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Why Indians Have a Soft Spot for Russians


June 29, 2023

Why don't the Indians consider "the West" their closest friend, but rather Russia, even though the South Asian nation is the largest democracy in the world?

Well, to answer that question, let's first jump into the history of the subcontinent and try to understand the roots of its biases towards Russia and the United States.

The Historical Aspect

Destroying the education system

India got its Independence from the British Raj on August 15, 1947, after almost 200 years of rule. During those 200 years, India's literacy rate fell to less than 20% while they implemented the so-called modern education system on Indians and destroyed their gurukuls that have been providing Indians with the top education for 1000 years, literally.

via Wikipedia

Seed of Hindu vs Muslim and Dividing the Nation

They divided Indians in the name of religion and made them fight amongst themselves, and we can see this effect to date with India vs. Pakistan violence still taking the lives of the innocent. When the British Raj was failing to maintain its power over the whole Indian subcontinent, they started cutting out pieces of land that weren't very useful to them or just to create more chaos in the name of Independence. Namely, the Akhand Bharat was broken down into Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, and many more.

via Pexels

Jallianwala Bagh massacre

The Jallianwala Bagh massacre, also known as the Amritsar massacre, occurred on April 13, 1919. A large, peaceful crowd had gathered at the Jallianwala Bagh in Punjab to protest against the Rowlatt Act and the arrest of pro-independence activists. In response to the public gathering, the then Brigadier General, R.E.H Dyer, surrounded the protesters and, without warning the crowd to disperse, Dyer ordered his troops to block the main exits and begin shooting toward the densest sections of the group in front of the available narrow exits, where panicked crowds were trying to leave the Bagh.

Firing continued for approximately ten minutes. Unarmed civilians, including men, women, elderly people, and children, were killed. It was reported that women threw their children in a well filled with water so that they had at least a little chance of survival, as the British army was killing anyone at sight, be it a pregnant woman or a 6-month-old infant. No one was exempted... Even today, when Britishers visit the Jallianwala Bagh, they feel ashamed of what ruthless acts their ancestors have committed. However, Britain has never formally apologized for the massacre but expressed "deep regret" in 2019.

via Hindustan times

Winston Churchill, the Hitler of India

Dr. Tharoor, a former Under-Secretary-General of the UN, said, "The blame for the Bengal Famine rested with Churchill. In 1943, up to four million Bengalis starved to death when Churchill diverted food to British soldiers and countries such as Greece while a deadly famine swept through Bengal.

This [Churchill] is the man who the British insist on hailing as some apostle of freedom and democracy. When to my mind, he is one of the more evil rulers of the 20th century, most fit to stand in the company of the likes of Hitler. Not only did the British pursue their policy of not helping the victims of this famine which was created by their policies. Churchill persisted in exporting grain to Europe, not to feed actual 'Sturdy Tommies,' to use his phrase, but to add to the buffer stocks that were being piled up in the event of a future invasion of Greece and Yugoslavia.

Talking about the Bengal famine in 1943, the Prime Minister who led Britain to victory in World War Two said: "I hate Indians. They are beastly people with a beastly religion. The famine was their fault for breeding like rabbits." This is the person who the West hail as the greatest leader, who in the eyes of Asians looks like Germany, saying that Hitler was the most outstanding leader to have ever lived and what he did was for the betterment of his people.

Preposterous, isn't it? This is why, in the eyes of some, Churchill is worse than Hitler because, unlike Hitler, Churchill left the Bengalis to suffer and die slowly from hunger and experience pain that we can't even fathom today.

Another reason why Hitler is not hated as much as Churchill is because during WWII, when the Nazis captured thousands of Indian soldiers ready to be placed in the gas chamber, one of the greatest Indian freedom fighters "Subhas Chandra Bose" changed his mind with his intellect and confidence. Those soldiers later formed the backbone of Azad Hind Fauz, an army with the sole objective of getting rid of Britishers from then India.

via Unsplashed

The Indo-Pak War of 1971

After Independence, Pakistan was an amalgamation of two parts, mainly - West Pakistan (aka today's Pakistan) and East Pakistan (aka today's Bangladesh). Since East Pakistan was inhabited by Bengali Muslims, who were darker in color than the Pathans of West Pakistan, and so were treated as inferiors to them. But in 1971, when elections took place, an East Pakistani man won the election of Pakistan.

