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The British in India and the ensuing road to Indian Independence

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Will Gibbs

on 17 April 2012

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Transcript of The British in India and the ensuing road to Indian Independence

The Indian Spice Trade
“the first Europeans to arrive and set up permanent settlements, were also the last to leave”
British vs. French in India
PEOPLE TO MEET: The British in India edition
CHAPTER 5 – The Road to Indian Independence
EVENT #1: the Indian National Congress
EVENT #2: Morley-Minto Reforms
EVENT #3: Woodrow Wilson’s 14 Points Speech
EVENT #4: Montagu-Chelmsford Reforms
EVENT #5: Rowlatt Laws/Amritsar Massacre
EVENT #6: Gandhi’s Non-Cooperation Movement
EVENT #7: The Salt March
CHAPTER 4 – The British in India

1.) The collapse of the Mogul Empire left India divided and disorganized. Indian rulers were fighting with each other and weakening themselves from the inside.
2.) “Divide and Conquer” – The British allied themselves with certain tribes and pitted them against others. The took advantage of the internal political weakness of India and magnified it through manipulation, lies, and strategy.
3.) British Superiority in Military and Naval power. This enabled them to defeat large armies. They equipped Sepoys with modern weapons.
4.) Sound Administrative tactics, and able governors showcased how advanced the British were politically. They introduced reforms and improved local government services.
Eventually, Turkish greed shut down trading routes and increased taxes – creating a problem that the Europeans needed to solve.
Thus, the arrival of the first Europeans in India was imminent
From India, by land, through the mountains and deserts (Iraq and Egypt, Turkish Land) to Middle Eastern Trading Centers
Taxes, Tolls, Bribes
By the time the spices reached Europe the prices were astronomical
Why were these Spice so important to the Europeans?
1.)Preserving Meats
2.)Making Sour Wine Drinkable
“they kept Goa until 1961” - “the first Europeans to arrive and set up permanent settlements, were also the last to leave”
The Portuguese
Vasco de Gama
An 11 month voyage…
Calicut in 1498 and set up a successful trading post - market there.
This led to a “gold rush” mentality – more and more ships and traders arrived from Portugal
Alfonso de Albuquerque
This led to a Portuguese Monopoly over the European Spice Trade during the 16th Century
Pepper, sugar, salt, cinnamon, rice, tea, cotton cloth.
They sold these products in Europe well below the cost on the Ottoman Empire
Cue the Dutch, French and English
As quickly as it started, the Potuguese monopoly was over. They could not withstand the competition, navy and military of these European powers.
A privately owned/operated company out of Great Britain (not a government run company)
However, this company was given powers to sign treaties with Indian rulers, to maintain armies (protect trade), and to govern themselves
With each new trading center, port, etc. that was set up – more and more Indians worked as agents or servants for the company.
However, the trial left him bitter and defeated, his health was shattered, and in 1774 he committed suicide.
The FRENCH EAST INDIA COMPANY was doing the same thing.
The French were the first to employ the use of SEPOYS.
SEPOY: an Indian serving in the army of a military company
The British and the French, in an effort to maintain their respective strangleholds on the Indian Spice trade – aligned themselves with various native Indian tribes
British vs. French in India
Robert Clive (GB)
Joseph Dupleix (Fr)
Most notable victory between these two was the Battle of Plassey
3,200 British troops (inc. Sepoys)
50,000 French troops (inc. Sepoys)
This victory led to British Control of Bengal – the richest state in India
Clive was appointed governor of Bengal.
A Sad ending to a great national hero…
Despite his leadership and service to the British economy, Clive was eventually accused of having accepted bribes from Indian rulers and amassing a huge personal fortune
He sat in court and defended his actions…
And was acquitted…
This all ended under the direction of the 2nd PERSON TO MEET…
Warren Hastings
The first “Governor-General"
of India
He introduced the first large scale reforms to the existing government
The Indian Civil Service was the organization of nonmilitary employees of the British East India Company… essentially, it was a government for a private company.
It did everything a government would do. Organized a judicial system, abolished taxes on imports and exports, passed laws, etc.
Hastings found the same fate as Clive…save one suicide.
He was put on trial for corruption and found not guilty. However, the trial left him broke and defeated…
Why does this keep happening?
Their salaries were low
The riches of India were vast
Thus, opportunities to “enrich” themselves were common (bribes, embezzlement, etc.)
No government regulation from England…
Better known for his prowess in the American Revolution: he was defeated by the Americans at Yorktown
In India, he reformed the Civil Service…
He prohibited employees from engaging in trade that benefited themselves personally.
He raised salaries
He did, however, deny Indians from higher positions within the government…believing that they were responsible for much of the corruption in the British East India Company.
This would be a bone of contention later on…
Defeated some remaining French Allies in the Indian states of Hyderabad and Nizam…and other smaller territories…further extending the rule of the BEIC
Lord Wellesley
When his rule was over…the BEIC was the strongest power in India
Lord Hastings
Lord Amherst
Annexed the Western portion of Nepal
Annexed Assam and Burma
Ended Female Infanticide
Lord Bentinick
Introduced significant Western Ideas into native India… changing the Native Culture
English was made the official language for all Indian matters
He abolished the practice of SUTTEE
SUTTEE: Hindu wives would throw themselves atop their husbands burning funeral pyres…thus joining them in death.
Ended Thuggery
THUGS: “murderous fanatics” – terrorists…
Lord Dalhousie
Postal Service
Telegraph system
Roads and an intricate system of national railroads
Canals for irrigation
Department of Public Instruction – promote elementary education for girls and boys
Vocational, medical and engineering schools were established
Private ownership of land
What is the? British Raj
What was the straw that broke the camel’s back?
New weapons that were given to Sepoys included ammunition cartridges that were lubricated in order for the gun to be properly loaded. The Sepoy would have to bite off the tip of the cartridge and pour the powder into the barrel of the gun.
Effect: The British Raj
Rumors of a forced conversion to Christianity
The new railroad and telegraph system felt very European and very Un-Indian
The growing fear that the British were destroying traditional Indian Culture…
Cause(s): immediate and underlying
Effect: the Sepoy Mutiny
Realizing that the British East India Company had gotten too rich and powerful, and had become something more than it had initially intended to be… the British government intervened.
They took over all of BEIC possessions in India
