Review: Anarchy -A Highly skilled jester playing to the gallery- Dalrymple’s Jaundiced Revisionism about British East India Company

The following review is from Major Amin. Formatting issues remain, but I think readers will find it interesting. (By the way, Major sahib did not say it outright, but I personally think Dalrymple has found the secret sauce of what sells in anglicized “South Asians” (i.e. blame the Brits, bless the Mughals (this is supposed to indicate how great India was before the evil company), pretend all would have been great if “a commercial company” had not ruined India) and his books massage that segment (and since the Anglo elite, no longer running a colony, itself finds this attitude very congenial, the books also do well in the Metropolitan market)

From Major Agha Humayun Amin: 

Dalyrymple is a man who cannot be taken seriously because he writes to please the gallery. For example, Dalrymple totally misses the fact that Nadir Shah of Persia had agreed to spare Delhi , and accept a ransom amount , but was persuaded to sack and plunder Delhi , by Saadat Ali Khan the Mughal governor of Avadh. How serious historians can evade and omit such basic facts is mind boggling. Dalyrmple totally misses the greatest betrayal in Indian history at Karnal where Nadir Shah of Persia on prompting of Nawab of Avadh Saadat Khan decided to pillage and plunder Delhi after an initial agreement to return to Persia after being paid a relatively small fine.

An Indian author (Page-v- AN ILLUSTRATED HISTORICAL ALBUM THE EAJAS AND TAALUQDAES OE OUDH- Daroghah Haji Abbas Ali-Printed by Northwestern Provinces and Oudh Government Press- Allahabad-1880.) had thus defined it as the greatest treachery in Indian Muslim history , which this most intellectually dishonest man omitted as below:–

Saadat Khan eventually, by paying two crores of rupees, obtained the appointment he had all along quietly coveted, viz., that of Amir-ul-issa, Vizier of Delhi. But the attainment of his ambition brought out his worst qualities, though fortunately for his former reputation and for those brought under his influence, his career of oppression and cruelty did not last long. His treasonable advice to Nadir Shah mainly led to Nadir’s disgraceful work of spoliation at Delhi” All the treasure and jewels of the Imperial Court were taken, and everyone who did not make a clean breast of his wealth was tortured most unmercifully.”

Another eminent Indian author (Page-21-THE LIFE AND TIMES OF THE NAWABS OF LUCKNOW- Ravi Bhatt- Published by Rupa Publication -New Delhi-2006)

described Indian Muslim treachery of Saadat Ali Khan as below:–

He tempted Nadir Shah with a promise to extort about Rupees 20 crores from Delhi. Nadir Shah decided to take a chance. He appointed Saadat Khan as the vakil-i-mutlaq and asked him to take the charge of Delhi. Later on, Delhi was completely destroyed by Nadir Shah. Nadir Shah had gone with his army to Delhi to collect money. In Delhi, a rumour suddenly spread that Nadir Shah had died, so a mob attacked one of his troops of 3,000 people. A bullet narrowly missed Nadir Shah himself when he was going to the mosque to pray. Nadir Shah retaliated by ordering a general massacre in which several thousands of innocent people were killed and large-scale proper-ties were destroyed. Nadir Shah also sent his men to Awadh to bring Sadat Khan’s money. Humiliated by Nadir Shah, Saadat Khan committed suicide on 20 March 1739.” 2

Dalrymple is master in spinning exaggerated yarns about British treachery but has no time for Indian Muslim treachery which far exceeded British treachery!

Strangely Dalrymple misses even inserting a biographical note on Nawab Saadat Ali Khan , whose treachery and low character far outmatched any British actor , including Clive.

Dalrymple spents great energy on famine of Bengal of 1770 and vilifying the company but fails to reconcile the fact that a far greater famine broke out in Bengal under the British crown. His treatment of events reeks with extreme polemics and subjectivism.

On page 12 there is a small typing error placing third Mysore war victory of Cornwallis in 1782 rather than 1792.

In describing Aurangzeb on page 13 Dalrymple misses the most essential fact that it was the Hindu Mahratta Insurgency that laid foundations of decline and fall of Mughal Empire. In this regard Rajputs etc. were mickey mouse players and the real hero of Hindu resurgence was Sivaji.

Degradingly describes Mohammad Shah but fails to note that under his tenure Mughals defeated Ahmad Shah Abdali at Sirhind in 1748

Battle of Buxar took place in 1764 and not in 1765 as Mr Dalrymple states on page-16.

Dalrymple is addicted to false fantasies. Thus he projects the Mughals as the height of civilization while these so called civilized Mughals in 1719 publicly tortured Banda Sahibs five year old son, gouging out his heart while the child was alive and shoving it in his fathers mouth !

Nadir Shah did not invade Afghanistan in 1739 but in 1738 via Helmand as it was a long way from Delhi but our brilliant and careless writer states he did so in 1739; worst is his treatment of military events like in describing First Anglo Mysore war he glorifies Hyder Ali but fails to note that he lost in various pitched battles to Colonel Smith and won only because of lack of cavalry by the company as well as extreme corruption of company’s officials.

