each other as the enemy so they could not form a united front. In India this was done over religious lines. Muslims were a minority and through farcical Social Darwinistic thinking the British viewed India's Muslims as being racially superior to Hindus so readily brought them administration, (although this is an oversimplification. British racial attitudes favored Muslims in some places and times and Hindus/Sikhs in other areas and times). As a result European educated high-caste Hindus formed reform movements which acted as early nationalist movements. One of the most famous was the Brahmo Savaj who was founded as early as 1828 by Raja Ram Mohan Roy, often called 'the Maker of Modern India'. Roy and the Brahmo Savaj wished to 'modernize' Hinduism, which meant making it more European, by abolishing certain practices like child marriage and sati (burning high-caste widows on their husband's funeral pyre). In 1875 the Arya Samaj was founded by Bengali Dayananda Saraswati to continue the work of the Brahmo Savaj but it went further rejecting idols. Muslims too made their own groups like the Deobandi Movement which tried to reject British colonial rule and the Khalifat . These separate movements focused solely on religion and were elitist. 

The Inspiration for the Nationalist Movement
The Swadeshi Movement
The two main organizations for Indian nationalism and independence were the Indian National Congress, (INC/Congress, formed 1885), and the All-India Muslim League, (formed 1906). These movements grew from elitist movements to mass movements thanks to the new viceroy, Lord Curzon. In the late 1890s and early 1900s Curzon had earned the ire of educated Indians by reducing the numbers of elected Indian officials to reduce radicalism. Then in 1905 for administrative purposes he divided Bengal. Bengal had been going through a 'Renaissance' where a largely nationalist movement based on Hindu revivalism had grown. As his division fell on religious lines Bengalis saw this as an attempt to divide their homeland. This even caused the creation of the Muslim League as they feared that this would lead to Hindu domination. The Swadeshi movement was soon born which was India's largest mass movement since the 1857 Rebellion. Swadeshi means 'of one's own country' which describes the aims of the movement: boycott British goods. It soon spread across India where leading politician in west India, Lokamanya Tilak, said:

We are not armed and there is no necessity for arms either. We have a stronger weapon, a political weapon, in boycott. We have perceived one fact that the whole of this carried on with our assistance. We are all subordinate servants...Self government is our goal, we want control over our administrative machinery...We shall not give them assistance to collect revenue and keep peace. We shall not assist them in fighting beyond the frontiers or outside India with Indian blood and money. We shall not assist them in carrying on the administration of justice. We shall have our own courts, and when the time comes, we shall not pay taxes. Can you do that by your united efforts? If you can you are free from tomorrow.
We see the rise of violence in the independence movement here as British repression created two very different armed groups: the right-wing, Hindu Anushilan and the smaller but left-wing and secular Jugantar. In Punjab the Arya Samajists took over turning Swadeshi into a Hindu movement alienating Muslims. Tilak himself was arrested for talking about terrorism which provoked riots which the British shot at. Through a mixture of repression, arresting Swadeshi leaders and the outbreak of the First World War the movement petered out but it had inspired many people. British repression during the First World War radicalized many and some even became inspired by Irish nationalists. After the 1916 Easter Dublin Rising a group named themselves the Indian Republican Army (IRA), in solidarity with the Irish. Around 1.2 million Indians fought in the British army during the war inspiring many to fight for Indian autonomy, if not independence. In 1919 the Government of India Act created a Council of State and an Imperial Legislative Assembly electing 1.5 million of the wealthiest Indians despite it having a population of 300 million. It also introduced special seats for Muslims and non-Brahmin categories. Acceptance of this was called the Lucknow Pact and was made by Muhammad Ali Jinnah, later a prominent promoter of Pakistan. This limited reform still left millions disenfranchised but it took the steam out of nationalism. That is until a lawyer who had worked in South Africa and London returned to India: Mahatma Gandhi.

