Jane Austen and ...

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Jane Austen and the Black Hole of British History - updated 2008 Second Edition

Colonial rapacity, holocaust denial and the crisis in biological sustainability.

Revised and updated 2008 Second Edition with Preface, Epilogue, 1998-2008 updating chapter postscripts and a comprehensive Index, including a Jane Austen works and connections Index.

by Gideon Maxwell Polya


Preamble, including Preface to revised and expanded Second Edition [ i ]

1. Introduction - truth, reason, science and history [ 1 ]

2. The editing of Jane Austen’s maternal connections - the Leighs and Brydges [ 8 ]

3. The editing of the Austens and consequences of rustic amusement [ 18 ]

4. Jane Austen’s siblings and their descendants [ 27 ]

5. The editing of Jane Austen’s life [ 33 ]

6. The rare intrusion of humble social reality into Jane Austen’s novels [ 42 ]

7. The sensibility of Jane Austen’s literary contemporaries [ 56 ]

8. The judgement of Jane Austen’s peers and successors [ 66 ]

9. The East India Company, the Black Hole and the conquest of Bengal [ 75 ]

10. The Great Bengal Famine of 1769-1770 [ 88 ]

11. Warren Hastings and the conquest of India [ 99 ]

12. The impeachment of Warren Hastings and the judgement of history [ 106 ]

13. Colonial famine, genocide and ethnocide [ 114 ]

14. The Bengal Famine of 1943-1944 [ 133 ]

15. Pride and Prejudice - Churchill, Science, the Bengal Famine and the Jewish Holocaust [ 148]

16. Global warming and the unthinkable world of 2050 [ 166 ]

17. Antipodean epilogue - the moral dimension of the Lucky Country and the world [ 174 ]

Notes [ 202 ]

Bibliography [ 233 ]

Index [ 263 ]

For further details of “Jane Austen and the Black Hole of British History” contact Dr Gideon Polya, 29 Dwyer Street, Macleod, Victoria, 3085, Australia.


Repetition of immense crimes against humanity such as the World War 2 Holocaust is made less likely when the responsible society acknowledges the crime, apologizes, makes amends and accepts the injunction “Never again”.
This book is concerned in part with the 2 century holocaust in British India that commenced with the Great Bengal Famine of 1769-1770 (10 million victims), concluded with the World War 2 Bengal Famine (4 million victims) and took tens of millions of lives in between.
However these events have been almost completely written out of history and removed from general perception, there has been no apology nor amends made and indeed it is generally accepted that, in the absence of effective global action, these horrors will be repeated on an unimaginably larger scale in the coming century.
This carefully documented “J’accuse” addresses what the author terms the “Austenizing” of history or the deletion of awful realities from historical writing.
While it was legitimate for Jane Austen, the artist, to render her exquisite novels free of the contemporary awfulness in which her connections participated, the Austenizing of British history is a holocaust-denying outrage that threatens humanity.


Chapter 1: History ignored yields history repeated; the victor writes history; historians like scientists must respect the basic data; the “Austenizing” of British history or the deletion of awful or embarrassing realities from British historiography (most notably the effective deletion of 2 centuries of horrendous famines in British India culminating in the “forgotten holocaust” of World War 2 Bengal); the British Anglo-Celtic Christian, Austro-Hungarian Jewish and Bihari-Bengali Hindu-Muslim antecedents of the author’s children; the post-Holocaust injunction of “Never again” applied to the “forgotten holocausts” of British India and the looming spectre of mass starvation in the coming century.

Chapter 2: The Austenizing of the maternal connections of Jane Austen; James Brydges and wealth from colonialism and imperialist wars; Indian connections and the theft charge against Jane Austen’s aunt Jane Leigh-Perrot.

Chapter 3: The Austenizing of the paternal connections of Jane Austen; the productive adultery of Warren Hastings, first Governor-General of India, with Jane Austen’s aunt Philadelphia Hancock; transplanting Jane Austen country to Tasmania and consequent ecocide and genocide.

Chapter 4: The Austenizing of Jane Austen’s siblings and their descendants; recurrent consanguinity; the British imperial and Indian involvements of Jane Austen’s family.

Chapter 5: Jane Austen’s life; remarkable differential reportage of Jane Austen’s life and connections.

