Posted in UPSC

Britishers – From traders to Rulers****

How Britishers transformed from traders to rulers of India ?

Mercantile Capitalism

  • Britishers initially imported Indian goods, exchange for billions. India became a sink of bullion.
  • with the industrial revolution of in England, the English were able to buy raw material at a higher price from India, leaving none for our craftsmen.
  • Britishers were able to sell finished goods at a lower cost.
  • This industrialised India.
  • British traders had surplus capital to be invested in India.

British Supremacy Thought

  • British thought themselves a supreme
  • They thought they need to civilize others
  • They had a vast knowledge of out side world
  • Britishers saw archaic laws implemented in India here , while they had a vision of “Rule of Law “

Better technology and Military training

Wars in europe made English aware of the new war tactics and weaponry .

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Posted in History of Modern India

The Muslim League (1906)

updated on March 23rd, 2019

Image result for muslim league 1906

Formation of Muslim League

  • As the radical movement grew stronger the British began to look for ways and means to break the unity among Indian.
  • They tried to do this through the partition of Bengal and by sowing the seed of communalism among Indian people.
  • They motivated Muslims to form a permanent political association of their own.
  • In December 1906, during the Muhammadan Educational conference in Dacca, Nawab Salim Ullah Khan raised the idea of establishing a Central Muhammadan Association to take care of Muslim interests.
  • Accordingly, on 30th December 1906, the All India Muslim League was founded. Another prominent person, Aga Khan was chosen as its president.
  • The main objective of the league was to protect and advance the rights of Muslims in India and represent their needs to the government.
  • By encouraging the issue of separate electorates, the government sowed the seed of communalism and separatism among Indians.
  • The formation of the Muslim League is considered to be the first fruit of the British master strategy of ‘Divide and Rule’. Mohammad Ali Jinnah later joined the League.

Role Of Muslim League In Indian Freedom Struggle

The seeds of Muslim communalism were sown in the 1880s when Syed Ahmed Khan sought to use it as a counterpoise to the national movement, that had emerged under the Congress. He believed that the Muslim share in administrative posts and in various professions could be released only by professing loyalty to the British. The Muslims had turned to modern education, trade, and industry late, So they needed the special protection of the British were also projected as safeguard the Muslim minority’s interests. The Hindus in India, because they were a majority, would have dominated Muslims and totally overruled their interests. Syed Ahmed knew that British authorities, at the time, frowned upon any attempts at the politicization of the Indian people Thus, instead of creating a counter communal political organization, he asked the Muslims to shun all politics and remain politically passive.

The British authorities, quick to see the inherent advantage of communalism and the theory of official protection of the minorities, from the very’ beginning, actively promoted and supported communalism.

However, the attempt to keep the growing Muslim intelligentsia politically passive was not wholly successful.

When Badruddin Tyabji presided over the Congress session in 1887, the number of Muslim delegates to the Congress increased in the succeeding year R M Sayani, A Bhimji, Mir Musharaff Husain, I Iamid All Khan and numerous other Muslim intellectuals from Bombay. Bengal and northern India joined the Congress. Abdul Rasul and a large number of other Bengali Muslim intellectuals gave support to the Swadeshi agitation against the partition of Bengal.

However, it cannot be denied that there was a certain Hindu tinge in the political work and ideas of the militant nationalists. This proved to be harmful to the National Movement as British and pro-British communal propagandists took advantage of its Hindu colouring to poison the minds of the Muslims. The result was that a large number of educated muslims remained either aloof from the rising National Movement or became hostile to it, thus falling an easy prey to the separatist outlook.

The communalists, as also their official supporters, felt that they had to abandon the policy of political passivity and enter the political arena At the end of 1906, the All India Muslim League was founded in Dacca by a group of big zamindars, ex-bureaucrats and upper class Muslims like Aga Khan, the Nawab of Dacca and Nawab Mohsin-ul-Mulk. It supported the partition of Bengal, raised the slogan of separate Muslim interests, and demanded special safeguards for the Muslims in government services. Later, with the help of Lord Minto, it secured acceptance of the demand for separate electorates for the Muslims. A branch of Muslim League was set up in London in 1908 by Amir All.

