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How Was British Rule In India Positive History Essay

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Published: Mon, 5 Dec 2016

The British introduced many positive things to India, in particular after 1858, when the British Crown took over control of the territories previously controlled by the British East India Trading Company. This improved India in many ways, politically, socially, economically and culturally. Another good affect that the British had on India was the jump in agriculture, through large scale irrigation works. About 30 million acres of land was put into cultivation. Industrialization had also begun.

The British sparked a cultural renaissance by building many institutions in India and setup a productive system of government. They have framed wise laws and have established courts of justice. In addition to all these positive affects, Britain also linked India to the modern world through modern science and modern thought.

This brought rise to the Swadeshi movement, the Swadeshi’s were educated middle class Indians that trained at and or worked at places such as the Geological survey of India, Public works departments, Indian Medical Research institutions and universities such as Aligarh, many of these Swadeshis were trained at English Model universities and many undertook courses in Engineering, this helped Indians build infrastructure for Indians and become independent.

In 1835, Social change was sparked when English was made official language of teaching in Indian schools and as a result, Western-educated Hindus sought to rid Hinduism of controversial social practices, such as the Varna (caste) system, child marriage and Sati Pratha (the act in which when a Hindu woman’s husband died, she must throw herself onto his flaming funeral pyre and kill herself by burning to death)

(Lekhni, D 2008, ‘Sati Pratha: A crime’, , 5/5/2008, accessed 16 March 2011, .)

Political change began in 1757, When Robert Clive conquered Bengal, it was the Governor-General, Warren Hastings who first began to rule it, his first act was to facilitate revenue collection in Bengal, previously done by the Nawabs. In order to do this, he devised an entirely new revenue system, establishing direct administration over local agencies and land owners. Hastings also brought in new systems of civil and criminal law, which were devised based on thorough study of indigenous systems of justice.

It must be known that Britain didn’t take the administration of India from Indians, they simply took the power away from other foreigners, namely the Mughal empire. It must be known that India was not a sovereign country when the British East India company first made its inroads on the 31st December, 1600 and not even when the British Crown took over control of British East India Company territories in 1858, it was still under mughal rule, which subsequently ended in the same year due to British troops under General Robert clive’s rule at Buxar in Eastern India

Before British rule, India was governed by the harsh Mughal Emperors, such as Aurangzeb and Jahangir who were effectively dictators who forced Islam onto the Indian people, destroyed over 300 temples, banned the Diwali Festival and had imprisoned some of the pioneers of Sikkhism, such as Guru Arjan Singh. Aurangzeb also introduced the much hated “Jiziya” Tax, which was a tax paid by all non-muslims, it was, of course, evident that the tax represented a discrimination and was intended to emphasize the inferior status of the non-believers

(‘Aurangzeb’s Fatwa on Jizya [Jizyah, or Poll Tax]’ (Year of Publication not stated),accessed 16 March 2011,

The British introduced a system of multi-party democracy for India’s various state councils and regional legislatures, whereby the people’s representatives were elected by popular vote.

Economic change began in 1757, but reached a zenith in the mid 1800’s, when a modern, Western-style infrastructure to all aspects and levels of Indian affairs, which was far more efficient and sophisticated than the outdated systems of the Mughal period. Administration improved at all levels of society and this allowed India to grow as a nation. The British legal system was an improvement on what had gone before, as was the military infrastructure and health care system. Britain also provided India with modern technology, such as the railway network, electricity and, later with air transport.

The British found it difficult to travel great distances between different places in India. They felt the need to connect those places with trains to speed up the journey as well as to make it more comfortable than travel by road in the great heat. They also sought a more efficient means to transfer raw materials like cotton and wheat from the highlands of the country to the ports located in Bombay, Madras and Calcutta, from where they would be transported to factories in England. Besides, the mid-1800s were a period of mutiny and struggle in India, with uprisings in several parts of the country.

The British leaders wanted to be able to transfer soldiers quickly to places of unrest. Railways seemed to be the ideal solution to all these problems.

Work began on the development of railway systems in India in the early 1850s. Initially, trains were used to transport raw materials from location to location. The first commercial passenger train in India ran between Bombay and Thane in Western India on April 16, 1853 and the distance of 34 kilometres was covered in about 75 minutes.

The Indian Public was initially apprehensive of using railways as a means of travel, however they overcame that fear quickly and railways gained popularity and were used widely. Soon, railway lines began to be laid in other parts of the country, mostly by private British companies, and the major regions in India were connected by rail. To promote the construction of railway lines in India, the British Parliament introduced the guarantee system.

Under this system, any company that helped construct railroads in India was given a guarantee of a five percent return per annum on the initial amount that they invested. The company also had the right to pull out from the venture and receive compensation from the government at any time if it was not satisfied with the returns. This helped accelerate the development of railways in the country and was wholly backed by the British Government

A number of railway companies were incorporated between 1855 and 1870. Most of them operated at a regional level. By the beginning of the 1870s, the total track coverage in India was 4000 miles. In addition to commercial objectives, railways also began to play a social role in India. When there were famines in several parts of the country between 1870 and 1880, railways played a very important role in providing relief to the affected areas.

By the end of 1880, the total track coverage increased to 9000 miles. In 1880, the Darjeeling Steam Tramway started operating, this railway track was considered one of the greatest engineering feats in the history of indian railways, as it crossed much rough and dangerous mountain terrain at a steep gradient.

(Vora, Y 2009, ‘Monopoly of Indian Railways : IIM Case Study’, , 13/05/2009, accessed 16 March 2011, .)

In 1890, the British Government passed the Railways Act, to govern the construction and operation of railways in India. By the beginning of the 20th century, there were nearly 25,000 miles of railway track in the country.

(Vora, Y 2009, ‘Monopoly of Indian Railways : IIM Case Study’, , 13/05/2009, accessed 16 March 2011, .)

In Conclusion, Britain brought India into the modern world of the 19th / 20th Centuries, raising it from the domination of the Moghul empire that it had been oppressed under beforehand, and created a new, humane and advanced system of running a nation. The British also abolished some of the barbaric practices that were rife beforehand, such as Sati Pratha.

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