Free History Essay about Post Colonial India
Colonization is a process of invading and taking the sovereignty of one country by the other one. The invaded country is called a colony. The process of colonization implies settling or occupying the area. It leads to a situation when one country is subordinated to another country imposing its own traditions, language, and customs.
India is a postcolonial society that was under British rule. It is well-known that Indian culture is absolutely different from European traditions. That is why there were not only political and religious conflicts but also cultural ones. In India, one believed that British rule was more harmful than the Islamic regime. However, at the present time, Indian people changed their minds radically. India is a Hindu nation but there is secularism there. The Indian people are nationalists and one can notice this nationalism in their religious belief.
Colonialism in India begun in the 10th century when the Islamic invasion took place and ended when the British rule was established. When Britain colonized India, it dealt with the already colonized lands but some areas were already free.
Time after colonialism is generally referred to as post-colonialism. In India, this period began in the middle of the 20th century when the country faced renovation after invading. Post-colonial time was the time of independence. Considering the post-colonial time, one should take into consideration the term “decolonization”: the process of transition of colonial countries to independence and freedom.
The idea of decolonization is the deconstruction of the colonial society that was characterized by old-fashioned perceptions, oppression, and attitudes of power. These characteristics were adopted during the period of colonialism. India became independent in 1947, and it was the attempt to put in practice the policy of decolonization. However, it was not very simple to realize the steps to be taken.
History of Colonial India
The process of colonization began in the 16th century when European countries conquered the Indian coast. Before the appearance of the British East India Company in 1756, such countries as Portugal, the Netherlands, and France ruled the Indian region. Upon their arrival, the British colonialists began to control most parts of India ruling Calcutta, Bombay and Madras which were turned into British bases. However, not all regions were dependent: for example, Kashmir kept its sovereignty. Thus, it would be false to think that the British were the first to colonize India.
British traders formed the East India Company for commerce purposes. The British setup warehouses in order to store goods. However, soon those warehouses became a reasonable cause to build forts and create armies. At that time, there was no peace in India as disorganized kingdoms fought against each other. It was a good opportunity for the British Empire to capture India during those internal quarrels and to turn one king against the other.
This situation in India helped Britain to gain more wealth and power. The British invited Indian soldiers for training and enrolled Indian men. European army was disciplined and trained compared to Indian military forces that struggled only in order to survive.
As a result, the British were successful and captured very vast parts of India, especially those where there were internal conflicts. The kings of India accepted the authority of Britain. The British collected contribution from the people and the authorities and it meant that the rule of India completely belonged to Britain.
The British conquered India with the help of their cleverness and Indian soldiers. The latter could not occupy important positions in spite of the fact that they were talented and skilled. British colonies bought Indians as slaves and sold them. Besides, the Indian system of education suffered from the British colonization as there were many changes introduced. India took part in 111 wars and only Indian money and troops managed to maintain peace.
However, one cannot say that British colonization had only a bad impact on India. The British brought modern technologies to India and the colonizers’ aim was to exploit India and make a profit, but nobody denies the fact that India had some benefits from the British rule. It was in this period when roads and railways were built throughout India in order to make everything accessible. Besides, the British established transport systems, civil services, and courts of law. They also opened new factories, schools, universities and taught western ideas, the ideas of democracy and Christianity, to Indians. Without a doubt, the British did it in the name of the development of their economy.
A Big Rebellion in the North of India in 1857
In 1857, in the north of India, there was a big rebellion. This rebellion was later called the First War of Indian Independence or the Indian Mutiny. This was the first time when the Indians rebelled against the British in South Asia. However, the rebellion failed and India remained under the British colonization. In 1885, the Indian Congress was created. It was the main body of opposition that protested against the British colonists. In the midst of all this rebellion and mutiny, the British colony was divided into the Indian Union and The Muslim State of Pakistan.
Despite the opposition against the British colonists, there was part of the Indian population that was loyal to the British colonization during World War II. These were Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru that initiated against British colonial rule and finally achieved independence in 1947. This year India became a member of the British Commonwealth.
There is no doubt that India is progressing successfully from an economic standpoint, however, there are many complications and conflicts which still remain even after the British colonization. In this regard, a question arises: “How post-colonial is post-colonial India?”
To this day India suffers from overpopulation, poverty, and environmental pollution. How does a nation overcome these issues, especially after being under another nation’s rule for so long? Western practices and values are clearly evident in the lives of Indians, demonstrating that the British colonization has also affected Indians in a social way. Thus, India may seem to have come out of the colonization era, but the effects of it have left their trace on the people of this land and their society.
Furthermore, special emphasis should be laid on the question “How post-colonial is post-colonial India?” because it still seems that the country is not as “post-colonial” as one might describe when using the term. Globalization has played a major role in shaping India, and this paper will, moreover, argue how globalization led India to a better life.
Post-Colonial Development of India
At the present time, one cannot call India a developed country that is rich and successful. Despite the significant economic progress in the world India deals with many problems such as economic issues, overpopulation, poverty, environmental pollution, religious, politic, and ethnic conflicts, etc. Even now Pakistan and India are threatening each other with atomic weapons. Colonialism was a way of showing racial superiority by the European countries.
