the good Impact of BritishRaj in South Asia.

Feb 2019
62
Ariaca
#1
we all know that British Rule lead to economic and cultural decline of India and death of millions of Indians during those times.

but today we are going to discuss the good side of the British Raj and how it impacted day to day lives of India/Pak in positive manner.

English :

The introduction of English completely changed Indian mindset as British started Modern schools and universities of higher European standard to get even common Indianan to get educated and build their own lives even if he or she belonged to lower class or caste of any religion be it Hindu or Muslim. Modern Schools and colleges gave birth to the Elite or Educated Indian class that took over India after British left in 1947 and some of those families still have big say in Indian politics today.

due to British Rule English was considered language of Educated Noble class (Sanskrit > Greek > Sanskrit > Persian to English) so Indians from all classes tried to learn it and use it to boost their social presence and it allowed Indians to connect to almost every other society that speaks or understand English and boost Trade and cultural Relations for mutual benefits. even today English enjoys same position in India and allows middle class person to have greater say or form his own destiny on world stage.

Infrastructure :

British built modern infrastructure such as Railways and Roads from the scratch to this newly conquered land for profit maximization and have better control over far territories of India by easing transportation of goods and Military from their barracks near Mumbai, Karachi, Kolcatta and Delhi after sipahi mutiny.

despite its controversial use we have to agree that British brought this new technology that greatly benefited Indians in Trade and Transportation as well, first time in History of India it was possible to move Goods and people from one place to another in time of 24 hours and this revolutionized subcontinent completely as more and more people started to move to urban centers for better opportunities.

even today 90% of Railway infrastructural of Subcontinent is from British Raj Times.

Forming new Urban Centers :

British Empire not only developed new cities out of fishing villages such as Mumbai and Karachi but also re-vitalized medieval ear cities such as Surat and Kolcatta by using them as Administrative and economic capitals of India.

BritishRaj promoted Immigration of certain Class of Sindhi, Gujarati, Punjabi, Kashmiri and Rajasthani people to these newly built urban cities and created new economic capitals of India that benefits Indians even today as many poor people from rural areas are still migrating to this already well-established cities for better future.

Irrigation :

British empire built large number of water canals in North Indian regions such as Punjab, Sindh, Gujarat, Rajasthan and made possible to use fresh Himalayan water for farming and public use and turned dust bowls of this regions into new Farming states of India competing with Humid green plains of East since fall of Indus valley civilization. my own Ancestral village in Saurashtra has a dam that was built by British for same purpose and even day people are benefiting from it.

British Indian Army :

British Empire brought modern Military Technology and "class" to India as British Raj recruited Mostly Indian soldiers in it's army those customs passed on to modern Armies of India and Pakistan.

with Martial Race theory British Raj mostly recruited Racially pure/Aryan class of India such as Pathans, Rajputs, Sikhs, Brahmins, Kambojas, Dogras, Marathas, Baloch etc from certain regions thus those regions and castes even today forms backbone of Indian and Pakistani Armies. In India's case those regions are Jammu, Punjab, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and UP,Bihar while in case of Pakistan those regions are Attock delta, Afghania and Balochistan.

giving birth to Modern Countries.:

British Empire united Ragtag kingdoms of India and finally united it only 3rd time since fall of Mauryan and Mughals in Ancient and Medieval times, while division of India is a Controversial topic, we must thank the british raj for giving some stability to the Subcontinent by uniting all Regions and ethnicities who shared little to nothing in common except religion, not even language and Race from Kashmir to Tamilnadu and Afghania to Assam.

by uniting the subcontinent British Empire became parent country of India and Pakistan after partition in '47.

Introducing Democracy :

needless to say British Empire introduced Democracy to the Region based on their own Twist that why even today Indian and Pakistani follow British Prime minister centrist model instead of having monarchy, Single party rule or dictatorship models of some neighboring countries.

we must thank Indian Elite class of Post independent India for keeping the democratic principals alive even after fall of Empire in those troubled times. (who studied in British schools and universities such as Gandhi, Pandit Nehru, Jinnah etc)

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I am not saying that British were saints or Sages who came here to benefit Indians, British were invaders and they looted and plundered conquered people just like any other invader did to subcontinent before British came, if we leave victim complex for a moment and study we can see that british empire was also a big reason we got catapulted into modern rising societies today. after-all, each coin have two sides.
 
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Bart Dale

Ad Honorem
Dec 2009
7,095
#3
What do you think?
I think of the phrase "It's an ill wind that blows no good". Yes, the British did do some good in India, just as the Romans did a lot of good (and bad) in the areas they conquered.

There is a great scene in the movie "The Life of Brian", where the first century Jewish freedom fighters asked what good did the Romans ever do for the Jewish people, and ended up coming up with a long list of things, like building aqueducts, etc.

Still every good the British did in India might have been achieved anyways and at less cost, we will never know.
 
Oct 2018
1,209
Adelaide south Australia
#4
Pretty good summary of benefits brought by the Raj. However, or anecdotal evidence is not usually accepted as scholarly sources. No offence intended.

Probably also fair to say if you had to be colonised, better the English than say the Spanish, or heaven forfend, the Belgians.

