The recent past contains many human tragedies. For the Indian sub-continent, its present political structure was born out of one: the partition of British India into modern-day India and Pakistan uprooted around 14 million people, Muslims travelling to Pakistan, or to what was then East Pakistan (now Balgladesh), with Hindus, Sikhs and others travelling in the opposite direction. The mass exodus sparked terrible bloodshed.
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Killings, often seemingly indiscriminate, led to as many as two million deaths. Thus by the botched and rushed hand of Louis Mountbatten did the sub-continent finally secure its own independence from Britain, around 90 years after the first demands for it. This history is burned into the psyche of not only those who lived through it, but also those who came after them. It has not, however, permeated the Northcliffe House bunker.
So it was that the odious Quentin Letts (let’s not), his exasperation at realising Brexit was not the walk in the park previously advertised, coupled with a need to suck up to his legendarily foul mouthed editor, decided to open mouth and insert both feet in no style at all, telling the world “India in 1947 had rather less difficulty gaining its independence than we are having in 2017 leaving the Brussels empire. Time for Boris to go the full Gandhi”.
Quite apart from what was imposed on the Indian sub-continent not being what Gandhi had campaigned for, it being implemented despite his opposition, the forgetting that demands for Indian independence had been 90 years in the fulfilment, and the amateurish way in which it was achieved, Letts manages to miss the random slaughter, the mass killings, the tearing of the fabric of nations, never to be repaired.
Some were aghast at Quent’s single handed lunge for the day’s Most Stupid Tweet award: Owen Jones observed “Write this date down. It’s the date of the worst take in human history”. Others, like David Schneider, were mildly cynical: “Who can forget the hundreds shot by the EU army at the Scunthorpe Massacre and the thousands killed during the Hull Mutiny?” Letts had confirmed that, for a Mail pundit, knowledge is not always necessary.
The condemnation continued. Jamie McKelvie offered “A lot of people have come here to call you an idiot, and I just wanted to add to that. You're an idiot”. Matt Bishop added “You, Mr Letts, are an ignoramus & a monumental [bellend]”. Mike Harding bent over and gave Quent the full pebbledash: “Slaughter and turmoil millions displaced. Are you really that stupid that you don’t know what happened? I guess so”.
Paddy Briggs tried to take it nice and slowly: “The rushed and incompetently managed independence of India and Pakistan is a stain on Britain’s reputation. Countless hundreds of thousands were displaced, huge numbers were slaughtered in sectarian violence and the seeds of mistrust sewn are visible today”. Manish Kalla explained to him “Unbelievable arrogance and ignorance of what actually transpired. Millions dead, a country divided, decades of regional instability”. And (Professor) Michael Merrifield was merely exasperated: “Buffoon. I can see why Boris is your go-to politician”.
Quentin Letts is full value for his Most Stupid Tweet Of The Day award. Something to think about the next time you see him invited on by the BBC and other broadcasters.