Effects of British Colonial Rule in India Essay

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The colonisation of India and the huge transportation of wealth that moved from the latter to Britain were critical to the success of the British Empire. In fact. the Viceroy of British India in 1894 called India “the pivot of our Empire …” I examine the effects of the Industrial Revolution on the subcontinent. Besides foregrounding the fact that without inexpensive labour and natural stuffs from India. the modernisation of Britain during this epoch would hold been extremely improbable. I will demo how colonial policy led to the want and decease of 1000000s of indigens.

I conclude that while India doubtless benefited from British colonial regulation. the negatives for the capable population far outweighed the positives. . Colonialism. by definition. is exploitatory and oppressive. with the swayers enriching themselves at the disbursal of those they rule. By and large talking. colonisers dominate a territory’s resources. labour force. and markets ; oftentimes. they impose constructions — cultural. spiritual and/or lingual — to keep control over the autochthonal population. The effects of the enlargement of European imperiums. which began in the fifteenth century. on the colonized can still be felt today.

Some historiographers. for illustration. argue that colonialism is one of the taking causes in income inequality among states in present times. They cite forms of European colony as deciding forces in the type of establishments developed in colonised states. sing them major factors in economic retardation. Economist Luis Angeles has argued that the higher the per centum of Europeans settling in a settlement at its extremum. the greater the inequality in that state so long as the colonists remained a minority. proposing that the colonisers drained those lands of indispensable resources while harvesting most. if non all. of the net incomes.

In footings of per capita GDP in 1995. the 20 poorest states were all former settlements. which would look to bolster Angeles’ contention. There are. nevertheless. viing positions on how much underdevelopment in today’s poorest states is a by-product of colonial regulation and how much of it is influenced by factors such as a country’s deficiency of natural resources or country features.

For poet. militant and politician Aime Cesaire. the finding of fact was in: Colonizers were “the decisive histrions … the adventurer and the plagiarist. the sweeping grocer and the ship proprietor. the gold digger and the merchandiser. appetency and force. and behind them. the baneful jutting shadow of a signifier of civilisation which. at a certain point in its history. finds itself obliged. for internal grounds. to widen to a universe graduated table the competition of its counter economic systems. This is non to propose that Western European states were the first and lone states to prosecute imperialistic policies or that nil good came out of colonial policies for the capable population.

Dinesh D’Souza. while reasoning that colonialism has left many positive every bit good as negative bequests. has stressed that there is nil unambiguously Western about colonialism. authorship: “Those who identify colonialism and imperium merely with the West either have no sense of history or have forgotten about the Egyptian imperium. the Iranian imperium. the Macedonian imperium. the Islamic imperium. the Mongol imperium. the Chinese imperium. and the Aztec and Inca empires in the Americas. ”

For this paper’s purposes. nevertheless. I will concentrate on the British Empire. its colonising attempts in India ( 1757-1947 ) . and the effects British policy had on that capable population. A twosome of cautions before analyzing the British-Indian relationship: experiences differed from settlement to settlement during this period of European imperialism ; India was alone in the colonial experience because of its size and history. It besides should be noted that India was instead alone among colonised lands during this epoch for at least two grounds.

First. South Asia was “already a major participant in universe commercialism and possessed a well-developed trading and fiscal world” by the clip Europeans arrived. Autochthonal administrative constructions already existed for revenue enhancement intents. while commercialism within the state and throughout the continent offered chances of elephantine net incomes. Second. British India. which included today’s India. Pakistan and Bangladesh. was a part so big that there were countries in which Britain exercised direct control over the capable population and others where it exerted indirect control.

It is extremely hard. hence. to generalize from one experience to another. Although it is impossible to find how India would hold developed had England ne’er established a ruling presence at that place. I find the consequences of British colonialism to hold been a assorted bag for India: the negatives. nevertheless. far outweighed the positives. Liberal and democratic facets of British colonialism in India played a important function in taking to a democratic South Asia following Indian independency in 1947.