One can assume that it was colonialism that defined the further development of India. It seems that the post-colonial period should be more successful for India but religious and ethnic conflicts do not allow people to live calmly and freely.
With regard to British and Indian relationships, it is necessary to state that those were ambiguous. British colonialism left a trace on the Indian population and culture. The Western values, for example, communication in English, are now omnipresent in the Asian culture. Many Indians know English very well as the British colonialists tried to impose their values, culture, and language. At the period of colonization knowledge of English was the basement for further education.
The modern relationships between India and Great Britain are special as there is still tension between these two nations and colonialism remains an indicator of their relations. India is an independent state that possesses its own culture, religion and political system, but the country is still searching for its own identity. The process of decolonization was very long as colonialism is, essentially, violent invading. Decolonization demanded to reduce tension and contradictions between two absolutely different cultures, British and Indian.
The main problem of the post-colonial period is a contradiction between the two cultures and the influence of one culture on the other one. Decolonization is s process of destruction, change and attempt to return the lost power. Natives learn to realize their independence, and colonial powers should accept the loss of power over the other country. Without a doubt, both countries deal with their past of the suppressed and the suppressor at the present time.
The colonial policy implied to India was criticized for being brutal, arrogant, ignorant and simply naïve, that is why the colonial failure made decolonization emotional and tense. The post-colonial policy deals with cultural conflicts even at the present time. The process of decolonization was implemented not by the use of military forces but with the help of peace talks. The language was a powerful tool for reflection and post-colonial communication.
Influence of British Colonization on Indian Culture
British colonization had a great impact on Indian culture and changed the way Indians behave and saw the world. The Indian nation is the nation rich in customs and traditions but colonization degraded cultural development. Indians felt only repression, tyranny and exploitation. The aim of the British was to change the essence of Indians and make them English in morals, tastes, opinions, and intellect.
Concerning education, the British tried to impose western ideals, that of democracy and Christianity. They established schools and universities that were English-spoken. British education was characterized by the ideas of Western superiority and modernity but it was aimed not to educate but to train Indians to obey. The colonial system of education consisted of social studies and humanities taught in such a way that inevitably ruined the national identity of Indians.
Indians were forced to learn English as without proficiency in this language they were unable to work for their colonizer and lose the possibility to earn. “Modern education” imposed by the British was harmful and caused Indians to feel like the lower nation and lose confidence, and even belonging to the oldest civilization did not encourage them to struggle for their independence. At the present time, one may think that Britain invaded India in order to give it prosperity, peace, and education but there is also a solid body of opposition considering it to be a myth.
Influence of British Colonization on Indian Politics
Without a doubt, the influence of British colonization on India was noticeable in all spheres of life. The British exerted a great influence on Indian politics. It is known that religion and language shape culture and form the vision of the nation. The trace of British colonization defined English as one of the official languages in India at the present time, and Christianity has become a noticeable religion in India.
The British brought their system of government and power to India, that is why there is nothing strange that at the present time there are many similar traces between the governmental systems of India and Great Britain. For example, Prime Minister is the head of the Council of Ministers in India as well as in Great Britain. The Indian Constitution was created on the basis of the USA and the British Constitution.
Influence of British Colonization on Indian Economy
The influence of British colonization on the Indian economy can be divided into three phases. The first phase was called “mercantilism”. The British developed trading relationships with India and exported their goods. The second phase was connected with free trade between India and Britain. India became a market for British goods. The third phase was called the period of total control over Indian capitals, banks, trading firms, and agencies. As one can see, the exploitation was phased and was noticeable in terms of changes in the economy, politics, industrial and agricultural sectors.
Post-Colonial India History Essay Conclusion
Having analyzed the history of colonization of India, one comes to the conclusion that the viewpoint maintaining that the British came to India in order to modernize it but failed as it had very strong and ancient traditions that were impossible to change is false. However, the review of the events and relationships between the two countries help understand that Britain wanted benefits for itself. Britain also wanted to force its position in the world.
India is now defined as a postcolonial society that was once ruled by the British colonizers. India differs from Europe in terms of traditions which led not only to political and religious conflicts but also made two cultures clash. In India, people were once inclined to believe that British rule was more harmful than Islamic regime. However, at the present time, Indian people see more disadvantages in the Islamic regime than in that of colonial England. Religion in India is tightly connected with the way of life, nevertheless, it is a secular country with strong nationalistic traditions enrooted in belief.
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Generally, British colonization greatly affected Indian culture and changed the worldview of the people. Colonization negatively influenced the development of the culturally rich Indian nation. Repression and exploitation were the tools for changing the essence of the ancient nation according to the English pattern.
The British implanted their governmental system in India which explains that at the present time the political establishment of two countries has a lot of common features. For example, the Council of Ministers is headed by a Prime Minister both in India and Great Britain. Even the Indian Constitution bears the traces of the American and the British ones.
Contradictions and mutual influence of the two countries are the major problems of the post-colonial era. It can be partly explained by the fact that decolonization is characterized by certain destructions from the one side and trying to return the lost power from the other one. It results in natives realizing their independence and colonial powers accepting the failure to control the other country. Undoubtedly, even nowadays India and Great Britain deal with their mutual colonial past.