There is no doubt in my mind that a great many Indians benefitted from the Raj, especially those who cooperated and helped the Raj run the country.

Context: In 1857, there was a major uprising agains the British. They called it "The Indian Mutiny" The Indians still call it ''The First War of Independence"

It would be necessary to ask the Indian people, possibly by a representative survey, whether they think the benefits from the Raj justify their colonisation. I really have no idea of the reality .I have a strong prejudice against the concept of colonisation.

Reference "Raj; The making Of British India" . Lawrence James
 

kandal

Ad Honorem
Aug 2015
2,767
USA
#5
The crowing achievement of the British is the conquest and unification of the Indian subcontinent, and instilling in its people a sense of unity and nationhood. All the other points mentioned in the OP are corollaries.

(Btw, British didn't come to India to conquer, but to trade. Then one thing led to the other, mostly Indian's fault, and they ended up conquering the whole place.)
 
Likes: Swamp Booger
Oct 2018
1,209
Adelaide south Australia
#6
The crowing achievement of the British is the conquest and unification of the Indian subcontinent, and instilling in its people a sense of unity and nationhood. All the other points mentioned in the OP are corollaries.

(Btw, British didn't come to India to conquer, but to trade. Then one thing led to the other, mostly Indian's fault, and they ended up conquering the whole place.)
Trade may have been the ultimate intention of John company in 1640,, but they achieved that aim by conquest. From the very beginning, local maharajas were either bribed or removed from power by john Company's private army, which grew eve bigger with time.. The excuse of trade was used to justify any action ,throughout the Raj occupation of India.

At its peak, The British East India Company had a private army of 260,000, twice the size of the British Army.Hardly the actions of peaceful traders..

Conquest of India may have been through a combination of chicanery and force, but from the very beginning the British control of India was maintained by force, or the implicit threat of force.,

After the British government took over from the East India company in1858, India was already a conquered country. British control only grew stronger, militarily, economically and legally . Had it not been for WW2, the history of the Raj in India may have been very different.

The Brits didn't grant independence because they were good chaps. They left because they could no longer maintain control. As they left, the partition of India was done arbitrarily, under the auspices of Mountbatten, as far as I'm aware.

It was the British who were largely responsible for the horrendous loss of life at partition. It was the Brits who introduced a census and social division formally based on religion, (Hindu/Muslim) not the Indians . Jinnah and the Muslim league used that division from the 1920's onwards, as a means to political power.

Yes the Raj introduced all kinds of nifty things to India. lt was all done to facilitate trade and to maintain control of the country.

The importance of trade with India cannot be underestimated .India became a major importer of British goods, especially textiles. The Indian boycott of British goods created real hardship among the mill workers of England.

 

Kevinmeath

Ad Honoris
May 2011
13,980
Navan, Ireland
#7
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The Brits didn't grant independence because they were good chaps. They left because they could no longer maintain control. As they left, the partition of India was done arbitrarily, under the auspices of Mountbatten, as far as I'm aware.
Britain had already agreed the principle of Indian Independence before WWII --- the process was going at a snails pace its true.

Britain must take some responsibility for partition but they were not the only party involved.

It was the British who were largely responsible for the horrendous loss of life at partition. It was the Brits who introduced a census and social division formally based on religion, (Hindu/Muslim) not the Indians . Jinnah and the Muslim league used that division from the 1920's onwards, as a means to political power.
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Sorry British troops and administrators killed the millions of 'Indians' in the main? not sure that's true.

They must of course again take some of the blame becasuse they were in charge but local people killed local people it may be comforting to have someone outside their respective countries to blame but its really not true.

Isn't the attitude that its all the British fault rather a 19th century colonial view of local populations, easily manipulated not really responsible for their actions sound rather like 'white mans burden' rubbish really.
 

Devdas

Ad Honorem
Apr 2015
4,700
India
#9
Britain had already agreed the principle of Indian Independence before WWII --- the process was going at a snails pace its true.

Britain must take some responsibility for partition but they were not the only party involved.
Self-rule under London's strict control was under the plan, even 1942 Quit India movement was brutally suppressed all major Congress leader put inside jail. independence was considered only after the war when Naval Mutiny broke up in 1946, British feared another 1857 kind of revolt would break up in India.
 

Devdas

Ad Honorem
Apr 2015
4,700
India
#10
The Brits didn't grant independence because they were good chaps. They left because they could no longer maintain control. As they left, the partition of India was done arbitrarily, under the auspices of Mountbatten, as far as I'm aware.
The INA trails after world war 2 led to the mutiny in Royal Indian Navy in 1946, it was feared to spread in British Indian Army and Brits were not ready for another 1857 kind of rebellion after a huge loss in World War 2. Even Clement Attlee conceded that in an interview that Naval Mutiny was the main reason for British exit from India.

It was the British who were largely responsible for the horrendous loss of life at partition. It was the Brits who introduced a census and social division formally based on religion, (Hindu/Muslim) not the Indians . Jinnah and the Muslim league used that division from the 1920's onwards, as a means to political power.
That's true. But British only exploited the Hindu-Muslim faultline in their favour. Its not like that before British came to India, everything was good between Hindus and Muslims.