In fact, in a country like India…Winston Churchill was not in favor of giving independence to India. In fact, India was the biggest treasure in the British empire – to lose it was dangerous. And Winston Churchill was right that once you give freedom to India your whole empire will collapse, because then others will start asking for freedom, and then there is no reason to say no to them.
But after Winston Churchill, Attlee came into power, and he was a far more economically minded person than Winston Churchill. Winston Churchill was past-oriented: his mind was still Victorian, he was an orthodox man.
Attlee could see the stupidity; that Britain was carrying such an economic burden. Nations like India were going to explode in tremendous overpopulation and the whole blame of their poverty, starvation, death, would be on the shoulders of Britain. It was absolutely unwise and inadvisable to keep these countries under empire.
But you can create a different kind of thing so that you remain the master in a secret way. There are two great profits: one, because there is no political dependence, there is no question of any revolution against you. Secondly, you can keep these countries still dependent by controlling their economy.
His plan was solid. You will be surprised that Mountbatten was sent to India by Attlee, as viceroy, with the message: “Be as quick as possible to get out of India. We don’t want to be blamed for India’s poverty and it is going to be of uncontrollable proportions.”
At that time India had only four hundred million people. Now India has nine hundred million people – it has doubled – and by the end of the century it will go beyond one billion people. For the first time it will become the largest country in the world as far as population is concerned. Up to now China has been leading, but China has proved more sane by introducing birth control because it is no longer under any religious superstitions.
But India still lives under so many religious superstitions – which all agree that birth control is against God. By the end of the century almost five hundred million people in India will be dying of starvation and there seems to be no way to help them.
Attlee was right to get out of India as quickly as possible; otherwise the whole responsibility would be Britain’s. Attlee had decided that 1948 was to be the deadline. But Mountbatten, seeing India, thought that Attlee’s calculations were just theoretical; it was already dying. He hurried, and rather than waiting for 1948 he gave India freedom in 1947.
India thinks it has become free and it is totally wrong. Now it is more unfree than ever. Now it is dependent on the Soviet Union for its technology. Now it is dependent on America for its financial help. Now it is even getting dependent on nations like Japan. And the facade of freedom continues: if the Soviet Union pulls itself out of India, India will collapse this very moment.
The same is the situation everywhere, even here in this small, beautiful country consisting of a very nice group of nonviolent people. They believe in democracy, they think they have a democracy – but the reality is something different.