The British Government then appointed it’s own Governor-General (indirect control) and gradually took control away from the BEIC bit by bit
This expanded imperialism by the British government gave birth to a general discontent within many Indians.
General discontent among the Indians turned into violence in 1857.
The British expansion had taken its toll on the native Indians and it boiled over at a small army base in Meerut.
This became known as THE SEPOY MUTINY
Interestingly, some Indians referred to this as “the First War of Indian Independence”
Great quote from the book, “The revolt began in the army post at Meerut….There, the company’s sepoys killed every European man, woman, and child on whom they could lay their hands.”
News of the uprising spread quickly, and the sepoys grew in numbers and fury
The revolt received support from dispossessed princes, their former soldiers, and other native Indians. They were fed up with the Imperialists from Europe.
The mutiny was never a full scale war – and some portions of India remained loyal to the British.
The uprising was put down after a year of hard fighting and only with the help of British troops from abroad.
“the British suppression of the revolt was a cruel and violent as its beginnings”
thousands were killed – many without any kind of trial.
This was a major wake up call for the British government.
Since the cow is sacred to Hindus… this posed a major problem.
The resentment born from requirements that sepoys serve outside India, even though travel across oceans did not jive with the Caste System
Cause: the Sepoy Mutiny
Was British Rule in India a Bad thing or a Good thing?
Came under the direction of the British Parliament as they passed the “An Act for the Better Government of India”
Better for who?
The “Act for the Better Government of India” transferred the ENTIRE administration of the BEIC to the British Government (direct rule)
This new government became known as the Raj
Raj is a word derived from the Hindu word: Kingdom
India was divided into two parts
1.) British India - about 3/5 of the subcontinent, including the most heavily populated and productive areas
2.) Native India – 1/3 of the land and about ¼ of the population. It consisted of 562 “princely states.” These states were scattered across the region – ranging in size from Hyderabad (as big a France) to tiny states the size of EA
British India = the land and people we care about because they can make us money
Native India = the land and people we don’t care about because we can’t make much money
British India = Direct Rule
Native India = “the Princely States”
Native India = Indirect Rule
In Native India, the indirect rule over the “Princely States” came in the form of either Hindu Rulers or Muslim rulers.
The rulers had powers that were regulated by the British government – some were allowed to control their own courts, schools, and military… others weren’t.
No matter who they were – the British Government had control over the foreign affairs of all 562 states.
Each ruler was advised by a “resident”
“resident”: employee of the British government that was appointed by the Viceroy (definition of indirect rule)
The Viceroy sat atop the Raj
Viceroy: term used to refer to the “British President of India” – this person answered to the Queen of England, Secretary of the State for India, and to Parliament
Beneath the Viceroy was his cabinet – handpicked from the Indian Civil Service…
Despite its name, the ICS was comprised primarily of British citizens
Under the Raj – the Indians had almost no say in government.
6. Increase in industrial production – Textile and Jute factories, Iron and steel plants. Shipping and Banking facilities were expanded, as was international trade.
During the many years of British Control, significant changes were brought about in Indian life, thought, and work; among them are the following:
1.) Pax Britannica
“British Peace”
for the first time in history, India was largely unified. With it, can peace, law and order, and political unity.
2.) Infrastructure
a.) the best and most extensive railroad system in all of Asia was constructed.
4000 miles in 1871
40,000 miles in 1941
b.) national postal and telegraph network has been established
c.) A canal system helped irrigate and reclaim millions of acres of land for agriculture
d.) Public Health measures against cholera, smallpox, and other deadly diseases helped lower the death rate. This increased the population
e.) famine relief system aided millions of starving people when harvests are poor.
3.) New Schools started by the British, by the Princeley States, by missionaries, and private enterprises. English was taught at every level, (Elementary, Primary and University)
• a small minority of Indians attended these schools, but those who did received a world class education
• Fluency in English language became the badge of education and a status symbol
• Many of the Indians who studied at these schools ended up being the leaders of the Indian Independence movement.
4.) Introduced equality under the law: “regardless of religion, race, or social status”
Really? The British certainly didn’t heed their own advice when dealing with the Indians themselves.
5.) Banned Suttee and female infanticide
1.)The Poverty levels in India are a direct result of the fact that the British drained great wealth from the country and used the Indian economy to benefit themselves rather than India
2.)Remember all the infrastructure “benefits” listed before? Yeah. Well, they were all paid for by Indian taxpayers. Furthermore, the maintenance of the BRITISH army was paid for by INDIAN taxpayers
3.)Famines were caused by the British diversion of farmlands to the growing of commercial crops for sale outside of India
4.)“Complete separation of ruler from the ruled”
Indians were barred from high level positions in the Indian Civil Service. The British treated them as inferiors socially, morally, and culturally.
“For Europeans Only” in public places like railroad cars, parks, restaurants, etc.
5.)The cottage industry in India of spinning and weaving cotton cloth was ruined by the influx of British competition. Many of these artisans had to leave the city and return to the fickle world of agriculture in the villages.
6.)Zamindars – British tax collectors who accepted cash instead of crops…
When the harvest was bad – and they didn’t have money – they paid in land.
Meaning…they started to lose their land and be forced to rent it back from the Zamindars
This led to vast riches for the British tax collectors by introducing sharecropping, increasing unemployment, and creating widespread poverty among Indians.
So… Which is it? Was the British in India a Benefit or a Limitation?
Your job is to tell me WHY each event was so significant along the road to Indian Independence.
1. national spirit or aspirations.
2.devotion and loyalty to one's own nation; patriotism.
3. the desire for national advancement or independence.
4. the policy or doctrine of asserting the interests of one's own nation, viewed as separate from the interests of other nations or the common interests of all nations.
We will look at Seven different events that took place from roughly 1885 up until Indian Independence day: August 15th 1947
Each one of these events led to an increase in Indian Nationalism.

