Why does Indian politics suck

British Rule in India - Positive or Negative Impact on India's Industry

Table of Contents

1 Introduction

2. The British Empire
2.1. Beginnings of the British Empire
2.2. Great Britain, a colonial power
2.3. The end of the British colonial empire

3. British rule in India
3.1. Beginnings of British rule in India
3.2. Unification of India and integration into the colonial economic system
3.3. British India and the Road to Independence p

4. Issue Positive or negative impact on India's industry

5. Conclusion

6. Bibliography

1 Introduction

India has always been a special possession in British eyes. This special position was partly due to the fact that it was so different from other settlement colonies. It was huge and towering with its large population.

This work is divided into the first part, the Historical Factor, which has been divided into two parts and deals with historical events, and the second part, where the question is to be answered whether British rule was positive or negative for Indian industry .

With India, the British became one of the greatest powers in the East, they exploited the Indians and advanced British trade with them. For the British it was a heyday ("Victorian Age"), for the Indians this time was associated with progress, but also marked by a growing population, uprisings, poverty and conflicts.

2.1. Beginnings of the British colonial empire

During the Georgian period, Great Britain developed into the world's first sea power and one of the most important colonial powers. All of Canada was occupied by English troops between 1756 and 1760. George III had secured the greater part of North America, numerous Antilles islands and large areas in Africa by wars against France and Spain for Great Britain. Even the French were pushed out of India. The supremacy of the British Empire[1] in the first half of the 18th century influenced its own economic development and thus the development of the country.

With the exception of the settlement colonies in North America, the British Empire did not initially consist of territories, but of trade bases. Economic power should flow back to London as wealth. So it developed the mercantile system the first colonial phase. The laws of the 17th century allowed the export of foreign European products to the colonies only after they had been previously stacked in England. England became the staging ground for the products of the colonies, as they were prevented from trading on their own. In addition, the money of the high-earning colonists had to be invested in England or spent on English goods, since purchases abroad were prohibited. This was also a decisive basis for the development of the industrial revolution, because many investments were made in industrialization.[2]

2.2. Great Britain, a colonial power

With the loss of the thirteen North American colonies (1781/83), the end of the British imperial mercantile system was in sight. After France's Napoleonic world policy towards England had failed, the foundation of a new empire was laid in India and a new form of the English colonial system brought about. This should transfer the national thinking to the non-European area. In order to secure colonial rule over India at the beginning of the 19th century, Cyprus (1878) and North Africa (Egypt, 1882/1892) were also included in the imperial strategy to protect the roads to India. The Suez Canal had previously been completed in 1869 and Victoria was proclaimed Queen of India (1876). But the British colonial empire did not only include India and some parts of northern Africa. In 1879 southern Africa (Cape Colony, Transvaal, etc.) was also subjugated and finally in 1890 the United Kingdom gained important bastions in west and east Africa. The British colonial empire also owned a lot of land in the Caribbean and Southeast Asia. Colonies were established there or the territories expanded. An example is the British crown colony of Hong Kong, which was founded in 1842, and the so-called New Territories (a 99-year lease with China in 1898), which had been expanded.[3]

2.3. The end of the British colonial empire

The end of the colonial expansion of the British Crown was already clear when the British had a clash with other powers - such as during the Boer War (1899–1902). The climax of British imperialism between approx. 1895 and 1902 was not only a phase of transition, but also a time when England decided to decolonize and establish global alliances. In the first phase of the transformation of the Empires formed a League of Nations between 1838 and 1865 (the year the Colonial Laws Validity Act was passed[4] ), had already developed "almost complete freedom of movement of legislation and responsible self-government" for the British colonies. In the second phase, which lasted from 1867 to the First World War, these united to form federations (Canada in 1867, Australia in 1901 and South Africa in 1909). The large white settlement areas officially called themselves "Dominions" for the first time in 1907. They were endowed with a representative legislature and a fully responsible executive.[5]

3.1. Beginnings of British rule in India

The British were very early in the Bengal textile trade[6] penetrated, but not only the textile trade interested the British, because actually they wanted to take over the entire Bengali internal trade, because Bengal was the economically most important area of ​​India. Special employees entered as private traders in the "official" trade of the East India Company.[7] Through their power and violence, they could force the farmers and artisans to sell them their goods for a fraction of their value. The British also forced the locals to pay far too high a price for the goods they bought from the British. Influencing the textile trade was particularly important as there was a large demand for textiles in the UK. That is why the private traders gave advances, in which they paid the farmers for the cultivation of certain products. They also enforced the production of goods through the threat of violence. In contrast to their colleagues in other Indian provinces, who produced fabrics for the domestic market, the Bengali weavers concentrated on export very early on, which they later had to pay bitterly for because they did not compete with the cheap, machine-made fabric from England could keep up more and were ruined by British competition. The lead of England in the production of industrial mass goods and the control of overseas trade routes could be used to realize free trade and thus to secure prosperity in England. England initially expanded into further overseas territories by forcing weaker states to sign friendship treaties with them.

