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Unformatted text preview: 4/15/2018 Colonial Drug Trade in South Asia Contents: Prof. M. Emdadul Haq MA, PhD North South University Dhaka, Bangladesh Knowing the unknown past The current book makes a significant contribution in the domain of colonial political history in SA. It shows complex crosscross-regional issues & politics that were related to the British colonial strategic interest in the promotion of drug trade in SA. It provides an understanding of the origins of production, trade & consumption of intoxicating drugs in SA & its impact upon public life & political process in the contemporary world. world. Using mostly colonial documents, missionary literature & newspaper information the book portrays an insightful analysis which was not told before by any historian or analyst anywhere. Knowing the unknown past: British Imperial Drug Trade Colonial Wars on Drugs Bengal Government Opium Monopoly Pro--revenue Drug Policies Pro Global AntiAnti-opium Pressure: China, the US, UK & South Asia Anglo--American Diplomatic Fallout: Anglo Shanghai, The Hague & Geneva Conferences The Colonial Hangover: Politics of drugs to Communal politics Knowing the unknown past Through the Battle of Palashi the BEIC occupied Bengal in 1757 & eventually established the ‘Bengal Government Opium Monopoly’ in 1773. During its 190 years stay in Bengal/SA, the BEIC authority remained addicted to drug revenue. revenue. To facilitate the colonial exploitation, they adopted ‘Divide & Rule Policy’ from day one. The global public opinion against its drug trade, compelled the British to surrender their trade interest as well as political power in South Asia by mid 20th century. British Imperial Drug Trade A growing trade in Indian opium excited many western travelers & business minded people from the 16th century. With the eclipse of the Mughals, some Patna traders in collaboration with western trading companies became involved in the organized opium trade. In partnership with Dutch, Portuguese & then the English trading companies, Patna traders were producing opium poppies for international market during the 16th & 17th centuries. 1 4/15/2018 British Imperial Drug Trade Initially the British were involved in species & other commodities in India & importing tea from China. In March 1757, in a letter to Fort William in Bengal, P. Godfrey indicated that: ‘The East India Company had achieved exclusive control over the opium trade on the West Coast by October 1754, & had ‘prohibited’ all other parties ‘from trading therein’. The BEIC established a similar opium monopoly trade in Bengal following the Battle of Palashi in June 1757. Colonial Wars on Drugs Colonial Wars on drugs In 1894, the then Finance Secretary of the colonial government James F. Finley noted: ‘The destruction of the English settlements by Sura--jud Sura jud--Daula in 1756 drove the English merchants out of the market; & in defiant of competitors, the native dealers were compelled to dispose of their opium to the Dutch at Rs Rs.70 .70 a maund.. This low rate led to the cultivation being maund greatly restricted’. In comparison to other essential commodities opium was fairly expensive in those days. Colonial Wars on Drugs Colonial Wars on Drugs Opium produced in Bengal & other parts of India, were forcefully drifted by the British traffickers into China defying their banning since 1800. As opium smuggling reached 1,400 tons per year, Chinese Emperor Mínníng imposed a death penalty for drug smuggling in 1838. Nevertheless, through the Opium Wars China was forced by the global maritime powers to legalize the opium trade. By 1841, along with few other ports, Hong Kong was also occupied by UK & remained as a British crown colony until 1997. The British fought major wars with Asian nations especially in Bengal, Burma, Northern Indian territories, Afghanistan, China etc. to ensure their monopoly on, & freedom to trade in opium. Indicating the British trade link with the Battle of Palashi a famous British Botanist George Watt, in 1891, acknowledged: ‘the attack of Nawab SerajSeraj-ud Daula over the Kashimbazar military base in 1756, & the disruption in the supply of opium from the Patna Opium dealers’ to the British East India Company, led to the Battle of Plassey in the following year’. During the 1820s & 1830s, the BEIC government had either conquered or physically blocked the strategically important areas to