18 APRIL

VICEROY OF INDIA VOWS ‘BLITZ OF LATHIS’ AND KNOTTED ROPES AGAINST PROTESTERS

Lord Willingdon (photograph taken 15 years earlier © The NPG x45302) and Gandhi c. 1931 (Public domain via Wikimedia).

[ 18 April 1931 ]

Today in 1931, Lord Willingdon was sworn in as the new Viceroy of India. He immediately vowed to accept ‘no damn nonsense’ from the likes of Mahatma Ghandi and to use a ‘blitz of lathis’ (long clubs carried by the police) and whips with ‘knotted ropes’ to intimidate, disperse and punish the largely non-violent protesters seeking greater independence for their country.1 The Viceroy also turned down Ghandi’s request for negotiations and had soon banned the nationalist Congress Party, censored the press and arrested thousands of activists, confessing that he was becoming ‘a sort of Mussolini in India.’2

WAR OFFICE PLANS TO ENSURE SUPPLY OF OPIUM TO MALAYA AFTER ITS LIBERATION

[18 April 1945]

On 18 April 1945, in a memorandum from the British War Office to Allied Land Forces South East Asia (ALFSEA), instructions were issued to ensure that opium be supplied in vast quantities to Malaya once it was liberated from the Japanese, who had also found the drug essential to keep the population pacified.

FOOTNOTES

  1. Marc Matera and Susan Kingsley Kent, The Global 1930s: The International Decade, Routledge, London and New York, 2017,  p. 114 and ‘New Viceroy,’ The Scotsman, 20 April 1931 p. 9.
  2. S.N. Sen, History of the Freedom Movement in India: 1857-1947, New Age International, New Delhi, 2003 p. 227 and  Shahi Tharoor, Nehru: The Invention of India, Penguin, 2007, London.

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