So agitated to see a Bengali Muslim as their Prime Minister, the Pakistani military jailed him, which led to riots in the whole of East Pakistan. When the military was deployed to control the situation, the military started its own agenda. There have been reports that the Pakistan army used to beat and was forced to rape his own daughter. In the military camps, every Bengali woman was raped by Pakistani soldiers and was later divided with respect to their religion. Where the Bengali Hindu women were beheaded for being Hindu, and the Bengali Muslim women were left to give birth to "Pure breed Muslims." Watching these atrocities and controlling the migration of East Pakistanis into India, then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi started preparing the army to help the now Bangladeshi people. But on December 3, Pakistan itself attacked India, which officially led to the entry of India into the war. After only a week, when the Pakistani government feared defeat, they went to the US to ask for their help where the then-USA President Nixon, who knew everything about the rapes, mass murders, etc., offered full support to Pakistan and made Vulgar Remarks about Indira Gandhi. The USA sent the 7th fleet (equipped with nukes), and Britain deployed its Eagle fleet to attack India. At that moment, only after 24yrs of Independence, India wasn't capable of fighting all of em. Then, in the darkest moments when the West was supporting rapists and murderers, Russia came in full support of India, deployed its Navy equipped with nuclear warheads too, and declared," AN ATTACK ON INDIA WILL BE CONSIDERED AS AN ATTACK ON OURSELF." After 2 weeks of the conflict, more than 75000 Pakistani soldiers surrendered to the Indian army, and Bangladesh was born.

via Times of India

the Emotional Aspect

  • After Independence, when India was in dire need of weapons to protect its border. The Indian government only had two options because of the ongoing cold war - USA or Russia. But when we dive into the fine print of that time, we can see that since India refused to be a part of the cold war and instead started its own Non-alliance movement, the USA changed its stance and instead started giving the latest weapons to Pakistan and might I add this is the same democratic Pakistan where not a single head of the state can complete his/her tenure because of the military coup and all.

    So as rightly said by the Indian Foreign Minister, Dr. S Jaishankar, "Western countries opted for a military dictatorship in the region as its "preferred partner" and did not supply arms to New Delhi for decades." Just to clarify for the people who think that I am being anti-Pakistan, you can cross-check the information about which country was sheltering Osama Bin Laden, the mastermind behind 9/11, when the US Navy Seals killed him.

  • We are all well aware of the US invasion of Afghanistan that lasted for 20yrs. But what some of us might not know is that in the late 1900s, at the peak of the cold war, when Russia had a strong presence in Afghanistan. It was the US who funded and trained a terrorist group that threw Russians out of Afghanistan, and 50yrs later, the USA too, and is now the derivative of which are the reason for most of the violence in South Asia.

via Pixabay DISCLAIMER

In this article, we don't focus on the politics of the argument but rather on the historical and emotional aspects of the situation. Why do Indians have a soft spot for Russia and are always cautious regarding the geographical West? Of course, it is just an opinion of a fellow Indian based on his experience and knowledge and doesn't mean to intend that Russians are better than Americans or vice-versa.

The sources I used are - civil service lectures, history textbooks, and publicly disclosed documents from the USA, Russia, and India. I became interested in this topic when I was doing a School project on the Indo-Pak war in 1971, and I started reading the document and figured out the reasons why most Indians consider Russia as their best friend even though the Indian government still maintains its Non-Allied stance.

I am sorry if this article offended you in any way. But you can cross-check the information that I have mentioned in the article and assess it on your very own.


Himanshu Kumar
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Writer since Feb, 2023 · 3 published articles

Himanshu Kumar is an aspiring young writer who wants to present his views in a simple and surreal manner. He enjoys spending his free time writing poems in Hindi and reading Sci-fi books.