But the British became more and more demanding. Apart from their previous wealth, they were anxious to exempt themselves from all taxes, while the Indian traders and merchants were subject to high taxes and, above all, internal tariffs. All these practices mentioned here were altogether very ruinous for the local traders and producers and led to violent protests against the British in the middle of the 18th century. But power and wealth had gone to their heads and therefore they changed their "lucrative" behavior only very hesitantly - in order to avoid further violent protests or uprisings by the Indians. The worst abuses were not remedied until 1768, when the private domestic trade of the company employees was curtailed. Several British military successes soon followed in the second half of the 19th century. The British traders wanted the silver that they had sent to Bengal as payment to be sucked out of the provinces using the funds newly made available to them. On the one hand, they squeezed out the traditional upper class, received princely favors through "gifts" and compensation, and acted as kingmakers. In this vicious way, they received the enormous sum of nearly £ 6 million in just eight years. The gross annual tax revenue of the entire province of Bengal alone between 1765 and 1771 averaged £ 3.35. So one can imagine the magnitude of this sum.

The British had developed a system to finance their further conquests as well as much of their trade by buying Indian goods with Indian taxpayers' money. The proceeds from the sale naturally went to the British coffers. Actually, there wasn't much to do to get the tax money. You just had to take over the tax sovereignty of the Mughals, because that was the most lucrative way to plunder the province. They roughly took over the existing tax system, but made the previous tax collectors (Zamindare) formally the owners of the land. From the so-called zamidari the British demanded the property tax. The amount to be paid had not been increased because the Mughals had previously demanded a very high tax share. There was only one change, because in Mughal times the system responded flexibly to fluctuations in crop yield. The British, however, wanted accuracy, so they always demanded the same fixed amount from the zamindars. However, if they were unable to raise the amount in full or on time, there was an immediate threat of a foreclosure auction. In times of bad harvests and famine, it was often a problem that income was too low. The wave of foreclosures, in which the land came under the hammer from defaulting taxpayers, created an extensive market for real estate; in Bengal alone, more than a third of the land changed hands between 1799 and 1815. In 1772, the Governor of Bengal, Warren Hastings, proudly stated that tax revenues had increased in 1771, when Bengal was in a cruel famine that killed a third of the population in some districts.

The "permanent settlement" was introduced by the British for Bengal in 1793, when an annual amount of property tax was fixed (whose claim was very high) that no one could change. They wanted to give an incentive for the modernization of agriculture by limiting the state entitlement, since every increase in yield would now benefit the farmers or the landowners. But the result did not meet their expectations.

The zamindars were now landowners, so the function of the soil as a commodity was emphasized. You could buy the land, trade in it or use it as an object of speculation. In addition, the Zamindare were allowed to burden the ground with debts, although one had to be careful because one could lose ground in the process.

The value of the land increased through the "permanent settlement", without which the income increased, so that real estate became interesting as a capital investment, even if no investments were made in improving cultivation methods. The population growth at the beginning of the 19th century was decisive for an increasing scarcity of land. The interaction of all these factors created a tendency according to which more and more peasants lost their land and fell to landless tenants, part-tenants or day laborers. A rural hierarchy was created, ranging from the landowners at the top through various sub-tenants and sub-tenants to the land user. The peasants suffered greatly from this hierarchy, but the intermediate layers got their profit from it. The farmers were exploited extensively and ultimately undynamically in a way that left little room for increasing productivity and thus the yield of the land. The profit seeped into the hands of the intermediate layers. The real goal, which the British had hoped for, namely the modernization of agriculture, had failed. One wonders what stopped landowners from investing capital to modernize agriculture and thus increase their yields. First and foremost, this is the risk of monsoon farming. Because the monsoon[8] is not reliable, it will lead to crop failures without the necessary additional irrigation. If such a landowner had invested a lot of capital in his land, a bad harvest would have been a very serious economic loss.

The result was foreclosures and the like.

The taxes the British collected did not benefit their country of origin. The money that was left over, so to speak, was taken out of the country and not, as actually assumed, used as an incentive for modernization measures.