Yet. the British — foremost through the East India Company and so through direct authorities control — held about all of the political and economic power in India during the Empire’s enlargement and culmination. vouching the Indian economic system could non germinate and/or map independent of the governing power’s control ; guaranting natural stuffs extracted from Indian dirt would travel towards British fabrication industries largely without gaining the huge bulk of Indians ; and taking to lives of want for 1000000s of autochthonal topics.

Although there have been statements made that. in political and economic footings. south Asia was backwards until the reaching of Europeans. recent research has debunked that myth. demoing the part to hold possessed healthy trading and fiscal constructions prior to the Europeans’ reaching. British Colonial Strategy in the Subcontinent Imperial powers followed two basic schemes when colonising. They either allowed a big figure of Europeans to settle abroad ( known as Settler Colonies ) or sent a much smaller figure – normally less than 1 per centum of the population — to function as decision makers and revenue enhancement aggregators ( known as Peasant Colonies ) .

Britain followed the latter scheme in respects to India. The per centum of English people in India in 1913. for illustration. was merely 0. 1 per centum of the country’s population ; by comparing. they accounted for over one-fifth ( 21. 4 per centum ) of the population in South Africa and Losetho during the same period. As antecedently mentioned. Britain exerted both direct and indirect control over the Indian subcontinent. Areas of indirect control are called “native provinces. These were controlled by Indian swayers who wielded considerable power over the internal disposal of the land. while the British exercised complete control over the area’s defence and foreign policies. When looking at this two-pronged attack Britain took in set uping an Indian settlement. the economic expert Lakshmi Iyer has argued that there is a differential long-run consequence on countries the Empire controlled straight compared to countries in which it fundamentally outsourced control.

Rather than expropriating Indian land. which was negligible. the English taxed Indian land. bring forthing considerable grosss and bring oning the autochthonal population to switch from traditional to commercial merchandises ( e. g. tea ) . Areas that were straight under British control today have significantly lower degrees of public goods relative to countries that were non under direct colonial regulation. In 1961. for illustration. territories ( administrative divisions below province degree ) that had been under direct control of the British Empire had lower degrees of primary and in-between schools. every bit good as medical dispensaries.

Contemporary differences between straight and indirectly controlled countries. Iyer argues. are most likely the consequence of differences in internal disposal during the colonial period because once the British left in 1947. all the native provinces were integrated into independent India and have since been capable to a unvarying administrative. legal and political construction. The Company and the Crown By the center of the eighteenth century. there were five major European colonial powers — the Dutch Republic. France. Great Britain. Portugal. and Spain.

From about 1850 on. nevertheless. Britain’s abroad imperium would be unrivaled ; by 1901. the imperium would embrace 11. 2 million square stat mis and regulation about 400 million people. For much of the 19th and twentieth centuries. India was Britain’s largest and economically most of import settlement. an “empire within an imperium. ” It should be noted that although this period coincided with the birth of the Industrial Revolution historiographers and economic experts have cast uncertainty on whether industrialisation was the sine qua non for British imperialism.

They have noted that England’s foremost major progress into the Indian subcontinent began in Bengal in the center of the eighteenth century. long before large-scale mechanisation turned Britain into the “workshop of the universe. ” Historian P. J. Marshall. in analyzing early British imperialism. has written: “As a cover term the Industrial Revolution explains comparatively small about British enlargement in general at the terminal of the 18th century. ”

While Marshall and others may be right in asseverating the British would hold pursued empire even without the Industrial Revolution. its coming impacted colonial policy in that it required expanded markets and a steady supply of natural stuffs to feed the country’s fabrication industries. Cotton. for illustration. was one of the drive forces behind the development of Britain’s modern economic system. British bargainers purchased natural cotton fibres from plantations. processed it into cotton fabric in Lancashire Millss. and so exported them to the colonial markets including India.

Prior to the Industrial Revolution. India had been the world’s chief manufacturer of cotton fabrics. with a significant export trade. By the early 19th century. nevertheless. Britain had taken over ruling the universe market for cotton fabrics based on engineering that lowered production costs. “This dramatic alteration in international competitory advantage during the Industrial Revolution was certainly one of the cardinal episodes in the Great Divergence of life criterions between Europe and Asia. ” Britain’s 200-year tally governing India began in the mid-17th century when the British East India Company set up trading stations in Bombay. Madras and Calcutta.

