The effects of imperialism in India is a complex and difficult issue to define. The effects of British colonialism in India can be seen all throughout the country, from its architecture to its political system. From the perspective of an outsider looking into this vast and ancient culture, it is sometimes hard to see what effects imperialism had on society. This essay will look at some effects that are easy for anyone to see: how they changed Indian architecture, their caste system, and revolutionized agriculture in India.
Introduction. The British Empire in India has its origins in the 1600s. The East India Company established trading posts at various seaports, such as Bombay, Calcutta, and Madras, during that era. The primary goal was to trade in spices. Furthermore, owing to the worldwide industrial revolution, Britain had become an engine of growth for the rest of the world. “As a catchall phrase, the Industrial Revolution doesn’t explain much about British expansion throughout 1789.’ (Marshal 1985).
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Because India was a vital source of raw material for Britain, it was important to the country. India was called “a jewel in the crown.” Furthermore, British goods were a big consumer in India. “The most obvious reasons for doubting the importance of manufacturing as a driving force behind British imperialism are highlighted by the development of events in India, which was the main area of conquest during this time period…” (Ward 1994)
During the reign of Mughal emperor Aurangzeb, the dynasty was at its apex. As a result, East India Company merchants were under watch by Mughal authorities. However, by the early years of the 1700s, the Mughal Empire began to fall apart as a result of this situation. Many formerly tiny nations that had been attempting to break away from Mughal authority did so and established their own government during this period.
The Dutch, Portuguese, and French all conducted slave-trading businesses in the Indian Ocean. After the British seized control of many of their colonies in America from the Spanish during the American War of Independence (1775–1783), they began to open trading posts. In 1765, a settlement was formed at Calcutta with Frederick Henninger as its first governor. The region controlled by East India Company’s expanded over time.
Until 1858, the East India Company’s power was unrivaled. The British government had complete or partial control over the operations of the East India Company directly or indirectly. However, the British government did not interfere with day-to-day operations at the company. The East India Company controlled India until the start of the nineteenth century with its own army.
The Indians were subjected to a number of constraints. The British government took control of the Indian economy. Indian farmers were required to supply raw materials for the British industries, and Indians were only allowed to purchase items from Britain. Opium was one of India’s major plantation crops.
Opium was transferred to China, while tea was purchased in Britain and sold again. There was no way for someone to establish a competing firm with British products. The introduction of readymade clothing from England that were both high-quality and inexpensive harmed the Indian handloom industry severely.
The British Empire’s need for Indian goods was vital because of certain reasons. The Crimean War of 1853, for example, limited the supply of jute from Russia to Scotland. As a result, Bengal jute became highly valued. Similar situations occurred during the American Civil War when cotton shipments to Britain were restricted. In order to keep the British textile mills operating, Indian cotton became essential for Britain. The British government established the railway network in order to make transportation easier between remote areas and ports where raw materials were processed and finished items were exported.
Impacts of British Imperialism in India. During the Victorian period, British Imperialism had a far-reaching influence on India since the British modernized and industrialized it, numerous economic downturns resulted from India’s lack of financial advantages due to British rule, and Indians developed a sense of nationalism after the British seized control of India’s government and people.
Both positive and negative consequences have been experienced by India. Negative consequences:
- The British government dominated the political and economic realms.
- The industries in India were restricted. As a result, the local craft began to fade away.
- The British government put a higher priority on cash crops than previous colonial governments had. As a result, food production fell and famine struck the country in several places.
- The British were opposed to Indian religion’s religious beliefs and customs. They sought to promote Christianity throughout India.
- Indian culture and values were being lost as a result of the rise of new customs.
The construction of the railway network was one of the key achievements of the British government in India. It was the world’s third largest rail system, with 3,125 kilometers (1,994 miles) of track.
- The railroad infrastructure was critical in the development of a modern economy and the connections of distant regions.
- Several vital roads were also built in addition to the railway network.
- Several buildings, including bridges, dams, and phone poles, were also erected.
- Dams were built to address the water scarcity issue.
- As a result of new sanitation techniques, the health status of the people improved.
- The percentage of the population that is literate improved owing to the opening of new schools and institutions.
