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    Year 12 History Essay

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    2Square    71

    Year 12 Modern History Research Assessment
    “British Imperialism in India”

    May 2019

    Hypothesis:  That the British colonisation of India bought benefits and also disadvantages to the people of India.

    What was the reasoning behind the colonisation of India and what effects did new imperialism have on the country and its people.


    The British colonisation of the Indian subcontinent that took place between 1757 and 1947 affected India in many ways, both positively and negatively. Great changes were made to the way the native people lived that were not always in their best interests. Britain viewed India as a great source of raw materials and man power and took steps to ensure those things were taken advantage of.  When the British first went to India the country was un-developed; had little large-scale agriculture; no infrastructure; roads and railways; healthcare, education or organised government.  Although the British didn’t blatantly invade India, it started its moves into India when the East India Trading Company began trade between India and the west (Britain), who made changes to India support its own endeavours.

    The major vehicle Britain used to make in-roads into India was via The East India Company which was formed in England for the expansion and development of trade with East and Southeast Asia and India and was incorporated by royal charter in December 1600.  “The Company” as they were commonly called, became a one-stop-shop-trader and monopolised the way India traded; they became involved in the politics of the country and introduced a lot of new industries such as education, transport, railroads, a postal system, hospitals, western medicine and new types of agriculture that serviced British needs in Britain.  However, the demand by the English for new crops like cotton meant Indian farmers had to use their land to grow this exclusively rather than food crops for their own families and domestic trade, and the people suffered starvation. 

    Through the introduction of new technologies, India was able to modernise extremely quickly. With the introduction of trains and road. The Company was able to transport their goods (minerals, spices, cotton) to ports for shipment to England.  These things were initially seen as a benefit to the native Indians but quickly became a problem.  The native people were poorly paid and struggled to earn enough to buy food for their families, which they could not now grow due to the demand for their land for other crops.  In bringing in these modern changes they were effectively trying to economically develop the country and make a profit by buying Indian goods and resources cheaply and selling them at a higher price to the British consumer who saw Indian products as exotic and new. This can be proven by the 20th Century History Readers in the book Mohandas Gandhi saying; “Britain brought in major English education while building railways and roads”. I order to build this thought the Britain put the population of India through a lot of famines.

    Indians were treated very poorly during Britain’s colonisation of India. For example, when the British attempted to westernise the culture of India, they did so often with force and insensitivity. One of the actions taken during the process of westernising the country was reforming the land to the British liking and not what Indians needed to live.  By doing this they angered the people of India because in some instances the land was sacred and this was offensive to the people in regard to religions of Hinduism, Muslim and Sikh.  Great areas of farm land were given over to the growing of cotton for export to Britain and cheap native labour was used to great profit for the British.  Living conditions for the local were basic and often little or no pay was provided for their labour and efforts.  Many local people were used as house staff for wealthy families while the working families lived in poor conditions with little food and clean water. Some evidence of this can be found from the book Mohandas Gandhi by 20th Century History Readers stating the following; “Indian princes all entirely dependent on the British allowing them to keep their authority.” This being said the fact that the British were taking everything from India and selling it around the world. This means that the British would have used the Indian princes as puppets to make the population work harder in rougher conditions.

    As time when by and the Indian patience for such treatment grew short a rumour about the British greasing the bullets in the Sepoys gun with pig and cow fat started to circulate throughout the town of Meerut and the Indians had, had their last straw and began to rebel against the British rule. The rebellion was short lived as the British defended themselves fiercely and either killed or jailed anyone who rebelled. When the British government saw this they decided that they should take control and then creating and passing The Government of India Act of 1858 which led to the creation of the British Raj. As part of colonising the country they also had to reform and create new laws that would fit the administration of the country and which also catered to the landscape, people of India and the British Raj. The British Raj instituted better administration of government and more organised services and government policies although mostly written to further the British not the native Indian. Indian Nationalism – father is Bal Gangadhar tilak as he was the first to start the idea of nationalism around 1890’s.  Fight against the British Raj to be independent of Britain and the British Raj.  Nationalism was “India for the people of India”

    By referencing this from the same document as before, we can clearly see that the British government wanted to create an autonomous India, that could rely on itself and didn’t need help or resources from other nations or countries. Although in order to do this, there was off-the-records things done to the Indian population that were quite contrary to the intention of the document. The introduction of The Company allowed the British Government to utilise approximately 1.75 million Indian soldiers as the backbone of the British’s military, called the British Indian Army.  They were called “Sepoy” meaning infantry soldier. They had also created a law which required Indian troops to serve overseas if needed, which according to Hindu tradition causes loss. This created a sense of hostility between the Indian and British troops. The British were once again seen to be culturally insensitive to Indian values and according to Hew McLeod, author of Gandhi & Indian Independence “Rumours started circulating that new (gun) cartridges had been greased with animal fat. As cows were sacred to Hindu and pigs were considered unclean by Muslims.”  and this, with the combined rising tensions between the British and Indian troops is how the Sepoy mutiny started in 1857.  Rumours spread throughout Meerut about the cartridges and the Indian Sepoys began to kill every British soldier and white person in sight. Evidence of this happening is in a British telegram that was sent from India to the British government on the 9th of May 1857 during the aftermath of the mutiny and it reads; “Received the 85 prisoners this morning. All is quiet. Asked for Assistance of Military Guard, is to be at Jail by Sunset. Sentence of eleven of the prisoners reduced by Genl. Hewitt to five years. The remainder to be imprisoned for ten.”. This directly shows how the British reacted to the mutiny, trying to shut it down as quickly as possible to stop it from spreading throughout the entire country. The source is used to present this argument is a primary source as it is a transcript of what had happened and what the British had done to the Sepoys that had turned against them. After this happening, it would have had devastating effects on the Indian population as a whole even if the British tried to stop it from happening, because once it happened and the rest of India found out that the cartridges were greased with animal fat, it would have drastically affected the trust between Britain and India.

