Why did Peshwas not have a Meiji Restoration like period

Nov 2012
3,852
#1
They were the pre-eminent power in India. They had numerous enemies. Why did they not have a Meiji Restoration like period. I mean Japan was a far more isolationist country in the middle ages than India. India had contact trade with almost all Western powers since times immemorial. There must have been a greater diffusion of ideas due to this in comparison to Japan. Japan was deeply feudal and faction. I dont see why the Peshwas did not modernize or industrialize or adopt the printing press etc. in a much larger fashion despite such contacts. Why did they not take European weaponry when they had to fight there wars. Would this not have given them a decisive edge?
 

tornada

Ad Honoris
Mar 2013
15,385
India
#2
History and Humanity is not pure science. The fact that something happened in a certain way in one country does not mean that it would happen the same way everywhere else. The Japanese had the lessons of India and China before them and chose a certain path. But many many things went into it and the outcome. The nature and makeup of the Japanese population. The Authoritarian and strictly hierarchical structure of society and the drive to change that. The position accorded to merchants in society. The pre-existing high literacy rate (Japan had a pretty high rate even in the Tokugawa era). The missions to learn about European culture and governance. The presence of an Emperor who was given a high degree of adoration and on whose support one received legitimacy. The nature of contact with America and their open door policy. The geographic nature of Japan which meant that if you had policies the people didn't agree with they couldn't just leave. Japan's Meiji restoration wasn't all rainbows and candy. The attempts to introduce compulsory schooling and conscription led to enormous resistance and rioting.

No two cultures or societies are the same. Asking why the Marathas did not have a "meiji restoration" is like asking why did the British not build the dutch fluyt or why did the Romans not use Orange on their Togas rather than Purple. Its one thing to explain why a culture did something. Its also one thing to explain why certain similar or viable paths were not taken at the time of making a choice (like why didn't the Germans focus on defeating England before opening up the Russian front). But asking why a culture didn't take a completely alien and random set of choices so as to emulate another culture far removed in time and space is just ridiculous. I might as well ask why the King of England didn't call himself Emperor of England and develop his country into a shogunate!
 
Nov 2012
3,852
#3
History and Humanity is not pure science. The fact that something happened in a certain way in one country does not mean that it would happen the same way everywhere else. The Japanese had the lessons of India and China before them and chose a certain path. But many many things went into it and the outcome. The nature and makeup of the Japanese population. The Authoritarian and strictly hierarchical structure of society and the drive to change that. The position accorded to merchants in society. The pre-existing high literacy rate (Japan had a pretty high rate even in the Tokugawa era). The missions to learn about European culture and governance. The presence of an Emperor who was given a high degree of adoration and on whose support one received legitimacy. The nature of contact with America and their open door policy. The geographic nature of Japan which meant that if you had policies the people didn't agree with they couldn't just leave. Japan's Meiji restoration wasn't all rainbows and candy. The attempts to introduce compulsory schooling and conscription led to enormous resistance and rioting.

No two cultures or societies are the same. Asking why the Marathas did not have a "meiji restoration" is like asking why did the British not build the dutch fluyt or why did the Romans not use Orange on their Togas rather than Purple. Its one thing to explain why a culture did something. Its also one thing to explain why certain similar or viable paths were not taken at the time of making a choice (like why didn't the Germans focus on defeating England before opening up the Russian front). But asking why a culture didn't take a completely alien and random set of choices so as to emulate another culture far removed in time and space is just ridiculous. I might as well ask why the King of England didn't call himself Emperor of England and develop his country into a shogunate!
You misunderstand my question. I dont mean follow the Meiji verbatim but what I mean is modernization and industralization should have been easier for India who had a more global contact. Japan was an isolationist society for most of its history. I am comparing situations not talking about an exact photocopy.
 

SSDD

Ad Honorem
Aug 2014
3,900
India
#4
Indian modernization attempt was like China's Self-Strengthening Movement's first phase. Both thought just acquiring new defence technology was enough. Another reason might be British did not establish modern factories till 1818(the year when Maratha Empire collapsed) or did not establish any modern educational institutes(Hindu college was only established in 1817 by Raja Rammohan Roy), since Marathas were inferior in new technology or ideologies so till anyone made an example in front of them they could not grasp importance of modernizing. Marathas just did not have enough knowledge about outside world from which they could understand importance of reform. Tipu Sultan had that but he alone could not.