Dalrymple’s treatment of military history is atrocious. Like in discussing Second Anglo-Mysore War he only discusses one battle Pollilore. whereas totally ignores the fact that Hyder Ali was repeatedly defeated at Porto Novo , Sholingur etc by Sir Eyre Coote. Dalrymple totally forgets the fact that while the company lost one battle in 1780 the war continued till 1784 and was inconclusive.

Dalyrmple’s use of historical facts is one sided and extremely biased.

Ahmad Shah Abdali never went to Delhi in 1762 so Dalrymples claim that he ousted Imad ul Mulk in 1762 is incorrect (page- 259 ).

By and large the book is a repetition of well known facts of British Indian history. However Dalrymple has wasted a book in vain as it brings out nothing new. His whole conclusion about the company and the title of the book “Anarchy” is extremely questionable and debatable. Firstly English East India Company did not cause anarchy in India as Dalrymple repeatedly tries to prove. India was in complete anarchy when the British company became a serious player. Delhi was sacked more than 40 times between 1737 and 1800 by non British but Dalrymple is blind to this hard fact. All the bad things he sees are only to be found in English East India Company.

His military knowledge is myopic and he constantly distorts military history and uses bits and pieces to prove or disprove as he wills at whim.

As a matter of fact the company restored order in India .First three universities in Indian history were founded at Calcutta ,Madras and Bombay in 1856-57. Outmoded customs like widow burning , infanticide etc were abolished by the company. A hereditary class of feudal was created by Lord Cornwallis in 1792 as a result of which political stability was introduced and strengthened in India.

The company had many reformers, philanthropists and utilitarians but Dalrymple in his irrational hatred is blind to all these people. To Dalrymple all that British East India Company did was bad and he has an extremely jaundiced and twisted vision. Dalrymple gives no weightage to the fact that British parliament and system prosecuted Clive and Warren Hastings and tried to regulate India. Above all Dalrymple forgets that without the driving spirit of corporate enterprise of the company the British would never have conquered India.

While personal interest has constantly dominated human conduct in history,  whether it was a company or a state , Dalrymple wears colored glasses and his perception is cloudy as well as confused.

Lastly my most serious issue with Dalrymple is his overly simplistic sweeping judgements. Mughals were as big opportunists as the company. They were a small group kicked out of central Asia and captured India or north India just like the British company because of superior military tactics. If you look at Mughal contributions you find only Taj Mahal or Shalimar Bagh in Lahore ! Whereas the British company gave India , irrigation , universities, a sound military system , a system of governance and social classes like feudal who made the system more stable.

Another point that Dalrymple totally misses is that the company saved the Indian Muslims from total political extinction . The Muslims were nobodies by 1800. Delhi was Mahratta ruled, Badshahi mosque of Lahore was a horse stable and a powder magazine! The Mahrattas and Sikhs totally dominated north India! But a knight in shining armor comes and saves the Indian Muslims. Lake saves Delhi Muslims ! Hugh Goughs saves Lahore and Peshawar Muslims ! But Dalrymple misses out all these things.

Dalrymples most serious failure is that greed and avarice is not a British company failing but a human failing and all Indian rulers were guilty of this .

 

Dalrymple fails to appreciate that Indians gladly fought against Indians under the company because the company paid salaries in time !

Dalyrmple fails to note that British company’s triumphs were triumphs of organization where Lieutenant Flint repeatedly defeated Tipu Sultan with a 100 % Indian force at Wandewash. Dalrymple fails to appreciate that India was conquered by an organizationally superior company using 80 % Indian manpower ! Why Indians followed them if they were so evil as Dalrymple believes or wants us to believe !

Today what we are seeing in Pakistan is far worst than what any British company could have done to this region. No one is safe in Pakistan, anyone who dares to speak the truth can be abducted by state security agencies. This scribe who retired as a major is getting less than 100 USD per month pension , which is good only for starvation and death.

But intellectually dishonest characters like Dalrymple can exaggerate and paint false pictures , just to sell his books ! And lastly Dalrymple fails to relate to what happened after the British left. Pakistan where I live is the most corrupt state in the world. Pakistan’s tax officials of the so called FBR are 1 billion times more corrupt than English East India Company could be in their wildest dreams. Parochialism is such that in todays Pakistan entire establishment consists of few districts and few castes of North Punjab and small parts of Sindh !

Characters like Dalrymple thrive on emotional manipulation which is why Dalrymple needs to be questioned and refuted !

Major Amin on the Current Crisis in Pakistan

A lot of our regular listeners have been asking for Major Amin’s views on the current crisis in Pakistan. We are fortunate that he shared his views today and gave a short summary of the political history of Pakistan, the current crisis and especially the role of the army and the impact its mishandling has had on its image.

You can listen on LibsynAppleSpotify, and Stitcher (and a variety of other platforms). Probably the easiest way to keep up the podcast since we don’t have a regular schedule is to subscribe to one of the links above!