The Muslim League devoted itself to the task of keeping the emerging intelligentsia among the Muslims from joining the Congress. Its activities were against the National Congress and the Hindus and not against the British. It, thus, played into the hands of the British and became one of the main instruments with which the British hoped to fight the rising National Movement.

The Muslim political elite got a rude shock in December 1911 with the annulment of the partition, announced by George V at the Delhi Durbar. The continuing revolutionary terrorism in Bengal worried the authorities. They felt that until we get rid of the partition ulcer, we shall have no peace.
‘ Simultaneously, a transfer of the capital to Delhi was decided upon, both as a sop to the muslim sentiments and, more importantly, to insulate the Vieeregal authority from provincial pressures which would ultimately lead to ‘a larger measure of self-governance in the provinces’.

However, Muslim opinion was not mollified but was, in fact, further alienated by Britain’s refusal to help Turkey in the Italian and Balkan wars (1911-12). The Turkish ruler, at that time, was acknowledged as the Caliph or religious head of all the Muslims. Moreover, nearly all the Muslim holy places were situated within the Turkish empire. The younger Muslim intellectuals, the so-called Young Party, got dissatisfied with the loyalist and slavish mentality of the upper-class leadership of Muslim League. They captured the League in 1912 and began steering it towards greater militancy, some kind of accommodation with the nationalist Hindus, and pan-Islamism. Its leaders included Wazir Hassan, T A K Sherwani, the radical All brothers (Muhammad and Shaukat), and I lasart Mohani in UP. ZafarAli Khan in Punjab, and Fazlul Huq in Bengal.

In their social composition, they tended to be very much like the radical Hindu nationalists, insofar as they were seldom titled Zamindars, occasionally had a small pittance in rents from land, and mostly had to find employment in government service or the professions. In 1912. the brilliant Congress leader MA Jinnah was invited to join the League which adopted setting up of self-government as one of its objectives. In the same year,
Aga Khan resigned as the President of the League.

The militantly nationalist Ahrar Movement was founded at this time under the leadership of Maulana Mohammad Ali, Hakim Ajmal Khan. Hasan Imam. Maulana Zafar Ali Khan and Mazhar-ul-Haq. In their efforts, they got support from the section of orthodox Ulema (scholars), especially those belonging to the Deoband school. Another orthodox scholar to be attracted to the national movement was the young Maulana Abul Kalam Azad. He was educated at the famous AlAzharUniversity-at Cairo and propagated his rationalist and nationalist ideas in his newspaper Al Ililal, which he brought out first in 1912.

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Education Policy of British in India***

updated on March 18th, 2019

Why Britishers wanted to educate Indians ?

  • The British took a keen interest in introducing the English language in India.
  • They had many reasons for doing so. Educating Indians in the English language was a part of their strategy. The Indians would be ready to work as clerks on low wages while for the same work the British would demand much higher wages.
  • This would reduce the expenditure on administration. It was also expected to create a class of Indians who were loyal to the British and were not able to relate to other Indians.
  • This class of Indians would be taught to appreciate the culture and opinion of the British.
  • In addition, they would also help to increase the market for British goods.
  • They wanted to use education as a means to strengthen their political authority in the country.
  • They assumed that a few educated Indians would spread English culture to the masses and that they would be able to rule through this class of educated Indians.
  • The British gave jobs to only those Indians who knew English thereby compelling many Indians to go in for English education.
  • Education soon became a monopoly of the rich and the city dwellers.

How did British Educated Indians ?