But I dont think overall reform was really needed more than economic reform. More important was digging canals to help farmers, establishing a Government owned bank for farmers and artisans and concentrate on trade. These should have been main way of income instead of pillaging or tribute from feudal chiefs.
 
May 2012
632
Western India
#5
They were the pre-eminent power in India. They had numerous enemies. Why did they not have a Meiji Restoration like period. I mean Japan was a far more isolationist country in the middle ages than India. India had contact trade with almost all Western powers since times immemorial. There must have been a greater diffusion of ideas due to this in comparison to Japan. Japan was deeply feudal and faction. I dont see why the Peshwas did not modernize or industrialize or adopt the printing press etc. in a much larger fashion despite such contacts. Why did they not take European weaponry when they had to fight there wars. Would this not have given them a decisive edge?
Perhaps it was a lack of vision on their part. The Marathas lacked visionary leaders who could keep them united and also usher India into the modern age. The Marathas needed visionary leaders in the late 18th century and later, something they lacked severely.
 
#6
Perhaps it was a lack of vision on their part. The Marathas lacked visionary leaders who could keep them united and also usher India into the modern age. The Marathas needed visionary leaders in the late 18th century and later, something they lacked severely.
True.

We can also ask why India is refusing to modernise right now.

It is our nature.

Japanese even after defeat in WW2 approached business and science like a war. And succeeded in making their country rich and productive and clean and competitive with the best in the world.

It is their nature.

Ottomans tried to modernise. But couldnt keep up with the competition.
 
May 2012
632
Western India
#7
True.

We can also ask why India is refusing to modernise right now.

It is our nature.

Japanese even after defeat in WW2 approached business and science like a war. And succeeded in making their country rich and productive and clean and competitive with the best in the world.

It is their nature.

Ottomans tried to modernise. But couldnt keep up with the competition.
True. The nature of a society often plays a big role in how we adapt to changes.

Certainly, we can see the state of the Islamic world. However there are certain Islamic states such as Malaysia & Turkey who have modernised quite successfully.

Therefore we can be optimistic about India. Nature develops from our habits. If we change our habits we change our nature. Institutional corruption is seemingly part of our nature but it seems to gained traction only during India Gandhi's tenure. Drinking tea is second nature to all people of the subcontinent. But this was not so at the start of the 20th century.

Hence, we should be optimistic. We can bring about a change. But visionary leadership is what we need to guide & inspire the masses towards the change.
 
#8
True. The nature of a society often plays a big role in how we adapt to changes.

Certainly, we can see the state of the Islamic world. However there are certain Islamic states such as Malaysia & Turkey who have modernised quite successfully.

Therefore we can be optimistic about India. Nature develops from our habits. If we change our habits we change our nature. Institutional corruption is seemingly part of our nature but it seems to gained traction only during India Gandhi's tenure. Drinking tea is second nature to all people of the subcontinent. But this was not so at the start of the 20th century.

Hence, we should be optimistic. We can bring about a change. But visionary leadership is what we need to guide & inspire the masses towards the change.
After many decades we truly have visionary leadership.

So yes, we must expect a Meiji era right now
 

tornada

Ad Honoris
Mar 2013
15,385
India
#9
After many decades we truly have visionary leadership.

So yes, we must expect a Meiji era right now
I don't think so. A Meiji like set of changes can happen during a transition between systems. The Meiji government washed away the previous system, indeed much of the social setup within it. India's current leadership cannot do that. It cannot for instance just rejig the entirety of the court system to become like the American one. It cannot rework the education system itself, only try to fix it, not deconstruct it and build a new super-structure. The current leadership has to work within the system. Its extremely important to keep this in mind, because the opponents of the leaders will want you to build up dreams and hopes of very drastic change so that you are disappointed by the scale that is actually enacted at the end of a term. Don't lose touch with reality. Modi cannot bring about a "revolution" a la France or Japan. Modi has to work within a framework, and the evolution of reform would be like systemic reforms in England or America in the 20th century.
 

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