How far advanced where the British Technologicaly over the Indians in 1757-1858

Bart Dale

Ad Honorem
Dec 2009
7,095
At first, they were comparable in military technology, but by 1850's the Indians were falling behind. In general, Indians could obtain the latest military technology, either from the Ottomans, or buy it from the Europeans, and then copying it.

The Mughals were slow to adopt flintlocks, but continued to use matchlocks even after the more advanced flintlocks were available, but I believe that only applied to the Mughals, and Tipu Sultan and other Indians were using flintlocks. However, by the 1850's, the British had revolvers, and the British percussion cap, Minie ball P53 rifles were superior to the arms of the Indians.

In the 18th century, in certain not specifically military technologies, the British were more advanced, which might have contributed t a slight military edge. British navigation was more advanced, having 2 different methods of calculation longitude, and aids like sextants. Improved navigation could lead to better transportation. Better map making technology might also have been a slight military advantage,

But as the 19th century progressed, with the steamboats, and railroads that gave the British an edge in transportation and military logistics. Advances in food storage, in bottling and canning, also would give the British in military logistics. Things like telegraphs would have given the British better communications.
 
Feb 2016
8
Mumbai
They were much more advanced and India was nowhere near at that time. India was suffering from being a collection of feudal states ruled by mostly inept and decadent lords who had little interest in anything beyond their dining table or harem.

I am not saying everyone was like that, but around 60-70% were of this category. Thus the technological upgrade of the military was probably not higher up on their list of priorities.

On the contrary, Britain was in the throes of industrialization and specially conquest for which military upgrade was an indispensable component.
 

johnincornwall

Ad Honorem
Nov 2010
7,849
Cornwall
They were much more advanced and India was nowhere near at that time. India was suffering from being a collection of feudal states ruled by mostly inept and decadent lords who had little interest in anything beyond their dining table or harem.

I am not saying everyone was like that, but around 60-70% were of this category. Thus the technological upgrade of the military was probably not higher up on their list of priorities.

On the contrary, Britain was in the throes of industrialization and specially conquest for which military upgrade was an indispensable component.
...................is a sensible answer.

I couldn't work out how best to put a comparison between the world's foremost industrial and military power and a collection of feudal states in South Asia.
 
Jan 2016
1,637
India
Well.

I don't know???

They seem to be on reasonably comparable technological levels.
Let us divide technology into 3: 1.) Military 2.) Navy 3.) Administration

In military technology, Indian states were comparable to the British, but the British were far superior in tactics and discipline. There was no Indian match for the European generals.

In naval technology, Indians were only a little behind the Europeans/British initially but later on the British shipbuilding far outclassed Indian shipbuilding.

In administration, the British were much more better. Indian socio-economic structure was very feudal, and there was hardly any large centralised state.

Overall, Indians were behind but it was not the technological inferiority that was responsible for the sad fate of Indians. It was mainly because, after the fall of the Mughals there was no major power in the subcontinent which could challenge the British expansion.
 
Last edited:
Feb 2015
2,038
UK
I couldn't work out how best to put a comparison between the world's foremost industrial and military power and a collection of feudal states in South Asia.
Exactly. Although I would put "backward" in front of "feudal states". It was technology against no technology. Simple as that. 180 years with 100 years of cplonial rule and the region is still backward. What does that tell you?
 
Jun 2012
1,780
chandigarh
Exactly. Although I would put "backward" in front of "feudal states". It was technology against no technology. Simple as that. 180 years with 100 years of cplonial rule and the region is still backward. What does that tell you?
South Asia is'nt backward in any sense of the world - when it comes to technology even to europe (today)
 

Devdas

Ad Honorem
Apr 2015
5,010
India
The British and French were all geared up to sell latest arm to rivaling regional powers and or some even allying with either of them in war against regional powers, so the lack of the latest weapons can't be entirely taken as a plausible excuse. The things that helped Europeans gain power was the internal turmoil that followed with the downfall of Mughals and then Marathas and foreign interference furthered weakened India within.
 

kandal

Ad Honorem
Aug 2015
2,832
USA
Europe was much advanced in many aspects. Otherwise they wouldn't have found a way to sail all the way to India. Then they had the Industrial revolution giving them tremendous edge.
 

Naomasa298

Forum Staff
Apr 2010
35,471
T'Republic of Yorkshire
But during the Anglo-Sikh War, the Sikhs had comparable artillery, acquired from European powers and French advisors.