September 2010 Mailbag
I enjoyed reading the May 2010 edition of Armchair General’s story on the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. I recently read the book titled the Sultan’s Admiral which recounted the exploits of the famed Ottoman naval commander Barbarossa. At its height, the known world could do nothing to stop the forces of the Sultans which came close to conquering Europe before being stopped at the gates of Vienna. Although I agree with the article’s assertion that the collapse of the Ottoman Empire created many of the crises we now see in its former territories, I couldn’t disagree more with another point. The author credits the Turkish victory at Gallipoli to invigorating the nationalist sentiment among ruled populations, including those of British India. He goes on to say that it led to greater nationalist sentiment, the end of colonial rule, the partition of British India and in his words the “disastrous creation of Pakistan.” Being of Pakistani ancestry, let me assure your readers that Pakistanis do not lament the demise of British Colonial Rule over South Asia. Moreover, we celebrate the eviction of the British from South Asia and the formation of Pakistan as a homeland for the former dominant Muslims of South Asia. The author forgets that prior to the British, South Asia had been ruled by various Muslim dynasties for nearly 1,000 years. There was no call to recreate a ruling Muslime dynasty for the British Raj when it had exhausted itself after World War II. Pakistanis such as me never bought into the myth of an Indian nation as made by the British. This is the reason why Pakistanis look back to the pre-colonial history of South Asia for inspiration whereas Indians paint the various Muslim rulers such as the Mughals as tyrants. History depends very much on the eye of the beholder!
Mohammed M. Elahi
I am looking at the top picture of Leyet Gulf and i believe it is captioned incorrectly. It should read RIGHT TO LEFT as the 3 battleships are on the right in the photograph.
Yes, I did caption that photo incorrectly. You are correct it should read "from right to left." I very much appreciate you taking the time to email us. I work hard each issue to ensure that I get all information correct in the photo captions, but occasionally a mistake gets through. It is readers like yourself that keep me on my toes. Thank you for reading Armchair General.