Chapter 6: The exclusion of any awfulness and the rare intrusion of humble social reality into Jane Austen’s novels; succinct synopses and social content analysis of Jane Austen’s major works; recurrent consanguinity; Sense and Sensibility an Indian-connected novel that barely disguises the affair of Warren Hastings with Jane Austen’s aunt in Bengal; a powerful message from Jane Austen’s exquisite writing - “No matter what our place in the world, we are all empowered by the dignified, intelligent and articulate use of words”.

Chapter 7: The sensitivity of Jane Austen’s literary contemporaries to domestic and colonial abuses of humanity; George Crabbe, Oliver Goldsmith, William Cowper, Robert Burns, Samuel Johnson, Richard Brinsley Sheridan, Lord Byron and Lord Teignmouth; limited British literary responses to the invasion and oppression of India and the Great Bengal Famine of 1769-1770.

Chapter 8: Literary criticism of Jane Austen; Jane Austen and the feminist perspective; the Jane Austen industry; Jane Austen and British imperialists; Jane Austen’s artistically legitimate exclusion of awfulness from her exquisite novels has been quite illegitimately taken by 2 centuries of British historians as a paradigm for the Austenizing or comprehensive white-washing of British history.

Chapter 9: The East India Company; the Black Hole of Calcutta story as grossly exaggerated, historically dubious, Imperial mythology - a Big Lie of British History that demonized Indians and helped to justify 2 centuries of oppression and famine; Siraj-ud-daulah, Clive and the conquest of Bengal.

Chapter 10: The genesis, course and extended aftermath of the Great Bengal Famine of 1769-1770; 10 million victims; a rich country rendered desolate as observed by Jane Austen’s connections; rapacious taxation and mass human starvation; effective deletion of the Great Bengal Famine from British history.

Chapter 11: Warren Hastings, first Governor-General of India and actual father of Jane Austen’s cousin and sister-in-law Eliza De Feuillade (née Hancock); rapacious taxation of famine-devastated Bengal; the Rohilla War, the judicial murder of Nandkumar, conflict with Mysore, Hyderabad and the Marathas, the robbing of the Begums of Oudh and the devastation of Oudh by war, taxation and consequent famine; Hastings’ duel with his foe Philip Francis (that resurfaces in Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility).

Chapter 12: The impeachment and trial of Warren Hastings by the British Parliament - Britain’s only equivalent of a major war crimes trial over the abuses of British imperialism; Sheridan’s great speeches; the acquittal of Hastings; the judgement of history and the Austenizing of British imperial crimes.

Chapter 13: 2 centuries of appalling, recurrent famine in British India from 1769 to 1945; comparison of recurrent famine under the British in dry Rajasthan and lush Bengal; British colonial slavery, oppression, famine, genocide and ethnocide in Asia, Africa, the Americas, Oceania, Australia and indeed in Britain and Ireland; the crimes of other imperialist powers; Charles Trevelyan and famine in Ireland and India; the genocide of the Tasmanian aborigines.

Chapter 14: The genesis, war-time context and appalling actuality of the Bengal Famine of 1943-1944; loss of rice from Burma, catastrophic war-time decrease in Indian food imports, food exports, temporary seizure of rice stocks, seizure and destruction of boats, Indian provincial food supply autonomy, no famine declaration, hoarding, British unresponsiveness, drastic cuts to Indian Ocean shipping, catastrophic rice price rises leading to mass starvation; British Military Labour Corps and civilian sexual exploitation of famine victims including children; Wavell, Mountbatten and Casey and final responses to the famine; the 1943-1946 excess mortality of about 4 million Bengalis due to famine and attendant disease; the documenting of the famine and the effective deletion of the famine from history and from general public perception.

Chapter 15: Churchill, World War 2, the Bengal Famine and the Jewish Holocaust; Churchill’s life and his hatred for Indians; Churchill and British air defence, knowledge of the indefensibility of Singapore, Japanese entry into the War and fore-knowledge of the attack on Pearl Harbor; Churchill, Lindeman, the importance of proper scientific advice to government, the air war in Europe, the Battle of the Atlantic, the shipping crisis and famine in India; famine as a strategic weapon to control restless subjects; Muslim containment, the Middle East, oil, the refusal to allow Jewish escape from Europe, the Jewish Holocaust and the forgotten, substantially Muslim Holocaust of Bengal; Churchill’s contribution to Muslim-Hindu antipathy as his final legacy to India; the effective deletion of the Bengal Famine from history and general public perception.