3.2. Unification of India and integration into the colonial economic system

The British had about 58% of the area and by the middle of the 19th century

Conquered 77% of the population of India. The remainder were several hundred states, small and large, that were independent and ruled by local princes. These princes had only as much freedom of action as the British allowed. If someone was particularly favored by the British, he would therefore have a lot of freedom of action in his small state. In 1856 Oudh was taken into British India and the time of conquest was over, but the British focused on the political preservation and consolidation of the acquis. An outstanding result of this development was the unification of India in the 19th century. This agreement was the basis for the development of the country as a unified economic area as well as for the political development of India up to the founding of the independent nation state in 1947. Although the unification of the country cannot be presented on concrete data and facts, it can be explained as a consequence of Working out British policy in the 19th century, which, for reasons of securing rule, was designed to facilitate communication between the various regions and, for example, to unify administration and the legal system.

Here are a few examples: It has already been pointed out to the regional fragmentation by several small and large states, which is treated as a hallmark of Indian history. In the 19th century two thirds of the country were united, which made communication much easier. Above all, however, the trade benefited, as the internal tariffs were now abolished, which in the 18th century had increased the transport costs, which were already high due to the poor transport connections. In 1835 the monetary system was standardized and the uniform silver rupee, coined by the British-Indian mints, was introduced. In this way, all other currencies in the rulership could be replaced and the frequent and costly exchange became superfluous.

Further progress was evident through the creation of a uniform legal system and an efficient administration. In the legal system, attempts were made to codify Indian customary law, which was difficult due to the necessary lack of flexibility, but large pieces of legislation were also created that proved to be practicable and contributed to the security of contracts in the British Empire. The reforms of Cornwallis in 1789 gave rise to a small, well-paid class of civil servants, as these reforms within the East India Company separated the function of traders from that of administrators. This class of civil servants was to become the civil backbone of British rule. It was called the “Indian Civil Service” (ICS) and it ensured that the British penetration of India reached down to the district level, often also into the villages. The ICS resisted its Indianization for a long time, but ultimately could not stop this development. In building independent India, he made a decisive contribution to overcoming the difficulties that arose.

3.3. British India and the Road to Independence

The only serious opponents of the British were Marathas, Sikhs and Afghanistan. Marathen was soon subjugated, weakened and divided by their defeat against the Afghans. The Sikhs, however, benefited from the decline of Mughal rule and had built a military state. But the British annexed them after two costly battles. The attempt to subjugate Afghanistan, because they were thought to be under Russian influence, but failed.

Until 1857 the entire subcontinent was under British control, as the contracts of the East India Company with the Indian princes stipulated that if a prince without a successor died, the property would go to the company and therefore further gains resulted. British rule wavered in 1856 and 1857. Although the Indians had submitted to rule and orderly administration, they still felt attacked again and again when the British tried to "civilize" them.They saw these attempts again and again as an attack on their customs and traditions and that is why in 1857 the so-called "first freedom struggle" took place. The main roles here were played by the Brahmins, Rajputs and Muslims of the Bengal army. They fought with the greatest cruelty, but were defeated by the British due to the lack of a unified leadership. After this uprising, the army was reorganized and the annexation[9] by succession was discontinued. The East India Company formally exercised British rule in India until 1858. Later control of the British Parliament increased (approx. 1770-80) and until about 1830 employees were only employees in the company for personal gain. In 1877 the Indian Empire was founded by Victoria. The Indians felt as one. In addition, there were inventions such as the railroad, better supply, the fight against epidemics and the prevention of wars that ultimately contributed to the rapid increase in population. The India of that time no longer existed because it was Europeanized by the British.

An important event on the way to independence was the founding of the Indian National Congress in 1885, which was mainly supported by the Hindus of the urban upper class. He was of great importance to Indian nationalism. The demands were directed towards independence, but soon also revolved around more self-government, more civil servant positions and the improvement of the educational system. The Indian National Congress called for a boycott of British goods. In 1905 Bengal was partitioned. But this division was lifted again because there were more and more uprisings and unrest, but nevertheless the differences between Muslims and Hindus had become so obvious that the founding of the

All-India Muslim League, which demanded securities for the Muslims and enforced separate constituencies, came.

In 1937 there was a final break between Muslims and Hindus when the Indian National Congress refused to allow representatives of the minorities to join the government. The bloody riots broke out again and soon the Muslims were demanding Pakistan, where a large part of the Muslims lived, as a state of its own. But there was still hope. An Indian lawyer, later known as Mahatma Gandhi, campaigned for independence. With his nonviolent resistance he was successful and although unable to prevent the division, he had ensured a better relationship between Muslims and Hindus.