Death of Gandhi

India is now independent
Partition Plan
Patterned mainly after that of GB – but resembles the US system
The NEW Government of Independent India
“Parliamentary System”
I. Prime Minister – most important official
1.) leader of the political party or coalition of parties that controls the majority of the

seats in the lower house.
2.) chooses the Cabinet
The Cabinet is made up of members of Parliament (and serve concurrently on the Cabinet and Parliament)
The Cabinet - directs different aspects of the Gov’t – Foreign Affairs, Education, Transportation,
II. The Parliament aka the Federal Legislature – comprised of 2 houses:
UPPER – “Rajya Sabha” – 244 members – state legislatures elect these officials – they serve for 6 years (1/3 elected every 2 years – like the US)
LOWER – “Lok Sabha” - 545 members elected directly for 5 year terms
III. President and Vice President – five year terms – Largely Ceremonial – but able to take over for PM if need be.
IV. Supreme Court – interprets the Constitution
Fed government – can create new states or abolish others – change their boundaries – or take over their powers –
The Fed Govt – controls the major sources of revenue – foreign affairs – defense – interstate commerce – money – highways
The State Government – police – public health – education and agriculture –
Each State has a governor – appointed by the President – governors have wide powers

Individual Liberties
Constitution looks out for the individual rights of their citizens -
Freedom of Religion, Speech, Outlawing Untouchability, forbidding of discrimination of any kind bc of race, religion, caste, sex, place of birth,

Preventative detention law
The British East India Company (BEIC)
Reasons for British Success in India
"SOON after dawn on May 21st 1498, Vasco da Gama and his crew arrived at Calicut after the first direct sea voyage from Europe to Asia. If history's modern age has a beginning, this is it."
For thousands of years before Da Gama and hundreds of years afterwards, the secret of the spice trade was simple: great demand and highly controlled supply.
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