- The British army put an end to banditry and inter-kingdom feuds.
Indian National Congress. The Indian National Congress (INC) is one of India’s oldest and most well-known political parties. It was founded in 1885 by Allan Octavian Hume, Dadabhai Naoroji, Dinshaw Wacha, Womesh Chandra Bonnerjee, Surendranath Banerjee, Monomohun Ghose, Mahadev Govind Ranade, and William Wedderburn.
The Indian National Congress was the torch bearer of India’s struggle for independence. It has approximately 15 million membership, having joined during the years of battle for independence. The party became India’s major democratic party after it gained independence in 1947, with Jawaharlal Nehru as mentor.
Rabindranath Tagore. Rabindranath Tagore was born on May 7, 1861, in West Bengal and died August 8, 1941. His father’s name was Debendranath Tagore, and his mother’s Sharada Devi. Rabindranath Tagore had an enormous personality that radiated from him. He was a well-known writer, freedom fighter, and painter who also had exceptional talents in music. He was, however, just an ordinary person. His works have had a significant impact on Indian literature. His Nobel Prize in 1913 for his collection of poems Gitanjali is ample proof of his wisdom. He composed the Indian National Anthem. To collect rent, he traveled throughout the region.
During his travels, he would usually meet individuals and hear their problems. He began to criticize British immorality in his verses gradually. Bengali was the language in which he composed the bulk of his works. He subsequently translated many of his writings in order for them to be appreciated by a larger audience.
The poems were recited by the majority of people, which aided in the growth of nationalistic sentiments. He made it clear in his writings that he had British objectives. His poems and other works were read across the world because to his reputation as a renowned scholar. This alerted other countries to the British atrocities, forcing the government to respond to such conduct.
Rabindranath Tagore was widely recognized as a great Bengali poet, and his life is an inspiration to many today. In appreciation for his efforts, the Calcutta University offered him an honorary Doctorate of Letters, and the British government presented him with a knight’s title. The infamous Jallianwala Bagh Massacre happened in 1919, when General Dyer ordered troops to fire on innocent people. As a protest against this tragic massacre, Rabindranath Tagore gave up his knighthood. Since then, Rabindranath has travelled to countries including Japan and the United States as a committed ambassador for India.
Role of Gandhi. Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi is and will always be the leader in bringing about India’s independence. He is also known as the “Father of the Nation.” Apart from his fight for freedom, Gandhi’s ideas revolutionized Indian society and its people. Because when he took over leadership of the Indian National Congress, he had millions of followers on his side to back up the cause. Gandhi adopted a nonviolent strategy to reach independence, which is called Ahimsa in Sanskrit.
Gandhi, in whatever came his way, never wavered from his principles or the path of nonviolence. This always aided him in achieving success. The concept of “Satyagraha” was Gandhi’s main weapon. Satyagraha is a Sanskrit term that means “submissive resistance.” The idea of “Sarva Dharma Sambhava,” which means “worshiping all religions,” was one of Gandhi’s most important contributions to Indian society and helped to bring it together.
This idea was rejected by the majority of Indians. It meant that all persons who practiced various religions should have similar respect for one another’s religion. Gandhi also opposed industrialization promoted by the British. He desired that Indians work their own farms rather than using machinery to do so.
In the year 1942, Gandhi turned down a British offer to grant India independence in exchange for support in World War II. Instead, the Quit India Movement began. It was determined at a meeting between Gandhi, viceroy Lord Mountbatten, and Muhammed Ali Jinnah, the president of the Muslim League, after World War II that a separate state should be created for Muslims.
Despite Gandhi’s opposition, he had to agree in the greater good of the country. When the news reached out, mayhem erupted throughout the nation, particularly in the north. Gandhi began fasting and traveled throughout riot-stricken areas attempting to restore peace and goodwill among the people. Godse shot Gandhi while he was speaking at a gathering in one of these locations.
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi is still revered as the father of Indian independence. His ideas may have aged with time, but his principles and concepts live on today among some individuals. However, it is certain that if Gandhi had not taken part in the fight for liberty, India would have achieved independence much later.
