The Colonial Rule
British imperialism was more practical than other colonial powers. Its motivation was not religious, but rather economic. There was none of the devoted Christian fanaticism that the Portuguese and Spaniards displayed in Latin America, and there was less enthusiasm for cultural diffusion than the French (or Americans) demonstrated in their colonies. As a result, they only Westernized India to a limited extent.
There were several types of British interests. Initially, a monopoly trading position was the main aim. Then it was believed that the free trade regime would make India an important market and raw materials for British goods, but British capitalists who have invested in India or have sold banking or shipping services in India have effectively continued to enjoy monopoly privileges. India also provided a large portion of the British high-ranking middle class with interesting and lucrative jobs, and their cash transfers made a significant contribution to the UK balance of payments and its savings capability. In geographical, logistical, and military manpower terms, control of India was a key element in the world’s power structure. The UK was not unwilling to see Indian economic development if it increased their markets but refused to support them in areas where they felt their economic interests or political security were in conflict. Therefore, until its main competitor was Japan rather than Manchester, they refused to protect the Indian textile industry and they did almost nothing for further technical training. They introduced some British property concepts, but when they met yesterday’s interests, they did not push them too far.
The British brought about the most significant changes in Indian society at the top. They replaced the wasteful warlord aristocracy with a bureaucratic-military establishment that was meticulously designed by utilitarian technocrats and was extremely effective in maintaining law and order. Some of this upper-class income was diverted to the United Kingdom, but the vast majority was spent in India. However, the consumption pattern shifted as the new upper class abandoned harems and palaces, as well as fine muslins and damascened swords. This resulted in some painful reorganizations in the traditional handicraft sector. It appears likely that there was some increase in productive investment, which must have been near zero in Moghul India: the government itself made productive investments in railways and irrigation, and as a result, agricultural and industrial output increased. The new elite established a Western way of life through the use of the English language and English schools. With segregated suburbs and housing for them, new towns and urban amenities were created. The new professional elite of lawyers, doctors, teachers, journalists, and businessmen adopted their habits. Within this group, old caste barriers were broken down, allowing for greater social mobility.
Regarding the mass of the population, there were few significant changes to the colonial rule. The educational effort in Britain was ridiculously small. The village society, the caste system, the situation of the unchangeable, the common family system or the methods of production in agriculture were not changed significantly. There were, therefore, limited British impacts on economic and social development. Total output and population significantly increased but per capita output was small or insignificant.
The New Westernized Elite
A ‘dual’ system was operated by Clive, i.e., power and a Nawab puppet. Warren Hastings displaced the Nawab, took over the direct government, but kept Indian officials. Finally, in 1785, Cornwallis established a professional framework of company servants who in India had no generous wages, no private trade and production interests, had a regular promotion prospect, and were eligible for retirement. The British reserved all senior positions, and the Indians were excluded. In each district of Bengal, Cornwallis designated British judges and appointed British officials as income collectors and judges. From 1806, at Haileybury College near London, the company trained its young recruits. Although appointments were still organized by a skipping system, the Company chose by competitive examination among its nominated nominees after 1833. After 1853, the choice was fully valid, and any British candidate could have an examination. The system of exams was driven by the Chinese model, which worked very well for 2000 years and emphasized classical learning and literary competence in a similar way. Therefore, the Indian government was able to secure high-quality people because it was highly paid and had a political power that no bureaucrat could have had in England.
In 1829, the regime was strengthened by establishing districts in British India that would be small enough to be effectively monitored by a British official who from now on exercised a fully autocratic power, acting as income collector, judge, and police chief.
The Company’s army was a local mercenary force comprised of 20,000-30,000 British officers and troops. It was by far Asia’s most modern and efficient army. Following the Mutiny in 1857, the British contingent was increased to one-third of the total strength, and all officers were British until the 1920s, when a small number of Indians were recruited. Normally, the army’s total strength was around 200,000 men. This army was much smaller than Moghul India’s, but it had better training and equipment, and the railway network (which was built partly for military purposes) provided it with greater mobility, logistics, and intelligence.
