The 1916 Easter Rising against British colonialism was one of the most important global developments at the time, and shook the empire to its very core and inspired a new wave of anti-imperialist struggles against colonialism throughout Africa and Asia.
From the reaction of the British ruling class, it is evident that the threat of the 1916 Rising was not just to the British presence in Ireland but to the concept of empire and imperialism as such. Leading establishment figures saw Ireland as a vital link in the chain that bound the British Empire together. “If we lose Ireland we have lost the Empire” declared Chief of the Imperial General Staff, Field-Marshal Sir Henry Wilson, on 30th March 1921.
In 1919, The Prime Minister of South Africa, General Smuts warned that: “Unless the Irish question is settled, this Empire must cease to exist.” After the 1916 Rising, Unionist leader Edward Carson warned the British government of the consequences of defeat in Ireland for the Empire: “If you tell your Empire in India, in Egypt, and all over the world that you have not got the men, the money, the pluck, the inclination and the backing to restore order in a country within 20 miles of your own shore, you may as well begin to abandon the attempt to make British rule prevail throughout the Empire at all.”
In response to the Irish demand for independence, British Prime Minister David Lloyd George observed, “Suppose we gave it to them – It will lower the prestige and the dignity of this country and reduce British authority to a low point in Ireland itself. It will give the impression that we have lost grip, that the Empire has no further force and will have an effect on India and throughout Europe.”
The importance of the Easter Rising is that it took place in Europe and not in some distant colony. Lenin underlines its explosive political effects: “A blow delivered against British imperialist rule by a rebellion in Ireland is of a hundred times greater political significance than a blow of equal weight in Asia or Africa.”
The Chittagong uprising in Bengal on Good Friday 18th April, 1930 by the Indian Republican Army (IRA) was inspired and modelled on the 1916 Rising. Jawaharlal Nehru, first Prime Minister of an independent India, on a visit to Dublin in April 1949, acknowledged the role that Ireland had played in the Indian freedom movement.
In the centenary year of the Easter Rising, we invite you to come join us and examine and celebrate, some of the historic links between the struggles for Irish and Indian independence.
The 1916 Easter Rising and India
An evening of talks rounded off with food, refreshments and entertainment
Sunday, 9th October 2016, 6pm to 10pm
University of Strathclyde Students Union, 90 John Street, Glasgow G1 1JH
Registration: 5.30pm - 6pm
The event is free, but registration is required on Eventbrite at www.eventbrite.co.uk
Welcome by Gerry McDonnell, Vice-President Support, Strathclyde Students Union
Opening remarks by Mark Hanniffy, Consul General of Ireland to Scotland
Ireland, India and Empire: Indo-Irish Radical Connections
(The keynote speaker is Dr. Kathleen O’Malley, Editor of the Royal Irish Academy’s Documents on Irish Foreign Policy (DIFP) series)
Irish and Indian Anti-Imperialist Links: A Scottish Punjabi Perspective
(Dr. Serjinder Singh is a Glasgow based Punjabi community activist and historian)
From Coatbridge to the Punjab: John Hughes and the Connaught Rangers Mutiny of 1920
(Stephen Coyle, historian and Secretary of the 1916 Rising Centenary Committee -Scotland)
After the speeches and discussion, Indian food will be served and live music provided from the Indian subcontinent and Ireland, by the Piping Hot Dholies and Brendan McHugh and Friends
The Scotland and the Easter Rising exhibition will be on display, and there will be book and solidarity stalls