Most people believe that we would have been very strong economically if we had never agreed to trade with the Britishers. The fact is: Britishers inflicted unemployment, famines, and other atrocities upon India. But like the two sides of a coin, there are always two viewpoints in every discussion.
Though the British destroyed India’s essence, it also made India strong enough to attain new heights by bringing in new reforms, technologies, and modernization. This was the foundation of a new and sturdy nation.
Before the British Came to India
Before the British came, we had no essence and no idea of Indian nationality. India was divided by many kings; some had large empires while some ruled just a city, but the people lived peacefully. Muslims ruled India for a long time, and India flourished during their rule and flourished even more when the Mughal family came to rule it.
British Came and Ruined Our Economy
Things changed after the British came, and the saying “divide and conquer” effect began to take its control from the ruling family to themselves. And only after the British came to India did we see 500 princely states fighting with each other. We also witnessed how the kings and landlords started sucking the blood out of the common person due to the lack of democracy, governance, law, and justice.
Indians have always blamed the British for ruining our wealth and resources, but if they had not come to our country, we would not have seen the light of modernization. British rule has definitely brought a good influence on India’s development.
India would have never been united if the British didn’t rule us. Without the Britishers, Mumbai wouldn’t have become the economic and financial capital of India. We would not have turned Delhi into New Delhi. They introduced railway infrastructure, airways, and English education. Their contributions to India also include the largest metropolitan cities, the armed forces, the civil services, modern education, and much more that keep this nation united.
Development of Education System in India During British Rule
The British introduced the Macaulay system of education and built hundreds of new schools, universities, and colleges for the higher education of the Indian population. They did it for the Indians and not for themselves.
They trained much of the independence movement to British ideals, and these forward-thinking ideas were set up by the British and germinated in the Indian university campuses. They also introduced Indians to western knowledge and spread western culture.
But with western culture, Indians also learned about democracy and nationalism. The ideas of liberty and freedom spread, and people recognized the oppression they were under and raised their voices. Thus, because of the Britishers, India is now the second-largest English-speaking nation, and it has carved out a reputed position for itself in the world.
Introduced Railway Service
Unlike the other colonizers, the Britishers, instead of spoiling all the local resources and leaving nothing behind, ignoring the locals, and killing the intelligentsia, have actually tried to establish a greater and more prosperous British Empire.
The British laid the foundations of the first passenger train from Mumbai to Thane on 16 April 1853. But the fact remains that railways were made to ship out the raw materials from India to Britain and sell it back to India at higher costs. They constructed 70,000 miles of concrete road and 40,000 miles of railroads. Transportation had never been so cheap, fast, and easy in India.
Under British rule, we witnessed new and never seen technologies like electricity and air transport. India got developed, left behind the medieval age, and rushed into a new technologically advanced nation. Presently, Indian Railways is the largest rail network in Asia and offers employment to millions of people. We can’t imagine India without railways and roads.
Indians Cherish Even Today
British rule has also brought Cricket to India, and it is certainly the only thing that has the power to bring together the entire nation. India would have probably lacked behind in tea plantations without the British rule because they were the ones to import tea from China to India.
The first consequence was that Pakistan got themselves separated from India, and Bangladesh followed the same thing. The reason is that the British only thought of having more area added to their empire and did not come to help any human being except for the ones that served them.
Their first and foremost aim was to attain all our wealth. Do you know? One of the most valuable diamonds (Koh-i-Noor) was originally from India, and it is now in England!
Eradicating ‘Sati’ Systems and Abolishing ‘Thugs’
The indisputable fact is that India as a nation, as it stands today, was originally put together and created by a small, distant island country. It is important to note that there is a substantial list on the credit side. They include railways, roads, canals, mines, sewers, plantations, and the establishment of English law and language. Great cities, including Bombay, Calcutta, and Madras, were built, and some of the finest universities and museums in India were founded by the British.
The first definitive atlas of India was drawn, and there were great social reforms, such as the eradication of violent highway robbery, the banning of the custom of Sati (the burning of widows on the husband’s funeral pyre), and female infanticide. Perhaps most innovative of all was the bringing together of several different states into one unified India.
The 200-year window of British governance was perhaps the only period in a thousand years of Indian history to date when the minorities and people of different religions felt more secure and less discriminated against, with a notable absence of killings, conflicts, and persecutions.
Although there were wrongs committed by the British against India, as widely recognized by the British themselves, there was much more and remained positive. The sheer audacity and scale of such an endeavor, the courage and enterprise have no parallel in world history,” says Dr. Kartar Lalvani, founder of the vitamins company Vitabiotics.
Some Facts Every Indian Should Be Aware Of
Caste discrimination continues, women do not get their rights, female foeticide remains. Indeed, Indians were never treated as equals by the British, but it is equally true that they were treated at least better than the caste system treated them.
British have also put an end to barbaric practices like Sati. Initially, India was exploited and pillaged by the British Empire, but the truth is also that the British neither had enough resources to control India nor good control of Indians.
The British wouldn’t have left India if India was a huge financial asset to Britain. And if they had stayed, they would’ve continued to take India on the path of modernization. They left India with the slightest appearance of modern law, primary and higher education, industrialization, and modern medicine.
Would India Be Better Off if It Was Still Under British Control?
While many people still feel that India would have been worse off under the British, be careful not to forget the positive impacts on the Indian nation. But it is also agreed that it wouldn’t have been better if the British still ruled us because they were systematically stealing from India, milking out its resources and wealth, and never considered Indians as equals but rather to be their slaves and laborers.
If the Britishers were still ruling Indians, there would have surely been much better infrastructure, but it was possible that most of the Indians would have either died in the wars of other countries or would have continued to be slaves to the Britishers living in India. And most of our useful resources, which still exist in India, would have been taken away.