Tuesday, May 22, 2012

On the Annexation of Upper Burma: Native Press January 21 1886

People may be familiar with the rough outlines of the story British annexation of Upper Burma from Amitav Ghosh's The Glass Palace. In January 1886, in the pages of Civil & Military Gazette of Lahore, you see most of the official government line being articulated and defended. For the CMG staff the event was unexceptional, and in any case the party line is to be sustained.

Interestingly, they do print a sampling of the "Native Press" response to the Annexation news in the CMG. Not surprisingly, the Native Press is outraged by the news of the annexation. As one of the clips below states, "We firmly believe that Burma has been annexed for the benefit of English merchants."

At times I have my doubts about the clips printed from the "Native Press" -- some of the passages relating to the Native response to the Income Tax seem a little too conveniently in line with the CMG editors own disappointment with the imposition of the new tax. But the inclusion of text clearly critical of British policy does restore one's faith in the veracity of these translated clips.

Still -- who translated them? And does anyone have access to any of the newspapers named here? Sanjibani, Bangabasi, Bharatbasi, Bharat Mihir?

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