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By: Hari Sud
June 28, 2007
expressed here are author’s own and not of this website. Full disclaimer
is at the bottom.
Good Things, the
British Left Behind in India
How Did India Get so Poor
Benefits of the British Rule in India
Drain of Wealth during British Raj
India Shining and the British Media
UK: It’s the Policies, Stupid!
British deserve to be complimented for integrating all the ethnically
diverse but culturally similar principalities in the South Asian
sub-continent into one nation. Today we call it, India. They also ended
the seven hundred years old Muslim rule in the subcontinent. Hindu
majority in the subcontinent was incapable of grabbing power back from the
Muslim rulers. They needed a deliverer. British and other European powers
arrived in India as traders but became the deliverers, much to the
displeasure of Muslims. The latter had come as conquerors from Central
Asia & Afghanistan and made India as their home. They spread the Muslim
faith to the third of the population and in the process perpetuated untold
misery on the majority. Two third Hindu majorities with passive religion
had lost their will to fight. They endured whatever was thrown at them.
After 1857 they sided with the British, who were busy removing any
challenge to their authority. Muslim aristocracy of the Mogul era was
hostile to the British Raj. To overcome this, they removed the leadership
from its population base and stripped them of their money, power and land.
In the absence of all these, any future challenge to British authority was
Within ten years of the British takeover in 1857, the country had been
pacified and rule of law & justice established. People"s confidence in the
new master soared. T.B. Macauly"s education system began to pay dividends.
Lower rank administrative jobs were filled with English educated Hindus
and they became the backbone of the Raj. Muslim stayed out of the British
education system, as they were totally un-reconciled with the change. It
was not until early twentieth century that the Muslim intelligentsia
realized their mistake. By then it was too late. Hindu power then, was
second to the British only. Now, it was an alternative to the British
rule. Early freedom fighter like Bal Gangadhar Tilak and Gopal Krishan
Gokhale made resurgent Hindu power as the basis of their self-rule demand.
With the return of most foreign soldiers from India, after putting down
the great Indian Mutiny (First war of Independence 1857), British went
looking for politically reliable communities who could provide them
recruits for the newly organized Indian Army. Muslim of Delhi and the
Gangetic heartland were sidetracked. So were the Brahmins. The latter
initiated the Mutiny, hence could not be hired back into the Army. Very
cleverly the British selected politically reliable communities who had not
participated in the Mutiny or supported the freedom fight. They designated
them the “Martial Classes”. Future Indian army recruits came from these
communities. Hence Gorkhas, Kumaonis, Sikh, Rohillas, Madrasis, Punjabi
Mussalman, Pathans, Dogras, Rajputs from Hills of UP & Punjab became the
backbone of new Indian army. The Madrasis & Bengalis provided technical
capabilities. The newly organized army safeguarded the Indian border, kept
Russian influence in Afghanistan in check and also provided the internal
security. This lightly equipped but highly trained army became the
backbone of future India. Today, British have been gone for sixty years
but the Indian Army still follows the British organization, training and
By early 1890s, the civil and military organization was as follows. The
British “Sahib” sat at the top, but allowed Hindu clerk to run things for
him. Judicial system was exclusively British and very fair. Young men of
aristocratic background were educated in England in the intricacies of the
English judicial system. Back home they provided the necessary legal basis
for the justice system. The re-organized Indian army after the Mutiny of
1857, for 70 years stayed officered by the British and soldiered by the
Indians. In short this combination became the backbone of the British Raj.
A significant number of British regiments were retained in India for
internal security, as the British could never forget the 1857 experience.
Indians and Muslim officers of the army appeared on the scene only after
Muslim resurgence began early in the twentieth century in Muslim majority
areas of Punjab & Bengal and in some places in South India. They
grudgingly accepted the British mastery and began to join the civil
administration & military services in droves. British needed the Muslim in
the administration badly. They realized the growing Hindu influence and
wished to counter it. Hence they began the great game of divide and rule.
It continued with dire consequences, till they finally left India in 1947.
Net impact of divide and rule policy was the creation of the new nation of
In one hundred years of the British Crown rule over India until 1947, they
introduced the British legal and justice system, organized a formidable
civil service, provided modern military training and organization to a
largely medieval army, re-organized the antiquated tax system which had
continued since Emperor Akbar (circa 1600), set-up an export and import
system largely for their own benefit but never the less as a basis for
future trade, built one of the world"s greatest water irrigation system in
Pakistani Punjab, created a rail and road network to facilitate
transportation but also to feed the growing import/export trade, extended
the T B Macaulay"s education system to include universities and colleges
of higher learning and introduced the western dress code which has become
universal in India. Last of all we should not forget to mention once again
that British ended the Muslim rule over a largely Hindu population in the
British also failed miserably in few areas like food grain output, which
resulted in huge famines, killed the industry and commerce for their own
benefit, failed to include social welfare in their agenda, took anything
of value out of India and left India on tender hooks when they finally
vacated the seat of power. They must also be held responsible for three
major wars between India and Pakistan over a Kashmir. They initiated this
India"s eternal thanks will always be due for all the good things the
British left behind. On the contrary the economic devastation they
perpetuated over an otherwise prosperous nation cannot be forgotten. To
summarize, we must be thankful to the British for restoring Hindus to
power and also remind them that the present state of economic backwardness
in India is their creation.
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