** British control The Raj Indian history -- British control The Raj

British Control of India: British Control of the Indian Subcontinent (1763-1947)

Figure 1.--Britain governed India for about two centuries although the Raj was only fully established for about one century. There were major changes during that period. Britain built a modern infrastructure and the beginnings of a modern education syste, In also devloped a modern system of law and parlimentary democracy. The economic impact is more mixed. In other ways, Britain left India largely unchanged. We see scenes in India at the time of independence which could have been taken centuries earlier. This photgraoh was tajen in Anbala during 1945 right before independence.

Britain played a major role in the evolution of modern India. India as we know it today evolved as the the result of a transformative encouter between East and West. This began when Vasco de Gama rounded the Cape of Good Hope. All of the European maritime powers entered India, bit it would be thd Britsh and France battled to control India (18th century). The issue was largely settled by the dominance of the Royal Navy. British victories in Indua during the Seven Years War essentially ousted the French. Gradually Britain expanded its control over all of India as well as modern Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Burma. The British accomplished all of this with an incredibly small military force. This was in part because they were largely replacing weak, corupt Muslim rulers who India's Hindu massess saw as just as foreign and at more oppresive than the British. India was by far Britain's most important colony--truly the jewel in the Crown of the British Empire. It was possibly the most valuble possession of any empire in all of history. [Bellenoit] Controlling the sub-continnt was a development of emense geo-political consequnce. Britain at first exerted control of India through the East India Company, a private company chartered by the Crown. Not only was India immensly valuable, but staid Victorian Britain was bedazled by exotic India. This changed with the Sepoy or Great Mutiny (1857-58). As part of the reforms following the reimposition of British control was that the British Governmrnt commenced direct rule. This period of direct Bitish rule is referred to as the Raj. Tensions between Hindus and Muslims were kept in check by the British Raj, altjhough the British also played on this division in administering India. Huge fortunes were made in India and wealth transferred back to Britain. India's modern infrastructure was built during the Raj. Britain set policies to benefit Britain and not India. But many Indians took advantage of the stable political situation. British policies undercut inefficent local industries. Serious famines were not well handled. On the other hand, Britain founded a modern education system and laid the foundation for a demoratic system. While Britain undoubtedly exploited India and most Indians are critical if not bittr about th Raj, most of the serious problems independent India faces date from either centuries old traditions or socialist policies adopted by India after independence and not the Raj.

Mugul Empire (1527-1707)

Curiously when the Mongols in the 13th century exploded upon China, the Middle East and Euope, they left the Indian sub-continent unscathed. It was a later Mongol invasion that overwealmed India. Baber or Zahir ud-Din Mohammed (1483-1530), a descendents of Genghis Kahn and Tamerlanre, was a child warrior King at age 11. He began raids into India for booty (1519-24). He defeated the Sultan of Delhi, taking both Delhi and Agra (1526). Baber founded India's famed Mogul dynasty (1526-1707). He greatly expanded the dominions that had been held by the Sultan of Dwlhi. The Moguls were an Islamic dynasty which governed India for more than 200 years. The Moguls reformed government and promoted the arts. One of their major accomplishments was uniting India. The greatest Mogul ruler was Baber's grandson Akbar (reigning 1556-1605). Akbar significantly expanded the boundaries of the Empire. India was a great challenge for the Islamic Moguls. The subcontinent was populated by a largely Hindu people. Not only did the Mogul's encounter a largely alien religion, but dizzing variety of languages and traditions. Akbar's genius was not only his military conquests but his his toleration toward Hindus, and Christians. Akbar also promoted the arts and learning. The resulting artistic flowering is one of the glories of India, expressed in painting, glass, and carpets. The last of the Mogul rulers was Aurangzeb (1618-1707). Unlike Akbar Aurangzeb was intolerant of other religions, resulting in Hindu uprisings which drained the royal treasury.

