British imperialism in India

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British imperialism in India

Post  cierrawright on Mon Apr 18, 2011 12:05 am

Britsh imperialism had a large impact on India. The originial intentions of the Britsh were to bring India together as one by establishing a population that spoke the same language as their ruler but the British decision to educate the Indians with English as the language of learning was the beginning of a long chain of events. That included a rise in Indian nationalism that led to Indian resentment of British imperialism and in the end, the loss of British control over India.

The British establishing English as a unifying language was an important factor in their loss of control over India. India was very much multi-lingual therfore the English language was a common thing for Indians. Even though it was mainly the educated Indians of a more privileged caste who spoke the English language, they were the most important people in terms of nationalist ideas now being able to be communicated throughout the India population. Magazine and journals in English were a great influence on the rise of Indian nationalism.

By European principles in the political area being brought to India by the British, political and social reform in India was able to be achieved. The western education led to Indians coming across European principles (human rights, freedom of speech, liberalism, etc.) That was a contrast though to the imperialism practiced by the British in India. One third of the subcontinent was ruled by Indian princes, but under the supervision of the British. The rest were controlled by the Viceroy (administered by roughly one thousand members of the civil service). So the knowledge of principles such as autonomy and freedom led to many Indians wanting the same thing for their own nation since it appeared to them that the world's most powerful nations were those who were self-governing democracies which was obviously a successful system. Part of their desires also came from the Indians wanting their native religion and customs to be respected.

The Indian mutiny of 1857 was partly established by Indian resentment of British interference in Hindu customs. Indian soldiers in the army were required to bite the ends off gun cartridges (containing pig and cow fat) which offended both Muslims and Hindus because their religion is against eating foods of that ilk. That alone showed a lack of Indian cultural/religious sensitivity by the British.Even though the mutiny was put down quickly, it made the British question their own confidence in their power which then resulted in tighter control on India. This then led to even more resentment of British imperialism with claims that military regulations were only an attempt by the British to destroy the traditional Indian caste system. Ironically, the British were the ones who encouraged higher education which originally intented to just create higher educated Indians that could mantain simple administration jobs.

Besides more violent protesters such as Tilak, nonviolent opposers to British imperialism, such as Ghandi began protesting. Ghandi gained knowledge into his culture through discussion with English friends on religion (both Christianity and Hinduism) which he began to discover on a philosophical level. Ghandi's education allowed him to produce his radical technique of 'satyagraha' (truth force) in which laws were opposed with the force of truth and moral consciousness rather than violence in previous experiences. By the 1920's and 30's, Ghandi's campaign for independence went on with still a steady encouragement of peaceful protesting and criticism of British administration and taxes. In 1921, Ghandi protested for all Indians to boycott paying taxes on farming tools to the British. (A negative effect on the economy). Some of his non-cooperation campaign, withdrawing from the nonviolent goals soon became violent, and Ghandi was imprisoned for instigating the whole movement.

The English language and European political principles gave rise to the Indian nationalist movement and they were also the tools used to strengthen the movement and to create unity among the Indian people. The one movement that revealed acts of patriotism was the nationalist movement. Ghandi was "...shrewd enough to utilise the nature of British rule in India to win independence without too much bloodshed). That occured due to the whole establishment of English as a unifying language and by associating Indians with European political principles, which then led to Indian resentment of British nationalism and finally to the British loss of control over India.


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