Major Amin – Brown Pundits

Maj General Tajammal Malik. Very Important Interview

An old piece from Major Amin. A “must read” for anyone trying to understand the Pakistan army. From its peculiar combination of Jihad and British ideals to its performance in 1965 and 1971, to its full politicization under Zia.
Gen Tajammal Hussain Malik was an excellent officer (ie very good at his primary job of training and leading troops into battle), an asset to any army, but also a coup maker and a fanatic with very shallow ideas about nations and how they can (or cannot) function.. A great officer to have on your side in war, but in Pakistan the army does much more than  fight wars, so there you have it… (It is a very long interview, so if you are in a hurry, just jump to the highlighted excerpts, you will get a flavor of the whole thing).

Major General tajammul hussain malik-Hero of Battle of Hilli and twice Coup maker

Agha H Amin
This is the man who was praised by Indians and they established a commission to study his masterpiece Battle of Hilli. He was praised by his Indian battle opponent in his book “Indian Sword penetrates East Pakistan” as a singularly brave man. He was miles above pygmies like Zia, Ayub and Musharraf. When we joined the army we were inspired by his battalion 3rd Baloch’s attempted coup of 23 March 1980 to wipe out despicable clown Zia and his dirty clique!
One good thing that General Beg did immediately after that glorious crash in 1988 was to restore Tajammul’s complete military honors and privileges. Tajammul was serving a sentence of 14 years RI for planning to liquidate all army generals and Zia on 23 March 1980 ,a brilliant scheme indeed!
We had to wait till glorious 17th August 1988 when that plane finally crashed right into the Hindu Shamshan Ghat on Basti Lal Kamal ! Tajammul has thrown light on Zia’s shallow personality in this interview !
 May God Bless His Soul !
Major Agha H Amin (Retired)
Please tell us something about your early life, parents?
I was born on 13th June 1924, in village Thanil Kamal, Tehsil Chakwal, then District Jhelum (now District Chakwal). I spent my childhood in rural atmosphere, which at that time was quite primitive. There was no electricity, no roads, no telephones and as far as I remember no one owned even a bicycle. Radio came much later. Men, women and children wore the same dress as their ancestors put on centuries ago. There was not much difference between the rich and the poor. There were no social barriers and the living style of all the inhabitants was almost alike. A village was a self-sustained compact unit. They produced their own wheat, meat, vegetable, rice, ghee, eggs and almost everything one needs for ones simple living. The village shopkeepers were Hindus or Sikhs. Almost all purchases from the shops were on barter system. The prices of agricultural and dairy products were very low: -Wheat was sold at 1 1/4 rupees a maund. (40 Kilo) Meat 1/4 rupee a seer ( Kilo) Milk – 10 seers for one rupee.Pure desi ghee – 1 1/4 seer for one rupee. Chicken weighing one seer for about four annas (1/4 rupee). These rates compared
favourably with the rates laid down in “Aaeen-i- Akbari” during the Mughal Emperor Jalal ud Din Akbar’s rule, more than four hundred years ago.
Both my father and mother were highly religious. I inherited my religious convictions from my parents.
Please tell us about your school / college days and any decisive influences on your personality formation / development of convictions ?
A common village boy living in rural atmosphere, as mentioned above, could not conceive any high ambitions. I had many relatives in the Army but the highest rank held by any one of them was that of a Subedar, (which was then called Viceroy Commission). In fact, as far as I remember, there was not even a single King’s Commission Officer in the  whole of Tehsil Chakwal at that time. ( First IMA course passed out in 1934/35). From village school, I moved to Government High School Chakwal. Lieut General Abdul Majeed Malik and Maj General Nazar Hussain Shah were a class ahead of me. Brig Amir Gulistan Janjua, whose last appointment was Governor of NWFP, was my class fellow. I think if statistics are taken, that rural area High School produced more Brigadiers and Generals than Aitchison College and Burn Hall combined.
What were your perceptions as young man in pre-1947 India about the prevalent political conditions, Muslim League, Congress etc?
The British Indian army was a mercenary Army. Although occasionally we used to read about the political developments then taking place, yet at that time it never occurred to us that the Indian Army would be divided so soon and a new state of Pakistan would come into being as a homeland for the Muslims. It looked a fantasy. I vividly remember when I was a cadet, I had read an article in one of the magazines, perhaps the Military Digest, wherein, the then Commander-in-Chief Indian Army, Field Marshal Sir Claude Auckinleck, while addressing army personal at some station had said, “In ten years time, you would have all Indian Battalion Commanders, in fifteen years time you would have all Indian Division Commanders, and in twenty years time you would have an Indian Commander-in-Chief.” From this statement it would become evident that the division of Army was never visualised even at the highest level of military hierarchy, nor did theBritish officers ever think of vacating their biggest colony so soon. At the most one could say that India might get dominion status in due course of time, but complete independence was still being regarded as a dream.
Any memorable incidents, which left an indelible impression on your personality?
I cannot think of any particular instance, which left an indelible impression on my mind. However, by the time I was a Platoon Commander at PMA in 1954/55, my experiences, observations in life, extensive study of books of history, philosophy and religion particularly Iqbal’s book “Reconstruction of religious thought in Islam” and his Urdu poetry had convinced me of existence of God and all that is laid down in Quran. From then onwards I became a dedicated practicing Muslim and started praying regularly which continues till today. Islam is the guiding force for all my actions and reactions. Whether in peace or in war, I drew my aspirations from Islam. I pray to Almighty Allah that may He continue to guide me for the rest of my life.

