Overview Of British Imperialism

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Imperialism is when a nation extends its rule over foreign nations. In India, imperialism had started around 1509. The Indians had been imperialized by Portugal before the British took over. Over a hundred years later, around 1612, the British had imperialized. They had wanted to take control over India, and they wanted them to be as one group. The Sepoy Mutiny had been the result of the British rule. This event had happened in 1857 and had lasted until 1858, which was only a year later. The mutiny had started after the British had changed the rifle. It was said that the cartridges of the rifle had been grease with cow or pork fat. This upset the Sepoys (Indians) because most of them had been Hindu, meaning they thought that cows were sacred. The Sepoy army was also made up of a portion of Muslims, and for them the consumption of pork was prohibited. Along with the Sepoy mutiny, there had been many changes to the way Indians had lived before. In the end, British imperialism had been more costly to the Indians whether it was economically, socially, or politically.

British Imperialism was costly to the economy of India. The British had decided to grow only cash crops, crops that are used for profit, not for consumption. Since there were not many crops for consumption, there wasn’t much food, causing famines to happen. With the famines, the taxation amount had raised higher. It was to make up for the profit lost during the famines (Chakraborty). This was bad for the Indians because they would be hungry, and they would have little to no money. Under the British rule, industries had been broken up. This had started to destroy the economy of India. Growth of industry was stopped due to the prevention of economic growth. India was Britain supplier of raw materials. India had also supplied markets for England’s with industrial goods. Since India’s industry was being destroyed it had led to unemployment and poverty (Nehru). The Indians had become dependent to the British for goods to sell. With the industry falling apart this had also led to people not being able to live a good life.

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British Imperialism had been more to the people of India as well. The British had decided to build schools and universities which sounds like a good idea, but in the end, is not. The new education would then lead to a loss of culture. The British would try and inform people about their ways, trying to knock out the Indians original way of living. They had also introduced their language, English, and they had mandated it, meaning Indians would have to learn English. This would not only cause more loss in culture, but a loss of language as well (Dutt). With a loss of culture and language, future generations won’t have the ability to see what their own culture is like. They’ll have to experience the British culture and have to speak English. Along with new education, there had been a rise in population. A portion of the rise in population was because baby girls weren’t being killed anymore and slaves had been released (Johnson and Johnson 84). This would lead to famine, because there are more mouths to feed. There was also unemployment since there is more of a fight to be able to fill a job, now that there are more people capable of working.

Politically, the British rule had a negative impact. The Indians had been overpowered by the British. They had lower positions in the government, and they had little to no say in government and society. The British, technically, had a higher placement in the caste system. (Johnson and Johnson 84). This meant that the Indians still had little power against the British. However, there were some positives to the British rule. There had originally been female infanticide, which is where baby girls are killed. Luckily, that was ended, along with the slave trade and owning any slaves (Coupland). People in India had equality regardless of their race, religion, or social status (Johnson and Johnson 84). No one was shamed or neglected in anyway, everyone was equal. Being equal was important, as it also meant that since the British and Indians technically lived an equal life, they both had equal punishments if they were to commit the same crime. No matter what, the British will always have a head above the Indians. The Indians and British were segregated. The Indians hadn’t been allowed to be in British clubs. Even with equality, India was still doing poorly.

In the end, even with some positives, the British had a negative impact on India economically, socially, and politically. The British had a strong rule over India. The had many restrictions, whether it was for their industries, the goods they traded, the way they lived. The Indians had started to fight back, which is what had started the Sepoy Mutiny. The Sepoy Mutiny was marked as the turning point. This was when the government had taken full force and completely took command over India (World History 794). There had also been a rise in nationalism. The Indians had wanted to become more modern and they wanted a greater role in being able to govern themselves. There needed to be a change in child marriages and the caste system separation. Ram Mohun Roy believed that if these “traditions” weren’t changed then India would continue to be ruled by outside people. People had been inspired by his writings, which had led to a social reform movement (World History 795). 


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