  • The British Parliament issued the Charter Act of 1813 by which a sum of Rupees One lakh was sanctioned for promoting western sciences in India.
  • But controversy soon arose. Some wanted the money to be spent on advocating western ideas only.
  • There were others who placed more emphasis on traditional Indian learning.
  • Some recommended use of vernaculars (regional languages) as the medium of instruction, others were for English.
  • In this confusion, people failed to notice the difference between English as a medium and English as a subject for study.
  • The British, of course, decided in favour of teaching western ideas and literature through the medium of English language alone.
  • Another step in this direction was the Woods Despatch of 1854. It asked the Government of India to assume responsibility for the education of the masses.
  • As part of the directive given by the Woods Despatch, Departments of Education were instituted in all provinces and Affiliated Universities were opened in Calcutta, Madras and Bombay in 1857.
  • A few English schools and colleges were opened instead of many elementary schools. They ignored the education of the masses. But in reality, it was not sufficient to cater to the needs of the Indian people.

How Education policies of British transformed Indian ?

  • Though the British followed a half-hearted education policy in India, English language and western ideas also had some positive impact on society.
  • Many reformers like Raja Ram Mohan Roy, Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, Swami Dayanand Saraswati, Sir Syed Ahmad Khan, and Swami Vivekananda absorbed western ideas of liberalism and democracy and used it to reform some of the non-humanitarian social and religious practices of the time.
  • Though education did not reach the masses some ideas of anti-imperialism, nationalism, social and economic equality took root through political parties, discussions and debates on a public platform and the press.
  • The spread of English language and western education helped Indians to adopt modern, rational, democratic, liberal and patriotic outlook.
  • New fields of knowledge in science, humanities and literature open to them. English became the lingua franca of the educated people in India.
  • It united them and gradually made them politically conscious of their rights.
  • It also gave the opportunity to the Indians to study in England and learn about the working of democratic institutions there.
  • The writings of John Locke, Ruskin, Mill, Rousseau and many others instilled in them the ideas of liberty, equality, fraternity, human rights and self-government.
  • The French and the American Revolutions, and the unification of Italy and Germany further strengthened their appreciation of these ideas.
  • Cavour, Garibaldi and Mazzini became their favourite heroes. They began to aspire for these ideals for India.
  • Western thinkers like Max Mueller and Annie Besant encouraged vernacular languages and literary works to instil a sense of pride in Indian heritage and culture.
  • It enabled Indians to revive India’s cultural past.
  • Also, the important role of the press in arousing political awakening and exchange in ideas is noteworthy.
  • The newspapers and journals gave opportunities to share ideas and problems. Similarly, novel, drama, short story, poetry, song, dance, theatre, art and cinema were used to spread views and express resistance to colonial rule.
  • They spoke the language of the people, showcasing their everyday lives, joys and sorrows. Along with newspapers and journals, they promoted the feelings of self-confidence, self-respect, awareness and patriotism, thereby developing a feeling of national consciousness.
  • Over all , it made a pan India language acceptable as elite , that was ENGLISH .

Do You Know

Indian People’s Theatre Association (IPTA) was founded in 1943. It used music as an integral medium to express dissent and resistance, and continuing its cultural movement even after Independence. Songs ranged from the awareness of exploitation, immortalising the sacrifices of peasants, the revolt of 1857 and the people killed in the Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar. They cited the meaninglessness of war and violence and also protested against the partition of India through their songs.

How British used education as a tool to make their rule effective ?

  • The British devised several strategies to make their rule effective. The early British administrators in India like Warren Hastings, William Jones, Jonathan Duncan, and others glorified India’s ancient past.
  • These scholars and administrators were called Orientalists. They thought that a better understanding of Indian languages, literature, and culture would make it easier for them to rule India.
  • Important institutions that came to be identified with their efforts were the Calcutta Madarsas founded by Warren Hastings (1781), the Asiatic Society of Bengal founded by William Jones (1784), the Sanskrit College at Banaras founded by Jonathan Duncan (1794) and the Fort William College founded by Wellesley (1800).
  • These institutions, especially the Asiatic Society and the Fort William College became the epicentre of the study on Indian culture, languages, and literature. For the first time, great ancient Sanskrit writers like Kalidasa became known to the world through translation of their monumental work into English.