After the First World War, the Indians had little hope of independence. Although they got more privileges, they were still dependent on the British. Due to the resulting chaos and the division of the subcontinent, a date for independence was set on July 14, 1947. The actual transfer of power did not take place until August 15, 1947.[10]

4. Positive or negative impact on India's industry

In terms of its branch diversity, India is no less than the industrialized countries. Using the example of important industries, both traditional and modern, their locations and structures as well as the strengths and weaknesses of previous industrialization are shown. But it wasn't always like that. Industry was the engine of modern economic development in the 19th century. In India, however, this could only spread within the framework set by the system of colonial economy and determined by motherland England. In the 19th century, England was the leading nation in the world economically. Compared to the countries of Europe, India was an economic laggard.

England has a twofold mission to fulfill in India: a destructive and a renewing one - the destruction of the old Asian social order and the creation of the material foundations of a Western social order in Asia. But the country was poor and, because of the fragmentation, it was very difficult to put it together into a system. The prerequisites for establishing an industry were largely missing: capital, banking system, technical and administrative know-how. The industries recruited their workers from rural areas. There was a lack of people with the appropriate training. The conditions in the cities were poor. Most of the branches of the well-developed Indian handicrafts have been displaced by competition from industrial goods. Although the British were not interested in industrializing India, the cotton and jute industries developed rapidly. While the jute industry kept its original location in Calcutta, the cotton industry expanded inland.

As a result of industry, the company's own handicrafts almost completely disappeared, since no one wanted the expensive material anymore, but preferred to use the cheap, machine-made material. At first the craftsmen were protected by high internal tariffs, but when the Suez Canal was completed and the ice rink was introduced, there was no stopping them either and they had to give up. The railway has probably contributed a lot to the fact that industrialization took its course. It made it possible to transport goods cheaply and quickly in order to save further costs. Additional machinery and technical staff was imported from Lancashire.

During the colonial days of India, an industry spread noticeably. The cotton industry was greatly encouraged. Spinning mills were built that turned cotton into yarn and exported it everywhere. Even today, the spinning mills dominate here as suppliers of yarn.

The special position of the large port cities is also a consequence of the economic structure of the colonial era. While a large part of the Indian economy served to meet Indian needs, the ports of Calcutta and Bombay became reloading points for that part of the production that was built for the world market. These cities not only developed into the world's commercial centers.[11]

So the bottom line is that the British created a more or less deliberate industrialization that was very good and progressive for industry, but also brought a lot of suffering to the people of India.

5. Conclusion

In this work it was very difficult to pick out only the most necessary and most important facts because the subject is so comprehensive. Actually, one should go into religion, caste system and far-reaching politics here in order to better understand and comprehend this work. I myself have read other books about India and Great Britain that are not listed here, but were crucial for my work and helped me to gain a better understanding.

India is still evolving today, but has become a progressive state.

6. Bibliography

Queen Victoria and Her Time, Herbert Tingsten, original edition was published in 1965 under the title "Viktoria och viktorianera" by Albert Bonniers Förlag Ab, Stockholm, German edition Callwey Verlag, Munich 1975

World history, The colonial empires since the 18th century, David Kenneth Fieldhouse, Weltbild Verlag GmbH, Augsburg 2002

India, largest democracy in the world between caste system and poverty, Dirk Bronger, Justus Perthe Verlag Gotha, 1996

Great Britain, spatial structures, development processes, spatial planning, Heinz Heineberg, Justus Perthe Verlag Gotha, 1997

India - Geography, Friedrich Stang, Scientific Country Customers, Scientific Book Society, Darmstadt 2002

The colored Ploetz, The illustrated world history, 12th edition, Komet, Frechen (year unknown)


[1] British empire, at times it comprised approx. 25% of the earth

[2] Great Britain, spatial structures, development processes, spatial planning, Heinz Heineberg, Justus Perthe Verlag Gotha, page 96f., Chapter 3.9

[3] Great Britain, spatial structures, development processes, spatial planning, Heinz Heineberg, Justus Perthe Verlag Gotha, page 97f., Chapter 3.9

[4] Colonial law

[5] Great Britain, spatial structures, development processes, spatial planning, Heinz Heineberg, Justus Perthe Verlag Gotha, page 98, chapter 3.9

[6] a then rich and fertile land in the mouth of the mighty Ganges

[7] British trading company founded in 1600

[8] Wind, which changes direction with the seasons and thus changes the precipitation conditions, includes southeastern and southern Asia

[9] violent appropriation

[10] India - Geography, Friedrich Stang, Scientific Country Customers, Scientific Book Society, Darmstadt 2002

[11] India, largest democracy in the world between caste system and poverty, Dirk Bronger, Justus Perthe Verlag Gotha, p.256f., Chapter 11.3.2