Saturday April 21, 2018

Tribute to Catalonia: Spanish civil war that led to World War II

The Spanish war was an important page in the history of Spain. Although Republicans were massacred but their sacrifice inspired a whole new generation.

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Spanish civil war, Wikimedia commons
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Spain became a new world locked in a death struggle encapsulated with brutal killings during the Spanish civil war.  Also known as the Civil war, it took place from 1936 to 1939.

  • On July 17, 1936, there was a sudden illegal takeover of the elected leftist government in Spain which was led by Spanish military members along with right wing conservative groups.
  • Spain witnessed a barbarian civil war between fascist and conservative forces versus communist, socialist, anarchist, and parliamentary alliances. The war was between democracy and fascism, freedom and tyranny.
  • Germany and Italy openly supported the fascist forces whereas the USSR supported republicans. However, the League of Nations remained silent without taking any side.
  • The impact of this civil war was felt by the whole world. It gradually became an international conflict. In fact, this was one of the reasons of World War II.
USSR supporting the Republicans, Wikimedia commons
USSR supporting the Republicans, Wikimedia commons
  • People from all over the world took part in this civil war. They all travelled to Spain and enthusiastically responded to the call of the Republicans.
  • In 1937 T.C Worsley (author of Behind the Battle) wrote during his Barcelona experience mentioning about the meeting with an Indian Journalist “Krishna”. He elucidates that “When an American journalist asked Krishna how he billed all the newspapers for which he was reporting, he replied that he was not paid but was doing it to let Indians know what was happening in Spain.“
  • Even Jawaharlal Nehru expressed his grief regarding the innocent people painful anxieties in the battle which was being fought in Spain. Nehru accused the League of Nations of its non-intervention policy. All of Nehru’s values (such as democracy, socialism, dignity, self-determination) which were inculcated via European civilization were at stake.
  • Mulk Raj Anand (Indian representative at World Congress Writers against Fascism) went to Madrid and drafted his novel across Blackwaters. Deeply moved by his visit, he even insisted that the authors should use their craft to expose injustice and exploitation.
  • K. Krishna Menon, secretary of the India League mobilised British Indians to aid Republican Spain.
    • The league collaborated with Leftist organisations and British Communist party and opposed Neville Chamberlain’s appeasement policies.
    • Indian league also arranged food for the people of Spain who was suffering due to the protests. This Spain-Indian committee also organised cultural events and raised funds for donation.
    • Even Indira Gandhi took part in raising funds for London-based Aid Spain committee.
Nazi's Germany troops, Wikimedia commons
Nazi’s Germany troops, Wikimedia commons
  • In June 1938, Nehru and Menon paid a visit to Barcelona and based on his experience he wrote in his autobiography Towards Freedom “In the midst of want and destruction and ever-impending disaster, I felt more at peace with myself than anywhere else in Europe. There was light there, the light of courage and determination and of doing something worthwhile.”
  • Nehru’s faith in the west was deeply shaken by the betrayal of Great Britain and France as they signed the pact of appeasement permitting the Nazi Germany’s annexation of the nation.
  • The Spanish Republican fell and dictatorship was introduced in Spain by General Francisco Franco. The Spanish war was an important page in the history of Spain. Although Republicans were massacred but their sacrifice inspired a whole new generation.

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-Prepared by Pritam

Pritam is a 3rd year engineering student in B.P. Poddar institute of management and technology, Kolkata. Contact the author at @pritam_gogreen

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Audi India sees flat sales in 2018 following duty hike

Audi India expecting a flat sale in the ongoing year due to increase in cess and hike of custom duty

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Audi
Audi. Pixabay

Luxury carmaker Audi India, which had looked at a double-digit growth this year, is now expecting that sales will be flat in 2018, following an increase in cess and hike of customs duty on some imported auto components announced in the Union Budget, an official said here on Friday.

“Initially, we are planning for a double-digit growth in 2018 and now we are expecting a flat year for several reasons. Cess increase in September last year and customs duty hike as announced in the budget were not favourable steps for us though introduction of GST (Goods and Services Tax) was a great move,” said Rahil Ansari, head of Audi India.

“However, we have measures in place to not have a flat year,” he added.

The German carmaker’s 95 per cent volume comes from cars that are assembled in India and it has invested substantially in the past years in the country and will keep on investing as it believes that India remains “a strategic market”, he said.

Audi India sold 7,876 units in 2017, a growth of two per cent over sales of previous year.

Representational image for Audi
Representational image. Pixabay

On duty hike and cess increase, he said: “These were not favourable developments for the luxury segments. The recent changes (hike in cess and customs duty) within such a short span of time are not favourable for long term planning. We need more consistency in terms of policies.”

“We are assembling models like A3, A4, A6 (Sedans) and SUVs models of Q3, Q5 and Q7. These models account 95 per cent of our volume,” Ansari said, adding that the company wants to achieve profitable growth.

According to him, the carmaker has requested the government to implement more favourable policies and has been in touch with them for a relook at the recent customs hike.

“We do expect some revisions,” Ansari said, adding that about a 10 per cent dip in taxation could lead to a 25 per cent sales growth in the luxury car market in India.

Also Read: Electric Cars: The Newest Trend In India

The carmaker is also looking at expanding its portfolio in A and Q range including “the entry level” in India to make luxury cars more affordable, he said.

It may consider introducing the hatchback cars in its portfolio in the next two-three years as customers’ perceptions have been changing, Ansari said.

The carmaker has increased prices of its cars by an average of 3.8 per cent from this month after the customs duty hike, he said.

On electric vehicles (EVs), Ansari said: “We would be in a position to launch electric vehicles in India by latest 2020. Globally, Audi will launch three EVs by 2020. Electric vehicle is the future but we see how the development in terms of infrastructure will happen.”  IANS