European Struggle for India (16-18th Century)

For centuries, the Byzantines, Arabs, Viennese, and Ottomans dominated European access to the important trade routes (the Silk Road and Spice Routes) giving access to the highly profitable trade with the East -- meaning primarily India and China. There was enormous profits to b made in the trade in silk, spices, porcelin, ivory, and the other luxury goods Europeans coveted. This provided a major economic support for these societies and was one reason the that the Middle East and southeastern Europe (the Byzantines, Ottomans, and Italy) were more advanced than much of the rest of Europe. It is no accident that the Renaisance began in Italy and not in northern Europe. The Portuguese set out to change this economic dynamic by opening a sea route to the East. This could only be done by rounding Africa. The Portuguese began by financing voyages south along the Atlantic coast of Africa. The Portuguese finally reached the Cape of Good Hope (1488). This would open up trade with the East and the economic impact and cultural consequences would prove to be enormous. The Portuguese, Dutch, and Spanish led the way (16th century). Portuguese navigator Vasco da Gama was the first European to re-establish direct trade links with India since Roman times. He arrived in Calicut, which was at the time one of the major trading ports of the eastern world. Gradually other countries (Denmark, England, France, the Netherlands, and Spain ) followed and were all establishd in India (by the early-17th century). Not only was India an attraction, but bases in India were essentially needed tp pursue trade with China in the Far East. The immediate impact was to ubdercut the economies of the Arabs, Ottoman Empire, and Vienese and move the locus of power west and north in Europe. The European powers in India and other locations at first only founded trading posts along the coast. The Europeans along with the staggering discoveries were astounded to find that they were technolgically so much more advanced tham the new socities they contacted. The gap was especially pronounced with the Native Americans, but also existed with Asians as well. The Europeans at Battle of Diu (1509), decisevely defeated Arab and Ottoman sea power, permanely sealing direct access to Asian markets. An over time, the Europeans sought to use their military power to establish increasing degrees of economic and political control. Eventually the Briish and French proved to be the two dominant colonial powers (17th century). Both were large countries with important navies and capable of projecting significant power. Britains ability to compete with France is somewhat surprising given the fact that France was a larger, richer country. The Britsh and French finally conducted important miltary campaigns to gain contol over India (18th century). The European Seven Years War (1756-63) morphed into the first world war. A great deal was at stake. The Europeans primarily foused on Europe where provinces awere being contested, but whole continents were at stake, both North America and the Asian Subcotinent were up for grabs. Ironically the Caribbean with its sugar islands was seen as especially important. The issue was largely settled by the dominance of the Royal Navy. The French suppression of the Hugenoughts had weakened their navy. Both Britain and France had their Indian allies. British victories in India ousted the French from the sub-continent. And the implosion of the Mugul Empire created a power vacuume which Britain was able to fill with a smaller orce than they dispatched to fight the Americans. After the defeat of the French, the British East India Company (BEIC) was primary located in Bengal. Richard Wellsely (the Duke of Wellington's brother) during the Revolutiinary wars with, hegan to aggresiveky expand contro into other areas (1798).

Later Mughals (1707-1858)

After Aurangzeb died, the Mughal Empire gradually declined, weakened by breakawau Hindu provinces. The subsequent emperors are thus called the Later Moguls. shrunk. Aurangzeb's successors, the "Later Mughals", lacked the power and wealth of the early emperors. The Mogul Empire began to decline in the 18th century with the rise of the Sikhs and Mahrattas. This was the India that the British and French encountered. It was a deeply divided country with a large number of independent principalities. There was no strong central authority capable of effectively resising the Europeans. The Mogul Emperor still existed in the north, but only effectively controlled the area around Deli. The British prevailed in a series of land engagements and by the late-18th century and were in a dominant position. The last Mogul was Bahadur Shah II, who began his reign during 1837. He was drawn into the Sepoy Mutiny (1857). The British deposed him and expelled him from India.