Continue reading Maj General Tajammal Malik. Very Important Interview

British Officers of the EIC army. A force multiplier.

From Major Amin

TLDR: The British officers of the EIC army were a crucial force multiplier. The same regiments WITHOUT British officers were much less effective. I would add that by 1947, they seem to have figured out how to train Indians to be as good, at least at junior levels. But not yet at higher command levels?

British officer of East India Company the greatest force multiplier

sepoy perceptions about military effectiveness of english east india company Excerpts from Sepoy Rebellion of 1857- 59 Reinterpreted by Agha.H.Amin ,17 August 1998 Military effectiveness of British East India Company • May 2021 • DOI: • 10.13140/RG.2.2.35734.88648 •

Sepoy Perceptions about EEIC Military Effectiveness

The Bengal Army was the brain child of Lord Clive’s military genius. The Bengal sepoys related to each other by blood relationship and caste bonds had served the EEIC for some 100 years when they rebelled in 1857. These men had a very close contact with the British and had observed them from very close quarters. Any neutral and unbiased account of the events of 1857 clearly proves that the Britisher as an officer was never disliked by the sepoys. As an officer who served in Pakistan Army I can state with conviction that the British provided excellent leadership to the Indians. They definitely knew how to lead and inspire the Indian, leading them from the forefront which I am afraid few of at least our native post 1947 in Pakistan. People who rose to be Generals did not lead from the front, either in Burma or in 1965 or in 1971.

The sepoy admired and revered the British officer. In 1857 he was rebelling against the system instituted by the EEIC. Against policies formulated by men constituting a board of directors in far off England. The greasing of cartridges with pig or cow fat similarly was also an administrative decision. The sepoy perceived the British officer as a fair and brave leader and many British officers reciprocated these feelings. One of the British commanding officer committed suicide when his native infantry regiment was disbanded. Many others resisted disbandment of their units. One troop of 3rd Light Cavalry the most crucial unit of Bengal Army Sepoys as a matter of fact loyally fought for the British in 1857. It appears, however, that sepoy perceptions about EEIC military effectiveness changed from absolute faith in the invincibility of the EEIC as a military machine to skepticism from 1804 to 1857.

Before we proceed further we must state that the first major reverse or defeat which the EEIC suffered in India was in 1780 at the hands of Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan who were heading forces whose opponents Hector Munro and Baillie in 1780 were defeated in a manner which was described by Fortescue the official historian of the British army in the following words, “The blunders had been flagrant and from a military point of view, Munro must be held solely responsible for one of the greatest calamities that has ever befallen the British arms”469. But this happened with the Madras Army.

The Bengal Army sepoy realized for the first time in 1804 that the that EEIC was not invincible. This happened while dealing with the Mahrattas and not the Afghans who came much later. In 1804 five battalions of sepoys and about 3000 irregular horse left by the C in C Bengal Army Lord Lake to keep the Mahratta Holkar in check under the command of Colonel Monsoon were forced to make a disastrous retreat from Central India to Agra470. The results of this reverse were short term since Lord Lake immediately assumed personal command and defeated the Mahrattas. However, the harm had been done and the myth of invincibility of the EEIC as far as the Bengal Army was concerned was challenged for the first time. Monsoon’s retreat was followed by a much more serious reverse which for many years shattered the EEIC myth of invincibility. This happened at Bhurtpore, the Hindu Jat fortress which is the only fort in British Indian history which a British army in India failed in a siege to capture. Leading the EEIC army in this case was a man of no less a stature than Lord Lake who had previously captured Delhi and destroyed Mahratta power in North India in battle of Laswari. (It must be remembered that Panipat – 1761 checked the Mahrattas, but this was temporary since within few years they recaptured Delhi. It was at Laswari on 01 Nov. 1803 that one European infantry regiment and a couple of Bengal Army Regiments composed of roughly 3/4 Hindu soldiers and 1/4 Hindustani Muslims destroyed the Mahratta Army) 471. In 1805 Lake failed to capture Bhurtpore. He made a first assault in January 1805 but failed to capture the fort. The British troops became so demoralised that the three European regiments i.e. HM 75 Foot, HM 76 Foot and the 1st Bengal Europeans refused orders to attack and withdrew 472! Almost a thousand casualties were suffered but repeated British assaults were repulsed. At last on 24 February Lord Lake withdrew his army from Bhurtpore. Subsequently, the Hindu Jat Raja sued for peace in 1805 due to reasons of political expediency; but the fact remained that militarily this Hindu Jat Raja had not been defeated! The EEIC never forgot this defeat and later on they did capture Bhurtpore but this was much later i.e. on 18 January 1826. Siege of Bhurtpore The force used at Bhurtpore this time was larger than the one the EEIC used to recapture Kabul in September 1842473 in the first Afghan War.