The British were more successful in helping to revolutionize the intellectual life of Indians through the introduction of modern education. The Christian missionaries and a large number of enlightened Indians also made an important contribution.

First Institutions The first educational institutions supported by the company were the Calcutta Madrasah and Benaras Sanskrit College established in 1781 and 1791, respectively. Both these institutions were designed to provide a regular supply of qualified Indians to help the administration of law in the courts of the Company. Fort William College was started in Calcutta in 1801 and a handful of Indian scholars under a British principal were engaged there to acquaint the British civilian officials with the languages, history, law and customs of India In 1813, through the Charter Acts, the British government sanctioned to the company a lakh of rupees for educational development.

Educational Policy The Company did not, however, have a positive educational policy till 1835. The government then decided to promote European literature and sciences among the natives of India through the medium of the English language alone. In a famous minute Lord Macaulay, the Law Member of the Governor General’s council argued that Indian languages were not sufficiently developed to serve the purpose. More advanced Indians welcomed this policy. However, in the new system. English did not replace the use of Indian languages in the lower schools.

Another important step in the spread of modem education was the Educational Dispatch of 1854. The Dispatch asked the Government of India to assume responsibility for the education of the masses. In practice, the Government did little to spread education and spent very little on it As a result of the directions given by the Dispatches, departments of education were instituted in all provinces and affiliating universities were set up in 1857 at Calcutta, Bombay and Madras. Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay was the first graduate of the Calcutta University.

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Social and Cultural Policy of Britishers in India

updated on March 14th, 2019

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The British had come to India with the idea of making immense profits. This meant buying of raw materials at very cheap rates and selling finished goods at much higher prices. The British wanted the Indians to be educated and modern enough to consume their goods but not to the extent that it proved detrimental to British interests.

Some of the Britishers believed that Western ideas were modern and superior, while Indian ideas were old and inferior. This was, of course, not true. Indians had rich traditional learning that was still relevant. By this time in England, there was a group of Radicals who had a humanistic ideology towards Indians. They wanted India to be a part of the modern, progressive world of science. But the British government was cautious in undertaking rapid modernization of India. They feared a reaction among the people if too much interference took place with their religious beliefs and social customs. The English wanted the perpetuation of their rule in India and not a reaction among the people. Hence, though they talked about introducing reforms, in reality very few measures were taken and these were also half-hearted.

How British rule transformed Indian Society ?

  • Indian society underwent many changes after the British came to India. In the 19th century, certain social practices like female infanticide, child marriage, sati, polygamy and a rigid caste system became more prevalent.
  • these practices were against human dignity and values. Women were discriminated against at all stages of life and were the disadvantaged section of society.
  • They did not have access to any development opportunities to improve their status.
  • Education was limited to a handful of men belonging to the upper castes. Brahmins had access to the Vedas which were written in Sanskrit.
  • Expensive rituals, sacrifices and practices after birth or death were outlined by the priestly class.
  • When the British came to India, they brought new ideas such as liberty, equality, freedom and human rights from the Renaissance, the Reformation Movement and the various revolutions that took place in Europe.
  • These ideas appealed to some sections of our society and led to several reform movements in different parts of the country.
  • At the forefront of these movements were visionary Indians such as Raja Ram Mohan Roy, Sir Syed Ahmed Khan, Aruna Asaf Ali and Pandita Ramabai. These movements looked for social unity and strived towards liberty, equality and fraternity.
  • Many legal measures were introduced to improve the status of women. For example, the practice of sati was banned in 1829 by Lord Bentinck, the then Governor General.
  • Widow Remarriage was permitted by a law passed in 856.
  • A law passed in 1872, sanctioned inter-caste and inter-communal marriages.
  • Sharda Act was passed in 1929 preventing child marriage.
  • The act provided that it was illegal to marry a girl below 14 and a boy below 18 years. All the movements severely criticized the caste system and especially the practice of untouchability.
  • The impact of the efforts made by these numerous individuals, reform societies, and religious organizations was felt all over and was most evident in the national movement. Women started getting better education opportunities and took up professions and public employment outside their homes.
  • The role of women like Captain Laxmi Sehgal of Indian National Army (INA), Sarojini Naidu, Annie Besant, Aruna Asaf Ali and many others were extremely important in the freedom struggle.

