Achievements in British India

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Jan 2013
310
Before the British arrived, India was not even India but a collection of 600+ war torn princely states ruled by Kings. Spices, Textiles and Precious stones formed the bulk of the economy with ancient infrastructure. Mughal dynasty was dying and it was only a matter of time before one of the European powers colonised it. Here I want to compile a list of good things done under the British rule in India.

Social:

1. Sati or Suttee: This would rank at the top. William Bentinck abolished it finally. I can almost hear Indian nationalists screaming Ram Mohan Roy. He was a campaigner heavily influenced by western culture as far as I know. It took an iron hand from the British to abolish this ghastly custom.

2. Female Infanticide: Unfortunately, it is still practiced heavily in India especially in Haryana and Punjab where female to male ratio is at an all time low.

3. Burying of Lepers alive: "Thou shalt not burn thy widows; Thou shalt not kill thy daughters; Thou shalt not bury alive thy lepers." were the commandments issued in 1846.


Technology:

1. Dams: The British built dams of remarkable technological feat. These have helped India in making more dams after independence. You can still see 'Made in England' signs on these dams built during the colonial era.

2. Railways

3. Electricity: The first demonstation was done by PJ Fleury in 1879 during the colonial era. London controlled Kilburn and Co. till 1970. First hydroelectric installation was done in 1870 and the first electric train in 1925. All under the colonial rule.

4. Modern Bridges

5. Canals and irrigation: 75000 miles of canals were constructed in the colonial era. Now that's something!

6. Telecommunication (Telephone, Telegraph etc.): It was started in 1850 during the colonial era.


Government:

1. Democracy

2. Postal Service

3. Parliament (Lutyens Delhi)

4. President's Building (Lutyens Delhi)

5. Municipal Corporation

6. Indian Civil Service (despite knowing that they will ultimately threaten their rule)

7. Forestry: The magnificent Forest Research Institute in Dehradoon and Jim Corbett's tireless effort in saving tigers. Jim Corbett National park bears testimony to his efforts.

8. Modern Universities and Education

9. Created, Designed and Developed New Delhi


Tourism:

1. Hill Stations: It is said that 50 out of 80 hill stations were created by the British in India (even though to escape from blistering summer heat). These remain for Indians to enjoy - Mussorie, Ooty, Darjeeling Dalhousie, Simla etc.

2. Architecture: Victoria terminus in Bombay is a world heritage site. Edwin Lutyens and Herbert Baker designed New Delhi and the magnificent Parliament and President's building (Rastrapati Bhawan) stands tall. India Gate and Gateway of India along with Forest research Institute are all there for everyone to enjoy. Many glorious buildings are in Calcutta and Bombay.

3. Historical places: I'm sure tourists flock to Jallianwaala bagh, Satichaura Ghat and Bibighar Ghat along with other places of interest.

Crime:

1. Thuggee: The great William Henry Sleeman destroyed thuggee cult who murdered 2 million+ Indians. He is remembered fondly in Jabalpur and a village called Sleemanabad dedicated to him.

Other:

1. India - created from 600+ princely states with some of them ruled by oppressive kings.

2. English: United India with a common language without which Indian would not have been thriving in software, call centres and going to America.

3. Asiatic Society: Created by William Jones where millions of manuscripts have been preserved. The holy books like Gita, Upanishads, Literature by Kalidas etc. have been translated by William Jones.

4. Ramanujan: Without the British professor Hardy, he would be unknown to the world. Shame he died so young!

5. Japan and Germany's Hitler: The British saved the world.

6. Modernisation: Brought India to the modern world. She is on the path to become the largest economy in the future.


Medicine:

1. Hospital: The first hospital in India was created by the British followed by many hospitals during the colonial era.

2. Indian Medical Association: Indian doctors are now known for their skills world wide.

3. Prevention and research in diseases like Malaria, Plague, Cholera, Small Pox: Who could forget the great Ronald Ross who is remembered fondly in India for his reserach on Malaria? It is said that Edward Jenner with his work on Small pox saved more lives than the work of any other man.

4. Sanitation

5. Vaccination: Population of India grew during the colonial era.



Can you add to the list? Please discuss.
 

Naomasa298

Forum Staff
Apr 2010
35,492
T'Republic of Yorkshire
Putting down the defeat of Hitler and Japan as an achievement in India is stretching the definition somewhat, methinks.
 
Jun 2012
1,780
chandigarh
india's life expectancy was 27 in 1600 and 31 in 1947 , ya that is so much of an improvement
 

Jinit

Ad Honorem
Jun 2012
5,274
India
I was delighted when I saw the title. However it seems that you are already to much biased and made your mind. So it isn't possible to discuss it neutrally.
 

Kevinmeath

Ad Honoris
May 2011
14,079
Navan, Ireland
I was delighted when I saw the title. However it seems that you are already to much biased and made your mind. So it isn't possible to discuss it neutrally.
I think I'd agree with that statement although it may not apply to the thread starter.
 
Jan 2013
310
Putting down the defeat of Hitler and Japan as an achievement in India is stretching the definition somewhat, methinks.
May be you're right. The broader point I was trying to get across is that "Imagine a world with Hitler and Japan" colonising the world. That would've been a tragedy. I will agree that it is probably not British India specific.
 
Jan 2013
310
I was delighted when I saw the title. However it seems that you are already to much biased and made your mind. So it isn't possible to discuss it neutrally.
The negatives of the British colonial era is all over and debated to death. The idea behind the thread is to discuss the good things done by the British in India. Feel free to discuss. If I don't agree with your point then maybe some one else will. That's the whole point of debate.
 

bartieboy

Ad Honorem
Dec 2010
6,616
The Netherlands
I was delighted when I saw the title. However it seems that you are already to much biased and made your mind. So it isn't possible to discuss it neutrally.
Please, I'd like to hear your opinion on some of these points.
 

Gorge123

Ad Honorem
Sep 2012
4,833
Valles Marineris, Mars
Excellent post texto!!! I guess its true like the saying "everday you will learn something new".
 
Jun 2012
1,780
chandigarh
British lay the foundation of education system of modern India, as for literacy India had just 10% literacy rate in 1947.

the combination of hindu law and common law it is by far the greatest achievement of the british rule in India.
 
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