Sunday, February 15, 2009

B.B.C. London Ka Sawal - German Leaflet

Today we are back to propaganda leaflets. This is one of German leaflet from the delta series that I will talk about. I was asked to translate today's leaflet some time back by a US based collector. It was definitely a pleasant and enriching experience. And, I finally ended up buying the same leaflet from a collector based in the UK :-)

This "delta" leaflet delta.gif (1104 bytes)156/9/44 shown above depicts "Death" holding a British flag at the top and starving Indians below. The front text is written in Urdu script. The text talks about the British and German radio broadcasts, the British causing strife between the Hindus and the Muslims, and the British looting of Indian foodstuffs and industrial items.

While the reverse side is written in Roman [English] letters, the text once again consists of Hindustani [Urdu] words. It shows Churchill holding a bag of money, naturally showing looted bounty.

And here is translation of text in English [the collector has not only corrected my translation but made the text more informal so people with a limited historical background can also understand it better]. I have borrowed some of his words to present a similar version that he published in his article:

Question from BBC London

On Thursday 21st Sept, BBC London's morning programme addressed Indians fighting in Buhera.

"Do you ever wonder why India is so poor? Think about this using all your new experiences and ideas and figure out what can you do for betterment of India after war ends."

We know that lots of our brothers won't have ever heard our [German Radio] program, and very a few of those who have heard this program would care or believe. it One of foremost question is why India is so poor.

It is because of the unfortunate presence of Britain in India!

Why is that?

The British government's policy has been to cause confusion among Indians since the beginning. This confusion started during the reigns of the Muslim rulers and Hindu kings in India.

Can anyone give any proof quoting history, of any such communal fighting before the British came to India.

No! There was not! Never!

India never had shortage of workers and farmers producing crops.
But, who now gets all the wealth produced in India?

It is all meant for British empire not for the betterment of India!

Britain has been ruling India for 200 years but Indian are still poor and dying because of hunger.

Why is that?

Because, all Indian food is sent to hungry and dying British people outside India where besides a lot of potato and ice, nothing else is produced.

Because of the British, there is also a weakening of education system and shortage of industries in India.

And this is the reason why India is so poor!

What did you see and learn in other countries?

The country has to be free and independent to be prosperous!

Think! Are you doing any good for your country by helping the British?

I am happy to translate any Indian leaflet, so anyone wanting a translation is invited to contact me. And of course I hope in the process I will get to buy more of these leaflets for my collection.

No! Don't worry. I won't ask for a leaflet as a reward ;) But if you have any spare Indian leaflets which you are willing to sell, please offer them me and I will buy them.

My translation of text is not done for reward. I hope I didn't scare aware any collector here. So, ping me at for any help in translation or for information on India...


Brett said...

Was Urdu script commonly understood in India? Or only in areas such as the northwest (present day Pakistan)? I found it odd that it was in Urdu.

Hmmm!!! Let's see..... said...

Even before independence, India had sizable amount of Muslim population and majority of Indian recruits in British Army were Muslims along with Sikhs, Gorkhas and others. That was the reason why most of leaflets targeting Indian soldiers carried Urdu script as well Roman (English) characters where words convey direct meanings (i.e. no translation). Even there, most of the time the words were of not Hindi but Hindustani. For centuries, Hindu and Muslims mingled with each other in India and the common spoken language had become Hindustani (mix of Urdu and Hindi) which was well understood by both communities. Also, India had (in fact still has) sizable populations in all parts of country.

Hmmm!!! Let's see..... said...

India had been attacked mostly on north and west side by Muslim invaders and that's why most of community on north and west side of India are fierce fighters as they have been defending and fighting for their survival for centuries. And that was the reason since British India, regiments were raised based on those fighting races such as Sikhs, Jats, Rajputs, Muslims on west front while Gorkhas, Dogras on north and east front. Of course, later other parts of country also contributed. Like Madras regiment was one of eldest regiment from south India. But traditionally, British Indian army was domintated by north and west side regiments.

And because of Muslim invasion, north and west India had greater influence of Muslim culture including Urdu becoming one of popular script and language. Mixing with Hindi, it created Hindustani, well understood by large section of North and Western Indian community. Though, the same may not be true now. Partition disturbed the harmony which alienated both the societies. And only past generation of Hindi speaking people can really understand Hindustani now.

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