Princely States

Indian history was very complicated before the arrival of the Europeans because the subcontinent was divided into a large number of kingdoms and principalities often at war with each other. The arrival of the Europeans (Dutch, English, French, and Portugese) only added to the competing forces. The Mugul Empire still existed, but was a shadow of its former self. The princly states both fought the Europeans and allied with them. Even after th Bitish emergd as the dominnt force on the continent, many princely states continued to exist. These were states that had alied with the British or were willing to accept British dominance. These states existed all over the subcintinent and varied grealy in size and importance. Most of the princely states had histories which pre-dated the Europeans. One of the most important devloping just as the the British were beginning to become an importnt player in India and ultimtely outst th French. This was the Travancore Kingdom, a Hindu feudal kingdom (untill 1858) and then an Indian princely state. It was based at Padmanabhapuram (Thiruvananthapuram). The Kingdom at its peak comprised much of southeastern Indi (southern Kerala, Kanyakumari district, and southern Tamil Nadu). The princely states were at the time of indedepenence given the 'option' of joining the new Indian union (1947). There was the veiled thret that the new Indian government would annex them by force if they did not join. This all went relatively smoothly except for Khasmir in the north with a majority Muslim population. This would prove to be the touchstone of the conflict between modern Pakistan and India.

British East India Company (1600-1874)

English merchants began trading in India (early-17th century) well before Britain and the United Kingdom was created. The Brutish werre especially active in the northeast--Bengal. The other European powes were also active. Some of them actually seized territories like the Portuguese in Goa. The once mighty Mughal Empire unraveled as the Europeans expanded their control. Eventually the struggle for India fell to a military struggle between Britain and France. The struggle for the most part was a commercial one, although military adventure was not unknown. The British East India Company (BEIC) began as a purely political enterprise, but metamprphosed in to a political entity at first in Bengal. The BEIC gradually expanded its cintrol through a comination of commerial influence, milirart=y action, and power-brokering. The BEIC co-opted both the Mughal reevenue and administrative system. [Bellenoit] The Seven Years War (1756-63) in Europe led to perhaps the first world war pitting England and France. This involved the French and Indian War in North America and the struggle for India in Asia along with naval engagements around the world. The turning pont in this struggle was the battle Plassey / Palashi (1757). Despite its importance, the battle was fought by a very small number of soldiers. The British East India Company (BEIC) fielded an army of about 3,000 men against the forces of the young Nawab of Bengal, Siraj ud Daulah, and the French East India Company totaling about 5,000 men. The battle began (June 23, 1757). The Nawab's commanders allowed rain to spoil the gun powder for their cannons. The British with more experience protected their gun powder. The British were thus able to emerge victorious. The Nawab lost over 500 men while the British lost only 22 men. The British forced the Nawab to pay an indemnity of $5 million from his treasury. The lesser known Battle of Buxar was probably even more imporrant (1764). This proved important in financing the East India Company further expansion. The East India Company conducted trade in cotton, silk, tea, opium, and other products. And after Plassey it used its growing military power to expand control over more of India. Fielding armies is an expensive undertaking. Once in control, the BEIC could use taxation to generate income in addition to profits from trading. The BEIC was run entirely by British civilians and soldiers. High taxes proved a burden on the Bengalis and was a factor in a terrible famine (1770-73). Some estimates suggest that 10 million Indians may have died from hunger and disease. That was about a third of the population of Bengal at the time. The war with France also led to higher taxes in North America and eventually the Revolution. The loss of the Aamerican colonies led to a reapraisal of colonial policies in Britain, especially after the Napoleonic Wars, the final round of the centuries old struggle with France. The BEIC operations had less impact as company activities were not a matter of public record and the subject people were not English speaking Britons. The BEIC became basically a tax collecting enity. They essentially concocted a a system by which the Inian masses financed theit own subjegation. It was the first and perhaps the greatest of all multo-national cororations. [Dalrymmple]

Exotic India

Not only was India immensly valuable, but staid Victorian Britain was bedazled by exotic India.

