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Old 07-20-2019, 05:10 PM
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Just re-watched the great British television series "Jewel In The Crown" (excellent by the way as are Raj Quartet series of books by Paul Scott), and gained a new insight, but am curious.

British Raj barely lasted 90 years with India gaining independence from Britain in 1948, though GB influence lasted much longer after the hand over as there were things to sort out.

At first thought it was largely the wealthy and or titled who made their way out to India. That may have been true under early British East India Company days, but things gradually seemed to move towards large numbers of middle and lower classes going out to India and sadly bringing all their prejudices and biases with them. Is this true to any extent?

While these persons were nothing or barely something in GB, they were all dying it seems to be pukka sahib and memsahib in India which gave them (or so they thought) the rights to lord themselves over native Indians who they barely treated above same as blacks or other coloreds in UK or elsewhere.

It does seem to me by WWII period (if not a bit before) the higher classes in GB and India knew the game was up. That is India was going to become independent sooner or later. The lower classes OTOH always last to get in on any game were sort of blindsided that things were soon going to change, and worse no one seemed to bother telling them this bit of news.
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Old 07-21-2019, 06:55 PM
Location: Cebu, Philippines
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The BBC did an excellent series of radio programs in the 70s, talking with people about their recollections the Raj. "Plain Tales of the Raj". I believe this can only be bought as an audiobook.
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Old 07-22-2019, 03:13 AM
Location: Great Britain
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From Empire to Independence: The British Raj in India 1858-1947 - BBC

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Old 07-22-2019, 07:56 AM
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I have been interested in the influence of the British Raj on the literature of that time. Some are included in this list:


Do you know about Victoria and Abdul, her Indian assistant? There is a film.


I'm currently waiting for "A Passage to India" on my Netflix list.
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Old 07-22-2019, 08:57 PM
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You answered your own question as soon as you posted. No need for me, an Ango-Indian, to add anything, basically.
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Old Today, 03:50 AM
Location: Great Britain
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In terms of British rule, it has to be seen in the context of the plight of India before Britain became involved, and it should be noted that Britain never had more than 70,000 troops in India, so for the British to remain in charge the Indians had to be complicit and willing, asthe fact was that British rule in India was a joint effort, impossible without the widespread co- operation of Indians themselves.

Originally Posted by Nipral Dhaliwal

Despite the country's vast population, there were never more than 70,000 British troops in India; the running of the country required an enormous infrastructure of native troops, police and bureaucrats. As Hitler observed, Indians merely had to spit all at once and every Briton in India would have drowned.

Indians assisted with Empire because it brought them unprecedented order and civility. Indians were no strangers to outside rulers; for eight centuries before the Raj, the sub-continent had been subjected to the plunder and depravity of the Mughals - Muslim rulers who came from as far west as Turkey. Delhi was razed eight times in that period and great pyramids were constructed with the skulls of its inhabitants.

Because Islam permits the enslavement of non-Muslims, Indians were sold across the Islamic world in such quantities that the international price of slaves collapsed. The Afghan mountain range of the Hindu Khush (which translates as the 'Hindu Slaughter') is named after the huge numbers who died there while being marched to the markets of Arabia and Central Asia.

or all the artistic refinement and opulence of India's past rulers - and their poetry, music, and the magnificence of the Taj Mahal are testament to that - they oversaw a period of general barbarism in which the ordinary Indian was no more than a starving chattel.

The rebellions which eventually arose against the Mughals - such as the Sikhs in Punjab and the Marathas in the south - fractured the rulers' power, and enabled the British to get their own foot in the door.

At this point, it's important to remember that the British did not arrive in an idyllic sub-continent full of happy, contented Indians, but in one in extreme turmoil. And, though primarily motivated by profit, they sought to apply humane values - even if at gunpoint.

In 1846, the British commissioner, John Lawrence, told the local elite that Punjabis could no longer burn their widows, commit female infanticide, nor bury their lepers alive. When they protested, saying that he had promised there would be no interference in their religious customs, Lawrence steadfastly replied that it was British religious custom to hang anyone who did such things. In addition to combating these barbaric practices, the British also outlawed slavery in 1843 at a time when an estimated 10 million Indians were slaves - up to 15 per cent of the population in some regions.

The fact that Christianity is very much accepted in India (the next day, the neon sign outside the Mahalakshmi Temple proclaimed 'Merry Christmas' to its Hindu worshippers), is proof of the country's quiet acknowledgement that British rule in India left a legacy that unified its disparate peoples and enabled them to emerge as a power in the world.

Despite the often callous profiteering of Empire, the modern Indian state simply would not exist without it. Like the U.S., India is a nation fostered into being by Britain, and one which derives its romantic national identity from its struggle for independence. And just as Americans don't publicly admit that George Washington was an abysmal general who lost almost every battle, Indians don't explicitly recognise Britain's contribution to their country's present success.

But emulation is the sincerest form of flattery, and the fact that since 1947, Indians have built upon much of what Britain introduced them to - the English language, parliamentary democracy, the rule of law and the protection of individual rights - is an admission of the crucial role this country played in their history.

It's no overstatement to say that, without the British, Indians would not even know what it is to be Indian.After 800 years of Mughal rule, Hindu culture was in terminal decline and it was the likes of Warren Hastings and William Jones, the founders of the Asiatic Society, who began the collection and renewed study of India's ancient texts, educating Indians about their own rich and unique past. And it was a Briton, Allan Octavian Hume, who helped found the Indian national Congress - the political party that would eventually lead the country to independence.

Thousands of Indians died building the railways of the Raj, but countless more died building the Taj Mahal and other useless baubles for their earlier rulers.

For all they extracted from India, the British left behind a practical network of transportation, governance and values without which India would not be the dynamic democracy it is today. It is a mark of India's quiet appreciation as well as its great self-confidence that it asks for no apology for the past.Out of respect, no Briton should be condescending enough to offer one.

Britain has no need to make an apology to India for Empire

Last edited by Brave New World; Today at 04:04 AM..
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