The ‘Un’ British rule in India

At the outset, I would like to make it clear that I am not eulogizing the British rule but making a dispassionate analysis of “What would have happened if the British had not ruled India?”

The Indus valley civilization, Vedic period, Mauryan administration, Gupta administration and Mughal administration are some of the important milestones in Indian administration before the advent of the British rule in India. The peculiarity of all these administrative systems was the supreme power associated with the monarch. As we all know, monarchy is the best when ruled by a benevolent monarch. India as we see today was very different in the past with hundreds of independent rulers ruling the princely states. The centralized administration of the Mauryans, Guptas and Mughals also lacked the centralization that we see today.

The credit for consolidating India goes to the British (though their intentions are debatable). The spirit of enquiry, industrial revolution, inception of the contemporary form of democracy, etc have their roots in the west. The British were responsible in imbibing these values in Indian society. A liberal judicial system based on the principles of natural justice is also a boon for independent India bequeathed by the British. The bridges, railway lines and irrigation canals built by the British some hundred years ago are still intact while some of the flyovers built today have collapsed within a week of their commissioning. English or Hinglish has contributed to the service sector immensely which has enabled our economic growth. The modern education system also has its roots in the British rule which can be traced back to Macaulay’s minutes. The democratic exercise that we all are proud of today was introduced by the British.

We can only simulate the various scenarios and will never be able to prove if the British rule was the right chapter in the Indian evolution. You can only imagine horse and elephant chariots, magnificent palaces, kings and princes indulging in lavish display of their wealth (some of them continue to do it even today), maulvis, qazis or priests administering justice as per religious laws, woman being burnt on the pyre of her husband, etc.

The changes in the west would have of course reached the Indian subcontinent but with a delay, not only because of the geographic distance but also because of the cultural diversity and resistance of these diverse cultural groups to adopt these values. So, the British rule acted as a catalyst in bringing about these changes in our social, cultural, economic and political systems. I do not want to be blamed of following a functional perspective of British exploitation in India. All that I am doing in this article is recollecting the good things about the British rule relative to the bad things that would have occurred if the British had not ruled us. I admit that we Indians were smart enough to hit the iron when it was hot. It is this smartness that has enabled us to be listed as the prospective super power of the world.

Jai Hind

About guptasudhir

Let us revolutionize education in India !
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4 Responses to The ‘Un’ British rule in India

  1. James says:

    Look at Japan, one of the few developed countries in Asia. They were not colonized by any western power yet by the 1940s they became one of the most powerful countries in the world.

    All the British did was loot India of her wealth. This in turn resulted in the creation of more poor people.


  2. J E F Rose says:

    I have been studying the 1857 mutiny for a wordpress blog. If Britain had not conquered India by accident by exploiting the disunity of rajahs and nawabs then I cannot see how India would not have ended up like China, it’s center a crazy quilt of warring principalites and warlords and it’s ports controlled by various Europeans. India was too crucial to be ignored. But India did not have the unity to ward off foreign conquest. Britain invested 400 million (believe it or not) in India’s roads and railroads and canals and ports and schools and universities. Any other European conqueror probably would not have done that and India would have had to built itself up belatedly in the 1920s or 1930s just as China did. Japan was the exception that proved the rule that most of the valuable real estate was conquered. Japan did a 180 degree turnabout and industrialized and then it conquered just like the West. India would have had a Japanese port just as China had a Japanese port and an French port and a British port and an American port. etc. And while the British looted India’s wealth so did the Shah of Persia (milions looted plus the peacock throne) and the Mughals and every other invader. And the rajahs and nawabs sat literally on millions in treasure in vaults under their forts and palaces. The British looting was just recorded with ‘John Company’ effecient accounting. That is all.

    JEF of the Victorian Blogs of John Nicholson of India WordPress.


  3. compton says:

    Sudhir Gupta has left out an important fact in the above essay. If the British had not colonized India someone else, like the Portuguese, Belgians, French, and others, would have done so. We are indeed glad it was the British who decided to take it. India has benefited immensely for the British rule. I will not go into details, just read Nirad Chaudhari’s essay.
    The idea of India being listed as “a prospective super power of the world” is a hopeless joke that only an Indian will utter. India has invented nothing and has discovered nothing. The only technology present in India is technology acquired through contact with the Russians and the western world. To be a superpower one must have the capability to be self-sufficient in every aspect of technology. In addition, India has no infrastructure that would compare with the developed world.
    This absence of technology has indeed ushered in a new period of colonization of India. Note that India has just signed an agreement for the US to build Nuclear Power plants in India. To get this technology india has agreed to allow the US to Inspect and monitor all Nuclear installations in the country for the life of the installations. Since these things last at least 100 years, this could be called forever.
    This means that the US will have a permanent presence in India, and you have to know they will need military installations in place as protection for the US citizens who will live there for the purpose of “monitoring” the installations.


  4. Katmandou says:

    I was thinking about the same and arrived at you blog through Google search. Very good thinking. India, as a country, wouuld never have existed had the British not colonized. Hundreds of states and princedoms would have existed under the common civilization of Bharat Varsha but India as a single entity could hardly be imagined.


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