Gandhi, Popular Movement and Divisions
Gandhi had practiced non-violent protest in South Africa. Focusing on just one issue he had managed to improve rights for Indians in South Africa, although at the expense of discriminating against Africans. While in South Africa the racism he had seen made him come to the conclusion that Indians were subjects and not citizens of the British Empire. In his 1909 publication Hind Swaraj he condemned all things modern and Western in favor of a communalistic 'Golden Age' of a self-reliant, Indian past. He also coined the word satyagraha to describe his non-violent protests which focused on one issue at a time. Styling himself as a Hindu holy man and a peasant Gandhi returned to India where he started agitating with his fellow Gujaratis in Kheda where they boycotted British goods, (he was heavily inspired by the Swadeshi movement), in protest of a revision of raising land taxes to cover wartime, and post-war, expenditure. This and more satyagraha protests started to increase Gandhi's profile but he became widely prominent thanks to his condemnation of Britain's whitewashing of the Jallianwalla Bagh massacre which had left 379 dead. In 1921 Gandhi became head of the INC. Gandhi wished the INC to welcome all Indians regardless of caste, class or religion. He supported the Muslim Khilafat movement where Indian Muslims tried to campaign to preserve the Ottoman Caliph, called for Muslims to give up eating beef and Hindus pork to respect one another, and created an alliance with the Sikh Akali Dal. During the 1920s and 1930s the INC led a mass movement bringing together 70 million peoples to peacefully fight British imperialism.

However, things were never united. Muhammad Ali Jinnah split from the INC shortly after Gandhi advocated supporting Khalifat despite being a Muslim himself. Jinnah opposed Gandhi's emphasis on religion and viewed the Khalifat movement as being religious zealotry, (as well as seeing Gandhi himself as being overly pro-Hindu). Others opposed non-violence. Subhas Chandra Bose believed that violence should have been used much to Gandhi's ire, and that of future INC leader Jawaharlal Nehru. By the Second World War he had become radicalized and formed an alliance with the Axis where he formed the Free India Legion from 3,000 Indian POWs from North Africa, and later Japan got him the 40,000 strong Indian National Army made out of recruited Indian POWs captured when Japan took control of South East Asia. Caste was also an issue. Gandhi supported the emancipation of the 'untouchables' or Dalits but he clashed with INC member B.R. Ambedkar on how to do this. Ambedkar was a Dalit and believed that to emancipate them they had to have certain privileges until they reached equality such as separate electorates and reservations in government positions. Gandhi disagreed believing that this would make higher castes actively discriminate against lower castes. Instead he argued that treating everyone the same and giving Dalits the name harijan, (person of Vishnu). Ambedkar saw this as just papering over the issues and only relented when Gandhi threatened another hunger strike. Finally the main division was religion. Although the INC had many non-Hindu members it was overwhelmingly Hindu, and Gandhi's persona of a Hindu holy man disgruntled many Muslims. Furthermore, Ambedkar saw Hinduism as the religion of Dalit oppression, (he later converted to Buddhism), so this didn't help him much. This religious division set the stage for Partition.

An Idea of Pakistan
Muhammad Iqbal
In 1928 the INC had become so powerful and organized that Jawaharlal Nehru declared that in a report that the INC could form a government in waiting based on a strong central government with a command economy. Five years later a Cambridge educated Punjabi called Choudhry Rahmat Ali released a pamphlet advocating a new state called 'Pakistan'. This new state was designed to be a separate state from a Hindu dominated India comprising of India's Muslims provinces. Even the name amalgamated the names of the provinces with an 'i' added to ease pronunciation: Punjab, Afghan Province, Kashmir, Sind and Baluchistan. This was seen by poet and politician Muhammad Iqbal who took it as his personal goal and is sometimes referred to as the 'Spiritual Founder of Pakistan'. Iqbal knew Jinnah and some believe that Jinnah's permanent split with the INC to promote Pakistan was through Iqbal's influence. Until his death in 1938 Iqbal tried to strengthen Jinnah and the Muslim League saying: 
There is only one way out. Muslims should strengthen Jinnah's hands. They should join the Muslim League. Indian question, as is now being solved, can be countered by our united front against both the Hindus and the English. Without it, our demands are not going to be accepted. People say our demands smack of communalism. This is sheer propaganda. These demands relate to the defense of our national existence.... The united front can be formed under the leadership of the Muslim League. And the Muslim League can succeed only on account of Jinnah. Now none but Jinnah is capable of leading the Muslims.
Jinnah's devotion to Pakistan is heavily debated. It took the Lahore Resolution of 1940 for Jinnah to vocally call for Muslim provinces to be 'autonomous and sovereign'. Ayesha Jalal has argued that Jinnah only threatened Partition as a bargaining chip with Congress which backfired whereas Faisal Deviji has argued that Partition would only be temporary, Pakistan and India would be formed and then come together again. It is important to note that Pakistan and the Muslim League remained an elite movement compared to Congress which cut across all of society. This is shown with the 1937 elections. In 1935 the Government of India Act gave India more independence than the 1919 act but the British still kept a grip on India. It did allow elections which were held in 1937 where Congress won eight out of eleven provinces, and the League won no provinces. Punjab was even outright hostile to the League! Nehru went ahead with his plans but he was both secular and a socialist which meant no distinctions for religion and a centralized government. In a position of overwhelming power he ignored the League's demands for Muslim electorates. When the Second World War broke out the Congress government resigned in protest of the viceroy declaring war despite not consulting them. In 1942 Gandhi organized the 'Quit India Campaign' where it got particular support in the countryside. When it became violent Gandhi said that the British should either 'leave India to God or leave India to anarchy'. Three groups refused to take part: Communists, (as they feared it would distract from the fight against fascism), the borderline far-right Hindu Mahasabha under V.D. Savarkar and B.S. Munje (as subalterns, women and Congress were organizing it), and the Muslim League. Not being in government and not taking part in Quite India let the League gain prominence and with it Partition.