The British Empire had several beneficial and detrimental consequences for both the mother country, Britain, and the colony, India. Many people would disagree about which effects were more important in these nations, while others may believe that they are comparable. However, in both cases there were two effects.
India benefited more than it was harmed by the British occupation. For example, when the British invaded India, they built 40,000 kilometers of railway and 70,000 kilometers of paved road. As a result, movement across India became much easier for the British. The increase in agricultural productivity that resulted from large-scale irrigation projects is another positive consequence of colonialism. Industrialization had also begun.
Because of all of these factors, there was no famine in British colonial India. The English also established numerous organizations in India and set up a successful administration. They have made excellent laws and created judicial systems (The Economic History Of India Under Early British Rule). Britain also connected India to the modern world through science and intellectual thought, which resulted in several beneficial consequences.
However, there is always something to be wary of. The British conquest of India has several flaws. “You English committed one huge offense against my people,” said Mohandas Ghandi, “for a hundred years, you have done everything for us. You’ve given us no say-so over our own government for a century.” This may appear to be a beneficial consequence at first glance, but Gandhi did not intend it to be so.
Even though it was a positive thing for England to establish a government in India, they transformed it into an encumbrance by not allowing any locals to occupy the key positions. They “mommied” the Indians, if you will. Another negative consequence of England’s influence on India was the disruption of traditional occupations. Prior to Britain’s occupation of India, there were many more diversified skilled laborers. Shipbuilding, metalwork, glassblowing, and paper manufacturing are just a few examples. There was a significant rise in unemployment as a result of this break-up.
However, the British empire’s annexation of India did not just affect India. Great Britain was also affected by this annexation. Although the consequences were not as catastrophic, they did result in some modification. Overall, however, Britain gained considerably from its Indian colony. They acquired more raw materials and additional territory.
“The Englishmen… have given the people of India the greatest human gift of peace.” (Dutt). The British East India Company established trading outposts in India simply to trade. After expelling French influence from India during the Seven Years’ War and Indian troops rebelling against British rule, Britain was able to gain complete control over India. Until 1947, the British had dominated India.
Despite the fact that British colonialism caused some negative consequences for India such as hunger and persecution, it had a more positive influence owing to its substantial advancements in modernizing India and the overall improvement of Indian civilization.
Agriculture and industry are two examples of how modernization is manifested in India, despite the consequences it had on Indians. Industry helped India attain a higher standard of living, perhaps allowing them to rank among the world’s top ten economies (O.I). Irrigation enabled 30 million acres to be cultivated, providing the country with significant agricultural prosperity. With growth also came famine relief in India.
The Indian government has been trying to promote technology in rural areas for several years. The country as a whole benefited from this progress since it generated a higher standard of living for the people. As India’s modernization advanced, the country’s entire culture improved significantly. The establishment of schools and courts is evidence of India’s civilization improvement. Britain introduced Western education, which was subsequently well implemented by courts that enforce them. (Doc 3)
You should keep in mind the author of this text since Romesh Dutt is an Indian like any other, yet he extols the British for what they have done for India’s development. In addition to these buildings, Britain brought higher standards of humanity to India. Infanticide, as well as female baby murder, were stopped (Doc 5). These bad behaviors would be widespread across India and the country would suffer a terrible name without the intervention of Britain.
The first Europeans to arrive in India were the British, not only because of the country’s wealth of resources but also due to its huge potential. The East India Company took advantage of the disintegration of the Mughal Empire and separated from its authority to grow their business. In 1857, a Sepoy army rebelled, forcing the British to enter the region with guns blazing and take control of the nation.
The British regime destroyed India by taxing every product manufactured in India, as well as the export of raw materials, resulting in a lot of hunger. The British kept the majority of Indians illiterate while educating those who they did educate for their own benefit.
The British Empire had a negative influence on Indian politics because of the corrupt legal system and the total lack of respect for human life. In his essay, Lalvani claims that the English “built the framework for India’s justice system, civil service, loyal army, and efficient police force.” The British may have established a government, but they didn’t provide Indians equal representation in public office. “ Of 960 civil jobs…900 are held by Englishmen while only 60 are occupied by natives” (Doc 2).