In 1757. Robert Clive led Company-financed military personnels – led by British officers and staffed by native soldiers known as sepoys — in a triumph over French-backed Indian forces. The triumph at the Battle of Plassey made the East India Company the taking power in the state. It would rule India for merely over 100 old ages. the country it controlled turning over that clip to embrace modern Bangladesh. a bulk of southern India and most of the district along the Ganges River in the North of the state.

The East India Company’s control of Bengal entirely yielded revenue enhancements of about ?3 million ; by 1818. its territorial grosss in India stood at ?22 million. leting it to finance one of the world’s largest standing ground forcess. This established British regulation good before the Industrial Revolution could hold played any major function in Britain spread outing its abroad imperium. beef uping historians’ – Marshall. et Al. – statements sing the significance. or lack thereof. of the function mechanisation in England had in the country’s expansionist attempts. The fact remains. nevertheless. that Britain in the nineteenth century would go the world’s taking industrial power and India a major beginning of natural stuffs for its industry.

What’s more. the subcontinent’s population of 300 million would represent a immense beginning of gross and a mammoth market for British-made goods. Although. the English expanded bit by bit in India during those first 100 old ages of colonisation. once the British authorities gained control of the country’s disposal following the Indian War of Independence in 1857. India was virtually incorporated into the British Empire and became its “crown gem. ” During the life of the Britain Empire. India was its most profitable settlement. Examples of immense returns on British investings in India based on lasting concern records are plentiful.

To give two illustrations: Binny and Co. . which was founded in 1799 with 50. 000 rupees in capital. returned net incomes of 140. 000 rupees merely 12 old ages subsequently ; and William Mackinnon’s Indian General Steam and Navigation Co. . which began merchandising in 1847 and whose assets five old ages subsequently were valued at more than nine times the original capital of 72. 000 rupees. The 1852 prospectus of the Chartered Bank of India. Australia. and China stated that “bearing in head the really high rate of involvement which prevails in the East and the really moneymaking nature of the Exchange Business … a really big Annual Dividend may be looked for with certainty.

British investing in India increased tremendously over the 2nd half of the 19th and the beginning of the twentieth centuries. Harmonizing to economic expert James Foreman-Peck. by the terminal of 1911. 373 stock companies were estimated to be transporting on concern entirely or about entirely in India. yet were registered elsewhere. with the mean size of those companies ( railroads accounted for about half of the capital. and tea plantations about one-fifth ) shadowing the far more legion – 2. 463 — Indian-registered companies. The disagreements between the two are blunt.

The companies registered outside India had paid-up capital of ?77. 979 million and unsecured bonds of ?45. 353 million compared to ?46. 251 million and ?6 million. severally. for Indian-registered companies. Harmonizing to Foreman-Peck. “The magnitude of foreign investing and the rate of return on it. loosely defined. have been seen as a agency by which imperium imposed loads on settlements and boosted the imperial nation’s economic system. ” This was non an thought that could merely be gleaned in hindsight. Writing at the terminal of the nineteenth century. historian Brooks Adams wrote the followers: “Probably since the universe began no investing has yielded the net income reaped from the Indian loot.

The sum of hoarded wealth wrung from the conquered people and transferred from India to English Bankss between Plassey and Waterloo ( 57 old ages ) has been diversely estimated at from $ 2. 500. 000. 000 to $ 5. 000. 000. 000. The methods of loot and peculation by which every Briton in India enriched himself during the earlier history of the East India Company bit by bit passed off. but the drain did non go through off. The difference between the earlier twenty-four hours and the present is that India’s testimonial to England is obtained by ‘indirect methods’ under signifiers of jurisprudence.

It was estimated by Mr. Hyndman some old ages ago that at least $ 175. 000. 000 is drained off every twelvemonth from India without a cent’s return. ” Plunder and Famine At the clip Britain established its settlement on the subcontinent. the Indian economic system was based preponderantly on agribusiness. Iyer has shown that since the Indian economic system was so dependent on farming. British appropriation policy focused on geting land with the most agricultural potency. vouching that land revenue enhancement would be the East India Company’s/British government’s biggest beginning of income throughout the colonial period.