Buildings destroyed during Partition
Partition can be described as a tragedy that no-one wanted but everyone was to blame. British incompetence and shirking of responsibility, Jinnah's gamble backfiring, and Nehru's intransigence can all be argued to have played roles in causing Partition. Following the defeat of European fascism and Japanese ultra-nationalism Indian soldiers returned home politicized by Franklin Roosevelt's Atlantic Charter promising self-determination for all peoples. Although Jinnah remained unpopular with many educated Muslims (in modern North-West Frontier Province, then Afghan Province, around 50% disliked him), many Muslims viewed him positively. An attempt during the war by Labour called the Cripps Mission to work for a post-war, independent united India was sabotaged by Winston Churchill who virulently opposed any notion of independence. Churchill soon lost the post-war election bringing in the reformist Labour party of Clement Attlee. Attlee wanted Indian independence, mostly as it was a drain on the British economy by now, Nehru wanted independence, and Jinnah wanted independence but none wanted Partition. The long standing religious based nationalist movements exacerbated recently by the Great Depression, (which forced communities to look inward), and the actions of recent nationalists created a tense situation. In 1946 when Indian soldiers were ordered to go to Vietnam to restore French rule they mutinied and the Communist Party ordered strikes. When members Bose's Indian National Army, (a Hindu, Sikh and Muslim), were tried for 'waging war against the king' leading Congressmen, including Nehru offered to represent them. Slowly communalistic violence and communist agitation lead to a breakdown of the state with the newly appointed Lord Mountbatten proving to be utterly useless and aloof to the violence. Despite Gandhi threatening a hunger strike it was decided that the only way to stop it was Partition and soon.

Wishing to cut its losses Britain sped up the date for the Partition to August 14 1947 for Pakistan and August 15 for India. Jinnah tried to protest against Britain creating a 'truncated or mutilated moth-eaten Pakistan' where India would inherit all of the British Raj's wealth and resources. The Princely States were informed that they would have to join either one of the two states; primarily Muslim states to Pakistan and primarily Hindu states to India. Britain had allotted Sir Cyril Radcliffe to draw a border between the two new states. However there were three issues with this: he had never been to India, he was given out of date maps and censuses to see which communities were which religion, and he finished drawing the border the day after Indian independence. The general masses went into panic. Primary sources tell a harrowing story of how communities fearing that they would be dominated in the opposite state resorted to massacring their neighbors in a form of ethnic cleansing to ensure that they would end up in the correct state. People have recounted how the people who they regarded as auntie, grandmother or grandfather were suddenly set upon because they were the wrong religion. Muslims massacred Hindus and Sikhs while Hindus and Sikhs massacred Muslims. To avoid murder, and for women rape, millions fled their homes becoming refugees. Only in Bengal was this less of a case, (although many thousands were either murdered or fled). It was particularly bad in the Punjab which was split directly in the middle. It is estimated that 6 million Muslims fled to Pakistan and 4.5 million Hindus and Sikhs fled. As late as 1958 over 800,000 refugees remained in camps in Indian Bengal. Most tragically we do not know how many women were raped during Partition. Post-Partition narratives of this kind have been silenced by the states. Although heavily affected Dalits managed to survive. Particularly in the Punjab after being treated horrifically by communities for years they managed to hide out as communities massacred one another which then allowed them to move in and basically loot what remained. 