Economic Impact

Trade was what the British Empite was all about. And British control of India was achieved just as the Industrial Revolution began in Britan. The Industrial Revolution began with the textile industry. And the first industry to industrial was the production of cotton textiles. Before the Industrail Revolution, India was exportin textlies to Britain (16th and 17th cenurie). Demand for Indian cotton goods in England as trade was established grew substantially. Coloful Indian cotton cloth was considered by the Englishmen as the height of fashion. English hand weavers were adversely affected as were weavers in other European countries. Parliament passed regulations to restrict trade, but fashion seems to have won out. And not only cotton, but wool and silk fabrics as well. Ironically while India was defeating England economically, English armies were in the process of conquering India militarily by defating the French (mid-18th century). At the same time the Industrial Revolution began to kick in and egland developed the ability to produce cotton textiles at amazingly low prices. The growing textile production mean that manufacturers needed to find markets and the teeming masses of India represented a huge market. Untill this textiles were a home handicraft industry with counless spinning wheels operating throughout the country. This why the Indians decided at independence to put the spinning wheel on the Indian flag. As cheap Lancaster textiles began entering India, millions of Indians lost their livlihoods. India was never industrialized in the Western sence, but Indian handicraft metal lurgists had consideranle skills All of this was also swept aside when Britain's Industrial Revolution began to moderize the iron and steel industry as well.


The BEIC ruled Indian for a century, but in the early-19th centurty, discontent with the British began to grow. Historians report growing Indian discontent with British rule by the mid-19th century. One cause of the discontent was the political expansion of the BEIC seizing the lands and properties of the native princes and of the Mughal court in Delhi. Both Hindu and Muslim princes were affected by the actions of the BEIC. The BEIC also pursued harsh land policies, affecting more humble Indians. The policies were pursued by by Governor-General Dalhousie and his successor, Lord Canning Canning. Many traditional-minded Indians were also disturbed by the rapid introduction of European technology and culture. With bthe rise of British power came and inclination to reform. The BEIC generally ledt Indian culture alone. The BEIC even prohibited Christian missionaries from coming to America. This was not to difficult in the 18th cntury, but as the Victorian moral spirit took hold, no British Goverment could allow the BEIC to continue to to exclude missiomaries. Traditionak\l Indian customes were oulawed or disciuraged. Many Britains came to India to make money, but here were also well-meaning idealists , including BEIC officials and Christian evangelical Cmissionaries. [Bellenoit] They desired to reform Indian along European lines. Many thought that India was backward if not fundamentally lost to a flawed religion and culture. Indian elites were offended by this introduction of foreign culture and ideas challenging centuries old traditions. Sahib Nana Sahib (1821- ) who would become a leader in the Mutiny was the leader of the Marathas. The British denied him his titles and pension (1853). The British also decided that the Mughal in Delhi would be the last of the Mughal emperors. They informed the elderly Bahadur Shah II that his dynasty would end with his death. Discontent among the elites was one thing. Discontent among the sepoys enforcing British rule was a very different matter. And the Sepoys were also becoming dissatisfied. Pay was one issue. Regulations were another. Some began to see a British effort to force them to convert to Christianity. Christian missionaries were allowed to preach in the baracks. The Sepoys interpreted British actions as part of a plot to force them to adopt Christianity. This belief was strengthened when the British furnished the soldiers with cartridges rumored to be coated with grease made from the fat of cows (sacred to Hindus) and of pigs (anathema to Muslims).

The Great / Sepoy Mutiny (1857-58)