Chapter 16: Global warming and sea level, human health and tropical versus temperate agricultural productivity consequences; population growth, global agricultural sustainability and the growing discrepancy between population and food supply; the crisis in biological sustainability.

Chapter 17: Unresponsiveness of the world to the World War 2 Jewish Holocaust and to the “forgotten holocaust” of the Bengal Famine; examination of liberal, democratic, highly-educated and prosperous Australia (the Lucky Country) by way of assessment of the likelihood of timely global response to the impending environmental, population and sustainable food production crisis of the coming century; pre-invasion aboriginal Australia, invasion and genocide, racism of White Australia, the apogee of social decency in Australia and the current resurgent racism towards aboriginals and Asians; genocide, ethnocide, ecocide and terracide in Australia and unresponsiveness to the global crisis; a recent experimental test of the moral responsiveness of prosperous, liberal, democratic Australia - the war-time Bengal Famine (accounting for about 90% of World War 2 British Empire military plus civilian casualties) continues to be effectively ignored and thus removed from public perception by the ostensibly liberal political, media, academic and intellectual Establishment of Australia (and of Britain); how we can prevent the looming disaster - peri-conception, male sex selection as an example of a humane, non-invasive, pro-choice mechanism to reduce population (empirical evidence being provided by Fiji, a very tolerant and peaceful multi-racial society that developed from an initially large male over female imbalance among the Indian “indentured slaves”); further civilized contributions include the childless, culturally-absorbed Jane Austen option, tolerance of homosexuality and profound sympathy for the richness of the world as exhibited by Third World small-holder and aboriginal societies.


The world is facing a crisis in biological sustainability due to the connected problems of excessive and increasing population, profligate use of resources and remorseless environmental degradation. Near-comprehensive holocaust denial in our culture in relation to several centuries of recurrent, horrendous famines in British India has blunted our responsiveness to such man-made catastrophes and continues to contribute to the global failure to face up to avoidable mass starvation in the coming century. The world must resolutely apply the post-Holocaust injunction of “Never again” to these past events and take incisive steps to avoid repetition in the future.

Jane Austen and the Black Hole of British History (2nd Edition) is a carefully researched updated 2008 Second Edition of the original 1998 First Edition that includes some minor corrections, a substantial Preface (that details "history ignored and history repeated" atrocities of the Bush Wars and worseniing Climate Change in the period 1998-2008) and a final Epilogue that summarizes the Climate Emergency facing an Anglo-American-dominated world that continues to "look the other way" in relation to anthropogenic climate change and the continuing carnage from continuing Anglo-American holocaust commission, holocuast denial, genoicde commission and genocide denial. The book has at its core the scientific risk assessment that “History ignored yields history repeated”. The book uses the life, works and connections of the wonderful Jane Austen as a vehicle for exploring the extraordinary crimes of British Imperialism and of academic British historiography that continue unabated into the 21st century.

2 centuries of British “opinion makers” have perverted the wonderful, if sociologically confined, writing of Jane Austen by using it as a paradigm for British Imperial nobility. There has been a whitewashing (or “Austenizing”) of horrendous British Imperial crimes that continues to this day.

Thus most people would be utterly unaware of the following atrocities involving Great Britain: the Great Bengal Famine (1769-1770, 10 million victims), the man-made World War 2 Bengal Famine (.1943-1945, 6-7 million victims) and the real 9-11 atrocity, the 9-11 million avoidable deaths associated (so far) with the Bush Wars (1990-2008) – all examples of horrendous realities that continue to be air-brushed from public perception by lying, politically correct racist (PC racist) Mainstream media, politicians and academics.

Yet Jane Austen, who confined her brilliant writing to the rarefied world of the English upper class, was insistently truthful. As revealed in “Jane Austen and the Black Hole of British History”, Jane Austen’s novel “Sense and Sensibility” actually tells (in part) the scandalous true story of the first and only major British figure to have been arraigned for war crimes - Warren Hastings, friend of the Austens, first Governor General of British India and the out-of-wedlock father of Jane Austen’s cousin Eliza Hancock (through his Bengal adultery with Reverend George Austen's sister Mrs Philadelphia Hancock) , the real-life model for Mary Crawford in “Mansfield Park”.

In his 2005 Literature Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech, Harold Pinter demanded the arraignment of Bush and Blair for war crimes in Iraq, echoing impassioned and successful calls by Sheridan and Burke 2 centuries ago for the trial of Jane Austen connection Warren Hastings for Crimes against Humanity.