The only figure who could have stopped the spontaneous violence was Gandhi. After fasting had failed to stop Partition he devoted himself to traveling across India to call for peace. In Delhi and Calcutta he succeeded by fasting until he almost died. He was also planning to go to Pakistan and had accepted to speak at a Muslim shrine in Delhi in hope that it could bring peace. Soon Partition consumed the person who many regard as the 'Father of India'. On January 13 1948 Gandhi was assassinated by a member of the Hindu Mahasabha called Nathuram Godse. Historian Crispin Bates has described the consequence of Gandhi's assassination best: Since it was a Hindu, not a Muslim, who ended his [Gandhi's] life, in the horrified hush that followed the fans of communalism were suddenly stilled.

Image from the 2002 Gujarat Riots
Jinnah didn't want a truncated Pakistan but that is what he got. More Muslims lived in the new India than Pakistan and the Muslim areas of northern India which were meant to connect Pakistan to Pakistani Bengal were given to India. The Princely State of Kashmir went to India despite being largely Muslim as the prince not only was a Hindu but a personal friend of Nehru. Almost immediately a small war broke out over Kashmir and there have been two wars since. Another war won Bengal's independence, modern Bangladesh, where the Muslim Bengalis had more in common with their Hindu neighbors than their fellow Muslims. India also inherited most of the Raj's wealth, 90% of the Raj's industry and taxable income went to India, as well as 70% of the defense force. Indian democracy has succeeded, other than a small blip of authoritarian rule under Indira Gandhi (no relation to Mahatma) in the late 1970s, while Pakistan has gone from military rule to even more military rule. This is because Congress was a mass party and the League was an elite party. Wealthy Punjabi land owners fled to Pakistan and dominated politics preventing a democracy from emerging like India. Jinnah could have saved Pakistani democracy but he died in 1948 through tuberculosis. Prior to Partition there was some excitement over Pakistan and India. These two states were imagined to be the two new power states. Pakistan in particular excited the left with it being a state made for a minority. Early Zionism had Israel being a state for Jews and not a Jewish state, and Pakistan was seen similarly; it was to be a state for Muslims and not a Muslim state. There were talks that it could be a pioneer of socialism with the USSR and could emancipate women and lower castes. With a weak democratic footing these dreams were soon shattered.

Partition has left a scar on the subcontinent which has been brushed over until recently. Decades after Partition the two states came together to repatriate women who had been kidnapped and forced to marry their kidnappers. However, the women weren't consulted and quite a few didn't want to be repatriated as it meant abandoning their children. The video at the start of the article is the more pleasant side to the Indo-Pakistan rivalry. Bollywood has produced many films over the most recent conflict with Pakistan. Currently the Bharatriya Janata Party (BJP) ruling India is a descendant from the Hindu Mahasabha which took Gandhi's life. Their ideology, Hindutva, has become particularly large since the 1990s when the destruction of a large mosque called the Babri Masjid happened, and even then it was popularized by the Hindutva groups. At the start of this section I showed a photo from the 2002 Gujarat Riots. These riots were communal causing clashes between Hindus and Muslims. In Muslim areas of Gujarat 'Pakistan' and 'Return to Pakistan' were graffitied on Muslim homes and businesses. Finally, Britain has whitewashed its abandoning and role in Partition. Only recently with newer generations have the British public become aware of their role in scarring the Indian subcontinent and it may be generations more before Britain accepts its responsibility for it. For India and Pakistan millions are still living with the consequences of Partition.

The sources I have used are as follows:
-Subalterns and the Raj: South Asia since 1600 by Crispin Bates
-Modern South Asia: History, Culture, Political Economy by Sugata Bose and Ayesha Jalal
-The Origins of the Partition of India, 1936-1947 by Anita Inder Singh
-Asim Roy, 'The High Politics of India's Partition: The Revisionist Perspective', Modern Asia Studies, 1990, 24:2
-The Long Partition and the Making of Modern South Asia: Refugees, Boundaries, Histories by Vazira Fazila-Yacoobali Zamindar
-The Great Partition: The Making of India and Pakistan by Yasmin Khan

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