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Commercialisation of Agriculture under British Rule ****

updated on March 14th, 2019

Another major economic impact of the British policies in India was the introduction of a large number of commercial crops such as tea, coffee, indigo, opium, cotton, jute, sugarcane and oilseed. Different kinds of commercial crops were introduced with different intentions. Indian opium was used to balance the trade of Chinese tea with Britain in the latter’s favor. The market for opium was strictly controlled by British traders which did not leave much scope for Indian producers to reap profit. Indians were forced to produce indigo and sell it on the conditions dictated by the Britishers. Indigo was sent to England and used as a dyeing agent for cloth produced in British towns. Indigo was grown under a different system where all farmers were compelled to grow it on 3/20th part of their land. Unfortunately cultivation of Indigo left the land infertile for some years. This made the farmers reluctant to grow it. In the tea plantations ownership changed hands quite often. The workers on these plantations worked under a lot of hardships.

The commercialization of agriculture further enhanced the speed of transfer of ownership of land thereby increasing the number of landless laborers. It also brought in a large number of merchants, traders, and middlemen who further exploited the situation. The peasant now depended on them to sell their produce during harvest time. Because the peasants now shifted to commercial crops, food grain production went down. So, less food stock led to famines. It was therefore not surprising that the peasants revolted. You would read about it in detail in the coming chapters. There was an enormous drain of wealth from our country to Britain due to the various economic policies. The additional financial burden was placed on India due to expenditures on salaries, pensions, and training of military and civilian staffs employed by the British to rule India. If this wealth was invested in India it could have helped enormously improved the economy in this country. Let us learn how the economic policies implemented by the British changed the social structure of Indian society.

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How did the British destroyed Indian Textile trade?

updated on March 14th, 2019

Earlier, Indian handloom had a big market in Europe. Indian textiles such as cotton, linen, silk and woolen goods already had markets in Asia and Africa. With the coming of industrialisation in England, the textile industry there made important headway. There was now a reverse of the direction of textile trade between Britain and India. There was a massive import of machine made clothes from English factories to Indian markets. This import of large amount of products manufactured by mechanical looms in England led to increase threat for the handicraft industries as the British goods were sold at a much cheaper price.

The British succeeded in selling their goods at a cheap price as foreign goods were given free entry in India without paying any duty. On the other hand, Indian handicrafts were taxed heavily when they were sent out of the country. Besides, under the pressure of its industrialists, British government often imposed a protective tariff on Indian textiles. Therefore, within a few years, India from being an exporter of clothes became an exporter of raw cotton and an importer of British clothes. This reversal made a huge impact on the Indian handloom weaving industry leading to its virtual collapse. It also created unemployment for a large community of weavers. Many of them migrated to rural areas to work on their lands as agricultural laborers. This in turn put increased pressure on the rural economy and livelihood. This rocess of uneven competition faced by the Indian handloom industry was later dubbed by the Indian nationalist leaders as the-industrialization.

The main aim of the British was to transform India into a consumer of British goods. As a result, textile, metalwork, glass and paper industries were soon out of work. By 1813, the Indian handicrafts lost both their domestic as well as foreign market. Indian goods could not compete with the British factory-made products where machines were used. These markets were now captured and monopolized by Britain by means of war and colonization. From an exporter, India became an importer of these goods. They extracted money from the Indian rulers, merchants, zamindars and even the common people. Added to this drain was the profit made through trade and also the salaries of the officials. It was evident that their economic policies were meant to serve the interests of the East India Company and later the British Empire.

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