Jane Austen and the Black Hole of British History (2nd Edition) has a central message that “history ignored yields history repeated”, that ignoring, denying, and “looking the other way” simply short-circuits sensible risk management and acutely threaten Humanity. Indeed the 2008 Second Edition has been updated to show that my fears in 1998 about further horrendous avoidable death from War, Occupation, Global Warming and Lying have been horribly realized in the 9-11 million avoidable deaths from the Bush Wars, the 16 million annual avoidable deaths from deprivation and the dire prediction of Dr James Lovelock FRS that over 6 billion people will perish this century from unaddressed man-made Climate Change.

While it was legitimate for Jane Austen, the brilliant writer, to confine her Art and render her exquisite novels free of the contemporary awfulness in which her connections participated, the “Austenizing” of British history is a holocaust-denying outrage that threatens humanity.

Jane Austen and the Black Hole of British History (2nd Edition) is exhaustively referenced and indexed. It is a fabulous reference work for Jane Austen fans, high school and university students, historians, journalists, academics and lay persons. In addition to the serious message outlined above, the book:

1. details the life, forebears, family, connections, literary contemporaries and critics of Jane Austen and summarizes and analyses all of Jane Austen’s completed and unfinished novels;

2. details and documents the history of British and European imperialism, colonialism and genocide in India and elsewhere (notably Australia);

3. exposes the extraordinary “Austenizing” of history that is continuing today;

4. details 1998 fears about Global Warming that are now being realized in 2008; and

5. provides a Comprehensive Index including a Jane Austen Works, Characters and Connections Index.

The 2008 edition concludes with reference to my recent book “Body Count. Global avoidable mortality since 1950” (G.M. Polya, Melbourne, 2007).

“In “Body Count” as in Chapter 17 above, I offered a variety of simple, cheap solutions based on wonderful examples of some very poor countries such as Cuba which have achieved remarkable success in addressing the fundamental human right of “right to life” through high female literacy, good governance, focussed investment and good primary health care. The same intelligent and humane approaches can effectively deal with the problems of excessive population and demands that have pushed the biosphere to a point of Climate Emergency and Sustainability Emergency. 182 Indeed 10,000 times more solar energy hits the earth each day than man currently uses and we already have highly efficient renewable energy technologies for cheaply and safely harvesting this resource. 183

Fundamental to any rational risk management – as urgently needed today for Spaceship Earth - is accurate data and general reportage. Further, just as we take the advice of top medical specialists very seriously in relation to life-threatening conditions, so sensible risk management demands that we take very seriously the advice of top scientists at the cutting edge of research and the advice of top scientific bodies. Thus the Melbourne-based Yarra Valley Climate Action Group and the Australian climate action group umbrella organization, the Climate Emergency Network, have provided detailed and documented summations of such information from top scientists and top scientific organizations in relation to the Climate Emergency and Sustainability Emergency facing the World. 184 The continuing, entrenched lying in mainstream cultures acutely threatens humanity. History ignored yields history repeated. Peace is the only way but silence kills and silence is complicity. Please inform everyone you can.”

For further details of “Jane Austen and the Black Hole of British History” contact Dr Gideon Polya, 29 Dwyer Street, Macleod, Victoria, 3085, Australia

The following links of relevance to Science, Art, Truth, Beauty and Saving the World may also be useful:

Polya, G.M. (1998), “Jane Austen and the Black Hole of British History. Colonial rapacity, holocaust denial and the crisis in biological sustainability” (First Edition, G.M. Polya, Melbourne: http://janeaustenand.blogspot.com/ ).

Polya, G.M. (2003), “Biochemical Targets of Plant Bioactive Compounds. A pharmacological reference guide to sites of action and biological effects” (CRC Press/Taylor & Francis, New York & London, 2003: http://www.amazon.com/Biochemical-Targets-Plant-Bioactive-Compounds/dp/0415308291 ) [read the numerous, succinctly presented historical and literary “snippets” inserted throughout this huge scientific text].

Polya, G.M. (2007), “Body Count. Global avoidable mortality since 1950” (G.M. Polya, Melbourne: http://mwcnews.net/Gideon-Polya and http://globalbodycount.blogspot.com/ ).

Polya, G.M. (2007), “Australian complicity in Iraq mass mortality” in “Lies, Deep Fries & Statistics” (edited by Robyn Williams, ABC Books, Sydney, 2007; see: http://www.abc.net.au/rn/science/ockham/stories/s1445960.htm ).