    Although The Company and the British Raj bought with them improved healthcare, transportation, infrastructure and trading opportunities to the Indian peoples, the British were arbitrary and forceful in their approach; insensitive to ancient Indian religious practices and values and did not value the true Indian culture in its own right.  The native Indian culture became overshadowed by the British colonisers.  Colonising India had huge benefits to its people but also brought a feeling of being the second-class citizen in their own country.  

    Through the traumatic years of colonisation the native peoples suffered at the hands of their colonisers.  Change was swift and sweeping and touched every part of Indian life, it was a sometimes violent transition and it has taken years for the Indian people to see and benefit from the changes made.  The class system, as learned from the British, is still strong in India and is one thing that may take many generations to eradicate so that wealth is evenly distributed through India’s people.  The British provided everyday Indians with opportunities but even so they had to be worked for.   Although challenging and disturbing, colonisation has paved the way for industry and education for generations to come.  

    According to documents deemed top secret at the time, called ‘Britain’s India Policy’ found in England’s Nation Archives, it states  “The Cabinet Mission which was sent to India last year spent over three months in consultation with Indian leaders in order to help them agree upon a method for determining the future constitution of India, so that the transfer of power might be smoothly and rapidly effected. It was only when it seemed clear that without some initiative from the Cabinet Mission agreement was unlikely to be reached that they put forward proposals themselves. These proposals, made public in May last, envisaged that the future constitution of India should be settled by Constituent Assembly composed, in the manner suggested therein, of representatives of all communities and interests in British India and of the Indian States.” By stating these things, it is meant to be read that Britain wanted to administer India but didn’t want to do things forcefully and were more than happy to work with the major Indian powers and different state governments to come to a resolution that they could both agree upon and both benefit from. By doing this they were showing that their intention towards to the Indian population was genuine. The article concludes by saying; ‘It has long been the policy of successive British Governments to work towards the realisation of self-government in India. In pursuance of this policy an increasing measure of responsibility has been devolved on Indians and today the civil administration and the Indian Armed Forces rely to a very large extent on Indian civilians and officers. In the constitutional field the Acts of 1919 and 1935 passed by the British Parliament each represented a substantial transfer of political power. In 1940 the Coalition Government recognised the principle that Indians should themselves frame a new constitution for a fully autonomous India, and in the offer of 1942, they invited them to set up a Constituent Assembly for this purpose as soon as the war was over.’ 

    yo this is due tomorrow

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  • Jay    617



    No Harvard referencing? :feelsbadman:


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    2Square    71
    18 minutes ago, Jay said:

    No Harvard referencing? :feelsbadman:



    Adams, S. (2006). Mahatma Gandhi. London: Franklin Watts.

    Britain's Indian policy, 20th February 1947. (2012). .

    British Telgram. (1857). .

    Downing, D. (2003). Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. Oxford: Heinemann Library.

    En.wikipedia.org. (2019). British Raj. [online] Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Raj [Accessed 14 May 2019].

    En.wikipedia.org. (2019). History of the British Raj. [online] Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_British_Raj [Accessed 14 May 2019].

    Encyclopedia Britannica. (2019). Indian Mutiny | History, Causes, Summary, & Facts. [online] Available at: https://www.britannica.com/event/Indian-Mutiny [Accessed 14 May 2019].

    McLeod, H. (2012). Gandhi & Indian Independence.

    The National Archives. (2019). The National Archives. [online] Available at: http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk [Accessed 14 May 2019].

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    2Square    71
    Just now, Big Kev said:

    Can I see your homework?

    that word scares me

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    Nevetos    487

    10/10 according to my unis plagiarism software

    Also, why not referencing in APA 5th :dansgame:

    no in-text citations? No citations for quotes?


    Edited by Nevetos

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    Fitz    1112

    You repeated some things a few times (not including conclusion, each paragraph should be a new topic), no in-text referencing as mentioned above, some spelling and grammar mistakes, but seems like decent research and use of sources.

    80% max I think, depending on how strict your teacher is.

    Also, you shouldn't link Wikipedia, use the citation in Wikipedia as the reference :wesmart:



    Edited by Fitz
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