Another reverse which the EEIC suffered was in the Nepal war of 1814-16. General Bal Bhadra,the indomitable Gurkha commander in Anglo Nepal War of 1814-16 Here their initial advance into Nepal was repulsed. Nepal was subsequently defeated using the Bengal Sepoys but again the harm had been done. The sepoy’s confidence in the British officer was a little shaken. The EEIC retreat from Kabul to Jalalabad in the first Afghan war was not a big disaster keeping in view the numbers involved. There were only 700 Europeans in some 5000 troops in the weak and starved brigade which withdrew from Kabul in January 1842 and which was destroyed by an overwhelming force of some 30,000 Afghans taking advantage of harsh weather and shortage of food in this EEIC force. The EEIC troops largely composed of Bengal sepoys did subsequently recapture Kabul in September 1842. But the human mind is not a computer and the net significant impression produced on the sepoy was that the EEIC had been forced to retreat.

The extremely tough resistance of the valiant Sikhs in the First and Second Sikh wars again produced a strong impression on the mind of the Bengal Army Sepoy. At Mudki the main British army survived just because the Sikh general Tej Singh did not attack them,474a otherwise their destruction was certain. Battle of Mudki This was a battle fought on absolutely plain land, unlike Afghanistan where the Afghans bravery had a deep connection with adverse mountainous terrain. The impressions of the Sikh wars were the deepest in convincing the sepoys that the British were not invincible. In Afghanistan the mountains, the adverse weather and the small numbers were an excuse; but at Chillianwala everything favoured the British and yet they failed! Tej Singh the Hindustani Hindu imported by Ranjit Singh from Meerut,UP in hope that a non Punjabi general would be reliable just as Nawaz thought in case of Musharraf. Tejh Singh turned out to be the traitor who betrayed Sikhs at Moodki All these disasters from 1804 till 1849 certainly had an influence on the mind of the Bengal sepoy and reinforced his decision to rebel in 1857. The sepoys felt in 1857 that they could meet the Europeans on the battlefield as an equal.

Their perceptions were however erroneous in one area. They did not realize that the principals force multiplier of sepoy efficiency was superior leadership of the British officer. Without British leadership the military effectiveness of the sepoy reduced by some 75%. Since the British suppressed the initial rebellions in Punjab they were able to use Punjab and Frontier’s manpower to create new regiments or in using comparatively new regiments raised in 1846-49 which were used with as much effect at Delhi as the Bengal sepoy units at Kabul or Ghazni or at Gujrat. The British officer of 1857 was the greatest force multiplier of military effectiveness by virtue of leadership which was far superior to be “Rebel” leadership in terms of “Resolution” “Tactical Efficiency” reinforced by an iron frame administrative organisation created by the EEIC during its 100 year rule in India and its eight year old rule in the Punjab.

Major Amin; a few words on Pakistan, Afghanistan and China

Another BP Podcast is up. You can listen on LibsynAppleSpotify, and Stitcher (and a variety of other platforms). Probably the easiest way to keep up the podcast since we don’t have a regular schedule is to subscribe to one of the links above!

Last time we interviewed Major Amin just after the fiasco of the American withdrawal from Afghanistan. That was a relatively substantive interviey w (you can listen to it at this link: Major Amin on the age of strategic anarchy) and proved extremely popular, so there was a lot of demand to invite Major Amin back for an update. I caught up with the Major in a less than sober mood initially (some of you may have heard that recording) when he expressed his disappointment with how badly things are going in his homeland in somewhat colorful language, but at his request we have now redone this interview (the exact same questions) in a more sober tone. Enjoy.

Major Amin’s Review: 1965, A Western Sunrise. by Shiv Kunal Varma

1965 – A Western Sunrise -Indias War with Pakistan by Shiv Kunal Verma Reviewed by Major Agha H Amin (Retired)

September 2021

  • DOI:
  • 13140/RG.2.2.21404.00645
  • This is a very interesting new addition to books on 1965 war. The writer gives very interesting background details to each relevant person or subject , though these did not interest this scribe as a military reviewer. Overall, a good effort but it does contain several errors:

The authors assertion on page-43 that 6 Infantry brigade was an independent brigade is not correct as this brigade was a part of 8 Division.

On page.99 the writers assertion that 19 Baluch (Special Services Group or SSG) was formed with 7/10 Baluch as nucleus is TOTALLY INCORRECT . 7/10 was renumbered 15 Baluch while 17/10 Baluch was later renumbered 19 Baluch or the SSG.

