See here for a brief introduction to the Gateau Method.

Koose Muniswamy Veerappan Gounder, better known simply as Veerappan, was one of modern India’s most notorious bandit warlords, responsible for at least 184 murders, as well as kidnapping, elephant poaching, and smuggling vast amounts of ivory and sandalwood. His many victims included police, forestry officials, informers and high-profile targets such as movie stars and former government ministers.

Veerappan’s motive was apparently revenge—he blamed police for the deaths of his brother and sister—and ostensibly to champion the poor. He was also an ardent devotee of the Hindu goddess Kali. He rapidly developed a “Robin Hood” image, and his cult of personality was such that numerous films have been made about his life, featuring him both as hero and antagonist, many whilst he was still alive.

Despite the size of his band—at times numbering hundreds of troops—Veerappan and two accomplices were ambushed and killed by Tamil Nadu state police in 2004.

We very briefly covered India here, but let’s have a closer look. In the Gateau Method world, the subcontinent is still (barely) under British control. India is the jewel in the Imperial Crown, but that jewel is about to shatter into a multitude of pieces. Remember that historically, British India consisted of native “protectorates” and areas directly administered by the Crown, and spanned not only what we think of today as India, but also Pakistan, Bangladesh, Myanmar (Burma) and parts of Afghanistan.

Not only do men like Gandhi agitate for independence from the Crown, but internal ethnic, social and religious conflicts rage across the territories. The worst offenders are sent to the penal colony in the Andaman Islands, where thousands of Indian political prisoners have died under the pitiless gaze of British warders; even if they can escape the colony, there’s disease and cannibals and then some 300 kilometres of open ocean to overcome before reaching the Irrawaddy delta.

Although America and Germany publicly support Indian independence, nominally neutral Russia actually supplies the most aid to rebels. Through contested territory in Tibet and western China, the Soviets covertly supply Marxist dacoits—bandit warlords—with the weapons and expertise they need to overthrow not only British rule but also the many layers of corrupt Indian bureaucracy without which the Raj would crumble from within. Although often led by members of the high-born Kshatriya varna (which traditionally formed the bulk of armies in India), these militias also attract vast numbers of Dalits and other low-born Indians, who see Communism as an escape from millennia of caste-based oppression.

Thus, Gateau Method India takes on many attributes of our timeline’s Indochina, save that the British—rather than the French and Americans—struggle to hold onto their colonies. Even if a man of Gandhi’s charisma or Ho Chi Minh’s ruthlessness could keep India intact as it separates from the Crown, he’d struggle to keep such a vast, sprawling and most importantly diverse nation from years of brutal civil war.

But in the process, he’d deal a telling blow to the British Empire.

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