Impact of British Rule in Sub-Continent 1857-1947 [Pick the date]
The era of British rule in Subcontinent comprise of centuries. Starting from a smart invasion in this land called. "The golden bird." Colonels slowly and gradually controlled the reins of this region. After gaining complete control over subcontinent, various reforms were introduced by British which were later on amalgamated with the existing structure of the political system of subcontinent. This later on, of course had its impact on the inhabitants of sub-continent, socially and economically. During this period, a system was established which was based on British ideology of governance and authority, quite similar to their owns. However, it was an impeccable implementation of this system was impossible. Mainly because of two reasons; firstly the culture variants were highly strong and secondly the main nations i.e. Hindus and Muslims, were not very cordial towards each other. Therefore, an implementation of a civilized political system with constructive socio-economic effects was difficult to attain.
In order to understand, the motive of establishing a British colonialism in Sub-continent, it was initially assumed that the east India company wants to establish British system of government in place of the prevailing political culture as it was highly cultured, civilized and authentic. But later on, history proved that although the political culture in sub-continent did changed but not as per the aspiration of British colonels. An image was projected that the prevailing political system is based on "Oriental Despotism" where main power lied in the hands of masters and the slaves were suppose to serve them.(Metcalf, 1994). According to many western historians, the main agenda behind assimilating the central British Raj into Sub-continents was to liberate it from a faulty culture which was holding them and introducing one which steer them onto ways of progress. Whereas eastern critiques differ to this perception; they believe that the invasion of British into subcontinent was highly intended for the purpose of controlling the regions and enjoying the gains coming out of it.
British introduced many reforms in the sub-continent. Starting from removal of jagirdar system, where all the properties were acquired by the British government and individuals who were willing to have a continued possession of their lands were supposed to pay taxes. On one hand, we can assume that this reform ensured that the power and property were equally distributed rather than remaining in the hands of top notch. But one can contradict on a ground that it was later on proved that in the name of taxes, hefty amounts were recovered from the land owners who were later on utilized by the British government for its own purposes rather than public welfare. The burden later on, passed onto the labor that became poorer and the poverty rate arose.
Another important change brought by British rule was emergence of new legal system. An amalgamation of English legal system along with ancient Hindu laws was formed initially. This system had a strong impact on the residents of the sub-continent as it highly favored the Hindu sect and ignored other minorities completely. This reform did provide a better version of legal system having more rationale logics but couldn't succeed much mainly because of cultural differences between inhabitants of subcontinent. Later on, separate laws were devised for Hindus and Muslims because of cultural contradictions.
Western-style education system was another attempt of British government in reshaping sub-continent. The main agenda was developing a class which was native by blood but had British panache and intellect. However, the educationist of subcontinent didn't perceive this change as a beneficial one. A new tug of war started between the local education system based on Urdu and Sanskrit and the new English version of education. This reform brought a generation which was distinctly divided into those strictly adherent to eastern ideology and those who were eastern by blood by British by brains considering the socio-economic effects of British imperialism in Sub-continent; one can easily agree that it was more logical than the prevailing system. There were several interests of British Empire in having control of this region. It ensured a trading position with complete monopoly. Later on, it was proved that sub-continent could benefit more from fee trade but the capitalist approach of theirs kept on enjoy the state of monopoly. Furthermore, the British personnel who were employed at sub-continent were provided with highly lucrative packages; this not only made British balance of payment better but also worsened the condition of native people as these salaries were paid by the taxes they were burdened with (Maddison, 1971, p.1). One cannot assume that British Raj was tyrant at ll. It was just that they gave preference to their own interest where there was a conflict in between their own political or economic interest. Hence, no assistance was given to the industries of Sub-continent and practically nothing was done to impart technical education.
The main changes brought about were in the military system of the Subcontinent. A military system based on bureaucracy was introduced which was intended to maintain law and order in the sophisticated English fashion. Since the major amount of capital was now consumed by British top notch, therefore patterns of consumption changed. Now nothing was spent on maintaining castles or harems (Maddison, 1971, p.1). These changes brought about rather unpleasant changes and the native handicraft industry highly suffered.
Apart from this, during imperial era, a lot of foreign investment was made in subcontinent mainly in the industry of railways and agriculture. This was practically extinct in Mogul version of sub-continent. Furthermore, separate colonies were constructed for new elite layer of population. These were the professional breed that were brought up and educated by the new educational system having western impact.
If we consider the changes that were brought in the mode of living of locals, educational reforms did no good. The caste system prevailed, the taboo of untouchables, family systems and agricultural techniques practically remained the same.
Until 1857, it could have been assumed that British could have destroyed the cultural identity of the country and would have turned it in to a social replica of England. But this was judged by Muslims and Indians in the nick of time. The resultant was the rebellion constituting of combined effort of Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs and other minorities. At this point, the East India company lost all the control over subcontinent and the new power in control was the crown itself. The Crown formed a policy of forming alliance with native states rather than taking them over.
The educational system introduced in subcontinent was rather a rubber stamp with no real meaning. The universities established were mere examining bodies rather than educational institutions. After 1920s, the universities in subcontinent were provided with the real mechanism of teaching. Apart from this, the whole education system was based on literature and no technical knowledge was imparted. Less concern was paid to the female education. Also primary education was financed by local authorities which were a feeble effort of devising a basic education structure. Therefore till 1947, majority of the population was illiterate.
The eastern scholars argue that in eighteenth century, Sub-continent had a strong industrial as well agricultural structure. Especially the textile industry catered to whole of Europe and Asia. However, since this was conflicting to the interest of East India Company and British Crown, therefore the industrial structure was highly demolished which made the products of England rise. By the end of eighteenth century, the industry in sub-continent was only limited to providing raw material for the looms of British. Hence, the industry of sub-continent was completely demolished by discouraging the handicraft industry without developing the modern one. That was one of the major causes of extreme poverty in Sub-continent under colonel rule.
By 1857, the mogul legal system and lordship aristocracy was completely eliminated. Zamindar system was also wiped out and was replaced with a new bureaucratic culture which was upbeat with the true picture of west.
Now the new rulers were those having strategic alliance with the British Crown. They had same persona as the British themselves. This class acted rather loyal to the Colonels and acted as their clerks. From 1890-1913, the imported items from England acted as another blow to Indian industry mainly textiles. These imports greatly reduced the demand of local products and cottage industries were completely demolished.
Insurance, banking and industry start showing some growth after 1905 as a result of swadeshi which was intended to boycott the British products giving boost to the local ones. During World War I, British imports to subcontinent curtailed greatly. After the war, the government was forced to invest in local industry and in 1921, the tariff system was introduced. The British Government became keener to protect local industry when Japan came up as a major rival.
After 1900, the scenario of subcontinent started to change; the local troops formed an alliance for the liberty of subcontinent. A lot of well-educated…
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