The Sepoy uprising was called for many years the Seaoy Mutiuny by the British. We also note references to he Indian or Great Mutiny. In our world of political correctness, some historians have come up with other terms such as the Sepoy War, the Sepoy Rebellion, or the Indian Mutiny. Readers can choose what term tonuse. Here at HBC we are more prone to use traditional terminology rather use ideological constructs to color historical developments. The 1857 Mutiny was a rebellion against British rule by a large part of the Sepoy Army in Bengal. The mutiny, which was confined to the north, especially Bengal. It constituted the most serious threat to British rule in India during the 19th century. . The British were introducing the new Enfield rifles. The Sepoys noticed the grease used to protect the cartridges. Rumors spread that they the grease was animal fat which it apperently was. This horrified both Muslims and Hindus for opposite reasons. Lard or pig fat was taboo to Mudlims. Beef fat infuriated Hindusho revered the cow. The British quickly replaced the cartridges when the cultural mistake was realized. Suspicion among the Sepoys, however, persisted. Sepoy units refused to use the cartridges in several incidents (February 1847). Those that disobeyed orders were shackled and imprisoned. Outrage quickly became mutiny. Their outraged comrades mutinied and shot their British officers at Meeru (May 10, 1857). They then marched on Delhi. The initial mutiny was spontaneous. the Sepoy Mutiny began (May 10, 1857). The initial spontaneous mutiny quickly became a more organized revolt against the British. The Sepoys were able to seize Delhi and proclaimed Bahadur Shah II the emperor of all India. The mutiny spread rapidly through northcentral India. The Sepoys of Nana Sahib took Cawnpore (Kanpur) (June). A virtually independent dynasty of the Nengal nawabs roise to power in Bengal. One of those nawabs attacked the British enclave in Calcutta and cramed the British he was able to seize in an airless underground cellar--the Black Hole of Calcutta. Other Seapoys beseiged Lucknow. The British moved quickly to supress the Mutiny. Here they were auded by two factors. First, Seapoys in the Punjab remained loyal. Sikhs there did not want Mughal rule restored. Second, the south remained largely passive. The British offensive was commanded by Generals Colin Campbell Campbell (1792�1863) and Henry Havelock Havelock (1795-1857). The British recaptured Delhi (September 20, 1857). Lucknow was abandoned (November), but retaken (March 1858). The rebellion was marked by atrocities on both sides. The Seapoys treated captured British, both military and civilians viciously. The Black Hole of Calcutta became the symbol of the Mutiny. The British took savage reprisals for the massacres perpetrated by the rebels. The British dealt harshly with the mutineers. There were reports of unarmed sepoys who were captured being bayonetted. Others were sewn up in the carcasses of pigs or cows. And some were fired from cannons.

The Raj (1858-1947)

The British Raj or rule is generally dated from the time that time that the British Government took over from the British East India Company and extended Crown (British Government) control throughout the sub-continent. As part of the reforms following the reimposition of British control was that the British Governmrnt commenced direct rule. This period of direct Bitish rule is refered to as the Raj. The Raj was established by an amazingly small number of British soldiers and colonial administrators. The British seized control over the entire sub-continent and beyond, including not only India, but modern Pakistan, Bangladesh, Burma, Sri Lanka and smaller dependencies like the Maldives. . The British had some major advantages. One was the Royal Navy and control of the sea. This gave them great mobility, able to concentrate their limited military force at any critical hot spot. It also enabled them to control trade, an important economic influence. Also the British were not establishing rule over a subject people used to self government, but replacing in many instances Muslim rulers who were seen by much of Hindu India as just as alien as the British and often more willing to interfere in religious practice. The British for their part became more respectful of Indian culture and more limitedin their reforming efforts. Christian nmissionaries were strictly controlled. British policies in India can certainly be cricized, but the British Indian Service was notable for an extrodinary level of competence and honesty. They may hyave bbeen hard headedin many respects, but they nwere uncorruptable some that was uncommonly with the Mugul Empire and princly bstates they replaced. India was by far Britain's most important colony--the jewel in the Crown of the British Empire. Tensions between Hindus and Muslims were kept in check by the British Raj, altjhough the British also played on this division in administering India. Huge fortunes were made in India and wealth transferred basck to Britain. India's modern infrastructure was built during the Raj. Britain set polieces to benefit Britain and not India. But many Indians took advantage of the stable political situation. While British policies undercut local indistries. Serious famines were not well handled. On the other hand, Britain founded a modern education system and laid the foundation for a demoratic system. Notably, most of the serious problems India now faces date from either centuries old traditions or socialist policies adopted by India after independence and not the Raj.


