Opium, not of, but for the people

The opium trade wasn’t just about “evil” Britishers imposing their terrible and implacable will upon child like and helpless asians.  Some Indians were forced to grow opium, others made enormous profits from it.


There is nothing childlike about Asian people, particularly the Chinese, or for that matter the Indians.  They are, and always have been, sophisticated and cosmopolitan people well able to determine their own destinies and never shy in asserting their liberty.

I can’t comment on the Chinese but from my experience the only child like thing about the Indians is their boundless capacity for joy, their openness and their guileless and sincere friendliness.

The notion that they were somehow pliant  puppets at the mercy of the British is seriously racist twaddle

Indian merchants, (including Tagore’s grandfather) made serious money from the opium trade.  China experts at the LSE say that in the middle years of the 19th Century, the autocratic Chinese Emperor had totally banned the import or use of any anesaethising painkillers.

Teeth were being pulled without drugs,  operations performed, limbs amputated, those dying from numerous diseases were forced to simply put up with the pain.

Thete is no evidence that massive numbers of opium dens sprang up, that any percentage of the Chinese population became hopeless addicts, or that the economy was in any way damaged.

Put that in your pipe and smoke it, revisionist Anglophobes.


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