Sunday, July 17, 2005

Did British Rule help India?

Recently,our PM, Dr Manmohan Singh on his address at the Oxford University, spoke about the many benefits India attained because of the British rule in India for close to 200yrs. There was a lot of hue and cry about his statements and many political parties demanded an apology. I went through a couple of blogs which spoke about India’s lost pride and some said that our PM should have demanded an apology from the Queen for all the atrocities and return to us our valuable artifacts. I reflected upon the issue for some time and I would like to blog my views on the rule of the Raj in India.

Firstly, a State called India as we know today exists because of the British Rule. India was a number of small kingdoms with no resources complete in itself. The Mughal rule which existed in majority of Indian regions, was in no case more benevolent than the British rule. The majority of the population, the hindus, were under religious persecution of the Mughals. But for the British rule, India would have been another Islamic state with Hindus, though in majority yet never a part of the ruling class. Had the East India Company, and later the Queen’s direct rule, not annexed all the small kingdoms and the Mughals, there was no way one single individual state would have prevailed over others. Even after the Britishers left, it was because of the Iron Man of India, Dr Sardar Patel, that states were united under one Tricolour. Just the Kashmir issue has led to four wars. Imagine a situation of 30 different kingdoms, fighting each other and that too under the Mughal Rule.

It was because of the entrance of the Britishers, India is a secular state today. By their presence, they forced all others to unite against them in the fight for freedom, irrespective of language, culture and religion. The unity in diversity and secularism India is boasting about today, has its roots to the freedom struggle against the colonialist British Empire. In a negative way, it has resulted in a positive outcome.

Secondly, Indian states in 1700s were blissfully unaware of the industrial revolution. It was the Britishers, who got us introduced to the idea of mechanizations. Many infrastructure in our country today was initially established by them. They introduced the lifeline of India today, the Indian Railways. They introduced the postal services. The various institutions of the armed forces and our reputation as one of the world’s finest professional army and a disciplined fighting force are all about British contribution at the inception level. Our training methodologies, regimental drills, day-to-day administration have all been inspired from the British Army.

Any semblance of bureaucracy and administration is a direct contribution of the British Government. The judiciary, the police and the free press as such have all flown from the British ideologies. The idea of democracy, constitutional government and the rule of law is one of the greatest contribution for our country which always faced the curse of monarchs interested in self development and arts and culture rather than real development of people. The Indian Constitution that has stood the test of time has been heavily inspired by the British rule of law system.

Their contribution towards education is very profound. India, a land of thousand cultures and over a hundred languages and dialects, was given a common language for education and higher education by the Britishers. Modern School system and universities are all there contribution. It is this advantage, which we are reaping now in our growing IT sector and economic cooperation with the other rich western countries. Our higher education and scientific knowledge is all taught in English and its advantages are very evident.

Yet having said all these, I am duty bound to speak about the negative side of the whole colonialism of British Empire in India. The region, the people and the resources were thoroughly exploited. No amount of explanation is enough to justify their economic and social exploitation of our country. Most of the nation’s youth were involved in freedom struggle leaving no scope of social development. The locals were not a priority and all infrastructure established in the country was to assist the colonial rulers. Though it helped the nation when they left it, the intention was totally different at the time of establishment. The glorious history of India was rewritten to suit them. Indians were never encouraged to excel in any field and if very few have done it, most of them sung the British tune. Those who opposed them, never stood any chance. In effect, it was a systematic assassination of indigenous human resource. I am sure the generation, which had witnessed the rule of Raj, will have more to tell about the atrocities committed by the Britishers in India. The armed forces of India, were made to fight for the Britishers in all corners of the world in both the world wars, in which India had no direct interest nor did we get any pie of the war booty which the Britishers amazed. The Divide and Rule policy had its own side effects. The greatest and most conspicuous mistake and injustice of the colonialists was the creation of Pakistan, a direct outcome of the policy of divide and rule. This blunder has proven very costly to not only India as a nation, but the world in general. Recently, it was four Pakistanis who carried out the London suicide attacks, for some terrorist group. As you sow, so shall you reap!

At the end, I would say that though we cannot forget the ills of the British rule in India, at the same time, we cannot ignore the positive outcomes of their rule, some of which have formed the backbone of very existence of India as nation today.


Prophet of Doom said...

good one karthik ... keep it up!!

Lone Crusader said...

As one of my friends put it, the education that the British gave us, opened our eyes and basically made us we drove them out of our country! idhuku tamizhla oru pazhamozhi iruku...saanai pudicha marathulaye seevi paakarathu,i think!

The Ignoramus said...

quite true...they have left us a lot of good things...i always feel thankful to them for whatever good they have done.

The Soul Doctor said...

@ wacko.....Thanks:)

@ vishnu

LOL. What you are saying is quite true.But it is also because of our cultural richness that existed before,that made us think or atleast catch what they gave us so quickly. I see a whole lot of arfican countries, which were colonies of british before, and their state today. we are much better off!!

@ ram

Some how, i feel that had common indians like us choose to follow their attitude of obeying law and thier ethics and work culture, we can be better off. what do u say?

Abhilash Ravishankar said...

Looking back at the past - and thinking What if? is a very interesting exercise.
What if the British didnt rule us?
What if there were no religions?
What if I was not commenting here?

IMHO, everything's a case of the 'Butterfly effect'. Its something, we all would never ever be able to imagine.

The Soul Doctor said...

@ Abhilash

You are absolutely correct in your view of "we are all characters in butterfly's dreams"

There are many times I feel hindsight is just about useless.But sometimes, we end up pondering anyways, and when we do that, it must be fair and logical.To that end I wanted to differ from the opinions of "armchair patriots" about british rule and hence this blog.

Well....why do we have opinions at all? Is it going to matter? ...Its a topic beyond the scope of this comment box.Its a vast subject in itself:)

The Soul Doctor said...


Thanks for visiting my blog and putting your valuable comments here.Do come again:)

Shikha said...

i agree with much of what u have said. however, i feel it is also important to know that the PM did not mean what the media has interpreted and splashed all over. if one reads the whole speech (which most ppl haven't done) one would understand exactly what the PM was trying to say.

The Soul Doctor said...

@ shika

Yes.You are absolutely correct. Media twisted and turned into a completely different meaning of what the PM said. So, even before i wrote this blog, I made it a point to read through his complete statement here

Thanks for visiting my blog:)

Karthik said...

Hi Karthik,

The Interesting thing is that I am also KArthik and I have also written a blog on the same lines !! I was trying to search my blog on google and found yours !!!
You can see my blog at
The Code of Life -

It seems not only do we share the same name but a similar idelogy as well, I would realy appreciate if you read and leave your comments on my blog about the british rule on India.....

J_G said...

It's amazing how some good can come out some bad. The British sure could be brutal, there's no question about that. From these types of situations though extraordinary people seemingly appear out of nowhere. Mahatma Ghandi is a prime example. If the Brit's hadn't been so brutal and unfair in both South Africa and India, Ghandi may never have been heard of nor any of his ideas about peaceful protest and the many other things he taught us.

Karthik S said...

Definitely true. We owe the british bastards some toddy :-0)

Media Isn't Helping Me Find a PM said...

Yes Its fine.But this did not meant that I agree that British rule never helps India.

Mobile Recharge API said...

Yes Nice Writing.The Only One that i know is that the India had never getting any help from British.