On page.106 and 107 the authors undue praise of then Brigadier Harbaksh Singh’s advance towards Muzaffarabad in the 1948 Kashmir war is highly disputable as per both Pakistani and Indian accounts. eg Pakistani official history published in 1970 stated that on reaching Tithwal, which was defended by a weak infantry company, Brigadier Harbaksh Singh ordered a two day halt and thus lost a golden chance to change history and possibly threaten Muzaffarabad. In these two days Pakistan Army reinforced Tithwal with a brigade. Colonel Achutan Singh of Indian Army in a recent article published in Indian Defence Review analysed in detail Harbaksh Singhs incompetent siting of Indian defences of the Chunj position as a result of which Indian Army lost they key Chunj ridge and was pushed on defensive at Tithwal and driven out of Pir Sahaba Ridge. Incidentally the Pakistani success in the attack on Chunj was thanks to the role played by Major Sloan, a British officer who managed to transport a medium gun over the river using a pulley, and who later died in action and was buried with full military honors in Pakistan. Continue reading Major Amin’s Review: 1965, A Western Sunrise. by Shiv Kunal Varma

Browncast: Major Amin on the Age of Strategic Anarchy in Afghanistan

Another BP Podcast is up. You can listen on LibsynAppleSpotify, and Stitcher (and a variety of other platforms). Probably the easiest way to keep up the podcast since we don’t have a regular schedule is to subscribe to one of the links above.

This episode was recorded over the phone, so please excuse some minor audio issues. As many of our readers know, we posted an article from Major Amin a few days ago, arguing that the US had made a brilliant strategic move out of Afghanistan (even though the disengagement has been handled poorly). In this podcast, he repeats this view and has a few salty words about this and related topics.. Enjoy.

Comments welcome.

Btw, my own random amateur views can be found at this link. 

Postscript 1: Several friends have said that they cannot take his views seriously if he thinks “lower middle class” is such an insult, etc. But I no longer use that particular filter too much. I think people can have very “problematic” AND insightful views simultaneously. If we are interested in learning (and not just in virtue signaling) then we can filter them out and still find something useful. Of course, friends will do that all the time with each other, but I admit that it is a more complicated question when we talk with strangers online, so if you feel strongly about this issue, this may not be the podcast for you.

Postscript 2: Is there anything in the podcast that I should have objected to during the conversation? I think yes, there is. I should have suggested that we cannot really say “the only good Chinese is a dead Chinese”. Other than that, I have no regrets 🙂

America’s Brilliant Strategy in Afghanistan

From Major Amin. As most readers know by now, I am not a fan of this kind of realpolitik because I am too faint-hearted to be this cynical about thousands of Afghans being sold down the river, but the world is a nasty and brutish place and in the big picture, who knows… Anyway, the style of the American withdrawal and their general performance in Afghanistan for 20 years does not inspire much confidence, but if there is some method to this madness, it is probably this.. by the way, I would like to ask Major Amin if his assessment is in any way affected by the utter chaos and incompetence of the withdrawal itself? (see my postscript at the end)

Enjoy.

Major Amin also sent this text version. Please ignore any typos or formatting issues. After repeating the assertion he makes in his podcast (that the US has made a brilliant strategic move), he has attached his 2008 piece, which does accurately describe/predict the strategic quagmire the US had settled into in 2008, and suggests the response that Major Amin believes the US has now decided to pursue. Comments welcome. What follows is from Major sahib.

They can’t touch the _____t of America but Such a large concentration of nuts will certainly disturb Iran Russia and even china and PAKISTANS establishment is also not exactly happy .as insiders report—The Billion dollar question is that with 2500 Americans in Afghanistan, since last few months no Taliban advance but now a sudden emergence .clearly a secret agreement has been made.

A QUESTION: WHY THE USA deliberately created weakest afghan army with
(1) no tanks
(2) no artillery
(3) all seasoned officers of old army never allowed or dismissed
Listen to the most recent episode of my podcast: Taliban and their future

Listen to the another recent episode of my podcast: AMIN SAIKAL’S STRATEGIC NAIEVETTE ABOUT AFGHANISTAN 

US WITHDRAWAL FROM AFGHANISTAN WILL BE BEST PUNISHMENT AND A LOVELY WAY TO DESTABILISE THE REGION AND CREATE MANY NEW STATES-

A 2008 ASSESSMENT

SEPTEMBER 2008

WAR IS NOT ABOUT ETHICS GOD IS NEITHER WITH US NOR WITH THEM
THERE IS NOTHING INEVITABLE IN HISTORY

USA MUST RECONSIDER ITS STRATEGY IN AFGHANISTAN AND IRAQ OR ITS CULMINATING POINT MAY NOT BE FAR AWAY.

USA MUST RECONSIDER ITS STRATEGY IN AFGHANISTAN AND IRAQ

In the last seven years or so the USA at the strategic, operational and tactical level has became the laughing stock of the world. Starting from the premise that both USA’s total failure or total success would not be good for world peace, one may state with confidence that the USA needs to seriously re- consider its strategy in both Iraq and Afghanistan and worldwide.
The present situation is that the USA is making the major effort while its NATO allies less Britain are just pretending that they are also pushing the bogged  down vehicle. This is true for both Iraq and Afghanistan. If this continues China and Russia will have the last laugh. Continue reading America’s Brilliant Strategy in Afghanistan

What Happened to the Afghan Army?