help expand the opium enterprise in Bengal. It annexed areas along eastern side of Punjab in 1801 & some parts of U.P. in 1803, & expanded subsequently the Bengal opium monopoly system in northern India. Through the three Anglo Anglo--Afghan Wars the British tried to create an overland trade route in the Sinkiang region into China. Colonial Wars on Drugs After British forces occupied Shanghai, the China approved on 29 August the Treaty of Nanking for ending the First Opium War 1839 1839--’42 ’42.. Under the treaty five ports were opened for Britain’s free trade especially in opium. In compensation of the war, China paid $21 million, which was equally shared by the maritime powers, including the US & Russia. In a renewed resistance attempt in October 1856 the Chin dynasty officials captured a smuggling ship Arrow & arrested 12 Chinese traffickers. 2 4/15/2018 Colonial Wars on Drugs Under terms of the Treaty of Nanking, the British officials in Guangzhou demanded their release, the ship was allegedly registered in Hong Kong. Britain used the incident to justify its action in the 2nd Opium War during 18561856-60. By November 1856, the British forces captured various Chinese positions on the Canton River & bombed & burnt in & around Canton. In the Opium Wars China lost about 20,000 soldiers,, apart from the huge amount of penalty soldiers for the resistance wars. Colonial Wars on Drugs Bengal Government opium monopoly In 1763, the BEIC started opium trade by their company officials by soso-called ‘Gentlemen Opium Monopoly’. Monopoly’. Justifying it Viceroy Warren Hastings wrote: ‘We have prohibited all other persons under our protection from interfering with it & we have determined to sell it by public auction for the benefit of the Company’. The Company officials distributed advance money among farmers through gumastas to grow opium poppies. Following every victory, the British imposed unequal treaty provisions over China & derived illegitimate economic benefits. By 1842, the illicit trade produced 2 million drug addicts; but by 1881 it rose to 120 million million.. Roughly 30% population in China became opium addict, while 10% were chronic opium addicts during the period. In his contemporary work Opium: England’s Coercive Policy and Its Disastrous Results in China and India, India, Rev. John Liggins condemned the British for the Opium Wars. Bengal Government opium monopoly Sudden expansion of the cultivation caused the death of 10 million people by the famine of 1770. Nevertheless, employees received salaries from the profit they made individually from the trade. Tendency to maximize personal benefit from the trade often resulted in the conflict between the company officials & Indian agents. For a better control in the trade management, they established the Bengal Government Opium Monopoly in 1773. Bengal Government opium monopoly By 1795, Viceroy Lord Cornwallis expelled the agents of French & Dutch companies from their possessions in Bengal. The production management of opium now came under the total control of the BEIC. In July 1799, the management of the opium industry was left in the hands of two senior British bureaucrats in Patna (Bihar (Bihar Agency) Agency) & in Ghazipur (Benares Agency). Agency). The total area under the Benares Opium Agency was about 26 million hectares (100 000 square miles). 3 4/15/2018 Bengal Government opium monopoly The total area engaged in poppy cultivation in northern India gradually increased to match the Bihar agency. Poppy cultivation expanded in 49 subsub-divisions of the Benares agency & 11 districts in the Bihar agency. By midmid-1850s, the total area engaged under the Bengal opium monopoly was about 31 million hectares (120 000 square miles). About 1.25 million cultivators were forcefully engaged in poppy cultivation. Bengal Government opium monopoly Five tiers were introduced in the Opium Administration:: Administration The Collector Collector,, a senior British administrator; The gumastas gumastas,, local commercial agents; The sudder mattus, mattus, members of the landed aristocracy; The village mattus or khatadars khatadars,, agents of the villagers; and The poppy farmers/royots farmers/royots.. Every cultivator was bound to sell the whole of his produce to the Opium Department, at a rate arbitrarily fixed by the government. Pro--revenue Drug Policies Pro Renowned classical British economist Adam Smith recorded the British intimidation as follows: ‘A rich field of rice or other grain has been ploughed up; in order to make room for a plantation of poppies; when the chief foresaw that extraordinary profit was likely to be made by opium’. Forceful production of opium poppies apportioned the great uprising of 1857, commonly known as the Sepoy Mutiny in India. Pro-revenue Drug Policies Year Total Exports (in metric tons) 1845-46 1846-47 1847-48 1848-49 1849-50 1850-51 1851-52 1852-53 1853-54 1854-55 1572 1577 2230 2612 2500 2334 2213 2557 3144 3241 Total Receipts (in million Rs.) 26.68 27.80 27.26 35.47 35.72 32.62 37.74 38.73 37.22 37.11 Source: British Parliamentary Papers, East India (Opium), 1857 Session 1 (60), Volume 11, p. 124. 4 4/15/2018 Pro--revenue Drug Policies Pro British parliamentary paper Hansard documented that the production of opium under the Bengal monopoly rose from 1600 metric tons in 18451845-46 to 3200 metric tons in 18541854-55. Out of this total production, the Bihar agency contributed the twotwo-thirds of the amount. Besides, they encircled the poppy growing princely states in central India to force them paying Malwa transit duty for their access to the China market through sea route. Pro--revenue Drug Policies Pro Pro--revenue Drug Policies Pro As a result of the First Opium War opium exports from India to China increased tremendously by the mid--19th century. mid Donald Matheson indicated that opium exports rose from 127 metric tons in 1800, to 2485 metric tons in 1837, but following the First Opium War it rose to 6372 metric tons in 1857. In 1858, foreign traders in China smuggled 70,000 chests of opium. To consolidate the trade, the Imperial Government adopted the Opium Act of 1856 & then the Opium Act of 1878. Global AntiAnti-opium Pressure Global AntiAnti-opium Pressure The antianti-opium pressures led to the formation of a few investigation commission to verify the impacts of opium habits: British Royal Opium Commission of 18931893-’95 attempted to justify opium habit & trafficking in China & South Asia. By contrast, the Philippines Opium Commission of 1906 displayed the harmful effects of opium addiction. The Ceylon Opium Commission of 1908 echoed the findings of the Philippines Commission. Being attacked by the Chinese at Boxer, Christian Missionaries became vocal against colonial drug trade. To give this contraband trade a legal status, the British Parliament in 1833 unilaterally extended the Charter of the IndoIndo-China opium trade for twenty years. Prime Minister Pamarstone backed the move, while Gladstone opposed it. Robert Dane noted that the British merchants & free traders, `many of whom were lawless men’, men’, smuggled opium to China in open violation of Chinese regulations. Following the Opium Wars, China started producing home grown opium to counteract supply from India. The Chinese migrant workers also escalated opium habits among western city dwellers. Missionary protests continued against the ‘morally unjustified’ IndoIndo-China opium trade. Protest rallies by Society for the Suppression of Opium Trade (SSOT (SSOT)) in the UK & other western countries. Anti--opium protests continued within the colonies Anti in India, Ceylon & Burma against the colonial drug trade. Global AtiAti-opium Pressure In line with the findings of the Opium Commission Reports, major international moves were initiated to disengage the British from the opium trade. The British envoys attended the Shanghai Opium Commission of 1909 to defend their official position in the trade. To evade international pressure, the British envoys from colonial India boycotted the Hague Opium Commissions during 19121912-14. Led by the All India National Congress the Assam Opium Commission of 1924 evidenced the dangers of opium addiction. 5 4/15/2018 Global AntiAnti-opium Pressure The findings of the latest investigation & diplomatic support from the western countries expedited the adoption of global banning on harmful drugs through the Geneva Convention of 1925. Accordingly, the British government adopted the Dangerous Drugs Act of 1930 & then adopted the Bengal Opium Smoking Act of 1932. 1932. The banning also forced the colonial government to handover colonial power in SA by August 1947. Furthermore, the colonial government ignited communal rivalries between the Hindus & Muslims before their departure, just to evade its immoral position as the promoter of global drug trade. 6 ...
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