The British victory in the Seven Years War led to British rule which was divided into two parts. The first part was control by the British East India Company (1760s-1858). The second period was direct or crown rule, commonly called the Raj. It was brought on by the Great Mutinty. The British role in India is commonly an assessment of the Raj because it was during this period that Britain exerted the greates influence on India. Earlier the British rule through Indian rulers and had only a limited impact on India. With the Raj and direct rule, the British impact was profound. The impact of the Raj and British rule in general is still a widely debated topic. A united India, the English language, and democracy are three primary impacts, all with economic consequences. In more direct economic terms, the British brought modern technology and created the foundation of India's modern infrastructure. The British after establishing their predominante position, introduced new trading policies. The British were not only interested in Indian resources, but markets for the expanding output of the Industrial Revolution. This undercut domestic production which was largely handicrafts, thus adversely affecting the livlihoods of many Indians. Indian farming and industry (especially textiles) suffered. The result was increased imports rather than domestic production and exports. One Indian source cliams that about $1 trillion was shifted from India to Britain and the rest of the Empire. We are not at all sure about this. We have seen Indian authors make outrageous claims based on anti-British sentiment rather than factial basis. It should be understood that the British did not create poverty. Poverty in India was nothing new.


The British were fascinated by the rich, vibrant culturs they encountered in India. As they began to regularize the colonial project, some Britons studied Indian to get to know the country. I think it us faiur to say that no colonial power in all of history studied a colony to the extent that the Btitish studied India. Some fell in love with Indiua and romantisized India. This had conswquences as to the development of British colonial policy and impacts on the Indian people. The very term �Orientalism� has changed over time. Orientalism began most notably with Napoleon's invasion of Egypt (1798). But even before this Orientalism in Europe meant a scholarly study of the languages, literatures and cultures of the Orient which at first meant the Middle East which was the area Europe was in contact with. This began to change as Europe came in contact with India and China. Orientalists tended to think that oriental cultures (Ottomans, Arabs, India, and China) should be studied as equal to the cultures of Europe--an early belief in cultural reltivity. [Macfie] The British East India Company (BEIC) adopted policies favoring the preservation of Indian languages, laws, and customs. The highpoint of this policy came with the appointment of Warren Hastings as Governor General of the East India Company (1773). The changed as liberal and evangelical attitudes became increasingly influential. Along with this was a stroing feeling of cultural superiority. For the British, the idea of reforming and modernizeing India became dominant. The BEIC made English education compulsory in India. This was the end of Orientalism in Europe, although orientalism continued to influence art with artistics fepicting exotic, oten erotic, scenes mostly of Muslim lands. Unsaid was the implicit message of cultural inferiority.

Religious Tensions

Early Mughal rulers like Akbar were tolerant rulers, respecting Hindu religious traditions. As the dynasty progressed emperors came to throne that became increasingly repressive. This is prbanly why the unification of India never occured. It looked like under Akbar that Mughal rule would eventully extend to the south. As represrression increased so did resistance. and by the time the British seized control of India, the Mughal Empire was ahadow of it formerself. Hindus princes ruled large areas of India. We note many references to British divide and conquer policies. We notice that less commonly do authors provide actul significant examples ob British policies that stoked communal tensions, either distancing or polarizing the two communities. As we expand our historical assessment we will add here any speific British policies which caused religious tensions to increase. Less commonly discussed is Islamic theology. Western academics oftenhering to PC thinking and the cultural relativity narative do nit like discyssing it. Indian academics are afraid of the sunject becaus the 300 million Indian Muslims are a potetial poltical volcano. Some authors, however, have adressed it, suggesting that partition was not primarily caused by the Britishm but by Islamic princiles. One author writes, "... but the wound inflicted by their (Islamic invaders') ideology i.e. Islam, which brought them to India, cannot be effaced from memory because instead of healing, this hurt has turned into an incurable abscess. Though 95 percent of all Muslims descend from the original population and the remaining 5 percent also qualify as Indians owing to their permanent residence over the centuries, they all want to be considered as a separate Muslim nation, dedicated to the belief that their motherland is a Dar-ul- Harb. It is this iniquitous philosophy, which caused the partition of India. What the Arabs (Arab invaders) failed to do themselves, the Arabian doctrine of Divide and Rule has done for them." [Skaikh]