In 1765-66. the East India Company had collected “the equivalent of ?1. 470. 000 ; and by 1790-1791. this figure had risen to ?2. 680. 000. ” To guarantee the land-revenue system. known as “tax agriculture. ” would go on to provide money to the East India Company’s exchequer. the Company introduced the Permanent Settlement of Bengal in 1793. an understanding between it and absentee landlords. known as zaminders.

Through this policy. provincials who worked the land became the renters of the zaminders. who. for themselves and the revenue enhancement aggregators. extracted every bit much as possible from those who cultivated the land. This colony created a category of Indian landholders loyal to the English and a division in the rural society between the renters and landlords. which last good into the twentieth century. Indian clime is characterized by the monsoon. which by and large includes nine months of dry conditions followed by three months of rains known as the monsoon.

At least one time in a decennary. the monsoon fails to get and a drouth occurs. Indians for centuries had set aside a part of harvests to guarantee there would be equal nutrient in times of drouth. This pattern was so successful that between the 11th and 18th centuries. India experienced merely 14 major dearths ; yet. from 1765-1858. when it was under East India Company control. India suffered through 16 major dearths. followed by an norm of one dearth every two old ages under British Colonial Office regulation from 1859-1914.

Under British regulation during the eighteenth century. over 25 million Indians died of dearth between: 1 million between 1800 and 1825. 4 million between 1825 and 1850. 5 million between 1850 and 1875. and 15 million between 1875 and 1900 ; more than 30 million deceases occurred from dearth between 1870 and1910. Why did 10s of 1000000s die from famishment under the East India Company and the British Raj? Why. relatively talking. did so many dearths occur under Britain’s ticker? Historian Laxman D.

Satya argues the dearths were price-induced and that timely authorities intercession could hold prevented 1000000s of deceases from famishment. State intercession was minimum. nevertheless ; Lord Curzon acknowledged one time that a dearth in Indian excited no more attending in Britain than a squall on the Serpentine. Like other European imperialists in the late eighteenth century. Britain – foremost through the East India Company – followed a individualistic philosophy whereby authorities intervention in the economic system was anathema ; in add-on. dearth subsequently was seen as a natural manner to command overpopulation.

Harmonizing to Satya. “… any act that would act upon the monetary values of grains such as charity was to be either purely monitored or discouraged. Even in the face of acute hurt. alleviation had to be punitory and conditional. ” The powers that be besides began utilizing famine labour to construct an substructure – railroads. roads – guaranting that grosss would go on to increase. outgos would be kept low ; worst of all. the new substructure allowed for the exportation of grain that could hold fed the starvation.

Surveies have shown that even in old ages of official famine – Britain merely recognized three periods of dearth — there was ne’er a deficit of nutrient grains. The job was that with monetary values for grains so high and rewards stagnant. most people could non afford to purchase them. As an illustration. during the Indian Famine of 1887-88. about 44 per centum of entire exports from Berar. one of the hardest hit states. were nutrient grains. Between 1874 and 1903 the state exported an norm over 40 dozenss of grain. and Satya has shown that this could hold amounted for about 30. lbs of nutrient per individual.

Historian and societal observer Mike Davis has cited even grounds that grains were exported to Europe for bad trading while 1000000s were deceasing of famishment. Since the primary concern for the authorities was maximising returns on investings. it didn’t prioritize famine alleviation. sing those outgos wasteful ; hence. alleviation cantonments were “deliberately kept in distant locations and beyond the range of the physically weakened population. What’s more. people seeking alleviation were required to work on colonial undertakings as a status for having nutrient – every bit small as 16-22 ounces of nutrient for a lower limit of nine-10 hours of frequently grueling labour Fearing that Indian patriots would take to the newspapers – in general. the authorities had a relatively slack policy toward the imperativeness — the Raj implemented tight imperativeness control through assorted Torahs including the Newspaper Act of 1908 and the Indian Press Act of 1910.

It’s of import to observe that despite these and other efforts at imperativeness censoring. a big figure of common newspapers were published throughout the state and played an built-in function in making a nationalist/political consciousness in India.

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