From Major Amin. As time goes on, we will no doubt see more information about how the USA “lost Afghanistan”. At the level of American PR/media the blame will mostly fall on Pakistan for now, since there is a lot of truth in it and it gets the clowns who run the state dept and the pentagon off the hook (or so they think) but in time the details about how the US mismanaged its project will also become prominent.. this is one of them. (To some extent it is a structural issue.. Americans live so far above/away from Afghan (or even Pakistani) reality.. well intentioned ones have no framework that remotely resembles situation on the ground, ill intentioned ones only want to make money or have fun killing gooks)

WHAT HAPPENED TO  AFGHAN NATIONAL ARMY 

Major A.H Amin (Retired) 

what happened to afghan national army 

  • August 2021 
  • DOI: 
  • 10.13140/RG.2.2.14621.44004
  • Project: 
  • Military History
  • Agha H Amin

Arm chair strategists are taking  great delight in criticizing Afghan  Army for collapsing in face of so  called Taliban onslaught. 

“A little knowledge of philosophy ,  inclineth man towards atheism” as  the adage goes but , “depth in  philosophy bringeth back man to  God !” This is how I will describe  these novices and critics ! 

The first point to be noted is that  armies are not created by US firms  like Military Professional Human  Resources International in a decade but a long process  spanning centuries. 

The real Afghan Army with  traditions dating back to 1719 or  1747 was destroyed by joint US  Pakistan design about 1978-1992 when a proxy war was financed in  Afghanistan. 

Characters like Peter Tomsen went out of their way to destroy  the real Afghan Army between  1989 and 1992 , just because it  was viewed as Pro Soviet or Pro  Russian entity.

Afghanistan had no army between  1992 and 2001. 

In 2001 the USA initiated efforts to  create a new army but this  exercise had ulterior motives. First  the exercise was awarded to contractors which was the first  blunder. 

US myopia and petty mindset  was such that USSR trained pilots ,  available in thousands were not  reemployed as they were regarded as  Russian proxies !

While the USSR trained many  thousand Afghans in USSR and  Warsaw Pact states, US petty  parsimony and narrowmindedness  was such that hardly any Afghan  was taken to the USA for courses

Instead characters who no one  would employ in USA , and had no  options were in Afghanistan  training the Afghan Army. 

To give an example , the main  project supervisor of Schools and  Clinics program in Louis Burger  was a male nurse ! To entrust billion dollar construction projects  to a male nurse was ludicrous. 

My driver and many taxi drivers I  met were outstanding war pilots  trained for 5 years in USSR and  with combat flying experience  between 3000 hours to 15,000  hours ! 

Tanks were regarded as future  threat and armour was hardly  created or organised. 

The list is endless but will never be  investigated like Louis Burgers billion dollar failure published by  Washington Post as a “BUILDING  PLAN FULL OF CRACKS” , LATE  2005 ! 

The simple issue was security ! US  trainers were simply SCARED that  they would get shot in the back !  

SO THERE WAS HARDLY ANY  TRAINING !!! 

I saw some of these contractors in  Kabul when I was living about 110  metres from gate of Kabul  Compound or camp Eggers ! 

These characters were here to do  hole punching and make some  bucks and not to create an army. So the real spirit was missing . 

The USA preferred so called ex  Mujahids which was a bad idea

The best Afghan officers like Ulumi  etc were never taken in the loop  as they were considered pro  Russian. 

Many old Afghan Army officers  joined but these were sabotaged by the Mujahid Mafia who were a  collection of USA, Pakistan or so  many other state proxies who had  destroyed their own country  between 1978 and 1992 ! 

The unkindest cut was delivered  by this character Ashraf Ghani  who between 2014 and 2019  summarily removed 90 % of pre  1992 Afghan Army officers , thus  totally destroying the Afghan  Army !

The incompetent US staff in Kabul  did not oppose this most IDIOTIC  and FOOLISH step ! 

Or perhaps it was US design that  Afghan Army should collapse  quickly so that the Taliban are  back in power and then they can  be sorted out properly ! 

The collapse of Afghan Army has  to be seen in the context of the  fact that FIRST the USA and its  proxy states DESTROYED the REAL  AFGHAN ARMY in 1978-92 ! Then  the RECONSTRUCTION of AFGHAN ARMY by the USA was a SHALLOW  EXERCISE , MARRED by MASSIVE  CORRUPTION and a BAD TEAM . Lastly no army can be created in  20 years . FINALLY Ashraf Ghanis  Removal of the REAL AFGHAN  ARMY OFFICERS BETWEEN 2014  AND 2019 WAS THE DEATH  SENTENCE OF AFGHAN ARMY !

Audio of the same points:

Hazaras, and Divide and Rule in the British Empire

Some random thoughts from Major Amin about the Hazaras of Pakistan and Afghanistan and the (exemplary and successful) use of divide and rule by the British..