There was no real concept of Indian natioalism before the arrival of the British. Both Hindu and Muslim identities were impacted by British rule. And their religius identies powefully influenced the ideas of Indian nationhood that emerged during the Raj. Indian nationalist action began to impact the Raj in the late-19th century. Britons played a major role in the foundation of the Indian National Congress. Particularly notable is that Indian nationlism did not emerge from traditional institutions, but from the western educationa system that Britain founded in India. The nationlist leaders that led India to independence, including Mahatma Gandhi himself, were Britih-educated Indians. The towering figure in Indian nationalism and the pursuit of independence is Gandhi. He is often considered an unsophiticated leader, in fact he was not a moral giant, but a shrewd, sophisticated leader who exposed the moral hypocrisy of the Raj. Gandhi's concept of Indian nationlism was a concept that went beyond religion. Tragically he could not convince his countrymen of this, especially Indian Muslims. Nehru amd Congress wanted a united India, failing to appreciate the importance of Islamic theology that goes beyond moral teachings and includes a political construct. Many scholars are quick to blame the British, and this is not an invalid charge, but the role of Islam in modern affairs clearly shows that what occurred in India cab not be entirely blamed on the British. And notice that while some 300 million Muslims live in modern India, only about 1 million Hindus are left in Pakistan and the numbers decline every year. Muhammad Ali Jinnah and the Muslim League in the end did not accept an Indian nationalism that ignored religion nor were they willig to live in an independent Indian state dominated by Hindus.

Independence (1947)

The current conflict beteen India and Pakidtan dates from the independence of India after World War II. Lord Mountbatten was sent to India by Britain's post-War Labour Government to be the last Viceroy and oversee independence. His wife Edwina played an important role in partnership with her husband, a rather complicated relationship. India's independence was achieved by the Congress Party. Ghandi through the Congress Party had promoted the idea of a secular Indian state in which people of all faiths could live harmoniously. Muslims were an important part of the Congress Party coalition. Here both Ghandi and Nehru played central roles. The two admired each other and were close friends, but did not agree on many issues. In the negotiations over independence, Muslim leader Jenna decided that Muslims needed a separate state--Pakistan. Britain granted India independence August 15, 1947 and two states were creates--Undia and Pakistan. Inter-communal rioting in 1947 resulted in hundred of thousands of deaths if not more than a million. There was no accurte accounting. Muslims fled from India and Hindus from Pakistan--one of the largest migrations in history. Thousands more died in violence as these collumns foraged or food and were set upom by villagers also inflamed by religious and national zealotry. The two collumns also fought with each other. The British have been criticised for leaving India before key aspects of independence, such as the facr of the princely states had been finalized. At the time, however, the Indians were pressing for independence.


Bellenoit, Hsyden J. A History of British India The Great Courses.

Dalkrymple, William. The Anarchy (Bloomsbury Publishing, Sydney: 2019), 522p. This is a brilliant history of the Btitish East India Company, arguavky the definitive history of the first and perhaps the greates of all multi-national corporations. The aiuthor explains his bvook as a warning against the excesses of corporate greed. This we have no quarel with. Any instituirion whivh aquires power is a potential danger and needs to be monitored. But he goes on to clain thathis book wasrelevant to modern timnes, claoming that the Great Recession (2008-09) was caused by corprate greed. Corprations ceratainly played a role, but the root cause lay aat the foot of Government. Federal Reserve interest rate policy was part of the cause. And the Federal Government's insustance that banks maj=ke loans to low income people who could not afford to pay home mortgages was the other root cause.

Macfie, A. L. Orientalism (London: Longman, 2002)..

Rizvi S.A. The Wonder That Was India (Rupa, 1993).

Skaikh, Anwar. The Aran Imperialism Chapter 7 (1998).


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Created: 8:02 AM 1/12/2010
Last updated: 4:15 PM 3/6/2020