Polya, G.M. (2008), “Science & Art versus Nuclear, Greenhouse & Poverty Threats”: http://blog.360.yahoo.com/blog-NvVV9NY2cqLwKJxdb8JAymVZRA--?cq=1&p=1 .

Yarra Valley Climate Action Group: http://sites.google.com/site/yarravalleyclimateactiongroup/Home .

Climate Emergency Network: http://www.climateemergencynetwork.org/ .

Gideon Polya Blogspot blogs: http://www.blogger.com/profile/04156886772294243824

Gideon Polya writings on Media with Conscience News (MWC News): http://mwcnews.net/Gideon-Polya .

Gideon Polya writings on Newsvine: http://gpolya.newsvine.com/ .

Gideon Polya writings on Sulekha: http://gideon.sulekha.com/blog/posts.htm .

My words and those of other anti-racist, humanitarian advocates have evidently failed – the Bush Wars have now brought Anglo invasion and killing to Pakistani Waziristan, the Northwest Frontier of the former British Raj in South Asia, for the first time since 1947; the Arctic sea ice in 2007-2008 is at its lowest extent on record (see the official US National Snow and Ice Data Center, NSIDC: http://nsidc.org/ ); according to UNICEF (see: http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/index.html ) 327,000 Afghan under-5 year old infants die each year in US-, UK-, NATO- and Australia-occupied Afghanistan (population 26 million) as compared to 2,000 in Occupier Australia (population 21 million) and according to the World Health Organization (WHO: http://www.who.int/en/ ) the Occupiers only permit a “total annual per capita medical expenditure” of $26 in Occupied Afghanistan (as compared to about $3,000 in Australia and $6,400 in the US); and the Mainstream media continue to ignore the real extent of the 9-11 atrocity – the 9-11 million avoidable deaths (mostly of women and children) in the Bush Wars (1990-2008) (see “9-11 excuse for US global genocide. The real 9-11 atrocity: Millions Dead in Bush Wars”: http://mwcnews.net/content/view/25184/42/ ).

Because my words have evidently failed I am also trying to spread a message of Peace through Art, “saying it in pictures”.

For your pleasure here are links to some of my HUGE (circa 1.3 metres x 2.9 metres) Paintings for Peace and the Planet (I am very happy for these images to be reproduced in the interests of Humanity; please forward them to all your associates!) : Clean Energy World: http://mwcnews.net/content/view/23119/42/1/1/ , My Country: http://mwcnews.net/content/view/21449/42/ , Four Seasons: http://mwcnews.net/content/view/21138/42/ , Bundoora Eucalyptus: http://mwcnews.net/content/view/22128/42/ , Deep Mind: http://mwcnews.net/content/view/17895/42/ and Genes and Memes: http://mwcnews.net/content/view/18122/42/ (both of these relating to Mind and Humanism), Apocalypse Now : http://mwcnews.net/content/view/17652/42/ , Jerusalem Madonna (Muslim, Renaissance Italian, Byzantine Orthodox, aboriginal, abstract expressionist fusion): http://mwcnews.net/content/view/17194/42/ , Manhattan Madonna ( a memorial for 9/11) : http://mwcnews.net/content/view/10766/26/ , Rosanna Madonna: http://mwcnews.net/content/view/16627/42/ , Scheherazade (for Women's Rights) : http://mwcnews.net/content/view/16294/42 / , Sydney Madonna (for Mother and Child and Indigenous Rights) : http://mwcnews.net/content/view/10865/26/ , Truelove: http://mwcnews.net/content/view/11031/254/ , Melbourne Madonna: http://mwcnews.net/content/view/13950/26/ , Qana (inspired by Pablo Picasso's anti-war masterpiece "Guernica"): http://mwcnews.net/content/view/9547/26/ , Isfahan Matisse: http://mwcnews.net/content/view/14417/26/ , Alhambra Pollock: http://mwcnews.net/content/view/14082/42/ , Terra: http://mwcnews.net/content/view/15671/42/ and Bundoora Arabesque: http://mwcnews.net/content/view/15960/42/ .

For further details of “Jane Austen and the Black Hole of British History” contact Dr Gideon Polya, 29 Dwyer Street, Macleod, Victoria, 3085, Australia (e-mail: gpolya@bigpond.com ).

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