HAZARAS -VICTIMS OF IMPERIAL POLICIES OF DIVIDE AND RULE

Hazara Pioneers were employed by Brigadier General Dyer of Jallianwalla Bagh notoriety in Sarhad District of Iranian Baluchistan in First World War. To my mind and based on family anecdotes of my grandfather’s elder brother Agha Abdul Rauf in British Police since 1914 or so (died 1982-God bless his great soul) Hazaras showed political defiance against the  British when some Hazara soldiers of 124th Baluchistan Infantry deployed in Iran defected to the Persian side. This much unknown incident as per Agha Abdul Rauf played crucial role in British decision to discontinue Hazara recruitment in Infantry units of   British Indian Army after 1921-22.

In his book Raiders of Sarhad Brigadier General Dyer writes words to the effect that Hazara Pioneers were panting to kill the Reki and other Baloch of Sarhad district who being Sunni the Pioneers regarded as infidels and that this would guarantee them a place in paradise. Words to this effect. I read the book in 1977 or 1978. The British cannot be blamed for practicing “Divide et Impera” as they had their own national interests! But Pakistani state of post 1947 cannot be excused for any sectarian or ethnic bias which historians need to research! I will try to find it and would quote Dyers exact remarks.

It is a sad history of how the Britishers divided India and this region and used one tribe against another! The Punjabis against Hindustanis, Gurkhas against Pashtuns, Turi Shias against non-Shia Pashtuns, Hazara Pioneers against Baloch, a Punjabi Police force in Quetta to control Quetta, Hindustanis against Santhals, Hindustanis against Mysore and so on. The history of so called Muslims of Indo Pak is chequered, questionable and frequently highly dubious! Such as the fact that Pathan or Punjabi or Baluchi Muslims had no hesitation in killing Muslims in North India as part of British company’s army in 1857 ! Cureton’s 15th Lancers Pathans were burning and raping Ranghar Muslim villages as part of Cortland’s force in 1857-58 in Jamalpur and many other parts of Hissar but refused to fight against Turks! Similarly Pathans of 124th Baluchistan Infantry were damn comfortable with killing Persian Muslims in South Persia in WW 1 but had issues fighting Sunni Muslims in Mesopotamia, the reason why 124th Baluchistan Infantry was diverted from Mesopotamia to Persia and 2/124th Baluchistan Infantry raised in Persia in WW 1.

The sectarian bug is in Muslims of all parts of the world and the British cannot be blamed at all for using it!

Personally I have many Hazara friends having studied with them at Quetta in 1968-77. They were the most adventurous and sports loving people. Whenever I climbed the Murdar Garh Mountain near my house in Quetta I would see Hazara men on their morning walk climbing Murdar Garh. My Afghan American NGO boss a Pashtun always employed Hazara staff at house and told me once that he liked them because they were far cleaner in personal hygiene and harder working than Pashtuns or Tajiks! Note that this gentleman himself was a Pashtun! Taking his tip I also employed a Hazara maid and she turned my house at Kabul into heavens on earth. Indeed I would say that 70 % of maid servants in Kabul were Hazaras. The assertion of Husseini in Kite Runner about masters of the house fathering sons from Hazara maid servants is a hard fact of Afghan history. What I liked about Ismaili Hazaras was their liberal attitude towards religion. My girlfriend never distinguished between Ramzan and other months of the year. Hazara women , were more painstaking and worked hard in performing their feminine duties while non-Hazara women of all ethnicities , as this scribe personally experienced don’t move a limb at all and regard sex as the sole hard labour job of their male partner.  In Afghanistan again on my morning walks to Tapa i Bibi Mahru I saw Hazaras exercising and jogging. I hardly ever saw any other ethnicity doing it. My Khalqi friend a senior leftist regime member loved Hazara women as he said they were hairless unlike many non Hazara women. Note that this officer had been friends with women of Naghmas stature in beauty and fame ! Was instrumental in creating the female cultural troupe in Afghan Ministry of Interior in 1980s early and was
famous for having some good company under his massive office table while holding the fort in ministry of Interior! Contact with USSR/Russia certainly improved the love making capacity on both sides of Hindu Kush mountains.  Afghans loved going to courses in USSR and my ministry of Interior guards remembered with nostalgia the Russian blondes they met at the Police Training Academy in Riga or the Assassination School near Tashkent !

To sum up the Hazaras are a great people and it is sad that they have been tageted becase of ethnicity and sect. It is right that Hazaras were persecuted in Afghanistan. However the leftists altgough Pashtun dominated finished this discrimination and Sultan Ali Kishtmand was given prime ministers position twice by the Khaliqis and Parchamis. The true liberators of Hazaras were the leftists as well as the USSR who gave them respect and political acceptance.
The Pakistan sponsored Afghan Taliban are die hard enemies of Hazaras. In Quetta starting from 1990s Hazaras have been systematically attacked by Afghan Taliban and the Hazaras are now migrating to Karachi and Punjab.
Parachinar also has some Hazaras from the Fauladi clan. Jughuri in Ghazni Province Afghanistan has one of the highest literacy rates in Afghanistan.

Brown Pundits