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Regarding Dipak Basu’s Aug. 27 letter, “Who represents the Western spirit?“: I am amused to see that Basu naively assumes that imperialism is a Western phenomenon. In his references to imperialism, there is no mention of modern-day Tibet, the Japanese invasion of Korea in 1592, the Japanese colonial empire of the 19th to 20th centuries, Genghis Khan, Tamerlane, the Muslim incursions into India before the British ever arrived, the Ottoman Empire, Darius the Persian, the Assyrians, etc.

I agree with him on one point — that the ousting of the Japanese was a victory of imperialism. The British-led armies consisted of troops from India, Nepal, west and east Africa, and the United Kingdom. However, it was not a victory for imperialism, as the deal was that India would get its independence after the war. If Basu seriously maintains that, in the event of a Japanese victory, India would have been “liberated” by the same Japanese Army that supposedly “liberated” China, Malaya and the Philippines — ask some of their elderly citizens about Japanese atrocities — then I have a bridge I’d like to sell him over the Kwai River.

The Bengal Famine he refers to was caused by the halting of rice exports from Japanese-occupied Burma and the cyclone that hit Bengal. There are still cyclones and famines that hit Bengal, but nowadays the world is much better organized to deal with them, and does not have to expend its energy on eliminating General Renya Mutaguchi, the Nazi sympathizer Subhas Chandra Bose, and his misguided Indian National Army.

barry andrew ward