In the East India Company administration, there was a strong streak of Benthamite radicalism. After writing a monumental history of India that showed a strong contempt for Indian institutions, James Mill became a senior company official in 1819. He was the E.I.C.’s chief executive officer from 1831 to 1836, and his son John Stuart Mill worked for the company from 1823 to 1858. Malthus was a professor of economics at Haileybury, and Utilitarianism influenced the teaching of future company officials there. On the reform of Indian institutions, Bentham himself was consulted. The utilitarians purposefully used India to test out experiments and ideas (for example, competitive entry into the civil service) that they would have liked to implement in England. The Utilitarians were staunch supporters of laissez-faire and despised any form of government intervention to promote economic development. As a result, they tended to rely on market forces to address famine issues, doing nothing to stimulate agriculture or protect the industry. This laissez-faire tradition was more deeply embedded in Indian civil service than in the United Kingdom itself, and it lasted until the late 1920s.
Prior to the British invasion, the Moghul Court language was Persian, and the Muslim population spoke Urdu, a mix of Persian, Arabic, and Urdu. Before the British took over, the Moghul Court language was Persian, and the Muslim population spoke Urdu, a mix of Persian, Arabic, and Urdu. Macaulay’s 1835 Minute on Education influenced British educational policy and is a classic example of a Western rationalist approach to Indian civilization. The introduction of a modified version of English education was one of the most significant things the British did to Westernize India. One of the most important things the British did to Westernize India was to introduce a modified version of English education. Furthermore, Indian education was primarily literary in nature, with far fewer opportunities for technical training than in any European country. Higher education was provided by affiliated colleges, which offered a two-year B.A. Indian university did not provide teaching facilities until the 1920s, and then only for M.A. In 1857, three universities were established in Calcutta, Madras, and Bombay, but they were merely examining bodies and did not provide any teaching. The education system that arose was a pale imitation of that of the United Kingdom. Because higher education was in English, no official effort was made to translate Western literature into the vernacular, nor was there any standardization of Indian scripts, the variety of which is a major barrier to multilingualism among educated Indians.
After failing to Westernize India, the British established a separate ruling caste. They did not intermarry or eat with the lower (native) castes, as did other Indian castes. The British stayed in special suburbs known as cantonments and civil lines, where they had clubs and bungalows. The Anglo-Indian creole class was an outcast, unable to integrate into Indian or local British society. Their children were shipped away and did not mix with the natives as a result of the British public school system. After failing to Westernize India, the British established a separate ruling caste. They returned home at the end of their professional careers. They developed their own brand of self-righteous arrogance, considering themselves purveyors not of popular but of good government. The British ruled India in much the same way as the Roman consuls had ruled in Africa 2,000 years earlier and were very conscious of the Roman paradigm. They maintained the Moghul tradition of official pomp, sumptuary residences, and retinues of servants. They did not adopt the Moghul custom of polygamy but remained monogamous and brought in their own women. The elite with its classical education and contempt for business were quite happy establishing law and order and keeping ‘barbarians’ at bay on the frontier of the raj. Society became prim and priggish.
The top layer of Moghul property, the jagir, was abolished (except in the autonomous princely states), and the bulk of the old warlord aristocracy was dispossessed. The colonial government made institutional changes in agriculture by transforming traditionally circumscribed property rights into something more closely resembling the unencumbered private property characteristic of Western capitalism. Their previous income from land revenue, and that of the Moghul state, was now appropriated by the British as land tax. The beneficiaries of these new rights varied in different parts of India. All zamindars in these areas were now hereditary, as long as they paid their land taxes, and their judicial and administrative functions were abolished. The zamindars used to keep a tenth of the land revenue for themselves during the Moghul period, but by the end of British rule, their income from rents was a multiple of the tax they paid to the state. In Bihar, for example, rent accounted for five-sixths of the total amount levied by 1950, while revenue accounted for only one-sixth. However, zamindars were not the same as Western landowners. Continue